Officially, Mahbod Moghadam is a co-founder of Genius (formerly Rap Genius), a fast-growing annotation startup that raised $40 million at a valuation of under $1 billion in 2014. Most recently, he’s the co-founder of startup Everipedia.
Unofficially, he’s a guy who will say and do whatever is needed to get your attention, including telling Mark Zuckerberg to suck his dick, saying he will suck Zuck’s dick and doing an interview completely naked. But who cares, right? This guy is worth $40 million (at least according to his Everipedia page).
We had the experience of visiting Everipedia’s HQ/lair, a two-story penthouse nestled in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles within stumbling distance of UCLA.
Inside, liquor bottles littered the kitchen counter ready for the next college rager while desks and computers filled the main room, forming a maze within the spacious apartment. In one lonely corner sat a box filled with old Rap Genius swag.
Mahbod insisted he get naked for the video interview as a means of relaxing himself by making everyone else uncomfortable, but it was almost refreshing given that it was my first time sitting in front of a naked Persian man (thankfully he clothed himself for photos).
So what has Mahbod been up to? Growing Everipedia, a sort of “thugged-out Wikipedia.” It’s a platform with the peer review powers of Reddit and the knowledge base of Wikipedia — and it’s open to everyone and everything.
It’s also growing incredibly fast — to date, Everipedia has raised $120,000 from Mucker Capital and $400,000 from angel investors.
“Think about it, Wikipedia is the sixth biggest site on the internet and it only has 5 million pages. So this is Wikipedia except it could potentially have hundreds of millions or even billions of pages the same way Facebook does.”
“We eat together, we skeet together, we work naked all the time. Travis is like the number one naked man. He’s the King of Naked Everipedia.”
Mahbod is a professional at creating controversy and buzz, including an infamous 2013 interview where he called out Mark Zuckerberg stating, “Zuck can suck my dick.”
But today is a new day. Mahbod is with a new company, a new crew of co-founders, he’s of seemingly sound mind and now is as good of time as any for a fresh start:
“I love Mark Zuckerberg, I don’t want him to suck my dick. I want to suck his dick. I’m sorry … I’m sorry I said all the stupid stuff last NextShark interview.”
We last interviewed Mahbod in 2014 before negative criticism of his annotation of UC Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger’s manifesto forced him to resign (he wasn’t fired) from Genius later that year.
Mahbod was on the verge of retirement, seeking a life of relaxation away from the world of starting internet beef — but the internet is not that fortunate.
“My plan was to just be retired after Rap Genius: I wasn’t looking to join any projects, but when I saw this I was like begging them ‘let me join, let me be your co-founder, I’ll find you funding, I’ll do whatever’ because I instantly knew this was going to be the biggest thing of all time.”
Mahbod’s high hopes for Everipedia didn’t stop there either. He assured us that there will be much dick-sucking to come.
“The other cool thing is Everipedia is going to get way, way bigger than Genius. When that happens a lot of people are going to have to suck my dick.
“I expect my former co-founders to suck my dick, investors, anyone who has turned down Everipedia is going to have to suck my dick. It’s going to get huge — the more pages we add to Everipedia, the more traffic we get so every day the traffic is just going up.”Everipedia co-founder Sam Kazemian
We then decided to take a stroll down memory lane with Mahbod — it’s been two years since he resigned from Genius, the go-to website to explain everything from a rap lyric to the Bible.
We asked Mahbod to relive his exit from the company because apparently Google’s got the story all wrong.
If you Google “Mahbod Moghadam,” the first link you’ll see is “Rap Genius Co-Founder Moghadam Fired,” which leads to a Re/Code article written by Executive Editor Kara Swisher (not Mahbod’s biggest fan). Mahbod told us his side of things:
“The truth is that I was only working at Rap Genius part-time at that point because I wanted to live in LA. So, I was resigning, I was like ‘You know what, this doesn’t make sense anymore, I gave you guys bad press, I’ll just step off’. And everyone thought that I’m like the CEO of the company and I resigned. It was on Fox News, CNN, it’s like dude, I’m a part-time employee here, it’s not a big deal. It was kind of annoying how it got blown out of proportion.”
And of Kara Swisher, Mahbod claims he harbors no hard feelings:
“If you check Kara Swisher’s Everipedia page, it still says really nice stuff about her. We have a ‘don’t be mean to anyone policy,’ so whenever I get angry at these people, I go on their Everipedia and I write really nice stuff about them. It’s kind of a therapy thing.”
But what about the two Genius co-founders, Tom Lehman and IIan Zechory, that Mahbod helped build Genius with? Mahbod revealed his tale of love lost and betrayal:
“Tom Lehman — No, we don’t talk anymore. It’s the same as how I don’t talk to any of my ex-girlfriends. Like, I still love them, I’m glad we had our time together, but it’s just done. I don’t want Sam and Travis to get jealous. One thing that really pissed me off is they banned me from the site, and that’s really fucked up to ban me from the site that I built. It felt kind of like how Moses was banished from the holy land. So that’s what I tell people. I’m basically the internet Moses. I got banned from Genius.”
While reminiscing on his controversial relationships past, Mahbod snuck in an anti-capitalist rant involving fellow rap enthusiast, investor in Genius and one of Silicon Valley’s most well known VCs, Ben Horowitz:
“I guess I should temper my beef with Ben Horowitz. It’s a big reason why Genius blew up. I’ve always kind of had a beef with capitalism as a whole. One big problem I have especially with VC and Silicon Valley is that it’s supposed to be all about disruption, but what you actually have is a bunch of young people kissing old person ass.Everipedia co-founder Travis Moore
“And these old people aren’t disrupting anything; they don’t even have interesting ideas. So I guess I don’t really have beef with Ben Horowitz as a person, I have beef with what people make of him. They just decide he’s this infallible god: he’s not a god, all he does is give money and stuff.”
But Mahbod isn’t some godless heathen — he does, at the very least, believe in the “God of Social Media” (and earning brownie points):
“Like, Zuck is who we should be worshipping — he’s the one who actually changed the world. Not Ben Horowitz, he just wrote a book. But at least Ben Horowitz gets it.”
And just when we thought our interview with Mahbod would go by without incident, he served up some fresh beef to serial entrepreneur and veteran venture capitalist Mark Suster:
“I would say who is the epitome of the retard VC ‘get this guy the fuck outta here, why does he have any money’ is Mark Suster.
“What people don’t know is Mark Suster has been a VC for longer than Ben Horowitz. He’s actually the one who invented Ben Horowitz’s marketing strategy which is like “I’m an entrepreneur turned VC” so, Ben Horowitz bit his marketing strategy. But then Ben Horowitz has made way way more money than he has because Suster has no charm or charisma. He has no sense of humor. He was the one who made a big deal out of my Whole Foods thing. I’ve never even met the guy.”
Of course, there are many things more important to Mahbod than beef with a prominent VC, like money. Lots of money:
“If he wanted to invest in Everipedia, we would probably say “No, you’re too lame.” Unless he wanted to pay a really really high price.”
Regardless of what’s to come, Mahbod has high hopes for his comeback season and a grand future planned for Everipedia:
“So, right now I’m trying to get attention for Everipedia, and then these guys are going to become corporate. They’re going to get some capitalist investments, kick me out, I’m going to move to Ibiza and kick it and I’m never going to work again because they’re starting to get sick of me.”
“I can’t wait until these guys become some corporate motherfuckers. They’re going ban me from Everipedia, and I can start talking shit on them. It’s going to be amazing.”