Sitting at a whiteboard table in UCF’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, two students draw out their ideas and share laughter from their inside jokes.

Best friends since high school, fraternity brothers and now business partners of JOOX, Richard Grant and Ketan Rahangdale consider themselves more than business partners.

“I wouldn’t ask for anything else in the whole world,” Rahangdale said about working with Grant.

JOOX aims to help independent musicians become more successful by increasing artist and fan engagement. The online platform will include a rewards program,  giving fans personalized, exclusive experiences with artists when they attend concerts or promote the artist on social media.

Ultimately, JOOX aims to change the music industry as we know it by putting the success of independent artists right in the hands of fans. In turn, marketing companies will be able to identify what regions to increase product advertising in by following a musician’s fan base.

For Grant and Rahangdale, who both grew up in Tallahassee, their passion for music inspired the creation of JOOX. Grant dreamed of a career making music, but looking back, refers to himself as just “a broke guy playing guitar.” Rahangdale began producing music at 12 years old. By 16, he was playing shows all over Tallahassee.

When the idea of JOOX came about, Grant and Rahangdale decided moving to Orlando was the best option to make their idea a reality, thanks to the opportunities within the Blackstone Launchpad and Orlando’s growing entrepreneurial scene.

“Being able to change the world; it was enough for me to literally drop my life for it,” Grant said. He left behind a good job, his high school sweetheart and his family.

In addition to UCF’s growing opportunities, Rahangdale’s mentor and business adviser Michael O’Donnell teaches entrepreneurship at UCF. O’Donnell calls Rahangdale a “very capable entrepreneur well beyond his years,” and was enthusiastic to support Rahangdale and Grant by advising their JOOX project.

“If you can create a positive change anywhere ... go do something that puts a positive effect out there in the community. That to me is entrepreneurship,” Rahangdale said.

Making a life-changing move to UCF has paid off — JOOX is expected to launch in early 2015.

“The outcome is the same: Change the world with music,” Grant said. “It’s only the ‘how’ that has changed.”

 

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