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Google’s $100K cash prize keeps Healthy Hip Hop dancing toward ‘Tik Tok for kids’ status

DATE POSTED:October 16, 2020

With a new cash infusion from the Google Black Founders Fund, Roy Scott said Healthy Hip Hop is ready to perfect the next generation of its youth entertainment and education tech, strengthen the company’s sales and marketing efforts and hire a C-suite level employee. 

“We found our niche in the tech space, and it’s how we can continue to grow,” said Scott, co-founder and CEO of Healthy Hip Hop, a startup that pivoted from liver performances to an online platform in its ongoing evolution.

Founders: Roy Scott and Wes Smith

Founding year: 2017

Amount raised to date: $1.38M

Noteworthy investors: Google, Techstars, Missouri Technology Corporation 

Current employee count: 2 full time, 2 part time

Elevator pitch: Healthy Hip Hop is an online platform that infuses hip hop culture with education, innovative technology and positive attributes to improve learning environments and behaviors for young students. “The Sesame Street of the 21st century.”

The $100,000 awarded from Google Black Founders Fund is part of the global tech giant’s initiative to expand support for Black-owned businesses. 

“When I got the news, I was super excited,” Scott said. “And not only are they giving us this cash award, they’re giving us access to all the resources in their ecosystem — from Google Ads to Firebase to the Google Play Store — they are really tying us in.”

The news follows Healthy Hip Hop’s recent run in the Techstars Social Impact Accelerator in Atlanta, graduating this summer. 

“While I was going through that program, that’s when I got connected with the Google for Startups Accelerator, which led me to learning about the Black Founders Fund,” Scott explained.

Click here to learn about Google’s initiative on supporting Black founders.

Healthy Hip Hop also is working toward completion of a $1 million seed round of fundraising — on track to close in November, Scott noted.  

Pivoting ahead of COVID pays off

While the music and entertainment industry is taking a significant hit during COVID-19, the pandemic has actually been advantageous to the children’s music-based platform, Scott said.

It was already nearly all-digital. 

Healthy Hip Hop launched the beta version of its app in January, as well as continued to develop its digital platform, he said.

“So now, we can scale to reach more parents and more teachers,” Scott said. “Things actually worked out in our favor because when schooling went online, more teachers and parents were looking for more resources to keep their children engaged … We were able to continue to do more pilots, continue to bring on more users and really validate our product market fit.”

Knowing before COVID-19 that live performances were not a sustainable and scalable revenue model, Healthy Hip Hop started developing its online platform in 2017 — a journey now culminated by its 2020 application launch.

Click here to read about Healthy Hip Hop’s backstory.

A safer platform for a mobile generation

Along with the application’s education and music resources, children are encouraged to embrace their creativity. With social media platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram Reels taking off during the pandemic, Scott said that Healthy Hip Hop’s app provides a safe space for children to make videos.

“Kids love to create their own dance videos and dance challenges, and a lot of the time they are doing so on Tik Tok,” Scott said. “But as we’ve seen, Tik Tok has had some issues with security, and not only that, but anyone can access your child. 

“Within the Healthy Hip Hop app, kids can still create these dance challenges, but we’ve created our safe circle technology,” he continued. “So that way, their videos are only shared privately with friends, family and educators. It’s been well-received.”

Currently at 5,000 active users, the app is continuing to provide Scott with data to assess feedback and plans for a hard launch in the first quarter of 2021. 

The Healthy Hip Hop application can be found on Google Play or the App Store.

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