About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

Reimaginez Q&A: Therese Gedda, Founder

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Welcome to Mob76 Outlook, Therese, please tell our readers about Reimaginez

Thank you so much! It’s an honor to spend this time with you.I would love to invite you to take a moment and imagine your company filled with thriving High Achievers, all striving towards greatness, lifting each other towards new heights, and scaling a culture of high performance and excellence. This is the reality of the work we do.

Reimaginez is an award-winning company specialising in successfully designing, redesigning and scaling culture. We help founders, CEOs, and leaders keep, attract, and lead High Achievers while living as High Achievers themselves. Areas we cover include One-on-One High-Performance Programs with Founder and Executive Coaching, Cultural Design and Cultural Transformation, and Cultural M&A Integrations.

Over the last 20 years, the Reimaginez team has served 1,000+ Founders and C-Suite clients and impacted 30,000+ company cultures globally.

I believe you are Swedish. Are you based in Europe or the US, and why?

I grew up in Sweden, and today my primary base is in the city that never sleeps – New York City. The city is a great hub to serve our US clients and close enough to work with our European clients. It’s an incredible place where I feel most inspired and grateful to be surrounded by so many people working hard to realize their visions.

For years, I lived out of my suitcase, and today I still spend a significant amount of time on the road since we work with clients all over the world.. A fun fact is that one of my longest trips included stops in Rome, Stockholm, London, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Lisbon and back to New York.

You work with startup and high-growth companies’ CEOs. What value do you offer them and how long do you work with them for?

Working with amazing people on a mission to bring something empowering and innovative to the world is incredibly fulfilling. We specialize in aligning, designing, and scaling a high-performance culture. The essence of the delivery is centered around aligning your people around your vision, effectively championing your best people, removing toxicity, and amplifying your impact by designing and building a high-performing culture.

Reimaginez believes in championing High Achievers. Therefore, we have specific programs designed to develop and lead High Achievers, boost their performance, champion their future talents, and allow them to thrive through the leadership philosophies of tomorrow while attracting, recruiting, and onboarding High Achievers.

When you invest in yourself, your people, and your culture, magic happens. I’d love to share some examples of what we have achieved alongside our clients:

• 3x Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
• 45% revenue increase during the height of the pandemic for an 18-year-old company
• 10x average deal sizes
• Saving a 9.7 million USD ARR subsidiary from collapsing
• Designing his best life after a successful company exit

For our cultural transformation programs, we typically become a long-term partner for the company, whether they are early-stage or approaching an exit, and follow them through the different stages of their development. We have seen many of our clients through many stages of their evolution.

Another sought-after initiative is our High-Performance executive coaching program for impact-driven and High Achieving Founders and CEOs. Over 20 years, I’ve personally had the pleasure of working directly with over 1,000 founders, CEOs, and C-level clients. And since Founders and CEOs are innovative, I’ve been given many creative titles over the years, including “Yoda,” “Master Teacher,” “Founder Therapist,” and “Stand-in Cofounder” by founders and CEOs.

Mental health is a huge issue since the start of the pandemic. How did your clients react?

One way of describing how it feels to be a founder is living on a rollercoaster in the mountains. I recently delivered a speech for a conference in Boston capturing it more in detail. The thing is, when we empower founders with a vision, on a mission, we empower change.

Let’s acknowledge their reality.vWe know how hard it is to stand alone. To sit there by yourself at 2 AM making a decision that can make or break your company. We know walking the path of the Founder often feels like driving a Formula One car while playing chess with ten different opponents whose only job is to focus on this game. On a road that is winding and full of unknowns,

We know the power of having someone to call, someone to text, someone to reach out to who knows your story and understands why you do what you do. Because just like there will be moments of darkness and doubt, there will also be moments of celebration and joy.

Moments where you will feel a deep sense of achievement of building something just from an idea, driven by the ambition of creating positive change, and you will stand strong in the clarity that you can be a force for good in the world. Having a Founder’s Tribe has never been more important. We believe that together, we can make a difference.

I have found that most founders are very resilient, but having a founder’s tribe can make all the difference, including for their mental health. I’m, therefore, grateful to be part of many tribes as a trusted advisor and champion.

Did you see any trends for the growth of companies in 2022?

Yes, Reimaginez has seen a greater level of awareness and investments in building and growing a thriving culture. We work with many companies in health (BioTech, HealthTech, Medtech, and Digital Health), impact (including ClimateTech), and tech more generally.

Prioritising initiatives for personal and professional development is in increasing demand, especially in areas connected to well-being (including meditation, workout routines, and mindfulness practices) as well as leadership and performance programs.

Some investors are also more focused on culture, even if they typically use language like ”we invest in the team/the founders” over the actual word ‘culture.’

