David Karp

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David Karp
David Karp EBE09 (cropped).jpg
Karp in 2009
Born (1986-07-06) July 6, 1986 (age 30)
New York City, New York, US
Nationality American
Occupation CEO of Tumblr
Net worth $200 million[1]
Website www.davidslog.com

David Karp (born July 6, 1986)[2] is an American web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of the short-form blogging platform Tumblr.[3][4] According to Forbes, Karp's net worth exceeds $200 million, and Tumblr has been valued at $800 million.[1]

Karp began his career 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.[5] Karp went on to work for 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 December 1, 2016, Tumblr hosts over 324.7 million blogs.[6] In August 2009, Karp was named Best Young Tech Entrepreneur 2009 by BusinessWeek[7] 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.[8]

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.

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.[9] He has a younger brother named Kevin.[10] His parents separated when he was 17.[10] Karp attended the Calhoun School from aged three through 8th grade, where his mother teaches science.[4] At 11, he began learning HTML and was soon designing websites for businesses.[3] Karp went on to attend Bronx Science for one year before dropping out at the age of 15 and started homeschooling.[4] At the time, Karp had aspirations of getting into a college in New York or MIT and saw homeschooling and doing other projects on the side as a way to impress the colleges.[11] Karp never returned to high school or earned his high school diploma.[10] Marco Arment, the first employee of Tumblr, would later recall that Karp was keen to avoid letting his age shape people's assumptions about him: "He wanted to keep it quiet for as long as he could because he knew that as soon as it got out, every story about Tumblr would just be about David's youth."[12]


Karp in 2007

Karp began interning at age 14 for animation producer Fred Seibert, founder of Frederator Studios.[4] Karp's mother had taught Seibert's children at the Calhoun School and was friends with his wife.[10][13] 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.[13] 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.[10] At age 17, while still working for UrbanBaby, Karp moved alone to Tokyo for five months. It was a full three months after Karp had moved to Tokyo that UrbanBaby found out he wasn't in New York.[4]

Karp left UrbanBaby after it was sold to CNET in 2006.[10] Using money from the sale of his shares, Karp started his own software consultancy company, Davidville, envisioning a mix of client work and his own products.[13] Marco Arment joined the company as an engineer after replying to Karp's Craigslist ad.[10] Karp had been interested in tumblelogs (short-form blogs) for some time and was waiting for one of the established blogging platforms to introduce their own tumblelogging platform. As no one had done so after a year of waiting, Karp and Arment began working on their own tumblelogging platform during a two-week gap between contracts in 2006.[2][4][14] Tumblr was launched in February 2007[15] and within two weeks, the service had gained 75,000 users.[8]

I realized that I got to spend that entire day working on this product that I absolutely loved. ... And it was this incredible, liberating, unbelievably inspiring feeling.

—Karp in an interview with Fast Company about his
first day of work dedicated solely to Tumblr[15]

In October 2007, Karp shut down his consultancy business as his work with Tumblr was interfering with his client work.[16] Davidville was renamed Tumblr, Inc.[17] and 25 percent of the company was sold to a small group of investors.[4] As of December 1, 2016, Tumblr hosts over 324.7 million blogs.[6]

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 would remain as CEO.[18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Beginning in 2011, Karp's girlfriend was Rachel Eakley, a psychology graduate and nursing student.[20][21] They lived together in Williamsburg with their pet dog, Clark.[1][22] The pair split in 2014.[23]

Karp has made personal investments into several companies including Superpedestrian, Inc., the company behind the Copenhagen Wheel, and Sherpaa, Inc., the startup behind the healthcare app of the same name.[24]

Karp endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in the lead-up to the 2016 United States election.[25]


  1. ^ a b c Bercovici, Jeff (January 2, 2013). "Tumblr: David Karp's $800 Million Art Project". Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ 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 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Kushner, David (November 24, 2008). "David Karp is the Barely Legal Blogfather". Maxim. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g 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. 
  5. ^ "David Karp Reminds Me Of Ted Turner, May 25, 2013". Fredseibert.frederator.com. 2013-05-25. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  6. ^ a b "About Us". Tumblr. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs 2009: Tumblr". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ 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 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ New computer mogul, Tumblr founder Karp, has family roots in Marin - San Jose Mercury News. Mercurynews.com. Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  10. ^ 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 January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (interviewer); Karp, David (interviewee) (January 2, 2013). David Karp Forbes Cover Story (Video). New York City: Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ Arment, Marco (March 26, 2013). "What's Actually Wrong with Yahoo's Purchase of Summly". marco.org. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c Bercovici, Jeff (January 2, 2013). "Tumblr: David Karp's $800 Million Art Project". Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ 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 built this thing', and we threw together the first working version of Tumblr. 
  15. ^ a b 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. 
  16. ^ 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.' 
  17. ^ David, Karp (November 1, 2007). "Third time's a charm". Davidville. Archived from the original on February 24, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  18. ^ Mayer, Marissa (May 20, 2013). "Tumblr. + Yahoo! = !!". Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Yahoo! to Acquire Tumblr" (Press release). Yahoo!. May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  20. ^ Karp, David. "IKEA". David's Log. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  21. ^ Eakley, Rachel (February 28, 2014). "I get the feeling". Library Sciences. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  22. ^ Parker, Ashley (September 16, 2011). "Kill the Alarm and Rev Up the Vespa". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 9, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  23. ^ Eakley, Rachel (November 13, 2014). "This stuff is so strange and sweet and strange.". Library Sciences. Retrieved December 8, 2014. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ 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 21, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2016. 

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