You know those crazy get rich quick schemes that supposedly let you become a millionaire from your living room couch? That exact scenario just played out for Eric Martin of York, Pennsylvania.
Last month, Martin read about a new all-the-rage startup retail/tech company called Jet.com, which had been holding a contest to get people to sign their friends up for a preview version of its service. The startup announced that it would give 100,000 shares of the company to the person who signed up the highest number of people.
The 28-year old Martin spent $18,000 advertising on sites likeSwagbucks and Gifthulk, which reward people for signing up for stuff online. Martin works in IT, but it was actually some family members who had suggested those sites to him — early attempts to advertise with Facebook and Google didn’t get him very far.
In just three weeks, Martin signed up more than 8,000 people for Jet.com’s “Insider” program. The startup announced Thursday that Martin was the top-enroller, and it handed over the 100,000 shares.
Funny thing about those 100,000 shares: Though Jet.com isn’t even open to the public yet, the company has already secured $220 million in funding, and it’s on the verge of nearly tripling that investment. Though Jet.com is secretive about its finances, 100,000 shares is easily worth millions of dollars (Fusion.net puts the number as high as $20 million).
Martin says he has no idea how much those shares are worth — but he’ll be happy if he makes back his investment. He noted that the shares are locked up until the company is sold or makes an initial public offering, so he can’t cash out just yet.
“I’m not planning on making any lifestyle changes,” Martin told CNNMoney. “I bought some snow crab legs to celebrate, but that’s about it.”
Jet.com was founded by Diapers.com entrepreneur Marc Lore, who sold his company to Amazon in 2010 for $540 million. The company plans to take on Amazon (Tech30) by signing up members for $50 a year. In turn, it will offer super-steep discounts on everything (10% to 15% lower than anywhere else online, Jet.com claims). Think of it like an online version of Costco ( ).,
Martin couldn’t give his impressions of the site, though. He said Jet.com gave insiders a sneak peak, but he hasn’t used it himself — he was too focused on signing other people up for the site.
“I’m excited about it, though!” Martin said.