October 3, 2019 10:35 am

Mavatar Technologies Becomes Google Cloud Technology Partner

mCart Google Partnership


Mavatar Technologies Inc. today announces that it has become a Google Cloud Technology Partner. Google Cloud customers can now buy the flagship mCart omnichannel marketplace & shop-able content publishing platform-as-a-service from the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Marketplace. This partnership allows Mavatar to “make the world around us shop-able,” a promise that seemed simply impossible until a few years ago.

“Google Cloud may be one of a handful of organizations in the world with the resources and willpower to vet a powerful partner ecosystem to meet its enterprise customers’ visions. Google Cloud is not only offering their own state of the art technologies and services, but also introducing and supporting start-ups to innovate complementary technologies that Google Cloud’s customers need to address their short and long term objectives,” said Mavatar CEO and Co-Founder Susan Akbarpour. “We appreciate that Google Cloud empowers its teams to find, support and fund moonshots such as mCart that can address complex problems preventing major enterprises from capturing new opportunities like building lucrative new business models, and not just obtaining a marginal improvement.”

mCart Making the world shop-able-min

“The retail sector has to make a dent in Amazon’s aggressive efforts to accelerate the demise of struggling retail players. The mCart platform-as-a-service is here to help retailers close the gap between online and in-store experience, partnering with a network of unconventional channels. mCart marketplaces are driven by the assets Amazon can’t own overnight, such as content, experience, userbase, relationships, service, real estate, and technology,” Akbarpour said. 

mCart smart shopping carts direct shoppers from every movie, magazine, social post, event, living room or any corner of a shop-able world right to retailers’ checkouts only on cost per transaction (CPT) basis, without any costly and opaque middlemen such as affiliate networks. 

As a Google Cloud Partner, Mavatar enables Google Cloud customers to establish their own turnkey mCart platform that leverages a series of cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, AI, image search, and more. The mCart ecosystem fairly distributes value between the relevant parties for every transaction, from retailers to marketplace operators, influencers and shoppers.

mCart streamlines the path to purchase

As part of the partner ecosystem, Google Cloud is providing Mavatar with go-to-market and technical support.

Key features of the mCart omnichannel marketplace and shop-able content publishing platform-as-a-service include:

  • Aggregation of partner stores’ inventories and connecting their existing e-commerce infrastructure to mCart marketplaces 
  • Fueling mCart marketplaces with corporate assets via the shop-able content publishing platform
  • Influencer registration and management to create an influencer external sales and marketing force for mCart marketplaces 
  • Trade Promotion Management (TPM) System 
  • Real-time smart contracts for affiliate payments on blockchain
  • AI-powered CRM and data analytics


Visit the mCart PaaS in the GCP Marketplace today.


September 24, 2019 3:13 pm

The Investomer Mindset: Mavatar CEO to Speak at VC Fast Pitch San Francisco

Susan VC Fast Pitch

Warren Buffett once said said, “I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and I’m a better businessman because I’m an investor.”

Mavatar Co-Founder and CEO Susan Akbarpour truly believes and lives by this motto and has always offered unique views and approaches to ecosystems that she is involved with as investor/entrepreneur. She plans to share her coined “Investomer” (investor/customer) mindset when she will speak on the investor panel at VC Fast Pitch Conference on Thursday, November 7. 

Being an Investomer

Susan has been putting her investomer philosophy in her work as the co-founder and CEO of Mavatar Technologies and a partner at Candou Ventures. In fact, Susan and her partners at Candou Ventures, Shahin Hedayat and Faraj Aalaei, two other successful serial entrepreneurs with multiple exits under their belts, have a unique  investment philosophy, which is being hands-on investors and not only a financial resource provider. 

Candou helps their portfolio companies and sometimes even entrepreneurs that are not an investment target for them to succeed in their goals to move to the next phase, productization, go to market, fundability, exit and more.  

Susan’s outside the box investment philosophy of leveraging her portfolio companies technologies in her venture, Mavatar, or investing in the solutions that her team found interesting and worked for Mavatar, has created a lucrative win-win situation for both Candou and Mavatar. 

