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Emily D. Swoboda

Q & A: Rafael Diaz-Tushman

23 July 2007

Hoping to fill the void left after the U.S. government shut out the online gambling industry, a young entrepreneur is preparing to offer a new payment option that targets the Internet gambling and pornography industries.

Rafael Diaz-Tushman, 27, a graduate student at the University of Virginia, founded in 2006 to offer online merchants an alternative to payment processors such as PayPal, which does not allow transactions with companies that sell pornography on the Internet, or that take wagers from U.S. citizens., scheduled to launch this fall, will not process gambling transactions from U.S. citizens.

IGN sat down with Diaz-Tushman to discuss his business venture.

"In my opinion, tobacco, candy, firearm and soft-drink companies do harm to society in ways gambling and adult companies cannot, and I wish the prior received the same level of scrutiny as the latter."

IGN: What got you interested in creating a new payment solution?

Diaz-Tushman: I attended Columbia University (in New York City) for my undergraduate studies and am now an MBA candidate at the Darden School of Business Administration in the University of Virginia. I am a serial entrepreneur, and in 2003 I started a Netflix competitor, a year after graduating from Columbia. We carried video-games and adult DVDs in addition to mainstream DVDs, which differentiated us from Netflix at the time, and used PayPal to accept payments online. PayPal froze my account and disabled incoming payments when they reviewed my site and found that we carried adult DVDs. I searched for an alternative e-wallet company that would allow a client merchant to work in the adult industry but found nothing, so I decided to get my MBA, meet other interested managers, and start Pmints.

IGN: Tell me what's different about from other payment providers?

Diaz-Tushman: will be bringing the proven e-wallet model to the adult industry, an industry that is in serious need of extra protection from "chargebacks" and fraud. Some of our other--and in some cases, most important--differences with our competitors will be revealed after our launch later this year. I do not want to reveal them to the press, though, for fear of losing competitive edge. Apologies.

IGN: How do you plan to compete with other well-established payment processors in the Internet gambling arena?

Diaz-Tushman: We will be targeting 21-35 year old males because of the significant overlap in their use of the Internet for shopping in the adult and mainstream industries in addition to their established (and yet still growing) interest in gambling online. Our additional services will also differentiate us, but like I said above, I don't want to reveal them yet.

IGN: How focused are you on the Internet gambling industry?

Diaz-Tushman: The online gambling industry is expected to be the source of a significant amount of our revenue. We are focused on providing our customers--clients and merchants alike--many value-adding services to make their online gaming experience as good as possible.

IGN: Your intentions are to serve international clients, not U.S.-based clients, correct? How do you plan to stay off of the Department of Justice's radar?

Diaz-Tushman: That is correct. Until legal restrictions on serving U.S.-based clients are lifted, as we expect them to be, we will only serve international clients from our international location.

IGN: Did anyone give you a sideways look when they saw your business proposal, that it gave significant attention to pornography and gambling--two industries, historically, that are saturated with taboo?

Diaz-Tushman: Not everyone, but most people did. The common refrain is, roughly: "Good idea; great market; good luck; stay away from me." Personally, I just don't have a problem with either of these industries. In my opinion, tobacco, candy, firearm and soft-drink companies do harm to society in ways gambling and adult companies cannot, and I wish the prior received the same level of scrutiny as the latter.

IGN: Have you always had aspirations of being a businessman?

Diaz-Tushman:Not always. I see business as a means to an end, and it might surprise you to hear that the end is completely different from the means. I know that's vague, but I'm generally a private person and would like to keep that to myself.

Q & A: Rafael Diaz-Tushman is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda