Manatt Digital

Proud to Be in the Startup Hustle

By Eunice Shin

Manatt Digital works with companies across all stages, but we certainly have a soft spot for our startup clients, many with whom we get to help in launching and accelerating their growth in the marketplace. Whether it’s messaging and positioning, business planning and modeling, navigating fundraising strategies, securing strategic relationships, and/or negotiating content deals, we help our clients best position their businesses for entrance and success. And not only do we get to roll up our sleeves and dive deep into the startup hustle with our clients, but we also get to learn firsthand from their successes. However, the best part of the hustle is that we get to partner with some of the smartest founders in the business.

We are so proud to feature a few of our clients in our newsletter this month. We are confident that these companies will soon be big names in their respective industries, and we encourage you to check them out. It is my honor to introduce you to these impressive founders:

m/f people—Greg Alterman
Passionflix—Tosca Musk, Jina Panebianco, Joany Kane
Everyday Influencers and Press X—Damon Lau, Deb Lau
Puptimize—Rob Steinberg

back to top

m/f people—4 Questions

By Mary Ermitanio

One of Manatt Digital’s most dynamic engagements to date has been its work with m/f people, a lifestyle brand and ecommerce startup based on the philosophy of minimalism that was founded by Greg Alterman. m/f people engaged both our business and legal advisory teams to support the development and execution of their go-to-market strategy.

m/f people launches in June 2017 with best-in-class products in apparel and skincare and will roll out additional products, including home and food, throughout the year. Greg is a serial entrepreneur and no stranger to the process of brand building and launching a new business. Prior to m/f people, Greg founded lifestyle apparel brand Alternative Apparel as well as the cold-pressed juice company Juice | Served Here. We sat down with Greg recently to get his thoughts on his latest venture and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Make sure to visit www.mfpeople.com and sign up to receive information on the company’s launch, product updates, and special promotions and deals.

1. What problem are you trying to solve with m/f people?

Life is stressful. In our work lives and with the aid of technology, we are more productive than we have ever been before, yet we find ourselves rushing and stressed all the time. m/f is going to try to get to the root of the hustle and bustle and exists to help people create “Zen” in their home environment, specifically bathrooms and closets, which are crucial to getting out of the house every day, so they can have MORE time to do the things that matter most. The problem that we will try to solve has so many layers, but at our core, we are a lifestyle brand in the form of a management tool to help simplify your life and routine.

2. Who are your customers?

Just as seen in our name, m/f is male and female. Because we have not yet launched, it is difficult to say exactly who our customers are; but we are targeting the “expert aesthete” and calling them m/fers. m/fers are those who value design, simplicity, attention to detail, brand loyalty, transparency, art and high-quality products.

3. How do you define success in your business?

Besides the obvious ringing of the register, success can be achieved by creating super-impactful brand collateral that our customers can become familiar with, and efficient operations that they can learn to trust. We hope to reach hundreds of millions of eyeballs this year, and success to us will be achieved when we start to resonate in the market as a real alternative or “anti-Amazon” for your daily essentials.

4. As a successful entrepreneur, what are the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far?

Evolve or die! As quickly as the digital landscape changes, we must stay nimble and make strategic decisions as we find our way. I expect many challenges over the next few months, but if we stay true to our vision, we can evolve in a way that will feel authentic to our employees, stakeholders and customers. Also, things take time! We must remain patient. We are a lifestyle brand first and foremost, and it is to be expected that it will take longer to build than a pure product-led company.

back to top

Passionflix

By Jordan Pritchett

The OTT landscape continues to evolve at lightning speed. New entrants thrive in this crowded space when they have a deep understanding of their audience, deliver niche or targeted content, and can build a community of passionate consumers. Passionflix, a multiplatform SVOD startup launching later in 2017, embodies these strategic elements and plays an active role in defining OTT’s continued progression.

Passionflix aims to be the online content destination for all things love, passion, romance and happy endings. Passionflix was founded in 2016 by Tosca Musk, Jina Panebianco and Joany Kane, who have together made over 60 films and television series with credits spanning executive, producer, director and writer roles.

The concept for Passionflix was born from the recognition that the romance genre is categorically underserved. While existing network, cable and digital channels pay a level of homage to the genre, they only scratch the surface in terms of the depth of their content offering. Given that, the trio seized on the opportunity to corner the market by catering exclusively to the genre’s large and passionate following while also providing new avenues for enhanced content discovery and curation. In addition to a curated library of romantic classics, Passionflix will offer original productions adapted from books by authors who already command a large and loyal fan base. Subscribers to Passionflix will be granted access to the entire content catalog, in addition to the ability to purchase themed merchandise. Founding Members (open to all) receive additional access to events and savings.

The founders of Passionflix know their market, are deeply connected to their target audience, and excited to fill a content gap to very underserved demographic of women, many who are household decision makers.

