Business executive Bob Iger will go from managing Mickey Mouse to overseeing New Age DeGeneres.
On March 14, Genie’s, a leading Avatar technology company, announced that Iger, the former president and CEO of Disney, had joined its board of directors. This includes individual investments in 2017 startups. For Iger this is another step in animation, pursuing a new direction away from traditional global powerhouses to enable consumers to create their own worlds.
Iger said in a press release, “I have always drawn to the intersection between technology and art, and Genies is unique and determined to harness the power of that combination to enable new forms of creativity, expression and communication. offers compelling opportunities.”
In return, CEO and Co-Founder Akash Nigam said that Genie is pleased to have Iger on board to continue its aspiration to elevate users who embody the personality of Web3.
“We believe that the avatar ecosystem is going to be Web3’s mobile app,” Nigam said. “An ambitious vision demands a rarefied mind and I cannot think of a better creative and product thinker to collaborate with Bob to bring it all to reality.”
The corporation co-founded Genie with Evan Rosenbaum as part of their first startup, Blend, a mobile app for college students that offers free gifts in exchange for photo shares. All he had to do was drop out of college.
Nigam, a Palo Alto native, was engaged to Rosenbaum and co-founder Matt Geiger (who left Genie in 2018) at the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania while he was studying computer science and economics at the University of Michigan. According to Forbes, Corporation’s parents gave him an ultimatum: Raise $3 million to bland or stay in school.
He raised money, and the trio eventually bailed out using the proprietary platform to create a new vision on group messaging: the personal avatars that would populate the new blockchain-based, decentralized Web3. You can say that this insight has been successful.
The 2019 Genies beta launch landed one million users with another two million in the queue. After that, the founders released a full version of the app with Gucci as their first advertiser, providing the designer thread for the genie avatars. This first release coincided with $25 million in funding from venture capital investors such as NEA, Foundation Capital, and well-known Southern Californian names such as Russell Westbrook and Cameron Dallas.
Since then, Genies has raised $100 million in subsequent seeding rounds, and secured deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group (with Genies now its “official incarnation and NFT provider of digital goods”). In that time, Genie has created thousands of avatars for iconic tastemakers to “inaugurate the biggest moments of their lives.” It includes avatars of megastars like Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Shawn Mendes. Genie claims that it has now achieved 99% celebrity avatar market share.
In January, Genies also committed to the Web3 spirit “to empower humans to build their own digital identity ecosystem” by immediately granting each avatar creator full ownership rights to its Genie avatar and related creations.
This went hand in hand with the rollout of “The Warehouse,” the wearable NFT marketplace, which allows users to engage and reflect their every interest in their avatar. This includes “Avatar Tools” (now in beta), which will allow anyone to create avatars, a fashion line, even avatar worlds and interactive experiences using the company’s tools and purchased NFT accessories . Even Iger now has his own avatar, sporting an edgy black jacket (collar up) to his digital persona.
An industry veteran and a seasoned global leader, Iger will help Genies navigate its mission to empower people to build the metaverse ecosystem in a user-driven Web3 universe.
“Having gotten to know Akash over the past few months and learning more about Genie, I’m very excited about his vision and how it will be fulfilled,” Iger said.