Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Tumblr Had $16.6 Million Left When Yahoo Bought It

david karp tumblrIn the wake of Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr, there was some chatter about how much runway David Karp would have had if he hadn’t sold the company.

Now we know, sort of: Tumblr, which had raised $125 million since 2007, had $16.6 million in cash left when Yahoo bought it. The disclosure comes via the 10-Q form Yahoo filed with the SEC today.

Tumblr’s ad business was still nascent as of last May, and it had a staff of 175 people. So it’s clear that if Marissa Mayer hadn’t stepped in, Karp would have had to raise more money in the not-very-distant future. Tumblr had last raised $85 million, in September 2011, from investors including The Chernin Group, Sequoia and Insight Venture Partners.

Now all of that is moot, of course. And speaking of Karp’s future: Yahoo said it will pay him up to $81 million in cash and stock if he sticks around. Those payments will be structured over the next four years.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work