Pick up your phone. Drop the mic.
Name: BattleMe, Inc.
Location: Bryan, Texas
Product / Service Offering: BattleMe is a fun introduction to hip hop music that removes the pressure of a live audience, makes a recording studio accessible to anyone with a smartphone and gives musicians a feeling of victory.
Co-founder Interviewed: Alena Patapava (CEO)
This article is part of our Women Entrepreneurs Spotlight Series featuring female entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you?
I am Alena, founder and CEO, alongside my cofounder and brother Dan. We both wanted to make a difference in the music industry. There are millions of people in the world that struggle just to be heard, and music gives them a voice. BattleMe has already helped over 300,000 users to get their voices heard.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
April, 2016 – Since childhood Dan has been a rap fan and as his younger sister I also had to like this genre☺. One day we were sitting in the kitchen (me, Dan and his wife) and Dan said: “I am becoming older every year. I suppose, I lost my chance to become a rap star. Still, I want to be a part of this industry and do something outstanding for the hip-hop culture ”… So it all began…
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
In the past to record a track, people needed time in a studio, a producer and of course a beat. All of this costs money, until now… We offer in-app recording, distribution and streaming all on your phone. You can record a solo track, challenge someone to a rap battle, or join one of our many in-app Rap Tournaments. The community decides who killed it. It is a perfect ecosystem to discover new talent and perfect yours. Pick up your phone… Drop the Mic!
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
BattleMe features a unique recording studio that allows users to record a track and submit it to select tournaments for various rewards, cash prizes and notoriety. BattleMe currently has over 250,000 rappers registered and conducted over 100 tournaments to date.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Building a team of professionals for reasonable money. We ended up inviting our former co-workers and friends from college.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
We participated in Microsoft Azure contest and won a non-cash prize of $120,000 to use their services.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We used our own savings, $10K from the contest “My business”, $50K from Seed Sumo accelerator.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
How to promote the app without a marketing budget. We managed to tune our ASO so now we have about 5K new users every day.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
We are looking for investors to finance marketing efforts to quickly expand the user base and take the dominant position in the market as competitors emerge. They are also interested in connections both within the hip-hop industry and with big brands who will benefit from reaching out to their audience.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Pay attention to ASO (application search optimization) and App Store description. We increased our daily downloads up to 400% by just changing the app icon.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
The fans LOVE BattleMe!! Our users spend about 23 minutes on average and upload over 3,000 tracks every day. Recently we signed a partnership agreement with an FM radio station in France so the best French users get airplay on a real Radio station in Paris.
BattleMe, which had previously been selected as one of the 8 best mobile startups in the US/Canada Mobile Challenge, and was to compete against these top entrepreneurs from the region on January 13th in Miami, won the Mobile World Congress Final for the US Division. We will be traveling to Barcelona in February for the international competition!
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