David Karp

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David Karp
Karp in 2017
Born (1986-07-06) July 6, 1986 (age 37)
Occupation(s)Webmaster, entrepreneur, blogger
Years active1995-present
Known forFounder and CEO of Tumblr

David Karp (born July 6, 1986)[1] is an American webmaster, entrepreneur, and blogger, best known as the founder and former CEO of the short-form blogging platform Tumblr.[2][3]

Karp began his career, without having received a high school diploma, as an intern under Fred Seibert at the animation company Frederator Studios, where he built the studio's first blogging platform and conceived, wrote, and edited their first internet video network, Channel Frederator.[4] Karp went on to work for the online parenting forum UrbanBaby until it was sold to CNET in 2006. Karp then started his own software consulting company, Davidville, where he worked with computer engineer Marco Arment on projects for clients. During a gap between contracts in 2006, the two began work on a microblogging website, which was launched as Tumblr in February 2007. As of November 1, 2017, Tumblr hosts over 375.4 million blogs.[5] In August 2009, Karp was named Best Young Tech Entrepreneur 2009 by BusinessWeek[6] and in 2010, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[7]

On May 20, 2013, it was announced that Yahoo! and Tumblr had reached an agreement for Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Karp remained CEO of the company. Karp announced in November 2017 that he would be leaving Tumblr by the end of the year.

Early life[edit]

Born in New York City, Karp grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. His parents are Barbara Ackerman, a science teacher from San Anselmo, California, and Michael D. Karp, a film and television composer.[8] He has a younger brother named Kevin.[9] His parents separated when he was 17.[9] Karp attended the Calhoun School from pre-school through eighth grade, where his mother teaches science.[3] In 1997, he began learning HTML and began designing websites for businesses.[2] Karp went on to attend The Bronx High School of Science for one year before dropping out in 2001 and started homeschooling.[3] At the time, Karp had aspirations of attending college in New York, or going to MIT and saw homeschooling and doing other projects on the side as a way to impress the colleges.[10] Karp never returned to high school or earned his high school diploma.[9]


Karp in 2007

Karp began as an intern in 2000 for animation producer Fred Seibert, founder of Frederator Studios.[3] Karp's mother had taught Seibert's children at the Calhoun School and was friends with his wife.[9][11] Karp was fascinated with the work of Frederator's computer engineers and his visits became regular. After he started homeschooling, Karp also began taking Japanese classes at the Japan Society and saw a math tutor, with whom he worked on writing software for winning at blackjack and poker.[11] When entrepreneur John Maloney sought technical help with UrbanBaby, an online parenting forum, a Frederator employee recommended Karp for the job. Karp completed the project, which had to be done in a couple of days, within four hours. Maloney made him UrbanBaby's head of product and gave him a small amount of equity.[9] In 2003, while still working for UrbanBaby, Karp moved alone to Tokyo for five months.

Karp left UrbanBaby after it was sold to CNET in 2006.[9] Using money from the sale of his shares, Karp started his own software consultancy company, Davidville, functioning as a mix of client work and production of Karp's own products and services.[11] Marco Arment joined the company as an engineer after replying to Karp's Craigslist ad.[9] Karp had been interested in microblogging for some time and was waiting for one of the established blogging platforms to introduce their own microblogging platform. After a year of waiting, Karp and Arment began working on their own microblogging platform during a two-week gap between contracts in 2006.[1][3][12] Tumblr was launched in February 2007[13] and within two weeks, the service had gained 75,000 users.[7]

In October 2007, Karp shut down his consultancy business as his work with Tumblr was interfering with his client work.[14] Davidville was renamed Tumblr, Inc.[15] and 25 percent of the company was sold to a small group of investors.[3]

On May 20, 2013, it was announced that Yahoo! and Tumblr had reached an agreement for Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion.[16][17] As of November 1, 2017, Tumblr hosts over 375.4 million blogs.[5] Karp announced in November 2017 that he would be leaving Tumblr by the end of the year.[18]

