Your Y Combinator rejection email How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

We applied for the W2011 batch and didn’t even get an interview:

We’re sorry to say we couldn’t accept your proposal for funding. Please don’t take it personally. The applications we receive get better every funding cycle, and since there’s a limit on the number of startups we can interview in person, we had to turn away a lot of genuinely promising groups.

But we got in the second time around (which ended up being way better anyway because a lot of new music came out that summer)

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Your TechStars rejection email How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

I would like to personally thank you for your application to TechStars. All of the finalists this year were very, very strong, and it was difficult to decide who should make it into the program. I am sorry to tell you that you were not selected.

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We’ve heard that the best strategy is to push the VC into naming the first number How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

This was Sam Altman’s advice, which I still think is good, but we never seemed to be able to pull it off lol

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So, what valuation are you guys raising at? How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

I doubt he actually said “valuation” since we and most other YC companies we were raising convertible debt rather than actually selling equity so he probably said “what cap are you raising at” or maybe “what terms have you been raising at”

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It’s this baller-ass Russian dude How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

AbominableHoMan’s email about the meeting:

(Of course the scary part here is that at this point “how much already raised” = $0)

After the meeting he replied to our follow up with

Thanks Ilan. Enjoyed our time together and tell your boy to take it easy with the pink…

Will touch base with you guys Monday/Tuesday.

(Presumably I wore pink to the meeting)

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No socks whatsoever How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

I’m always wearing socks in at-best-marginal situations (e.g., with boat / driving shoes) because I find them so much more comfortable (“Wahhhh!! It’s rubbing on my foot!”) so I’m always impressed when someone shows up to the negotiation table sockless (#powermove)

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$600 per night! How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

It was actually closer to $300 / night, but $600 sounds better

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May 2nd 2011, the day Osama died and Rap Genius got into Y Combinator. How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

Strictly speaking, we heard around 6pm PT on 5/1/2011 (an hour or two after our interview), but 5/2 was when we did the official orientation thing and plus it’s a nice convergence w/ the Osama thing so let’s just say we got in on 5/2.

The only thing I remember from the interview was talking about “Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air” from Hotel California, a line which Paul Buchheit had apparently always wondered about

Right after we got in:

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Demo day How Rap Genius Raised $1.8M in Seed Funding Without Knowing What We Were Doing by LEMON (Ft. MetaWorldPeace & Rap Genius Founders) 40

Demo day of course is the “last day of Y Combinator” where all the companies present to a room full of eager investors.

The meme is that hot companies leave demo day with their seed rounds filled, but I don’t think that’s actually true (certainly wasn’t true in our case!)

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Every now and then I'd give Adam a call and hear how things were going. Things were always pretty good. "We met with Vinod this afternoon," he would tell me. Vinod Khosla is the billionaire investor and cofounder of Sun Microsystems. Then Adam dropped the bomb. "He's going to give us five million dollars." MIT Commencement 2013 by Drew Houston (Ft. Sam Biddle) 2

The company was Xonbi (“inboX” backwards)

It would go on to raise more than $31 million dollars

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