It's safe to say that nearly everyone would want to be in Eric Martin's shoes right now. Who is Eric Martin, you would ask? You may have already heard about him last year: he is the lucky one who won 100,000 stocks of an e-commerce startup Jet.com back in Ferbuary 2015 that was recently acquired by Wal-Mart for $3.3 billion.
Jet.com (OTC: JTCMF) is a "membership-only online shopping club" that promises to have 10-15 percent lower charges than other e-commerce platforms. The startup was one of the most hyped ones last year and was able to raise more than $200 million. Jet.com's valuation was estimated to be around $1.5 billion, says Bloomberg.
Before its debut, Jet.com launched a contest to get more users to sign up for their "Insider" program. The rules of the contest were quite straightforward: the person who manages to sign up the most people for the program, would be offered 100,000 Jet.com shares. Nine people with the next-highest numbers were promised to receive 10,000 stocks each.
At the time of the contest's launch, no one knew how much 100,000 Jet.com's share were worth relative to the total stock of the company. Our guy, Eric Martin, spotted the contest at Bloomberg Businessweek and immediately decided to participate.
“If this works out, it should be worth well more than my investment”, he thought.
When Eric created his account at Jet.com, he learned that there were already 200,000 signed up for the Insider Program, meaning that he would need to work very hard to get to the top of the list.
However, as soon as he invited a few people to the Insider program, he noticed that he was moving up the list very quickly. That's when Eric decided to use the services of Facebook ads as well as such websites as Swagbucks and Gifthulk that allow users to sign up for websites, mailing lists and surveys in exchange of gift cards and other small perks.
Unfortunately, his Facebook ads campaign didn't work out while Swagbucks and Gifthulk brought him around 2,000 sign-up just within a few days. His first campaign cost him about $3,000 and moved him up to the 7th place on Jet.com's winners list.
“I could probably have spent $3,000 or so and gotten into the top ten. But the difference between 10,000 and 100,000 shares is pretty big”, Eric said.
He didn't stop there and ended up spending around $18,000 on further Swagbucks and Gifthulk campaigns, finally making his way to the first place with 8,167 referrals, says Fusion.
“I’m pretty much a realist. Until I can actually see real dollars, it’s not going to hit home”, he said.
Well, now it's time when it's going to finally hit home for Martin. Last week's Jet.com's acquisition by Wal-Mart (XETRA: Wal-Mart Stores [WMT]) will pay off for all Jet.com's stakeholders that include such big names as Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Fidelity and Eric Martin.
Martin said he doesn't know yet the value of his stocks in this deal.
"Up until today, it was all just a hope and a wish and a dream. I don't think I'm some genius person that I thought Jet was going to work out. It was a gut instinct."