Just Genius

Today in WTF Rap Genius News: $40M Raised, a Kanye West Redesign and Mahbod Is Writing a Book

Rap Genius cofounders Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory and Mahbod Moghadam.

When it comes to covering the tech industry, Rap Genius is the startup that keeps on giving. The average human can only take so many boring press releases about how a knockoff of Snapchat is going to change the world, you know?

But whenever the Rap Genius guys appear in public or sit for an interview, something bizarre happens. Today, for example, Business Insider broke the news that the annotation site has nabbed $40 million in funding from Ben Gilbert (as well as Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, who is also an investor in BI) and that they’re changing their name to the catch-all Genius. Read More

All the jobs

Rapper Nas Teams Up With Koru To Sponsor Even More Tech Scholarships

Nas made his fame making some of the greatest rap albums of all time — now he's making seed level investments and developing young talent. (Photo via Getty)

Rapper Nas is at it again — no, not another follow-up to Illmatic, another scholarship in tech. Nas has teamed up with job placement startup Koru to fund a scholarship for 10 college graduates to go through Koru’s training program.

Koru helps find recent college graduates a job by placing them with a potential employer and running them through a month-long career boot camp as they get started. Coaches from Koru work alongside employers like ZulilyJulep and others to build up skills like team-leading, project management and how to run a meeting. It’s an opportunity for employers to “try before they buy” potential new talent. Read More

Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!

Best Tech Events This Week: International Women’s Day, Fireside Chat w/ Ben Horowitz and More

garysguide

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.

“2014 could be tipping point for female founders” – Jessica Livingston (Partner, Y Combinator) @ Female Founders Conference (watch entire event here)

This Sat (Mar 8) is 103rd International Women’s Day! Bunch of events including Global Connections for Women Foundation, Microsoft Codess, We Code Un-conference, Getting Girls To Geek Out & Screening of Girl Rising.

SXSW (aka Spring Break for Geeks!) ===> Get ready to partay, yo! :) … 250+ parties incl. one w/ cats ;) & a music hackathon. My SXSW Red Tie (& Lapels) Sponsorship Details. Win Free Trip to SXSW w/ GA. $30 off your UBER ride w/ code “GarysGuideSXSW”. Office Hrs w/ ERA and DreamIt. FWD.us #BuiltByImmigrants competition, winners go on stage w/ Steve Case (Shout-out to my friend Leezia who’s atop the leaderboard!). SXSW Parties Guide mobile app by my friends @ ShoutEm. FREE RSVP to Glimpse Launch Party @ SXSW w/ code “garysguide”. And Pre-SXSW parties – here, here & here. Read More

tale of two valleys

Study Suggests That Silicon Valley Is Not Actually the ‘Started From the Bottom’ Music Video

Who you callin nerd (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Bad news if you’re still clinging to the idea that Silicon Valley is some sort of marvelous Horatio Alger LARP. Reuters has done a deep dive on the question, and surprise, surprise: they found that you’re more likely to become an entrepreneur if you grew up in a household with wealthy, educated parents, and Silicon Valley investors tend to default to connected founders who fit a very particular mold.

We are simply shocked. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: A Guilty Plea for Former Dotcom Millionaire

(Photo: Daily Tech)

Quinn Norton speaks out on what life inside the Aaron Swartz investigation was like. “This will not be the final word on Aaron’s story, nor is it intended to be. Two years later, these are the events as I remember them, and the feelings as I knew them.” [The Atlantic]

Former dotcom millionaire Jennifer Sultan plead guilty to selling prescription drugs and conspiring to sell a firearm in exchange for four years in prison on Friday. Ms. Sultan, who sold her company Live Online during the first boom, burned through her fortune after becoming addicted to prescription pain killers. Let this be a cautionary tale for bubble 2.0. [New York Times]

Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz took to Rap Genius this weekend to decode Andrew Mason’s goodbye letter. Swag? [TechCrunch]

If you got an email this weekend from Evernote that it had reset your password, that’s because the company suffered a major security breach. [The Verge]

SpaceX Dragon has successfully docked at the International Space Station, which is great because we don’t really need any more griping from Elon Musk right now. [Ars Technica]

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: When Is Alexis Ohanian Gonna Run for Office Already?

