Humans of Ripple: Akshay Maharaj, RippleX Cohort 8

July 8, 2021

The Humans of Ripple series was designed to feature the brightest bunch behind the scenes of the Ripple community. Today, we’re excited to feature Akshay Maharaj, the co-founder of Avybe, the new hub to watch authentic content from your favorite social media stars, as well as a fellow in Cohort 8 of the RippleX Fellowship!

What do you do at Avybe?

I am a co-founder at Avybe. As a founder, I wear many hats, from marketing and design to operations and finance! I have found my true passion down the operations side of the business and enjoy building an inspiring culture with my team members.

How did you get to where you are today?

My journey in the media world started in high school, where I co-founded one of the largest YouTube translation companies. I was able to work with individuals like Logan Paul, Mark Rober and many more! This provided me with insight into the social media world and instilled confidence in myself as a 16-year-old began to close deals with Hollywood managers. Through this insight, experience, and new found confidence, I have built out our new start-up, Avybe.

Why did you start Avybe?

Avybe’s mission is to help content creators diversify their revenue. Funny enough, myself and the other founders have all been trying to solve this exact problem before we all met!

To solve this problem, Avybe was initially built as a platform where users pay a subscription to access exclusive content from all our content creators, similar to Netflix. After building the product, launching and growing, we found a much bigger problem at hand. Users wanted a chance to have two-way interactions such as meeting the content creators and contributing to their next video, while creators wanted a way to monetize their highest willingness to pay users.

Through more rigorous user research, we pivoted to solve this problem directly. The inspiration from users, creators and mentors all assisted in transitioning from our initial idea to the one we have today.

Why are you excited about building in the space that you’re operating in?

To compete within the media industry, you need to continuously innovate to stay competitive with tech giants, such as TikTok and YouTube. My co-founders and I always remind ourselves with a saying, you have to “create” it before they have even “thought” about it. Using this mindset, we have built a new way for fans to interact with their favourite creators in the easiest way possible.

This is what excites me.

Think of a content creator you follow on any social media platform. Now imagine being able to meet them, chat with them or even be in their next video. Crazy right! So, what’s the catch? All you need to do is watch their videos, comment on their content, and support them as you have already been doing. It’s really that easy.

To make a product that millions of fans will use to live out their craziest dreams motivates me everyday. This is why I find working in the media industry so exciting.

What’s something you learned from the RippleX Fellowship that helps you today?

RippleX Fellowship has taught me multiple items, from the importance of networking to how to get a venture capital job. However, the most valuable component of the fellowship for me is the educational component of the venture capital industry. As a founder, I was only exposed to the venture capital side when Avybe began to fundraise. I had to teach myself the ins and outs of what venture capital actually entails and what investors are looking for. I found hundreds of articles online explaining bits and pieces of information while trying to sell me their venture capital packages. Ripple has equipped me with the knowledge of fundraising, which is extremely rare to acquire. To finally have this understanding, fundraising for my own venture has become less daunting and I am more confident than ever to go after venture capital.

About the Author
Dominc Lau
Principal, Ripple Ventures

Dominic began his career in accounting and finance at KPMG while he became deeply involved in the startup ecosystem. His first experiences with early-stage companies included mentoring student founders at the DMZ Sandbox Basecamp program, as well as through freelancing for startups & emerging VC managers. Through this lens, he saw the strong, positive impact that initial mentors and investors could have on startups when founders are resource and time constraint. As a result, he kickstarted his venture career with a local venture firm, EVP and helped build out the UWaterloo Student Venture Fund. Now, Dominic is continuing his journey in working closely with founders at Ripple Ventures.

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