Monday, August 3, 2015


Okay, time for me to get into trouble. So here is a typical start-up named RapChat

RapChat profile

The key words in there profile:

400,000 users in 2015

You should notice that they do not list the total users for 2015 nor give a listing of users gained each year in existance, Rapchat has been around since 2013.

RapChat is a music application, you listen to some music and compose a rap that is recorded than shared. But, what part of the full music audience are we dealing with?

Now, I am going to talk about something dear to my mobile application developer's heart....the audience.

In the USA there are about 220 million mobile users online. One percent of 220 million is 2 million. Hence, why most VCs and Angels use it as a guage to whether to trigger funding.

Side note, you as that start-up like RapChat that does not yet have seed capital funding needs to avoid the mistake of attempting to double down on two mobile platform and and define the 3 different audiences; early adopters, mid-stream adopters, and late adopters.

Karaoke bars exist because some segment of the population wanted to sing-a-long with western songs to emulate westerners. That is why it was cutural trend in Japan and spread to those areas of the US with large Japanese populations.

So in RapChat's case we have to know why a person would choose to rap. Or to put another way why is rap chosen as form of expression and what forms of expression does rap replace. And that is part of the problem with the application in that rap is a cultural experience.

There is in the urban environments where rap is heard a whole cultural experience of trying to one-up your friend with raps and those within that rap culture see rap as the new form of poetry what was originally song prose in the form of both blues and jazz.

RpaChat has forgotten that part of that cultural experience in the rap culture was in fact social.  In other words the back-end ot the RapChat application is not an enabling rap socialization platform. You have to replace the environment that originally gave rise to rap with a back-end that gives an audience to someone composing the rap.

What do I mean? It could be a simple as contests for some gift card, listen to this music song, compose a rap with the song, and submit the rap for a chance at winning the gift card. And than you turn around and tell a story about that gift card winner what work they do what things in life they do, etc.

Side note, I have worked for music start-ups in the past and they always make the mistake of not making the user of the music appliation a star socially. One tiny story every month, ho-hum ho-hum.

And you will notice that you are attacking two different goals at once with those contests. One, raising MAUs. Two, raising the number of new users.

In summary, if at pre-seed capital stage do not double-down on another mobile platform. Pay attention to the audience and figure out how to make them stars. When your start-up reaches the seed capital stage($1 Million to $5 Million) than you can start planning on porting the iphone application to android as at that point it makes ROI sense as that increase in numbers beyond the 2 million in users will than trigger the next funding round.

This is why I insist on being interviewed at my location over a paid subway meal as I want to find out if the co-founder staff of the start-up understand how to get an audience. If they do not than there is no use of me joining the start-up as most developers are not listen to in the aspects of gaining an audience, etc and so it is easier for that to happen if the top staff knows how to get an audience.