The Phat Startup: Where Hip Hop Meets Entrepreneurship

Co-founder Anthony Fraiser helps educate new business owners.

Posted: 08/01/2014 11:21 AM EDT
Anthony Fraiser

Sometimes, it takes dedication, hustle and grind, months of self-promotion and pushing sales out of a trunk to reach success.

That might sound like the early life of many of hip hop’s most successful artists, but that’s also the life of the fledgling entrepreneur, says Anthony Frasier, co-founder of The Phat Startup.

A 28-year-old college dropout, Frasier came up with the idea for The Phat Startup, a business dedicated to educating entrepreneurs through hip hop’s hard-working, relaxed and outspoken values, with his co-founder James Lopez. 

The company's biggest supporter from the industry has been Ryan Leslie. “He has been the most supportive so far. He’s looking to do some other things with us in the future,” Frasier told BET.com.

The Phat Startup teaches entrepreneurship through The Lean Startup methodology.

“The Lean Startup [methodology] is build, measure and learn, and you build a minimum version of something, learn from the result and build upon that and repeat that same cycle,” Frasier said. “We basically said this is how hip hop is built as well.”

The Phat Startup is dedicated to hosting monthly guest speaker events with some of the tech industry's most successful entrepreneurs. The company will be partnering with New York University later this year to present at Tech 808 as part of a six-hour entrepreneurship seminar where attendees will learn how to raise money, network, set goals and “a slew of topics that aspiring entrepreneurs need to begin their journey.”

Kendrick LamarDrakeNicki Minaj and many of hip hop’s biggest stars employed the same tactic that The Phat Startup originally stressed to its audience: release a product in its most basic method (like producing mixtapes). Over time, this method helped these artists — and possibly your business — to become widely successful.

“There’s a lot of hustle involved in hip hop and a lot of energy. That same energy can be used when you are trying to build your business,” said Frasier.

Lack of education is one of the problems Frasier sees in how members of the Black community, specifically, are going about starting a business.

“We teach this old style of thinking in our community about ‘go write 15-page business plan and five-year financials’ when you don’t even know if you’re even gonna make week one," Frasier said. "We want to break that. It’s holding us back and not allowing us to innovate fast enough. There are so many barriers we mentally think we have to go through,” Frasier said.

Though Frasier, who has been featured in The Grio and CNN Money for his entrepreneurial success and potential, may seem to have it all together in the business world, the multi-business owner doesn’t feel as though he deserves his distinctions at this time in his life.

“It’s great. I’m not gonna lie. I think any entrepreneur likes that kind of press,” Frasier said. “While it’s great, I feel like they came a bit early in my career to be honest with you, and I feel like every entrepreneur kinda feels like they’re never done. If I was to get one [an honor] tomorrow I would probably feel the same way.”

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(Photo: Courtesy of Anthony Fraiser)

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