What happens when a 19-year-old programmer extensively covered by media outlets this week probably doesn't exist?
Here's what we think we know about Sarah Hanson: she's a 19-year-old who dropped out of an unnamed college after her first year to start Senior Living Map, a start-up that helps people find senior living centers without the help of a care adviser. She allegedly lives in Seattle, Washington. She also allegedly sold 10 percent of her income over the next ten years to an anonymous San Francisco angel investor in exchange for an $125,000 investment in her company, via an auction website. Other than that, there's no trace of her existence on the internet. Anywhere.
Which seems weird. For a 19-year-old who has allegedly been coding since she was 12-years-old, you would think there would be a Facebook account, a Twitter account, even a LinkedIn, maybe. There might be something, but there's not. And it wasn't until after VentureBeat's John Koetsier published an interview with the alleged Hanson that the evidence tipped him off that this person he's emailing with -- not speaking with in person or on the phone -- may not exist.
After a television reporter contacted Koetsier this week wondering about Hanson's existence, he started to wonder. His piece was well received and picked up by more than a few media outlets. If Hanson ended up being a fake, well, that would be problematic. Was he catfished?