'Instagram has 13 employees and is traction focused not revenue focused - I was stuck in the Australian mindset that it's all about revenue. Here (the US) everyone's in it for the capital gain - if you get traction then at least someone will buy you.
'In five years' time I will have exited 99dresses or it will be on its way to being a big big company.'
Durkin may be playing in a very grown-up pond, but at 20 she's still not old enough to legally drink in the US. Not that she's concerned - she's not there to party, but to meet people and learn from the Y Combinator experience. There will be plenty of time to party later.
The second of four children born into a Berry-based family (Mum and Dad run an ophthalmology practice in Nowra, two hours south of Sydney) Durkin has always been exceptionally bright, and at 13 won a scholarship to board at the exclusive Sydney girls' school, Kambala. By 15 she and her brother Hamish (then 13 - now a first year computer science student at UNSW) had set up their first business together, called Kultkandy, to sell T-shirts through eBay.
'When I started out we did the set up in the holidays and then I'd do the new designs on the weekends.' Durkin would design the shirts and her brother would handle the coding. 'It got to a point at the end of year 11 when the turnover was huge. I'd be sitting in a business studies lesson and I was running a business not learning it from a text book.
'It was a drop-ship arrangement so there was no risk. I'd design a T-shirt put it on eBay and get paid $22, then print the shirt and buy it for $8. I'd only pay after I'd sold the shirt,' says Durkin.
She'd expected it might earn her a tidy $50 a week pocket money. At its zenith it was providing her $500 a week.
It also led directly to Durkin's next big thing. Most teenage girls with any sort of disposable income often invest (sic) a good portion in clothes. Durkin - for whom disposable income was no problem courtesy of Kultkandy - was no exception, but had an epiphany when browsing through her cluttered closet only to find she had nothing to wear.