Mahbod Moghadam, the controversial, never-tedious co-founder of Genius and Everipedia, as perfectly as an angel investor, handed away last month at age 41 owing to “complications from a recurring mind tumor,” in accordance to a submit attributed to his family members and printed on Genius.

The startup globe appears to have caught wind of his passing just this weekend, with many tributes springing up on the X platform, such as by former TechCrunch writer-turned-trader Josh Constine, who when interviewed Moghadam and his founders at Genius when the enterprise was even now in its relative infancy and referred to as Rap Genius. Wrote Constine: “RIP to Mahbod. A sophisticated, edgy, and at instances problematic guy, but also truly humorous, good, and generally distinctive.”

Moghadam was most recently residing in Los Angeles, in which, soon after spending about 20 months with the venture organization Mucker Money as an entrepreneur in residence, he was centered in element on figuring out strategies to support creators get paid a lot more right for their function.

A single of people new attempts was HellaDoge, a small-lived social media system that provided to fork out its consumers dogecoin for contributing dogecoin-connected information for the reward of the rest of the platform’s consumers. The ostensible thought was that, unlike a Facebook or Twitter, which deliver advertisement earnings for on their own dependent on the engagement of their customers, HellaDoge’s customers would benefit right from their participation.

In an interview 11 months back with the on the net media outfit In accordance 2 Hip Hop, Moghadam talked about a equivalent strategy for a firm identified as Communistagram wherever, he stated, “you’d join your Venmo and [as a creator] just get paid out for employing it,” instead than rely on Spotify or YouTube to acquire payment.

Moghadam’s fascination in how men and women can and should really get compensated dates again to 2009. Soon after graduating from Yale and then Stanford Legislation University, he grew to become a lawyer just as the economic climate was crashing in 2008. In that exact interview from final year, Moghadam mentioned he was “just, like, tiptoeing” all around the workplaces of the regulation organization where by he landed his to start with work and praying he wouldn’t be fired.

When the inescapable transpired – Moghadam explained the regulation agency “ended up essentially just supplying us some dollars to go away” – he employed the funds to co-uncovered Rap Genius with two of his Yale pals: Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman.

At first, the website invited consumers to annotate and demonstrate hip-hop lyrics, at some point becoming so perfectly-acknowledged that rappers gravitated to the system to demonstrate their possess lyrics – as effectively as to suitable users who’d mangled them – together with the rapper Nas, who turned an advisor and one of its very first traders.

By the time that Rap Genius graced the phase at TechCrunch Disrupt in May well 2013, the 3 had landed funding from Andreessen Horowitz and have been on the verge of rebranding Rap Genius as Genius and expanding its remit.

But Moghadam also commenced attracting interest to the annotation firm for belligerent behavior, both of those public and private. In November 2013, he attributed his lousy perform to a fetal benign mind tumor that was taken out in emergency surgical procedures. He retained pushing the envelope, however. In fact, in 2014, soon after posting provocative remarks as annotations right after a murderer’s manifesto was posted to Genius’s system, Moghadam resigned at the urging of Lehman, who was the company’s CEO.

Moghadam later on co-started Everipedia, a now-defunct decentralized, blockchain-primarily based encyclopedia that permitted consumers to generate pages on any subject as prolonged as the content was neutral and it was cited.

As it was winding down, he joined Mucker Money.

Hunting back again, Moghadam expressed dismay that Genius contributors weren’t compensated for aiding to create out the system. “The only motive Genius can get by with performing slave labor for lyrics is because folks enjoy music so considerably,” he reported throughout last year’s interview with In accordance 2 Hip Hop.

Either way, the enterprise fell quick of its ambitions, failing to increase far outside of its main audience of rap fans and unsuccessfully suing Google for copying and posting its lyrics at the best of search outcomes to capture end users who could possibly usually have frequented Genius.

In 2021, it marketed for $80 million – considerably less than half of what it elevated from enterprise investors – to a keeping organization.

While Moghadam never ever arrived at the exact heights professionally as for the duration of the early days of Genius, he remained remarkably regarded by lots of of Genius’s most ardent supporters, showing up on a range of podcasts where enthusiastic hosts fawned around him.

Moghadam also under no circumstances forgave Lehman and was nonetheless attempting to sue the company as of very last 12 months in an attempt to “squeeze some juice from this rock,” he reported in that job interview past yr.

Slamming the new homeowners of Genius, Moghadam experienced additional that “at least the [original] CEO [Lehman] straight up built Genius with his personal two hands. He’s a nerd. That is the only superior thing about him.”

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