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Meet the 16-Year-Old CEO of Imaginators, the Startup that Reached 24 Countries in its First Month

His digital presentation platform, Imaginators, was presented at last year's Riseup Summit and is now accelerated by Innoventures. We meet Moody Boles, the Egyptian teenager rising in the entrepreneurial scene.

A group of teenage entrepreneurs launched an innovative platform that amassed clients from 24 countries in its first month. Spreaheaded by Egyptian teen Moody Boles, the founder and CEO of Imaginators, the startup features a portfolio and presentation website for creatives.

The 16-year-old dreamer saw a hole in the industry for a place where designers and artists could showcase their skills with customised presentations, without any programming or design knowledge. Its user-friendly drag-and-drop design makes it easy for users to create dynamic portfolios in minutes, without any technical challenges. The team had been preparing the site since August 2014, and it was officially launched at the Riseup Summit 2016. 

It was actually the mammoth summit that brought the duo together, after over two years of working online. The e-friends had never met in person, so Boles suggested they present at the Egyptian startup mega-conference, and that was where they met for the first time, at long last. Boles is the startup’s CEO and 15-year-old Amr Naguib is the team’s COO. Before the conference took place, the partners worked tirelessly, eventually scrapping two versions of the site before they came up with the official launch design.

Imaginators isn’t the first entrepreneurial venture for Bole. The student and developer is already a founder and CEO of another startup, ezzaii.com, a tech and programming news and tutorials site. He began his first project when he was barely a teen. The site is currently on hold as he focuses on school and works with his two business partners to expand Imaginators across the globe.

Its initial following multiplied quickly. During Imaginators’ very first month of use, the site attracted 100 new registered users, in addition to its 150 early adopters. The first month’s users were geographically diverse - 24 different countries - these users weren’t just people who’d been following the startup’s progress, they were people who had been seeking out a service like theirs. The team had found a niche - what remains is to expand its reach. “We need to go viral, to reach out to more segments of the population so we can seriously compete with others in the market,” says the teenage entrepreneur. 

The startup runs on the “freemium” business model - its basic features are available for free, but purchasing a premium subscription will unlock additional features. So far, this plan is keeping Imaginators afloat. Their very first paying customer joined on Day 1 and paid for six months of the service up front.

“You have to prove that you are not kids,” the young pair’s mentors had told them. Imaginators entered - and won - its first big startup competition with this summer’s Orange Startup Cup in June, where over 570 applicants vied for greatness. The youth-centered startup competition focused on gaming and VR, FinTech, agriculture, urban development, digital education, and app development. The Imaginators duo went through an intensive four-month long incubation process with training and mentorship from industry leaders. Their hard work paid off when they were named one of the five winning teams and took home a prize of 50,000 EGP. The pair recently joined the Innoventures Startup Reactor accelerator program to keep refining their business, and was recently selected to pitch at Betapitch Cairo.

Boles has been interested in entrepreneurship since before most kids are even reading chapter books in school, much less planning their careers. “I’ve been thinking about having my own business for at least five years, since my third year of primary school I’ve been working on my skills in designing and web development,” the young ingenue elaborates. His family is supportive of his startup dreams and proud of his progress, though “sometimes they tell me to study more.” The innovator is doing his best to keep up with school while still focusing on his startup and taking his business seriously.

Photography: @MO4Network.

Interview: Ahmed Wahid.

Words: Charlotte Swan.


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