Passionflix engaged Manatt Digital’s business and legal teams to advise on and support their content strategy and acquisition. Visit https://www.passionflix.com to learn more about the service and pre-launch subscription promotions.

back to top

Everyday Influencers and Press X

By Ned Sherman

The eSports market is projected to generate $696 million in 2017, with brands contributing $516 million through a combination of advertising ($155 million), sponsorship ($266 million) and media rights ($95 million), according to Newzoo’s 2017 Global Esports Market Report.

Recently, I have been working at the center of the eSports business in representing the talent management company Everyday Influencers (EI) and its sister marketing agency, Press X. EI represents many of the most influential streamers and casters in the industry, including Imaqtpie, Dyrus, Pokimane, Scarra and Seagull.

Recently featured in Rolling Stone, 25-year-old Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana built a large and engaged community playing League of Legends as a star player of Team Dignitas, retired from the pro-gaming scene in 2014, and launched his career as a Twitch streamer—a career that banks him $2 million a year before factoring in any sponsorship money. See “Meet the Retired Pro-Gamer Who Earns $2 Million a Year,” Rolling Stone.

EI’s reach in the world of eSports is deep, as the talent (creators, casters and professionals) it manages have large and engaged followings on YouTube and Twitch. Many are sought after by brands that need to reach the highly engaged gamer demographic. Twitch has 100 million monthly viewers who spend an average of 106 minutes daily watching live gaming, creating a tightly knit and highly interactive network of personalities, players and spectators. See the Twitch website here. With over 40 clients and a combined reach of over 300 million, EI has become the leader in talent management for gaming and eSports creators and professionals.

The company’s CEO and co-founder, Damon Lau, is no stranger to building successful businesses in new and emerging markets. He has over 15 years of global entrepreneurial experience spanning various industries, including gaming, sports, consumer products and automotive. Damon, who runs the company with his wife (and company COO) Deb Lau, co-founded Esports Network, where he launched Canada’s largest gaming communities and viewing events for eSports in Toronto, Montreal and Hong Kong. “The concept of having representation among esports content creators and professional players isn’t top of mind for the great majority of personalities in the scene,” says Lau. “Everyday Influencers was created because we’re invested in keeping the interests of talent first.” He is also the former CEO of Round 5, a consumer products company managing exclusive licenses for global entertainment properties such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, spearheading property awareness and distribution among mass market retailers such as Walmart, Target, K-Mart, Toys R Us, Walgreens, CVS, GameStop and Best Buy.

With an extensive portfolio of creators and partnerships with top brands within and outside gaming, Damon was approached by brands looking for EI to develop creative and strategic campaigns in gaming and eSports. This lead to the formation of Press X, EI’s sister company that consults for and manages campaigns for both endemic and nonendemic brands that want to reach this demographic. The campaigns that the company creates often utilize influencers with a deep focus on authenticity. “For EI, our main goal is to facilitate the education process behind the development of personal brands and to create a tangible road map for aspirations so that talent can focus on what they do best. On the brand side, there’s a huge disconnect when it comes to understanding the endemic culture. Our technical experience in areas like new media, digital marketing and brand/business development, along with our being esports natives, naturally led us to form Press.”

With brand investment projected to double to $1.5 billion by 2020, EI and Press X are well-positioned to grow and take a leadership role in the standard for talent management in eSports, and in designing brand campaigns that resonate with their growing fan bases. As Lau puts it, “We are the go-to agency for people interested in gaming.”

back to top

Puptimize

By Mary Ermitanio

Puptimize digitizes dog training. It is a free app that makes it easy to raise your dog through free professional training and expert-recommended products—all tailored to you and your dog. Puptimize lets you teach what you want, when you want, in just minutes per day.

We all want to be great pet parents, but there are three clear barriers to that: knowledge, cost and time. Puptimize removes all three of these by making it easy, fun and free to raise a great dog. The app breaks lessons down into short activities and reminds you when it’s time to take action—at the time that you’ve chosen.

Millions of dog owners are just guessing on training, guessing on products, even guessing which advice they can trust. Puptimize’s mission is to end that guesswork—and in the process, help end the disturbingly high number of dogs that are given up and given away each year.

Puptimize believes that by creating a world full of confident, educated pet parents raising happy, well-behaved dogs, it can accomplish that goal.

Co-Founders Rob Steinberg and D.J. Todd spent their pre-Puptimize careers in leadership positions at companies like Shazam, Yahoo, HP and Intuit. They brought that consumer, digital and mobile experience to Puptimize to bring the pet industry into the 21st century. The app launched with the most important commands, but much more content will be rolling out soon.

So if you have a dog, download the free Puptimize iOS app and see how much easier it can be to raise a great dog.

back to top