Chatroulette Creator Andrey Ternovskiy Talking with US Investors
Chatroulette founder Andrey Ternovskiy of Russia is only 17, but he’s already talking money with U.S. investors regarding his popular site now boasting 30 million users in under a year.
Ternovskiy started Chatroulette in November 2009 when he couldn’t find a website “that allowed random video chats with strangers.” Despite his friends’ doubts that anyone would want to chat via webcam with people they didn’t know, he went ahead with his plan.
Using his programming skills, he developed Chatroulette in 3 days and put it on the Internet. He got 500 visitors the first month, 50,000 the next and now a million users visit the site—per day. In short order the interview requests from media started pouring in.
I woke up one morning and checked my computer and saw all of these news articles about Chatroulette,” said Ternovskiy, who credits the roulette game in the 1978 film The Deer Hunter for the site's name. “I yelled to Mom to come and look at my computer. At first she was very nervous, but she doesn’t really understand it very well and asked me why I’m not going to school.
Chatroulette Takes Over the Internet
Recent viral videos using Chatroulette have helped popularize the site, currently making it the 1920th most-visited site in the world and 659th in the United States.
- Merton’s Chat Roulette Funny Piano Improv Video a Hit on YouTube
- Ben Folds Does Chat Roulette Piano Improv at Charlotte Concert
On the downside, Ternovskiy has had to deal with some impromptu “au natural” users who wanted to chat in the nude by installing a report button that bans someone’s IP address if they are reported 3 times.
But naked chatters haven’t swayed businessmen in New York City and San Francisco from sitting down with the high school student.
Chatroulette Founder Too Young to Get Paid
While Ternovskiy is talking millions of dollars and receiving seven-figure offers from around the world, Google is unable to pay him for AdWords on Chatroulette because he is under the age of 18.
With the success of Chatroulette, he’s not sure if he’d sell it or accept offers from investors. If someone else bought it and the site lost popularity, he said he would feel responsible, and he’s hesitant about the responsibilities he would have to investors. He would like to write up a solid business plan before signing on the bottom line.