She has turned Mavatar into the first customer and a testing lab for new technologies and Candou Ventures into a hands-on backer who can help even in streamlining the direction of the product of companies she invests in as an “Investomer.”

More on the Investomer Mindset at VC Fast Pitch

Here more about the Investomer mindset from Susan at VC Fast Pitch. The event will be held at San Francisco State’s University Downtown Campus between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. VC Fast Pitch will provide the public the opportunity to pitch and network with VCs, angles and accredited investors. 

The event is hosted by Black Dog Venture Partners, which provides VC consulting to help startups get financing and engage in rapid growth in addition to investing itself. The San Francisco event is part of the VC Fast Pitch series, which holds events connecting investors and startups looking for funding around the country. 

Also speaking at the Investor Panel will be Black Dog Venture Partners CEO Scott Kelly, Privos Capital Chairman & CEO Dan Farrell, Golden Seeds Managing Director Marisa Alma McGinnis and more. 

Want to Attend VC Fast Pitch?

Get your tickets here.


September 12, 2019 2:22 pm

Kickstarting the Global Influencer Platform

global influencer header

When you inspire your cousin to buy the coffee maker you saw at from Macy’s you should get a commission from Macy’s! 

When you spot a jacket in a movie, google search and find it at Neiman Marcus, the producer, celebrity and network and all other parties involved should get a commission from Neiman when you buy it!

Everyone and every entity—from micro to macro, to mega influencers—should get a commission for their influence on people purchasing anything.

Mavatar has launched its Kickstarter campaign for the Global Influencer Platform to help these people and organizations track their influence to sales and receive direct compensation for it.

What is the Global Influence Platform? 

The Global Influence platform connects influencers to the network of mCart marketplaces, aggregating millions of products from the top retailers that shoppers know and trust. The platform serves as a single home for influencers to monetize their influence on social media and in the physical world and to promote their content across the whole mCart network. mCart marketplace operators also use the Global Influencer Platform to recruit influencers.

The Global Influencer Platform and mCart are capturing the power of influence marketing, which returns $6.50 for every campaign dollar spent and is projected to be a $6.8 billion dollar industry by 2020, growing 10.1% annually between 2015 and 2020. 

From the Global Influencer Platform, influencers can add their stories to curated shopping carts (mCarts) they are creating in these marketplaces and share the link (URL or QR code) of the mCart using  this novel and powerful system with others in traditional and social media, video or even physical places. 


A Wireframe of the Global Influencer Dashboard.

It also provides one control panel or personal dashboard for the influencers to track their performance within the network of mCart marketplaces in one place easily and transparently in real time.

Influencers can gain followers and see their sales ramp up quickly—it’s the UBER for retail sales! 

The mCart Shop-able Content Publishing Platform allows creators to track the sales of their mCarts within major marketplaces that are run by major entreprises and receive a 1-20% commission depending the participant retailers and marketplaces agreement.

These agreements are set in stone on blockchain smart contracts, and therefore transparent and unchangeable for everyone within the ecosystem.

Want to join the mCart Global Influencer Platform? Apply Here!

mCart global influencer platform regisration form

You can sign up to be a Global Influencer today here.

Completing the mCart Puzzle

We’ve already built the mCart omnichannel marketplace and affiliate sales PaaS, and now we’re adding the Global Influencer Platform to add the last piece to the mCart puzzle. 

Once influencers are accepted to the Global Influencer, they will become part of the mCart Global Influencer Network. The Network is a distributed salesforce that is incentivized to promote products in the content they’re already creating. 

Together, we can create a new paradigm for shopping, sales, and advertising, end junk mails and build a greener world, leveraging influencer marketing on the Global Influencer Platform.

Contribute to the Kickstarter Campaign Today

Why should you support the Global Influencer Platform? Because you’re an influencer too!

80% of Americans seek recommendations before making a purchase, which makes all of us influencers!

