High School pals reunite to take on the big boys of online music


When high school friends Haythem Khalil and Ryan Walseth reconnected in Minneapolis for a wedding six months ago, their entrepreneurial hearts aligned and another set of ‘I do’s’ would soon be made.

The Spring Lake Park High School grads had naturally drifted apart in their college years (Augsburg and UMD, respectively) and more so when Khalil moved to DC to pursue communications work in association with MN Rep. Keith Ellison.  Meanwhile, Walseth had been building his own portfolio of local business services in areas of personal fitness and property management.

Haythem Khalil and Ryan Walseth

“That was first time we’d really had the chance to seriously catch up in a very long time and we just picked up exactly where we left off. I was impressed by what Ryan and been doing within his own enterprises and I think my ideas we’re fresh and ambitious enough for Ryan to get excited about,” Khalil explains.

“I feel that there’s a small percentage of Minnesotan’s that are ‘wired’ for the world of entrepreneurship. Haythem has always been part of that exceptional minority,” Walseth added.

Together, they’ve since been heads down on a new destination for “the best of music and social interactions,” as Khalil puts it. In essence, Mashup aims to combine a cloud player for music listeners around the world to house their own collections and access it on any device or OS with “unparalleled streaming and social features.”

Within months of their vows, the self-funded duo would connect with a New Jersey domainer in possession of  Mashup.com and strike terms to acquire a strong brand name that best represented their vision.  They then made another deal with a developer in Atlanta who had been building Mougg.com, “…the epitome of a superior product with limited marketing resources and visibility.”

On December 5th,  Mougg.com’s existing userbase of 30,000 will merge with Mashup.com for an invite only beta period before the official launch in January. Once live, the marketing blitz begins, backed by three revenue models: freemium/ad supported, storage upgrades, and e-commerce.

“It’s not that this is a new idea, or that there aren’t a host of established players trying crack the online music nut, but none have been able to get it it right on a global scale,” Walseth explains with increasing excitement as he talks about  untapped markets like Asia and the Middle East. “Even the 800 pound gorilla’s like Google, Facebook and Apple are facing limitations within their ecosystems. We believe that a ubiquitous social experience that is device and OS agnostic will prevail.”

“We’re aiming for the stars here because that’s what entrepreneurs are supposed to do,” Khalil emphasizes.

And I would have to agree.