Founder of Gumroad and Angel Investor Sahil Lavingia Speaks on NFTs

Grace Coleman

Gumroad CEO and founder Sahil Lavingia spoke with Blockchain Club about his experiences as an entrepreneur over Zoom on Dec. 10. Gumroad has been uniquely self-expanding since its founding in 2011, according to Lavingia. The company’s digital marketplace is designed to allow creators to monetize their products.

With nearly 100,000 sellers online and products ranging from custom emojis to personalized blog posts, the company provides various ways for their customers to use the platform, presenting a distinct business model. Lavingia said Gumroad is working toward a decision regarding the non-fungible tokens (NFT), turning to Twitter to gauge public opinion on the new technology. Each NFT token is completely unique, which allows owners to buy and sell digital items through the blockchain, according to Time.

One of the most distinctive differences between cryptocurrency and NFT is its use in online trade. Cryptocurrencies are exchangeable, whereas each NFT’s particular code represents specific products that are not. Like Gumroad, both have come out fairly recently and have original business models.

“It’s important to develop new things that put you at a creative advantage; having distinctiveness in your products is the key to innovation,” Lavinigna said.

Keira Morrell ’24 said she enjoyed hearing Lavingia’s life story and of his journey to building such a successful business.

“How far he has come as an entrepreneur was fascinating, and I think he did a great job today, ” Morrell said.

Lavingia has developed uncommon business strategies throughout his entrepreneurial journey.

“I invest in people and start early with no products—it’s a bet on raw intelligence,” Lavingia said. “Potentially, we may implement NFTs into our model, but are waiting to see how the economy moves in the next few years.”

Blockchain member Ryan Pinkser ’23 said the speaker’s career path is inspiring, especially since Lavingia started his company at 19 years old.

“He’s incredibly busy and his journey is incredible as a creator, so it was a great honor to hear his story,” Pinkser ’23 said.