By Roya Soleimani Winner, Sunstone Staff Writer
The rapid rise of the creator economy and User-Generated Content (UGC) has helped individuals harness their unique talents to reach and influence a global audience. But tools to connect creators and brand owners haven’t kept up.
Until now. Ibrahim Ayub and Luca Barone, cofounders of Movig, see these creators as entrepreneurs, and are providing the tools and resources to help them both start and sustain their businesses.
Movig is a creator-first platform that powers UGC creators with brands, contacts, and automated Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools – helping brand operators and creators streamline business processes through sales, contract, and pitching support. Ibrahim and Luca say they have long been drawn to both being entrepreneurs, and in building tools to support other Founders.
Ibrahim and Luca first met when they were students in the INSEAD MBA program, which is based in both Singapore and France. While both had successful careers, they found themselves drawn to entrepreneurship.
Luca is from Florence, Italy, and becoming an entrepreneur meant building on his experience working in finance. After working in mergers and acquisitions for a Spanish investment bank, he found himself drawn to the founders they were backing.
“The coolest person in the room was always the entrepreneurs,” he laughed.
Ibrahim grew up in Boston, studied computer science as an undergraduate, and systems engineering in graduate school. He worked in traditional management and technology consulting, but also found himself pulled towards social innovation and social impact ventures. These passions were mostly outside of work, and he found himself increasingly drawn to those efforts.
As part of their MBA studies, both worked with startups and new ventures. Coming out of the pandemic, they saw that, “the pandemic introduced us to new ways of working, and helped people know they wanted more agency around their work,” Ibrahim said. “This led us to the creator economy and freelance space.”
“The more people we spoke to, the more we saw that solopreneurs or business owners were focused on the content creation side,” Luca added.
One of the first areas Ibrahim and Luca helped creators tackle was around facilitating payments between creators and brands. They then shifted focus more upstream.
“To help creators land a brand deal, we started to streamline the process of the sales deal flow,” Ibrahim said.
In addition to facilitating payments, Movig helps creators find brands they can align with, identify the right point of contact, and even help create personalized pitches.
“Creators have had to act as a salesperson, which is a whole different skill set, and using our Artificial Intelligence sales pitch, we’re able to help them optimize for a particular kind of sale,” Luca added.
“AI is core for us, and will continue to be. From email pitch generation to recommendations and matching,” Ibrahim echoed.
This summer, Movig was part of the Lair East Labs (LEL) and Sunstone Management accelerator program’s summer 2023 cohort in New York City, and both Luca and Ibrahim said they had an exceptional experience, with high-quality mentors and fellow founder.
They both say they are excited for the future. Luca said their new services look promising and they expect to be able to increase revenue in the next three months, allowing them to grow their team. Ibrahim added a new concierge service will “help creators not have to make the tradeoff between being a creator and being able to be successful. We want them to know that there are tools and resources at their disposal. They’re not in this alone — we’re here to help.”
For more, go to www.getmovig.com.
Note: We refer to early-stage technology entrepreneurs as Founders. Information provided here is to inform about the types of small business start-ups that have been selected for participation in certain programs in which Sunstone participates. Information provided here is aspirational and there is no assurance of success. Early-stage investing comes with an inherently high degree of risk. The information provided is neither an offer to sell or an inducement to offer to buy interests in any Sunstone sponsored fund that may have invested in the Founder.
About Lair East Labs
Lair East Labs is a startup accelerator based in New York that empowers founders to expand internationally. In the first five years of operation, our portfolio companies have raised over $45 million in funding after completing the accelerator. Our program combines the best of two worlds – learn from alumni founders of top Silicon Valley-style accelerators and gain access to a network of mentors and investors with extensive experience navigating the U.S. and Asian markets. In 2019, Lair East Labs was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Accelerators Worldwide” by Crunchbase. www.laireastlabs.com.
About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate, and fixed income funds to qualified and accredited investors. The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. Ranked 18th in the United States on the list of most active venture capital firms by PitchBook.
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