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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
Up Global Max Yankee, Seth Miller, and Brandon Logan
# rapchat
How a 22 year old turned a crazy idea into a company seeking $2 million
He realised the enormous potential that social media held in the area of freestyle rap.

IN THE LATEST fusion of music and social media, a new app has emerged that allows users — mostly college and high school students — to quickly share their freestyle raps.

It’s called Rapchat, and over 4.5 million raps have been created and shared using its platform this year. College and high school students especially love it.

Seth Miller, Rapchat’s cofounder and CEO, was in his first years of college on spring break in Florida when he realised the enormous potential that social media held in the area of freestyle rap.

After speaking with a professor, Miller and his cofounder Brandon Logan took the idea to Startup Weekend, a competition in Ohio, where two dozen entrepreneurs present their ideas.

Here’s how Rapchat works:

  1. Users select a beat from over 50 options.
  2. They press record and freestyle over their selected beat for less than a minute.
  3. The ‘Share’ button allows them to share their rap via text, Twitter or Facebook.


Rapchat won the first prize at Startup Weekend, taking home $1,000.

Logan and Miller used that money to pay Casey Capps, a business systems engineer at Ohio University, to build the app.

Rapchat was up and running by July 2014, shortly after Miller graduated from college and began working at an insurance agency in Ohio.

But it was when Rapchat added a function to more easily facilitate the sharing of raps in late 2014 that the platform blew up.

Since January, Rapchat has gained massive popularity with teens and 20-somethings. It saw 430,000 downloads in 2015 — all without a paid campus-ambassador program or advertising strategy.

Miller quit his job and now works full time as Rapchat’s CEO.

The team, which originally consisted of Seth Miller, Max Yankee, and Brandon Logan, has grown into a team of 12, divided between marketing, iOS development, and web development. Miller and the lead programmer, Sam Marshall, are the only full-time employees. Although Capps and Yankee are no longer involved in Rapchat, Logan serves as the creative director.

unnamed5-4 Up Global Max Yankee, Seth Miller, and Brandon Logan Up Global

The rapchat team been completely bootstrapped since winning the $1,000 prize in 2013. They’ll be reaching out to investors in July to raise a seed round between $500,000 (€455,000) and $2,000,000 (€1.82 million)

Rapchat has spread organically through groups of friends and sports teams. From the swim team at Middlebury University to a handful of friends in Norway, Rapchat has attracted millions of amateur rappers eager to record freestyle raps about their lives and share it with their friends. “Some of out most popular raps consist of high-school girls gossiping about boys or football players roasting other teammates,” Miller explained.

Here is what some twitter users have to say about the app:

Joe Porco used Rapchat with his track teammates at Colgate University. While he admits he doesn’t “have a great rap voice,” he enjoys sending raps with inside jokes from his team.

“I like writing raps and trying to out-clever my friends basically,” he told Business Insider.

Porco’s teammate, Eric Moore, said he and his friends on the track team “have developed rap personas and basically just … try to one up each other in how ridiculous we can make our raps.”

Most of Rapchat’s most active users aren’t aspiring rap artists. Instead, they’re students who are enthusiastically experimenting with a new creative outlet and method of communication.

In fact, a scientific study conducted by Arne Dietrich at the American University of Beirut suggests that freestyle rapping creates, “heightened activation in the medial prefrontal cortex,” exciting the brain and creating a “flow-state” of creative productivity.

In short, Rapchat is an engaging mental exercise for users as they try to create rhymes and jokes off-the-cuff.

The Hub / YouTube

Lillian Xu, a student at Princeton University who enjoys poetry and rap, told Business Insider she finds “it’s a fun and creative way to spend my time.”

Xu uses Rapchat to promote events, like Princeton’s “Man Show” a cappella concert. Check out her rap here.

In case you missed those lyrics, here they are:

Man show. 2015. Princeton boys a capella. Hoping to hear some singers not some yellers. I’m so damn hyped I couldn’t tell ya. So low I’m wishing I could bill ya. Hey, I hear you got some new arrangements. Solo so sick they causin’ derangement. Got that cool flow choreo’, melt girls hearts like some milk with some oreo. Voices like silk I wish I was wearing them. Wearing them and nothing else, you know what I mean don’t play dumb. Man show. We gonna be there. We out.

That’s mild — a lot of the content on Rapchat is littered with explicit and offensive phrases. Here’s a rap from a college student who goes by “dipancakes”. The lyrics are NSFW so we caution you to click at your own risk.

But Miller doesn’t think offensive content will sway current or perspective Rapchat users.

“Rap is inherently cool,” Miller said.

There are thousands of apps that let you [communicate with friends] with text, photo and video,” he adds, “but not one that lets you do that with freestyle raps … until now.

- Will Haskell

Read: The Late Late Show tried to ‘decode Snapchat’ last night and nobody was impressed >

Published with permission from
Business Insider
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