Everipedia is more than your classic startup led by a team of college dropouts.
Everipedia’s vision is to become the most accessible online encyclopedia that can be edited by members of the public. Branded as “Everyone’s Encyclopedia,” the startup differs from its major competitors like Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica in that anyone can make their own page by creating a free account.
The company is run by a team that includes the cofounder of Rap Genius, Mahbod Moghadam, and Wharton sophomore George Beall, as well as co-founders Sam Kazemian and Theodor Forselius. The founders say the company is currently valued at $10 million.
Beall described the company’s goals as sharing and producing information in a way that is less restrictive than Wikipedia’s model. “Overall, we want to be a lot chiller than Wikipedia and just help share information and not get hung up on stupid details,” he said.
Beall — who is not currently enrolled at Penn — dropped out last year to start his own tech startup, Touch Tiles, which creates customizable hardware devices.
“I wanted to pretty much build legos for technology and so I ended up getting a patent, working on development,” Beall said.
After selling Touch Tiles in January, he joined Everipedia’s founding team, having met the other founders at a conference in Oct. 2015 at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Having worked on both startups, Beall plans to return to Penn in the fall to resume his studies.
Moghadam gained interest in the company because of his struggles trying to get a Wikipedia page for himself. After being fired from Rap Genius, the number one lyrics site in the world, for posting controversial online comments, Moghadam tried and failed numerous times to obtain a Wikipedia page. He met the Everipedia cofounders at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was giving a talk last year.
“Sam came up to me during the talk and showed me my Everipedia page, and that caught my attention,” Moghadam said. “I was like holy sh*t, this is such a big deal to me.”
One of Everipedia’s most unique aspects as an online encyclopedia is the feature that allows anyone to create a free account and start an Everipedia page.
The approach, it seems, is working. According to the founders, Everipedia gets one million page views per month.
“It’s really hard to put Wikipedia pages up because you need to know Wiki markup, which is a computer program ... whereas with Everipedia, anyone can add stuff, and even do it from your phone; a 10-year-old could use it,” Moghadam said.
While Wikipedia’s restrictions on what can and cannot have an online page prevent internet “trolls” from fabricating and spreading false claims and facts, Everipedia also has a system for accounting for legitimacy while still maintaining an open content creation space.
“Everything has to be verified, so you can’t go on there and not have some sort of reasonable proof that shows that what you are saying is legitimate,” Beall said. “You can’t make bullsh*t claims and not back it up. We have a pretty big team here that scrolls through every activity on the site, and if something is sketchy, we take it down.”
Both Beall and Moghadam refer to Wikipedia’s rigid and controlling system of page-creation as one of the most frustrating features they avoid at Everipedia.
“Only 30,000 people control the knowledge that billions of people see, and it all goes to this bullshi*t bureaucracy where at any point, any editor can say no, and then the idea is killed,” Beall said. “The system is really set up for pages to not be created.”
So far, Everipedia has around 200,000 pages posted.
“Our team has four very, very talented developers, any one of whom is talented enough that they could be doing their own startup and raising money on their own,” Moghadam said. “The fact that a huge team of people is working together just shows that we believe in this.”
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