Jumio Is Growing Faster Than Facebook at the Start, Saverin Says

Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin
Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook Inc. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin said mobile-payment company Jumio Inc., one of his startup investments, is growing even faster than the social network did at the beginning.

Jumio, started nine months ago, is on course for $100 million in annual sales and is “highly profitable,” Saverin, a director at the Mountain View, California-based company, told the CHINICT technology conference in Beijing today.

Saverin, who became a billionaire through Facebook’s initial public offering, used his life savings of $30,000 to fund Mark Zuckerberg’s plan for the social network and has since invested in startups including Anideo, a developer of mobile applications, and ShopSavvy Inc., a price-comparison service. Jumio, whose software turns any web cam or handset into a credit-card reader, will “transform” mobile payments, according to Saverin.

“The reason this company is exciting is the growth it’s gone through is phenomenal,” Saverin said of Jumio. “It’s actually grown a lot faster than I’ve seen in Facebook at the beginning.”

Facebook began trading May 18 after raising $16 billion by selling 421.2 million shares for $38 each in the largest-ever technology IPO. Saverin owns 53.1 million shares in the Menlo Park, California-based social-networking site, a May 17 regulatory filing showed. The stake is valued at $1.75 billion, based on Facebook’s closing price of $33.03 yesterday, falling from $2 billion at the IPO.

Tax Reductions

Saverin, who was born in Brazil, moved to the U.S. as a child, and is now based in Singapore, renounced his U.S. citizenship last year. The move could cut his tax bill by at least $67 million, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. Saverin will pay “hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes” to the U.S. government, he said in a May 17 statement.

After addressing the conference, Saverin declined to take questions from reporters about his U.S. taxes, or the outlook for Facebook in China.

Facebook amended its IPO filing on May 9 to say growth in advertising had failed to keep up with user gains. The handling of that information led to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court on May 23 by investors who lost more than $2.5 billion since the offering.

— With assistance by Edmond Lococo

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