Co-founder of Genius, Mahbod Moghadam, passes away, leaving behind a renowned legacy

co-founder, died, Genius, Mahbod Moghadam

Mahbod Moghadam was a controversial figure in the startup world. He was best known as the co-founder of companies like Genius and Everipedia, as well as an angel investor. Unfortunately, Moghadam passed away last month at the age of 41 due to complications from a recurring brain tumor.

The news of Moghadam’s passing only recently started to circulate in the startup community, with many individuals paying tribute to him on various platforms. One notable tribute came from former TechCrunch writer-turned-investor Josh Constine, who interviewed Moghadam and his Genius co-founders when the company was still in its early stages. Constine described Moghadam as a complex and edgy individual, but also funny, brilliant, and always unique.

Before his passing, Moghadam had been living in Los Angeles and working on projects aimed at helping creators get paid more directly for their work. One of his recent endeavors was HellaDoge, a social media platform that offered to compensate users with dogecoin for sharing dogecoin-related content. The idea behind HellaDoge was to provide a platform where users could benefit directly from their contributions, unlike platforms like Facebook or Twitter that monetize user engagement through ad revenue.

In a prior interview, Moghadam discussed a similar concept for a company called Communistagram. The idea was to connect users’ Venmo accounts and allow them to receive direct payments for their content, rather than relying on platforms like Spotify or YouTube for compensation.

Moghadam’s interest in finding new ways for people to get paid dates back to 2009 when he became a lawyer amid the economic crash. After graduating from Yale and Stanford Law School, he found himself working at a law firm that eventually let him go. Using the money he received from the firm, Moghadam co-founded Rap Genius with Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman, both of whom were his Yale friends.

Rap Genius initially focused on annotating and explaining hip-hop lyrics. Over time, it became popular among rappers who used the platform to annotate their own lyrics and correct any mistakes made by users. The site’s success led to funding from Andreessen Horowitz, and the company rebranded as Genius, expanding its scope beyond just hip-hop lyrics.

However, Moghadam’s behavior began to draw negative attention, both in public and private settings. In 2013, he attributed his poor conduct to a brain tumor that he had removed in emergency surgery. Despite this, he continued to engage in controversial actions. In 2014, he resigned from Genius after posting inappropriate comments as annotations on the platform.

After leaving Genius, Moghadam co-founded Everipedia, a blockchain-based encyclopedia that allowed users to create pages on any topic as long as the content was neutral and properly cited. Although Everipedia ultimately shut down, it showcased Moghadam’s ongoing interest in innovative projects.

In his later years, Moghadam joined Mucker Capital, a venture firm where he spent approximately 20 months as an entrepreneur in residence. However, he never achieved the same level of professional success as during the early days of Genius. Despite this, he remained highly regarded by many of Genius’s devoted fans and made appearances on numerous podcasts, where hosts admired his work.

Moghadam’s relationship with his former co-founder, Tom Lehman, was strained, to say the least. Even as of last year, he was still involved in legal battles with the company and expressed dissatisfaction with the new owners of Genius. However, he did acknowledge Lehman’s role in the original creation and development of the platform.

Overall, Mahbod Moghadam made a significant impact on the startup world through his involvement with companies like Genius and Everipedia. While controversy often surrounded him, his unique ideas and contributions cannot be denied. His passing is a loss to the entrepreneurial community, and his legacy will be remembered by those who admired his brilliance and creativity.

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