How can women get started in tech?
Here’s a hint: The answer is in the question.
Getting started in business can be intimidating — especially for women and especially in Silicon Valley, where only one in 10 tech execs is female. As the founder and CEO of MojiLaLa and a woman, I’m proud to be an example for women who want to marry creativity and tech to make a difference in the world. My advice is to start by asking the right questions. For me, those questions were twofold: “How can we help people more fully express themselves in the digital world?" and “How can we help artists get paid for their work?”
Emojis and stickers are increasingly important in communication, and smartphone users need image options for communicating about topics they care about—from politics to pop culture. I wanted to create a way to give smartphone users unique and diverse emojis to aid communication in our increasingly visual world.
But as a former visual artist, I also wanted to help artists around the world monetize their art. I was sick of seeing my friends struggle to find ways to be paid for their work, and I knew artists around the country and the world were facing similar struggles. I wanted to create a way for artists to create revenue streams from their art.
I founded MojiLala in order to do both.
We use keyboard, image recognition, geolocation, and API technology to connect artists and consumers in a symbiotic relationship. Artists are able to deliver their work (in the form of emojis and stickers) simply, quickly, and for a profit, while users have an endless supply of emojis at their fingertips.
Asking the right questions, and answering them in the right way, has been successful for us. In six months, we have signed over 2,000 artists who have produced over 15,000 emojis. Our MojiLaLa Unlimited app has been downloaded 200,000 times, and we are the No. 1 sticker distributor for Apple iMessage.
The emoji marketplace is a multibillion dollar industry, and with MojiLala, we’re not only making it work for consumers, we are helping artists get paid for their work. We’ve dubbed our artists "emojipreneurs,” artists who are turning a profit by creating emoji and stickers that are used on billions of smartphones all over the world. Our artists share 50 percent of emoji sales profits, and we help them build iMessage sticker apps without writing any code. Artists around the world are jumping at the opportunity to earn cash for their work, while simultaneously getting their portfolios out there for the world to see. That’s why 2017 is the year of the “emojipreneur.”
It’s an exciting time to be living and working in technology, and also to be building in such a creative space. It’s such an honor to help people enrich their communication — and to help artists enrich their bank accounts. Are you a woman interested in getting started in tech? I encourage you to look at the problems that you think need solving, and then create the companies that can solve them.
About the Author
Dana Loberg is the CEO and co-founder of MojiLaLa, an emoji marketplace for artist and studios from all over the world. By connecting designers and their emojis with chat platforms, keyboards and bot platforms, artists get greater distribution, monetization and visibility for their sticker-making skills. Prior to founding MojiLaLa, Dana was also the co-founder of MovieLaLa: a mobile distribution platform for Hollywood studios. She worked with top studios including Disney, Lionsgate, Paramount, Universal, Skydance and others. A Los Angeles native, Dana is a former artist who wants to help bridge the gap between the creative and technology world in which we live. She started her career in the creative development and production department at Fox Studios, later breaking into the advertising world, working as a copywriter and creative associate for agencies such as McCann Erickson and JWT. She currently resides in San Francisco. Dana Loberg is currently in 500 Startups Silicon Valley, Batch 19.
TMC is working to raise awareness of important issues, such as promoting women in the tech industry, through its Tech Culture Awards program. It’s dedicated to bringing these issues to light and recognizing those companies, like MojiLaLa, that are creating positive change in the workplace. TMC invites you to explore and participate in the TMC Workplace Excellence Award program, which includes the Tech Culture Award, the Tech Diversity Award and the Social Responsibility Award.
Edited by Alicia Young