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Mahbod Moghadam, who rose to fame as co-founder of Genius, dies

Mahbod Moghadam, the controversial, never-boring co-founder of Genius and Everipedia and an angel investor, announced last month that he Yue died of “complications from recurrent brain tumors” at the age of 41 and was published in Genius.

Just this weekend, the startup world seemed to have caught wind of the news of his passing, with numerous tributes pouring in on the Founder. Still in its relative infancy, it’s called Rap Genius. Considine wrote: “May Mabod rest in peace. A complex, impatient and often problematic man, but also a truly funny, brilliant, always unique“.

Moghadam most recently lived in Los Angeles, where he spent about 20 months as an entrepreneur in residence at venture capital firm Mucker Capital, where he focused on developing programs to help creators get paid more directly for their work.

One of the more recent efforts is HellaDoge, a short-lived social media platform that offered users compensation in Dogecoin for contributing Dogecoin-related content to benefit other users of the platform. The idea on the surface is that unlike Facebook or Twitter, which generate advertising revenue for themselves based on users’ engagement, HellaDoge’s users will benefit directly from their engagement.

Eleven months ago, in an interview with online media outlet According 2 Hip Hop, Moghadam talked about a similar idea from a company called Communistagram, saying, “You can connect your Venmo with [as a creator] Just use it and get paid,” rather than relying on Spotify or YouTube to receive payment.

Moghadam’s interest in how people are and should be paid dates back to 2009. After graduating from Yale and Stanford Law School, he became a lawyer just as the economy collapsed in 2008. In the same interview last year, Moghadam said he was “like, tiptoeing” around the offices of the law firm where he got his first job— Dewey and LeBoeuf – fingers crossed he doesn’t get fired.

When the inevitable happened — Moghaddam said the law firm “ended up just giving us some money and letting us go” — he used the money to work with two of his Yale friends, Ilan Zekoli Co-founded Rap Genius with Tom Lehman.

Initially inviting users to annotate and interpret hip-hop lyrics, the site eventually became so famous that rappers were drawn to the platform to explain their own lyrics – as well as correct users who ruined them – including rapper Nas, who became Advisor and one of the first investors.

When Rap Genius hit the TechCrunch Disrupt stage in May 2013, the trio had secured funding from Andreessen Horowitz and were on the verge of rebranding Rap Genius as Genius and expanding its business scope.

But Moddam also began to draw attention to the annotation company’s bellicose behavior in both the public and private spheres. In November 2013, he attributed his bad behavior to a benign brain tumor in his fetus, which was removed during emergency surgery. However, he continues to push the envelope. In fact, in 2014, after posting a mass murderer’s manifesto on the Genius platform with some tasteless comments as annotation, Modhaddam responded to the company’s chief executive, Lehman Brothers. Resigned at the urging.

Modhadam later co-founded Everipedia, a now-defunct decentralized, blockchain-based encyclopedia that allowed users to create pages on any topic as long as the content was neutral and cited. As the company was winding down, he joined Mucker Capital.

Looking back, Modhadam expressed frustration that Genius contributors were not compensated for helping build the platform. “The only reason geniuses can tolerate slave labor for lyrics is because people love the music so much,” he said in an interview with Below 2 Hip Hop last year. “These teenagers are willing to [annotate] It’s free for new 21 Savage or anyone they like.

In fact, although Modhadam never reached the heights of Genius’ early career professionally, he remains highly regarded by many of Genius’s most ardent fans, appearing on various podcasts with enthusiastic hosts fawning over him.

The company itself failed to live up to its ambitions, suing Google unsuccessfully for copying its lyrics and posting them at the top of search results to attract users who might otherwise visit Genius. In 2021, the company was sold to a holding company for $80 million, less than half of the money it raised from venture investors.

Moghaddam also never forgave Lehman Brothers and as of last year was still trying to sue the company in an attempt to “squeeze some juice out of this rock,” he said on the podcast.

Moddam last year lashed out at Genius’s new owners, adding, “At least [original] CEO [Lehman] Genius built directly with his own two hands. He’s a nerd. This is his only advantage. “

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