Meet Erik Torenberg, co-founder of rapt.fm. A recent University of Michigan grad, one look at Erik’s truApp profile shows just how accomplished this young entrepreneur already is. Erik and his team of 7 are currently working to provide a platform that could lead to a freestyle revolution — think rap battle meets chat roulette. This week Erik sat down with us to talk rap, entrepreneurship, and impart some words of wisdom about the power of online portfolios.
So Erik, what exactly is rapt.fm?
Rapt.fm is a real-time video rap battle and cypher website. Imagine video chatting but with beats in the background and a live audience of up to thousands watching and voting for the winner. It’s a community for rappers to improve their craft, gain exposure, and have fun.
How did rapt.fm get started?
Rapt.fm started in January during Startup Weekend Ann Arbor; since then we’ve moved to Detroit. We received early funding from Bizdom. I love to rap, and believe freestyle fosters creativity, introspection, and collaboration. I want to spread that, whether you’re an aspiring rapper trying to make it or someone who wants to have some fun with your friends in a novel way.
What inspired you to start rapt.fm?
It was just an idea I had for a while. I didn’t think it’d be good at first. At Startup Weekend, I only said the idea after they begged for ideas. I didn’t realize there were so many other people who loved to rap. At first, I wanted to build it for my friends, and then I realized it had market potential. We’ve been in a few schools and want to go to more schools and teach freestyling, rapping, and poetry. We want to show the connection between rap and literacy, and how important having a strong vocabulary is for rapping.
What do you hope the future holds for rapt.fm?
We hope to bring tremendous joy and spontaneous creativity and fun to lots of people from the aspiring rapper to the fan who appreciates quality rap to the casual user who just wants to have fun with their friends. We hope that people explore their love of rapping and self-expression. We hope for this site to be international. China has one of the biggest rap markets. We hope to bring the joy and creativity that we experience among us friends to the world.
What’s one thing about you that wouldn’t stand out on a traditional, black-and-white resume?
I love to freestyle (video below).
Why should someone get a SEELIO?
It is the only way to represent yourself online that holistically shows what you’ve done, where you’re going, and what you believe in.
Make sure to check out rapt.fm, launching this fall!