RapHappy gets rich! Wins $100,000 from Cisco/mtvU

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We were thrilled to learn yesterday that RapHappy founders, and Found|READ contributors, Ben Leduc-Mills and Matthew Fargo have won the 2nd Annual Digital Incubator business plan competition sponsored by Cisco Systems and mtvU. With the win, Ben and Matt will get another $100,000 to build-out their online rap site. RapHappy already showed us how to do a lot with very little. Now how will the startup spend its new cash windfall?

Earlier, Ben wrote a nice post for Found|READ here, detailing how the pair judiciously spent their first-round $30,000 grant to make the money go as far as possible. Obviously the judges at Cisco and mtvU were impressed: by the time they presented for the grand prize, the guys had designed a wildly creative site and had $15,000 left in the bank! (The b-plan says they spent just $9,200 on the site.)

With their newly-endorsed business model, and keen cash management skills, yesterday we asked Matt had to tell us what the duo plans to do with the $100,000.

Right now RapHappy lets friends and strangers use the Web to pitch-in to rap mash-ups, without special hardware or software downloads. You can contribute wirelessly, via your cellphone, just hit the site, then hit record a new rap. The pair recommends trying it from a party. (Talent isn’t a prerequisite. Beer might be.)

Begun in May, and launched in September, RapHappy had 5,000 users in its first month. It sounds like Matt and Ben will begin building-out RapHappy from a fun, cool service into a robust Hip Hop social network. Here is what Matt had to say:

As far as how we’ll spend the grant money, we have a budget that is split into two phases. First, we will be giving the site an overhaul—adding lots of features but also simplifying the interface. We’ll also be developing our Facebook application to include more features of the site and encourage more activity within users’ Facebook pages. The second [phase] will be a series of promotional campaigns with a number of exciting partners. In these campaigns, you can expect to see RapHappy being used in some very interesting ways. We really want to encourage users to exploit RapHappy’s technology in new, imaginative ways, and that
will be the goal of a lot of our marketing.

We’ll stay tuned, and think you should, too. These guys know what they’re doing. And they’re having a good time, too!

5 Comments

curiousminds

Time for an update? Raphappy seems to have joined the deadpool, dabeetz as well. loud.com has dropped their collaborative component and it seems the only 2 standing are DopeTracks and LetsBeef.

Anyone know what happened to these guys?

Carleen Hawn

Come on, Mark. We all know half of life is ‘who you know.’ But that’s not even what happened here. The guys at Rap Happy, both grad students at NYU, beat out 47 other companies for these grants. So it’s hardly a case of some friend greasing the wheel.And sure, there is plenty of dumb money out there, but uh…we’re not likely to class in the chiefs of digital media at MTV and Cisco (!) in those ranks.

Mark

Trash. Apparently, having VC connections carries more weight than actually having a good idea.

ArK47

For the record…. this is not a new idea.
There are already numerous sites out there that do the same thing and have a much larger user base….
The best of which being DOPETRACKS – http://www.dopetracks.com
followed by dabeetz.com letsbeef.com and rapspace.tv and loud.com

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