One day in 2013 while on spring break from their junior year at Ohio University
, Seth Miller and three of his friends were killing time in the car on their way to Florida. “My buddy and I were freestyling on the way down to spring break,” he recalls. “It was pretty terrible, but they were hilarious. I knew people would enjoy doing it.”
Miller, now 22, then spent the next two years developing his app concept – pick from a curated rap beat, freestyle over it and send it to friends in a one-minute message. The Lakewood resident presented RapChat
at Startup Weekend Athens
and won $1,000. Miller officially launched RapChat for iPhones in June 2014.
The app targets 16-24 year olds and spans gender and racial lines. RapChat is available for free download in the iTunes App Store
“In December, we ramped up and started going like crazy, like a rocket ship,” says Miller. Today, RapChat has already seen 410,000 downloads and 4 million raps sent in 2015. There’s no shortage of beats to choose from, either. “We haven’t had to do much recently,” Miller brags. “Producers submit beats and we pick out the best ones. We curate new beats once a week.”
The app features beats from more than 20 artists such as Cal Scruby and Matt Houston. The company has plans to add bigger producers as time goes on and also to release a beat by ASAP Ty Beats, a member of the ASAP Mob and producer of ASAP Rocky’s hits “Purple Swag” and “Peso.”
When the app hit 300,000 downloads last year, Miller decided to quit his job and focus on RapChat full time. The company now has 10 team members – all located throughout the Midwest. One of the other three original founders, Brandon Logan, is still with RapChat.
Right now, the company is not focusing on revenue. Miller takes freelance jobs to pay the bills. But he says they already have some "major brands" interested in partnering with RapChat when the time is right.