Lucas Duplan dropped out of Stanford, brought a bunch of his buddies with him, and got to work on something daunting: creating an app that lets you pay for things with your phone. This is daunting because so many other things let you do it. Despite this, and the fact that his app is a total mystery, powerful VCs just handed him $25 million.
Duplan's company—which isn't available for anyone to actually use—is called Clinkle, and all we know about it is that it looks like this:
Which is a mix of a lot of apps that already exist. Details are scant: you can use it to send money to other people or businesses, sort of like Square, PayPal, Google Wallet, Venmo, and many, many more. TechCrunch has an anonymous source saying the "uses high frequency sound to communicate between devices," which would be something unique, and Business Insider says Duplan has "secured a number of patents for his technology," but there's no listing for any relevant patents awarded to Duplan, Clinkle, or his attorneys.
None of this stopped Intel, Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Intuit, Peter Thiel, Marc Benioff and Diane Greene from partying down on a $25 million joint investment in Clinkle, which its PR reps say is the “largest seed round in Silicon Valley history.” This is trumpeted as a categorically great thing for the mystery startup, with zero self-awareness over how similar grandstanding has embarrassingly exploded in everyone's face before. Biggest means best in these parts, and it's in Clinkle's interest to focus on the mega money, rather than telling anyone outside of a venture capitalist cabal why the app is worth more than five dollars.
Clinkle's website shows it's already ready to put that cash to use:
Laser tag first, products later.