The $30 Million Clinkle Mystery

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Clinkle’s growth team proved effective at signing up more than 100,000 would-be users — this, despite being a little hazy about precisely what they were selling.

Says one former growth team member, “I never saw a direct demonstration of the product.”

The growth teams met ambitious goals by targeting the most influential students on campus, such as group presidents and fraternity and sorority leaders. The leaders were shown some images from the website, and the deal was sealed with a compelling prize: If the entire organization signed up for Clinkle’s waitlist, then all of them downloaded the app on the day it became available, the group could win a $500 party, spa visit or stereo-system package. None of the pitches included a demo of the actual app.

After July, Duplan had dictated that no one — including potential hires and even some employees — would be shown the app anymore.

-Alyson Shontell, in Business Insider, on the story of 21-year-old Stanford graduate Lucas Duplan, whose company Clinkle raised $30 million, but hasn’t yet released a product. Read more on startups.

Editorial, Automattic / WordPress.com / Founder, Longreads
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