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Your Name Here A Silicon Valley source had the pleasure of dining near Path cofounder Dave Morin and his wife, Brit.co founder Brit Morin recently. Mr. Morin spoke about the future of Path while Ms. Morin, a DIY enthusiast, used crayons provide by the restaurant to doodle on the paper table cloth, said the source. There were rainbows, flowers and balloons, but our favorite was a drawing of the Brit.co logo, with “Morin” written underneath and an arrow pointed towards Ms. Morin (just in case the restaurant staff didn’t recognize her). That’s one way to disrupt advertising, we suppose. Our tipster was kind enough to snap a pic on their way out.

Happy Internet, Mr. President Twice this week in conversation with tech types, Betabeat was asked when Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian was running for office already. The 29-year-old credited with helping to defeat SOPA/PIPA already toured the country (in a bus once leased for John McCain’s  “Straight Talk Express”) running for president of the Internet. But with Sheryl Sandberg hot on his heels, isn’t it time to start campaigning for the real thing? Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Rap Genius Cofounder Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

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Real Genius Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in Rap Genius to help its Ivy League cofounders to annotate the Internet. But how much will they have to pay to rein in the braggadocious Mahbod Moghadam?

In a recent issue of Wakefield, a newsletter covering “tech and startup insight not captured elsewhere,” Maboo was up to his old shenanigans, volunteering information about a “feud” with Mark Zuckerberg, who also happens to be backed by Andreessen Horowitz.

Apparently, Mr. Moghadam was at Ben Horowitz’s home, “chilling” with Zuck and Nas as is the new mode of Silicon Valley socializing. (Mr. Horowitz happens to be close friends with Steve Stoute, Nas’ former manager.) Despite Zuck’s heightened privacy concerns (it’s complicated?) Rap Genius cofounder couldn’t resist Instagramming his good fortune. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Maybe You’d Be More Qualified If You Were a College Dropout

(Photo: flickr.com/kla4067)

In a talk at DLD, Ben Horowitz revealed that his VC firm had closed (non-seed) investments in a mere 24 companies, most of them created by “college dropouts with insane ideas going after tiny markets with no way to monetize.” [TechCrunch]

France is considering creating an Internet tax, levied on the collection of personal information. As far as French ideas go, we prefer the croissant. [New York Times]

Speaking of Waterloo: Atari’s U.S. arm has declared bankruptcy in an attempt to escape its French parent company. The second plank of this plan is presumably to time-travel back to the late 70s. [L.A. Times]

Some poor kid’s been expelled from Montreal College for daring to discover a software vulnerability that left 250,000 students’ information exposed. [National Post]

Graph search is a “privacy test” for Facebook. Given that users of the site freak out at phantom privacy crises, this’ll be fun. [New York Times]

Teach Me How to Startup

Mo’ Money for Rap Genius: Impish Ivy Leaguers Raise Millions for Internet Decoder Ring

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Visitors who search for Harlem rapper Azealia Banks’ breakout hit, “212,” on Rap Genius, an online platform that crowd-sources explanations of hip-hop lyrics, will find nearly every verse annotated by the site’s users, who clocked more than 2 million monthly uniques in August, according to comScore. Click on the line “Now she wanna lick my plum in the evening / And fit that ton-tongue d-deep in,” and a pop-up immediately appears explaining that Ms. Banks is employing a metaphor for cunnilingus and that “She stutters the words tongue and deep to mimic the stuttering that occurs when one receives such a gift.” That exegesis received 11 upvotes, earning the contributor jamima-j, a female “slam poetry writer,” a healthy bump in “Rap IQ” points on the site.

Readers might find her analysis either amusing or unnecessary. But the reigning kings of Sand Hill Road, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, view Rap Genius as “one of the most important things we’ve ever funded,” co-founder Ben Horowitz told Betabeat last week. The prominent V.C. firm, which clawed its way into the Silicon Valley firmament in just three years by aggressively plowing millions into fast-growth tech start-ups like Facebook, Pinterest, foursquare and Airbnb, often at towering valuations, were the sole investors behind the site’s $15 million Series A. Read More

Fresh Capital

Rap Genius Now Partially Owned By a Republican: Andreessen Horowitz Invests $15 M.

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Rap Genius, the Brooklyn-based site that lets the hive mind take a stab at explaining hip hop lyrics, announced today that they have received $15 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz. The powerful venture capital firm is run by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and rap fanatic Ben Horowitz, notorious for starting his business-minded blog posts with a hip-hop epigraph. Read More