Rap Genius, a web site that decodes and annotates rap lyrics, has recently been in the spotlight thanks to some awful comments from one of the site’s cofounders, Mahbod Moghadam.
The company publicly fired Moghadam, but one little known secret that we’ve just uncovered is that one of the investors in Rap Genius was actually Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It all began when Ilon Zechory, one of the three cofounders, introduced himself to Gilbert at a Detroit Lions game this past Thanksgiving. Both of Gilbert’s sons, who were with him at the game, had heard of Rap Genius, and Zechory and Gilbert got to chatting about running a company. One thing led to another, and Zechory was invited to visit Gilbert in his office the next week.
Zechory showed up and gave his pitch about Rap Genius. Gilbert was impressed and asked to meet with all three cofounders in Cleveland. The talks then moved towards a possible investment, but it was quickly put on hold thanks to a
minor crisis with Google.
Rap Genius eventually overcame its troubles with Google, and in February Gilbert offered to lead a $US40 million investment, valuing the company at several hundred million dollars. Rap Genius kept the deal under wraps for a few months to coincide with the arrival of the site’s new domain name, Genius.com. And now the news is out.