Another trend is the rediscovery of face-to-face interactions that enable deeper opportunities for relationship building and serendipity, especially over dinners, walks, and more intimate events.

What are the biggest opportunities for Reimaginez in an uncertain world?

There is a shift in awareness and focus on the impact of a brilliant, mediocre, or even toxic company culture. This means that culture is now at the forefront of many high-performance individuals when they are looking for their next adventure. It also means that companies, especially in the US, are prioritising the investment in a brilliant culture where their High Achievers thrive.

Another opportunity for the next few years is in connection to M&As, which typically increase during uncertainty. However, there are certain things that are often forgotten in the M&A process. When two companies merge, attention and focus typically centre around the merger’s financial, legal, and IP aspects.

However, aligning culture and leadership is essential for the new environment’s successful future. Reimaginez’ proprietary methods and processes for facilitating the integration of different cultures work in parallel with our proven programs for establishing trust, focus, and a shared vision across all teams in order to achieve short- and long-term success and growth targets.

Outsized opportunities for consistent and dependable M&A performance reside within tightly focused and broadly-shared alignments of value, impact, and purpose throughout the organization. This dependable, and repeatable, journey begins with an impact and value-focused Cultural Due Diligence followed by the implementation of bespoke achievement-focused Cultural Integrations and ongoing support.

What are you looking forward to in 2023?

I am excited to continue my work empowering high achieving founders, CEOs, and leaders (we call them High Achieving Empathic Givers) who are making the world better by building, growing, and investing in great companies.

Any insights that you can share with our readers when it comes to growth and
building a successful company?

Invest in a well-designed culture. As the saying goes, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Culture is a way to drive behavior. Culture impacts everything from productivity, engagement, and customer loyalty to talent retention, speed of innovation, growth, and, of course, profitability.

Invest in your High Achievers. Remember that High Achievers thrive alongside fellow High Achievers, and they attract one another. It has been said that High Achievers outperform the average worker with 10% in productivity, 20% in sales, and 30% in profitability. By investing in your High Achievers you are more likely to keep a thriving culture that creates, and achieves, outstanding results.

Invest in alignment. The impact of bringing teams, whether the whole company or the management team, together for company retreats and offsites to align on vision, goals, and strategy on an ongoing basis can’t be overlooked.

When you bring people together and provide peak experiences where members of the team espouse deep alignment on the direction and key initiatives for the company, remarkable results will follow. The power of alignment strengthens creativity, connection, and growth and the importance of this cannot be overstated.

How can people contact you?

Visit the Reimanginez website to learn more about our work. Alternatively, feel free to reach out with a message on LinkedIn letting me know you found me here on LinkedIn.

Thank you for the interview. I am very excited to share the Reimaginez story with your readers.

Metaverse Q&A – Javier Perez, Group Sport

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Welcome to Mob76 Outlook, Javier, could you tell us more about Group Sport?

Thank you for the invitation! Group Sport is a sports, entertainment and technology company. We are revolutionising the sports fan experience by introducing Web3 and the metaverse. 

According to FIFA there at 5B football fans around the world. The best players from around the world come to play in Europe, bringing their fans with them. This means the fanbase for European football is worldwide.

However, fans in China or Indonesia and other places far from Europe are unlikely to ever visit the home ground of their favorite European teams. We can give this ‘home ground feeling’ to fans via digital twin stadiums and cities via Web3.

Within the metaverse we are able to have fans engage with their favourite team, interact with their favourite players, and be involved with day-to-day decision making for the team they follow.

By introducing NFTs for our fans, our fans will have a voice in the overall club experience. Group Sport plans to replicate this across multiple sports, including international football/soccer, basketball, hockey and Major League Baseball.

You have had an extraordinary career in football. Can you explain to our readers?

My career in football began as a US National team and professional player, then I transitioned to a career as a Marketing Executive for 28 years in international sports in general.

I spent 14 years of my career working in International Football/soccer with the Federation, European leagues, European teams and Top athletes in sports that include International football/soccer, tennis, golf and basketball.

NFTs are having another moment after the hype of Version 1.0. How are you doing things differently?

The way NFTs have been sold in the past was that NFT owners would own something that was digital, something they may see on their handheld device or computer, but otherwise had no value. What makes us different is that our NFT holders own a real asset.  They are an integral part of the sports club/team. The NFT owner may be involved as much as they want.

Depending on which NFT they own, they may be a season ticket holder, attend private team events, or even travel with the team. They may be part of the group that makes decisions on the team’s uniform colours and design for the upcoming season. 

Every NFT holder has access to the metaverse where they can watch a match in our digital twin of the real stadium, interact with other fans, and even players from the club at pre and post-game events. 

So you can have the experience of attending a match on the team’s home ground even if you live on the other side of the world. These are a few of the ways we are doing things differently than NFT version 1.0.

