Sarah Hanson. Photo via 32auctions.
Sarah Hanson. Photo via 32auctions.

Follow-Up No. 2: This is ‘Sarah Hanson’: Startup founder confesses to idiotic plot to hoax tech press

Follow-Up: Does ‘Sarah Hanson’ exist? The story of this 19-year-old entrepreneur may be a hoax

What do you do when you are sick of school, want to jumpstart your business idea but have no way to fund it?

Simple — auction off a portion of your paycheck for the next ten years.

That’s exactly what Seattleite Sarah Hanson just did, and now the 19-year-old has $125,000 in cash to pay off her college debt and fund her startup, Senior Living Map.

The developer who’s been coding since she was 12 years old doesn’t necessarily hate the college experience — “I go to a good school, with good teachers, and have made some good friends,” Hanson writes — but she realized that a degree won’t be of much help to Senior Living Map, a map-based senior living search engine that Hanson built herself.

So Hanson pitched an offer on The terms: Once a year for the next ten years, Hanson will provide an investor with a check for 10 percent of her after-tax income, using a tax form to prove that she has provided the proper amount to the investor.

“It doesn’t matter where the income I receive comes from, whatever the after tax sum is for each year, the investor will see 10 percent of it,” Hanson said.

Sure enough, after sending 1,000 investors from messages, she found a San Francisco-based investor willing to put down $125,000 to Hanson.

If the 10 percent for 10 years ends up being less than $125,000, “then it ends up being less,” Hanson said. 

“The main catch of the agreement is that if I don’t provide the 10 percent each year, the investor will have the rights to my ownership of Senior Living Map, which I currently own 100 percent of,” she said. “That’s pretty strong motivation for me to make sure the investor receives the 10 percent each year.”

Senior Living Map, the website Hanson created.
Senior Living Map, the website Hanson created.

Hanson said she plans on finishing out her college term and then use the fresh funds to pay off her college debt and begin focusing on building out Senior Living Map, which she created after struggling to find her grandmother an assisted living home. The website hosts 32,146 listings and is the most comprehensive map-based senior and assisted living search engine.

She has plans to monetize the site later on, but for now, Hanson is concentrating on making the platform more robust with reviews, testimonials, interior photos, pricing, etc.

“Long term, my goal for Senior Living Map is for it to be the number one resource online for anyone seeking senior living options,” she said.

With a good idea and a nice little financial cushion now, she’s certainly on her way.


UPDATE: We’ve reached out to both Hanson and 32auctions to find out more specific details about the $125,000 transaction.

Follow-Up: Does ‘Sarah Hanson’ exist? The story of this 19-year-old entrepreneur may be a hoax

Previously on GeekWire: This 16-year-old is spearheading Seattle’s first biotech hackerspace

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  • Viet Q. Nguyen

    Well that’s certainly innovative! I’m curious if she gave any thought of having this kind of liability on the books impacting her credit rating.

    • scott_mcleod

      Depending on how they provide the funds (Pave & UpStart) pass the funds to you in a relatively harmless way not affecting your initial taxes or credit.

  • Adam Gering

    Congratulations to Sarah, that shows great hustle.

    I think borrowing against your future income is a great way to fund your education or entrepreneurial ventures. In fact it would be a very interesting way to fund education (including entrepreneurial-type education) as it aligns interests — the better education you get (in terms of future earning power) the better return the school gets when its realized. Knock the income tax out of the way so people can dedicate a higher percentage of their future income to finance themselves, and it becomes an interesting alternative to the current tax-paid and tax-subsidized educational system and all the baggage that entails.

    What I find odd about this story, however, is that neither Sarah Hanson nor Senior Living Map can be found on Angel List, nor on LinkedIn. I hope the bidder did adequate due diligence; and if Sarah does want to raise money, hire and/or find mentorship for her startup, she’ll want to become more transparent.

  • Roy Leban

    Senior Living Map is a nice idea. We were looking for something like this when we were trying to find a place for my mother, but the places we were looking for (55+ housing) aren’t on the map. The checkmarks on the left are a little weird in the way they work. It would be better to present a map of exclusive options for all but Accepts Pets. Also, it would be very easy to color-code the map markers.

    Best of luck!

  • Nick Marvik

    Quite the risk considering they have yet to mon

  • Nick Marvik

    *Quite the risk considering they have yet to monetize… but that’s what it’s all about! Congrats and good luck!

    • Derek Wilson

      Eh, she could just default, then say someone bought her first startup for $125,000.

  • matt62

    Way to think outside the box.

  • Eric

    Innovative negotiating by the founder, Sarah Hanson! She empowered herself over the investor, acquired seed money, kept 100% of the equity/control for her startup, generated free advertising, showcased her name and put a cap on the payout to the investor.

    Bottom Line: She already sold her company for $125,000 before monetizing.

    Top Line: If she makes money, she only has to relinquish 10% of her net income for only 10 years. Without funding, even the best ideas/concepts will remain obscure and then irrelevant.

  • Kirill Zubovsky

    Now, that trick is to pay herself as little as possible :)

  • Adam Gering

    I happenchanced upon this Seattle-area startup:

    If she really likes the space, perhaps she should get a job at that startup, learn how startups work, and save the funds for her next project.

    (I have a hard-time envisioning a 19-year-old maintaining startup-founder-passion for a senior living website. It’s going to be even harder building/funding such a niche site with a better-funded competitor in the same city).

    Or forget about Senior Living and come work for my startup.

  • Gaby Adam

    Sarah, I love the ambition, creativity and guts that this demonstrates. I am sure you are an inspiration to many men and women. Good luck and much success to you!

  • scott_mcleod

    Glad to see more of these models emerging. 10% for 125k is similar toPave and UpStart….Would be interesting to see more of her contract and if she can buy out.

  • Eric
  • Thiago

    I’m really impressed by her prerogative, but even more so by that start up! Senior Living Map looks like an incredibly useful system! Here’s hoping it takes off like it should! Thiago |

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