Influencers can be anyone—from everyday people to social media influencers with 10,000s of followers, to celebrities with millions of adoring fans, or to a TV network or magazine with hundreds of millions of viewers and readers. 

You deserve to get paid for your influence on shoppers. Those shoppers deserve to not be shadowed, targeted with ads or lose their personal data in auctions. And the retail industry deserves not to get its money wasted with high rates of bot-generated traffic and CTR on bogus ads.

To realize this vision, first we need to create the Global Influencer Platform. And to do that, we need your help. We are trying to raise $52,500 on Kickstarter to make the Global Influencer Platform & Network possible. 

We have some really great rewards prepared for you when you contribute at well like day-1 access to the platform, mCart collectibles and exclusive access to the Mavatar team. 

You can read more about the Global Influencer Platform and contribute today on our campaign page

Contribute today.

September 10, 2019 4:12 pm

Turning the World into a One Connected Mall to Achieve Consumer-Centric Commerce



Mavatar CEO and Co-Founder, Susan Akbarpour is all set to present at the Technology Runway at this year’s ICSC RECon Asia-Pacific in Singapore, on October 23rd, between 12-1pm.

Susan’s talk will cover how blockchain can revolutionize the retail real estate industry by closing the gap between offline and online and turning the world to a connected mall leveraging user-generated advertising. She will elaborate on how shortening the path to purchase from discovery to transaction by processing a massive amount of data for and by consumers will empower them and expedites decision-making process much more effectively than current push advertising models. 

Susan will cover new models for increasing sales per square foot and decreasing the cost of sales in a drastic fashion. She will elaborate how the mCart platform is the foundation of a consumer-centric and transparent commerce where blockchain helps distribute the created value among the main constituencies of the supply chain that influence transactions, removing middlemen, phony metrics and bot-generated click-throughs to the end the era of push advertising

In attendance will be 350 key decision-makers from across more than 25 countries. The event will be supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore Retailers Association, Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, and Japan Council of Shopping Centers.

The Technology Runway will cover emerging trends in retail technologies, have live demonstrations and hands-on access to products.


About ICSC RECon Asia-Pacific

ICSC is the largest trade organization in the world for retail and commercial real estate, and brings together the largest and most influential retail and real estate companies. ICSC RECON will include some of the largest players in Asia.

This year’s ICSC RECon Asia-Pacific is themed “The Space, Place and Future of the Retail Experience.” The event, which runs from October 21-23 in Singapore’s Raffles City Convention Center, is the Asia-Pacific region’s premier and largest event for networking in the retail and commercial real estate space. RECon brings together regional leaders for networking, discussion of the latest trends, and learning from industry leaders.

You can find out more about Susan’s talk at RECon Asia-Pacific and everything mCart and Mavatar on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. 


May 24, 2019 9:49 pm

5 Out-Of-Home Advertising Trends At DSE 2019

Edited version in Forbes Agency Council Community Voice

By Susan Akbarpour
Mavatar CEO/Co-Founder, Investor, Board Member & Blockchain Enthusiast.

billboards in time square

Online advertising has entered a crisis. While Americans spend nearly four hours a day on personal digital devices, those ads barely register. Due to the hyper-saturation of ads we see daily, we have developed banner blindness, where our minds don’t register online ads, leading click-through rates to plummet to .05% today.

While digital and static push advertising are becoming less effective, “transitional” out-of-home (OOH) advertising is making a comeback with digital billboards and interactive displays. These benefit from the same modifiability and data-driven potential as online advertising, but they less intrusively grab the undivided attention of the captivated commuters with hard-to-ignore ads.

At this year’s Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas on March 26–29, I explored some of the biggest concepts in the OOH advertising industry. Here are four OOH trends defining the ecosystem:

1. 3D Holographic Images

As rich user experience becomes a commodity these days, advertisers are resorting to novel OOH techniques to make people pay attention to their messages. I think that consumers and advertisers should look out for new cutting-edge concepts in digital signage like 3D holographic displays. The novelty of 3D holograms makes them useful OOH that may be able to hold viewers’ attention better than the highest-quality displays.

