Media Takeout (MTO) is by far the largest and most visited urban gossip site in the world with over 15 million readers a month. It has been known to capture exclusive, breaking stories that are scooped up by the likes of CNN, TMZ and other media heavyweights. While the site has achieved, and continues to achieve great success over the years, the journey to its current status was not easy. The site’s founder Fred Mwangaguhunga has helped to transform the business of blogging in the urban, hip-hop world, and has an inspirational story that has defied the odds.
Mwangaguhunga was born in Queens, New York to parents who immigrated to the United States from Uganda. He received both law and business degrees from Columbia University in New York and worked on Wall Street as a corporate lawyer where he advised companies on financial products. After a few years of working as a lawyer, Mwangaguhunga decided to pursue his entrepreneurial interests and started a boutique, online based laundry service, the Laundry Spa, along with his then girlfriend and now wife, Notoya Green. Their decision was met with skepticism from family members who did not understand why they would leave their stable law professions to pursue an unknown business venture. The business catered clients with fine, high-end fabrics who could schedule regular pickups and deliveries at their convenience.
While business was initially slow, it eventually took off and even served celebrity clients in the area. Mwangaguhunga and his wife sold the business for an undisclosed amount; and then it was time for the next big thing. His work as a laundry service owner had given him some insight into the world of blogging, and so with his knowledge of the industry, he decided to fill a big hole at the time – sensational African-American celebrity gossip.
MediaTakeout was launched in 2006 and it completely shattered the stereotype that ‘Black people don’t use the internet’. In the same year, the site generated more than one million page views in a single day, catapulting it to one of the top spots as a popular, mainstream website. The site is celebrated for its eye-catching, entertaining headlines, and organically attracts audiences around the world who have made MTO a part of the daily lives. The site has received its fair share of attacks and criticisms over the years – from stealing and leaking stories to shaming celebrities. However, it has developed a niche as a guide, consistently shining its light on relatively unknown African-American celebrities who later star as fixtures in mainstream media.
A foray into video and television may be on the horizon, but Mwangaguhunga has established his chops as an entrepreneur; whatever he ventures into will be just as big or even bigger.