Karp has made personal investments into several companies including Superpedestrian, Inc.,[19] Sherpaa, Inc.,[20] and Splash.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Karp joined the Planned Parenthood Board of Directors in 2014.[22] In March 2017, Tumblr and Planned Parenthood launched an initiative calling on the tech industry to support Planned Parenthood.[23]

Karp endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in the lead-up to the 2016 United States election.[24] Karp donated $11,200 to Mark Kelly in his 2020 special election campaign for U.S. Senate, making him the campaign's top individual donor.[25]


  1. ^ a b Davis, Sammy (August 27, 2008). "So What Do You Do, David Karp, Founder of Tumblr?". Mediabistro.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Kushner, David (November 24, 2008). "David Karp is the Barely Legal Blogfather". Maxim. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Shafrir, Doree (January 15, 2008). "Would You Take a Tumblr With This Man?". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  4. ^ "David Karp Reminds Me Of Ted Turner, May 25, 2013". Fredseibert.frederator.com. 2013-05-25. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  5. ^ a b "About Us". Tumblr. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  6. ^ "Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs 2009: Tumblr". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on May 1, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Ingram, Matthew (August 25, 2010). "Google VC, Tumblr CEO Among the Top Innovators Under 35". GigaOM. Giga Omni Media. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  8. ^ New computer mogul, Tumblr founder Karp, has family roots in Marin - San Jose Mercury News. Mercurynews.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Walker, Rob (July 12, 2012). "Can Tumblr's David Karp Embrace Ads Without Selling Out?". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on February 2, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  10. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (interviewer); Karp, David (interviewee) (January 2, 2013). David Karp Forbes Cover Story (Video). New York City: Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Bercovici, Jeff (January 2, 2013). "Tumblr: David Karp's $800 Million Art Project". Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  12. ^ Karp, David; Alexandria, Julie (May 27, 2008). David Karp and Tumblr (Video). Wallstrip. Event occurs at 1:30. Retrieved February 24, 2013. Sometime in 2006, we had a couple of weeks between contracts and said 'Let's see what we can do, let's see if we can build this thing', and we threw together the first working version of Tumblr.
  13. ^ Karp, David (December 12, 2011). David Karp: When It All Came Together (Video). Fast Company. Event occurs at 1:03. Retrieved February 24, 2013. Over the next few months, we kind of pieced together what became the first version of Tumblr which launched in February 2007.
  14. ^ Karp, David (September 27, 2011). David Karp, Founder and CEO, Tumblr - #MyStartupStory (Video). Hiscox. Event occurs at 1:40. Retrieved February 24, 2013. It took about six months before I just gave in and said 'Alright, I'm pissing off my clients, we're not returning their calls, Tumblr seems to be where our hearts are, let's go for it.'
  15. ^ David, Karp (November 1, 2007). "Third time's a charm". Davidville. Archived from the original on March 12, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  16. ^ Mayer, Marissa (May 20, 2013). "Tumblr. + Yahoo! = !!". Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  17. ^ "Yahoo! to Acquire Tumblr" (Press release). Yahoo!. May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  18. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (November 27, 2017). "David Karp is leaving Tumblr". Archived from the original on November 28, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  19. ^ Chernova, Yuliya (March 25, 2014). "Tumblr's David Karp Giving Back to NY Startups, But Don't Call Him a VC". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  20. ^ Chernova, Yuliya (March 24, 2014). "Tumblr Founder David Karp Invests in Medical-Treatment Startup Sherpaa". Venture Capital Dispatch. The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  21. ^ Crook, Jordan (December 14, 2016). "Splash transitions to B2B event marketing with $7M in new funding". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on January 3, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  22. ^ Solomon, Dan (March 10, 2017). "Why Tumblr Is Hosting A Planned Parenthood Rally Instead Of Its Usual SXSW Party". Fast Company. Archived from the original on March 12, 2017. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  23. ^ Karp, David; Richards, Cecile (March 10, 2017). "A message from Tumblr's CEO and Planned Parenthood's president: tech leaders must support women's health care". The Verge. Archived from the original on March 12, 2017. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  24. ^ Kulwin, Noah (June 23, 2016). "Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt and a bunch of other tech heavyweights are endorsing Hillary Clinton". Recode. Vox Media. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

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