Hypervsn, for example, has created 3D holographic images with a device made up of four blades covered in LED lights. When the device spins, it creates a 3D image that looks like a higher-quality version of R2-D2’s hologram of Princess Leia in Star Wars.

hypervsn display

Hypervsn’s novelty makes them useful OOH, holding viewers attention better than the highest quality displays. Evidence has shown that a Hypervsn in-store can improve customer acquisition by 47%!

Consumers and advertisers should look out for new “cutting-edge” concepts in digital signage like Hypervsn’s 3D holographic displays — although probably embodying the phrase less literally!

2. Cloud-Based Peer-To-Peer Content Creation And Delivery

Billboard advertising used to be the domain of a few select operators. However, the industry is democratizing as digital signage makes it easier to publish ads and web-based platforms facilitate connections between billboard operators and prospective advertisers.

One company, Adomni, has created an OOH advertising marketplace for ad creation, delivery and audience analytics. Advertisers can choose from over 50,000 screens supported on the marketplace. Depending on operator processing time, an advertisement can be up in minutes.

Digitization is probably the biggest trend in OOH advertising in general, but OOH advertising platforms that facilitate peer-to-peer or user-generated advertising, customization and personalization can empower traditional players to advertise smarter while bringing in a new generation of OOH advertisers.

3. Localized & Contextual Advertising

Time spent at airports is up every year as more people fly, with an average wait time of up to 133 minutes for some airports in 2017. And travelers, 73% who like to indulge at the airport , are basically captive audiences for advertising and retail opportunities. Maybe that’s why the global airport retail market is projected to explode from$40 billion in 2017 to $59 billion in 2021.

By deploying dynamic digital signage in airports, operators can create experiences relevant to specific events, local inventories and contextual ads to target travelers.

80% of business travellers say that while at the airport, they feel a sense of excitement for their upcoming trip. To monetize this excitement before it’s too late, airports can provide them with the “first impressions” about that destination and optimize shopping journeys right after leaving the airport.

Lamar Airport Advertising and display maker Nanolumens teamed up to engage this excitement by installing 60 new Nanolumens LED displays in Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport’s Terminal 1 baggage claim. Travelers arriving at McCarran for Las Vegas’ many large-scale events see beautiful digital ads throughout the terminal customized to relevant events of the day, giving advertisers a powerful new tool to give new arrivals a “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” experience before they hit the Strip.

4. More Software And Hardware Options For Large Format And Captivating Billboards

Large digital displays might get more attention in OOH advertising, but they also need powerful software and hardware to run as smoothly as an iPad. Powerful back-end software and hardware are increasingly important for large format, interactive digital OOH advertising. Since the modern consumer has become accustomed to a high-level touch-screen experience, interactive OOH advertising screens may need to keep pace so the consumer stays engaged.

BrightSign’s XT1144 Expanded I/O Player is one example of this trend that’s currently on the market. The player features touch screens, 4K video, motion sensors, barcode scanners and more.

5. Evolving Mounts And Accessories

You may produce the best content and digital displays, but without the right frame and framework, you can’t make them eye-catching, safe, accessible and compliant. In the world of high-quality displays and captivating content, the frame often means subtly designed mounts integrating multiple moving parts to deliver greater public engagement, customer support and seamless content updates.

While mounts will likely never get the same attention as the displays, I believe that mount and accessory providers will continue evolving to keep pace with the innovations in display technologies. At DSE, Peerless-AV showed some of its products, such as the Smart City Kiosk and the All-in-One Kiosk, an LCD display terminal that lets advertisers deploy powerful content.

As we become increasingly numb to digital push advertising, I believe that innovative OOH advertising trends like what we saw at DSE this year will push the advertising industry in a new direction.


September 19, 2018 12:00 pm

FX Group soft launch for mCart-powered platform aims to make the red carpet shoppable

Last night influencers along with executives from MasterCard and Evite, joined us for the  soft launch of the FX Group marketplace, powered by mCart. FX Group is a creative agency poised to ignite shoppable content in every medium with mCart’s stellar technology.

