Few people have time to work on one startup, let alone three.
Marco Arment, a New York-based coder, designer, blogger and entrepreneur, just participated in three startup exits in the past five weeks. He founded two of them and was the first employee at another, Tumblr.
Arment graduated from Pennsylvania’s Allegheny College in 2004 with a computer science degree. He then worked for Vivisimo Inc and a few years later, applied to Davidville, a company that later became Tumblr.
The Instapaper app costs $3.99 to download on iOS and $2.99 on Android. There are also $1 monthly subscriptions and ads. When Arment left Tumblr in 2010 to work on Instapaper full-time, Arment said the app had been profitable every month for the past two years.
In April 2013, Arment sold the majority stake in Instapaper to New York company creator, Betaworks, which also owns social reader, Digg. Arment says he sold the app because he was struggling to keep up with it. “It has simply grown far beyond what one person can do,” he wrote. He’s likely generated multiple millions from app sales, prior to the acquisition. The acquisition amount was not disclosed.
Just weeks after the Instapaper sale, Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion. While the exit didn’t make him “yacht-and-helicopters” rich, he’s wealthy enough to “work on whatever he wants from now on.”
Last week, Arment sold his other project, The Magazine, to its executive editor, Glenn Fleishman for an undisclosed amount. The Magazine is a collection of five longer-form articles sold bi-weekly that interest “geeks and curious people.” Subscriptions cost $1.99 per month and the app costs $1.99. Arment tells PaidContent it has a “healthy” number of subscribers.
Despite three exits in the past month and a half, Arment says he won’t let it go to his head. He doesn’t plan to make any big life changes, despite being in good shape financially.
“I’ve kind of been lucky in when I’ve made money in my life, if I can say that without sounding like too much of an arrogant arsehole,” Arment said in a recent podcast.
“I started out from a pretty modest background so I always had a pretty good sense of money. I always had to work for my money, save my own money, I always bought my own stuff with my money…trying not to waste money unnecessarily. It helped then with Instapaper and having two incomes when I was doing Instapaper and Tumblr at the same time. And because it happened gradually and because I had come from that background, I was never blowing money wastefully. At least not excessively. Now that I have more than that – or that I will eventually have more than that – I’m kind of glad I had those intermediate steps.”
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