San Francisco’s Gumroad doubles down on its Japanese sellers



San Francisco-based startup Gumroad launched their platform for selling digital goods back in February of 2012. It enables various kinds of artists (such as musicians, authors, software developers, or even comic creators) to sell their wares easily over the net.

Speaking with Ryan Delk, who is in charge of the company’s growth strategy, I was surprised to hear that Gumroad became popular with Japanese creators almost immediately after its initial launch. “This happened entirely organically,” he points out.

And now the company is making an effort to better serve its Japanese userbase, adding support for Zengin System payouts for sellers in the country. This marks Gumroad’s first international payment rollout, Ryan tells us. Zengin is the protocol that Japanese banks use to transfer funds, and Gumroad’s new integration will mean that sellers can move funds to their banks without using any go-between like PayPal [1].

I’m told that Zengin System support has been beta tested in Japan since about three weeks ago, and with very promising results so far, according to Ryan:

Since we first rolled out Zengin payouts to existing sellers, growth in the Japanese market on the creator side is beating the global average by 28%.

We asked Gumroad for some examples of Japanese sellers making use of the platform. Interestingly the very creative Maiwa Denki is a seller on there, with a published work about how to think about new ideas.

In Japan, there is already a similar service (knock-off?) called Ameroad, meaning Candy Road. That service was subsequently sold, on Yahoo Auction of all things, for about $15,000 in what was described as a very short term buyout. Currently, the service looks pretty neglected, and is likely not much competition for Gumroad.

  1. Sellers can be paid out ever other Friday to Zengin, with a minimum payment amount of $100. You can set this up by going to the Zengin section of Gumroad’s payouts page.  ↩