What makes your football metaverse better than any other one out there?

The Metaverse is very new and innovative.  The quality of the animations are photo realistic, really incredible next-level just on the visual level. So your experience watching a game in the digital twin stadium, or even walking around the team’s home city, will be exciting.

You will be able to shop, attend music events, or even have your own apartment in the digital twin city. We are designing fan experiences with team sponsors. They may engage with the new Apple, Samsung and Sony products or test drive the new Electric Audi or BMW and best of all interact with the team superstar pre and post-game. 

We have created the fan meet and greet with the team players.  The fans may engage with players from any of our teams from any sport we have available. It’s going to be a place where our fans will want to visit often, where they will make real friends, and share their love of their team.

When will your NFTs be available?

Our NFT drop is happening in phases and we expect a great turn out over the next few weeks. There are only a limited number, we are keeping our Group Sport NFT community very select, so if you’re interested don’t hesitate to get involved!

After Argentina’s World Cup victory, global interest in sport has never been higher. 

We have seen extreme interest in South America, China, Japan, the Middle East and Russia. We thank all of them for their support! One way we are celebrating the exciting World Cup final is to hold a drawing, once our NFT sale has closed, for a signed Lionel Messi Argentina jersey with a certificate of authenticity. 

Where do you see the next area of growth? North America?

North America has always had an appetite for new and innovative NFTs, and professional soccer there is growing by leaps and bounds. We also expect new NFT holders to come from the UK, Europe and Latin America.  

What are your expectations for Group Sport in 2023?

Group Sport is on track to own four clubs/teams in 2023.  Teams/clubs in International Football/soccer, NBA and NHL.  We are currently in negotiations with five teams.  It is a great start for us here at Group Sport. For the latest information be sure to visit our website at www.groupsportltd.com, there’s going to be a lot happening in the coming year.

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Previous Q&A on Mob76 Outlook

Pathway Launches Manchester-Based Virtual Production Innovation Lab

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Pathway has launched a Manchester-based LED VP Innovation Lab and Production Facility in Partnership with HP.

The company brings to market a 6,000 square foot offering dedicated to the development and production of in-camera visual effects that utilise real-time technology and includes moving image R&D and digital cinema production for filmmakers.

In partnership with HP, the new studio will also provide Virtual Production skills and training offerings that are designed to amplify knowledge transfer to filmmakers. HP will facilitate Pathway’s studio with the latest hardware such as Z-series workstations and scalable digital workspaces via the Engineering Emmy award winning HP Anyware.

“It’s been incredible to see how the film and media industry is moving towards virtual production, and the capabilities Pathway have to offer with the Z by HP suite of solutions for its clients means it’s exciting times ahead, both for commercial users and the young filmmakers of the Future,” said Richard McGuinness, Advanced Compute and Solutions Lead Workstations and Thin Clients, HP UK.

Pathway’s Trafford Park site consists of a 5k square foot soundstage, in-house Virtual Art Department, make-up, wardrobe and dailies room. The new studio’s LED stage technology is powered by ROE Visual Ruby LED panels, MoSys StarTracker, MegaPixel VR Helios processing platform and Unreal Engine.

Speaking about their launch, Pathway co-founder Nathan Newman said:

“It is a delight to have the innovative support of HP in our mission to make virtual production more accessible and an even greater creative experience for filmmakers.

We are also thrilled to welcome Amanda [Nevill] to our advisory board who bring’s to Pathway a wealth of hard earned experience from working at the very heart of the British film industry.”

Newman’s eclectic career spans two decades across the video games industry, viral marketing globe trotting, immersive technology and award-winning moving image production.

Former BFI Chief Executive, Amanda Nevill CBE said:

“Pathway’s contribution to the industry will make it possible for more filmmakers to produce content with the very latest technology and to chase down new ideas for LED wall produced cinematography. During this time of industry growth and change, Pathway’s plans will be a big win for Manchester.”

Nevill’s impressive background spans helming the British Film Institute as Chief Executive for 17 years and is currently a strategic advisor to the international screen business.

Pathway’s £1m facility has been invested in by business partners Neuron Audio Visual, a Manchester based AV solutions company with an international reputation for creating extraordinary experiences at events and through venue installations. Neuron’s impressive client list includes festivals such as Glastonbury and Parklife and brands such as Redbull and Beats.

Speaking about the direction of the new studio, co-founder Alex Wareham said, “Virtual Production isn’t just about recreating old ways of producing content, it is about discovering new heights to moving image product development for our clients.” Pathway’s clients include agency Collective, fashion photography house Chris Davis Studio and creative powerhouse Arrow International Media.

BOOK REVIEW – The Bitcoin Dilemma – Colin L. Read

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It’s disruptive to review The Bitcoin Dilemma when the author is called ‘READ’ because once that gets in your head then ‘read’ and ‘review’ merge into one portfolio word and all those old days of LSD come back with a swirly vengeance.

