Lucas Duplan is in a position like no other. He's dropped out of one of the most prestigious universities in America and has somehow convinced 20 of his friends to do the same to help develop his enterprise. He is the 22-year-old founder of Clinkle, an app that allows you to make purchases with your iPhone. He's been given a whopping $25 million of startup money by venture capitalists, but not just any -- the best names in the business.
Accel Partners, which helped develop Facebook, Groupon and Spotify, are behind them, and so are Andreessen Horowitz, Intuit, Peter Thiel, Marc Benioff, Diane Green and others, including Duplan's former professors at Stanford. He has 50 employees on board with plans to expand even more and he hasn't even released a single product yet.
“This is not a small social app,” he told Tech Crunch reporter Billy Gallagher. “What we’re trying to do here is fundamentally change how people trade. Every human being, every day, has to do this.”
Spectators may be perplexed about the huge amount of funding and support that Duplan has drawn without releasing an app, but there is certainly no confusion when it comes to what they're trying to do. Change the world.
One demonstrative graphic on Clinkle's official website reads, "Paying friends and merchants just became a thing of beauty. Just type and swipe and kiss cards, cash, and check goodbye."
Clinkle is hoping to follow the Facebook model of slowly emerging onto the scene by way of college campuses, testing it's trendiness at universities before releasing it to the world.
"If your mission is to convince hundreds of thousands of different merchants to take this, it will take too long," Duplan said to CNN Money. "You have to short-circuit the adoption. When you study how networks get formed, it almost always comes down to closed tight-knit communities, replicating the process and eventually connecting them."
It's the type of mission statement that is indicative of a big project, which requires even bigger funding. While there are no specific details on exactly how it works -- except for the fact that it does work -- CNN says that Duplan will be using the money for the product's public unveiling this fall, as well as for funding the addition of security features to the app for an operation that very much has a sink or swim element to it.
On the one hand, it's hard to imagine a world in which the wallet becomes completely obsolete, yet that is exactly what Daplan is trying to do. On the other hand, if Clinkle does manage the feat, they'll crush Square, and every other competitor with ease.
"Right now if I challenged you to download every payment app and leave your wallet at home, you'd be hard-pressed to compete with cash and credit cards," Duplan said. "We want to help people do that, not just make it easier for merchants to take cards."
Whatever the outcome, at 22-years old, Duplan has the funds and the support from friends to financial giants. Now only time will tell if he will become the next tech prodigy and truly change the world. Stay tuned.
Via Valley Wag, Photo courtesy Clinkle