From clothing to laptop cases, 20-year-old Nikki Durkin has proven to Australia that she’s a rare talent when it comes to gaining success with digital start-ups.
Now, she’ll have a chance to show that to Silicon Valley.
The UTS business student has been accepted into a three-month program with Y Combinator, an investor in start-up companies including Dropbox, Reddit, AirBnB, Heroku and more than 300 others.
"Y Combinator is the most energising and intensive startup environment you can imagine," Ryan Junee, creator of YCombinator-funded Omnisio, told the Sydney Morning Herald. Junee’s online video start-up was bought by Google less than a year later for US$15 million.
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Durkin will be given an US$18 million investment from the Northern California-based company to help fund her website 99dresses.com, which offers an online platform for secondhand fashion shopping and selling. The site was awarded "Best Start-Up" at this year's iAwards.
She certainly isn’t new to the start-up landscape: at 15, Durkin designed her own line of KultKandy t-shirts and sold them on eBay, growing her business to several hundred orders per month within two years. According to the SMH, she has also partnered with Social Sleeve, a company that creates custom laptop cases printed with the customer’s Facebook photos.
An alumnus of the program, Junee has high hopes for the seasoned entrepreneur: "At the end of the program she'll have the chance to pitch to basically every investor in the Valley and many that fly in from NY, LA and elsewhere," he told SMH.