Even so, the aforesaid The Bitcoin Dilemma is not a book to be forgotten and while not an easy read, it’s very much worth the effort in doing so.

Instead of focusing on all the speculation and hyperbole about making profits and destroying Satoshi’s invention, this book delves into the maths of crypto.

Moreover, Colin L. Read really knows what he’s talking about. He has worn many hats, but his experience of being the mayor of a ‘crypto mining’ US city lays bare the real costs of bitcoin mining, not just for the local and global environment, but for the people who live where mining takes place.

Effectively they pay for the mining to take place and it takes a tough mayor to ensure that miners do not take the capacity, the piss, the biscuit.

In some places the book reads like a collection of essays and the gentle touch of a sub-editor to dispel the over-adjectives and the self-crusading would have been welcome, but those who know of maths and mining no less about reading and reviewing.

As somebody who is fairly well-versed in crypto, there was a lot in this book that was new and I learnt a lot. While proof-of-work protocols are clearly bad and proof-of-stake are much better for Planet Earth, those who don’t know the difference will know by the end of the book.

Apparently Ethereum’s recent ‘upgrade’ from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake took off a whopping 0.2% of the world’s total power supply and it is a move that bitcoin, alas, cannot replicate.

This book made me want to sell my bitcoin portfolio and move it a more sustainable currency. It made me think. I would suggest most readers will have a similar reaction.

That makes it a good book.

 

Q&A: Moojan Asghari – CEO, Thousand Faces

Moojan

Welcome to Mob76 Outlook, Moojan, what is Thousand Faces?

A pleasure to be here. Thousand Faces is the first exclusive investment club in the form of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) fund to finance female-led projects with carbon-negative art NFTs.

We are targeting women, diversity, the environment and NFTs; all important and hot topics at the moment.  Raising initial funds for impact projects and under-represented talents anywhere in the world without a middle man has never been easier.

How are you dealing with the transition to Web3?

Web3 is a great opportunity to create a new and real diverse environment and community in a world of severe climate change. Moreover, NFTs are new marketing tools that have considerable viral potential.

We use it as a membership token and the total NFT market is estimated to reach $212 billion by 2030. There is a lot of controversy around the climate effects of NFTs and crypto. Thousand Faces uses Polygon, which is a carbon-neutral network and we offset our CO2 up to 10X more.

Are you addressing the gender gap when it comes to funding companies?

Anyone regardless of gender and nationality should be able to get access to funds and educational resources for their projects. Female founders, immigrants and underrepresented minorities can’t do this due to the centralized organizations holding funds and making biased fund distribution decisions.

With a DAO we open up the opportunity of funding and education to a vast number of people, anyone anywhere in the world, to launch a project that serves humanity as a whole. The world needs to recover the lost feminine in order to create mindful and sustainable organizations.

How do you do this logistically?

With a DAO fund that community members buy an NFT and get access to various resources, right to apply for funding, and participate in fund allocation decision making. With our community fund we invest in female founders and environmental projects with a strong ESG.

Our NFTs are 10,000 randomly generated pictures that have been designed by hand, and have certain utilities and voting powers attached to them. The NFTs represent a membership for the holder.

We will also  release a utility token to give rights to our DAO. that token can be staked and spent in our universe. We have an educational program for women to learn about Web3 in order to remove the barriers to entry. We give grants to the selected companies.

What does this mean to a non-techy person?

We are an investment club and by buying a membership which is a digital card, you join the club and obtain access to benefits including the right to apply for funding for your project or access to various educational programs’ content.

If you become a board member you can decide with other board members across the globe to vote on projects with the most social and environmental impact. In return for your participation, you can get rewards and interest in a digital currency in your digital wallet, with which you can invest or spend on various platforms.

How big is the market for all of this, Moojan?

Women entrepreneurs? Well, women are 50% of the population. there is only 2.2% of the total VC funding going to female founders. So you can imagine how many talents are left without funding.

the NFT market in 2022 was at USD 20.44 billion and is estimated to grow to USD 211.72 billion in 2030. The climate innovation and the need to create new sustainable solutions is also at the heart of important topics.

What did you do before this, Moojan?

I am a serial entrepreneur, activist, technologist and community builder. I was born in Iran, and after industrial engineering, I moved to France to finish my studies in corporate finance and banking. But the capitalistic world was not for me.

I started my entrepreneurial journey and created various initiatives for female empowerment and diversity and inclusion. I am now a digital nomad, traveling the five continents, speaking at various conferences and giving lectures on diversity, inclusion, and the basics of AI for business.

That’s a fascinating story and one that our readers will love. Thanks, Moojan

My pleasure, thanks for inviting me.

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