SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Pmints, a developing high-tech company that plans to allow secure money transfers for the online pornography and gambling industries, has been asked to resign from the University of Virginia's Darden Batten Business Incubator that spawned it.
The fledgling company must give up its office space, stipends, access to faculty advisers and legal support. However, 27-year-old Rafael Diaz-Tushman, Pmints' chief executive officer and a graduate student at Darden, still has his sights set on rivaling "e-wallet" mogul PayPal, which does not accommodate the online pornography and gambling industries.
"We were, of course, disappointed to hear of Darden's decision to ask us to resign from the Batten Incubator, but despite the setbacks, we will persevere," Diaz-Tushman told AVN Online. "It was a decision motivated by fear and misunderstanding. Fortunately, the decision has little impact on the progression of Pmints, and we look forward to continuing our work from a new location and preparing for our launch later this year. This will not affect the company, and I believe things will continue to go well."
Following a July 7 article in UVa's The Daily Progress, Darden began receiving letters from alumni and community members who were livid at the school's apparent association with a company targeting the contentious - and undeniably profitable - gambling and adult entertainment industries.
UVa alumnus Oliver Asher, vice president of the Charlottesville-based Christian ministry organization Advancing Native Missions, wrote to Darden Dean Robert F. Bruner, "Honestly, it appears to be more opportunist than innovative. PayPal could have offered this service long ago if they had chosen to; however, they chose the high road. I believe this goes against the principles of servant leadership in considering the value of people over profit."
In an earlier statement, Bruner said the Darden school supports Diaz-Tushman as a master's degree candidate in its business administration program. However, Darden and Diaz-Tushman "mutually agreed" to sever all ties between the school and Pmints.
In any case, Pmints will not have to do without its six Darden incubator student employees because they all have invested in the company, Diaz-Tushman said. He also noted that Pmints' business plan was no secret at Darden, due to it being one of the seven companies invited to join the incubator.
"Every one knew about us," Diaz-Tushman said.
The Darden incubator is part of the Batten Institute, which was established in 1999 by a $60 million gift from UVa graduate and media mogul Frank Batten Sr.