Be among the first to visit and shop the FX Group marketplace now!

On FX Group CEO Kristian Krempel, Mavatar co-founder and CEO Susan Akbarpour says, “He is someone who has his hand behind the content.”

The FX Group Aims to Monetize the Red Carpet

Krempel says, “They [major awards show] do a large red carpet build-up but it’s not monetized in any way, shape or form. [mCart] creates transparency immediately. I believe this is the next revolution and if the rest of Hollywood catches up at our pace, we’ll see.”

Lauded by industry insider publications like Fashionista, Apparel Resources, WWD, Fashion News and others we’re thrilled to offer the first marketplace for everyone from micro to mega influencers to use mCarts to make the most of their original content in any medium.

mCart is the Future of Influence Marketing and Advertising

mCart leverages AI and blockchain technology to introduce fairness, transparency and speed to maximize the reach of Content Publishers like you, who are truly responsible for influencing shoppers. The mCart platform provides all the necessary tools such as coupon validation, rebate, price drop alerts, look-a-likes, product locator, and over 100 innovative acquisition, retention and monetization features. Each of these features is designed to stop third-party tools publishers from replacing the content publisher’s cookies in the penultimate step, a practice that has contributed to a drastic margin of error in attribution analysis.

September 10, 2018 12:00 am

Understanding The Difference Between Influence Marketing And Influencer Marketing

It’s love at first sight: with your friend’s new sofa, or maybe your boss’s handbag. You want to know where you can get one, but you never get a chance to ask. Or maybe it’s a dress worn by a celebrity on the red carpet catches your eye. You sift through one Google search result after another to find it. You even post a picture on your social media, hoping friends can help.

Every time something like this happens, it represents not just a dissatisfied shopper, but also a lost sale. Monetizing the influence of these contexts, something I’ve been working toward within my own business, can be an enormous marketing opportunity. I call it “influence marketing.”

Influence marketing should not be confused with “influencer marketing,” which focuses on individuals pushing products to consumers. Instead, it’s about the power of content or context and empowering consumers with relevant data throughout the entire path to purchase, from brand awareness and consideration to purchase decision, which includes comparing products’ quality, price, popularity, proximity and even relatability.

In a world hyper-saturated with advertisements, an influencer waving a new “must have” lip gloss on Instagram can become just another part of the whirl. In contrast, influence marketing doesn’t push products but rather presents them in the context of a narrative. The success of eco-friendly marketing, like Patagonia’s “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign, shows the power of an authentic, positive narrative.

To create a shoppable world, we first need to categorize sources of influence.

Categorizing Influence

I divided influencers into three categories to better define my influence marketing concept: micro, macro and mega influencers.

What is the difference between influencer marketing and influence marketing?

Micro influencers are everyday people, including those we know, who typically have fewer than 10,000 followers. They create content, or what I call “shoppable context.” They are a powerful force with a high engagement rate: 80% of Americans seek recommendations before making a purchase. Spotting a sofa in the comfort and sincerity of your cousin’s house, for instance, creates a context that sells.

Despite their high engagement rate, micro influencers are not an official part of the value chain because they’re small fries, even if they could be considered the most powerful force in the aggregate.

Macro influencers range from social media notables with tens of thousands of followers to celebrities with tens of millions. This large and influential group has been one of the main drivers of influencer marketing so far. Because they advertise to a wider audience than micro influencers, brands often work with them through affiliate networks or agencies.

While there are many examples of macro influencers making tons of money from brand and product endorsements, it is often less clear how much sales they actually generate.

Take David Beckham, for instance. The former soccer player earned 30 million pounds annually from brand and product endorsements. From the affiliate sales point of view, based on our own experience with 30 top retailers and the traditional affiliate network’s average 5% commission rate, his endorsements should have created 600 million pounds gross merchandise value (GMV). But the reality is no one knows whether he’s overpaid or underpaid.

How much influence on brand sales does Beckham possess? Does his influence still sell after his contract ends? Maybe if he could accurately monetize his influence, he could afford to be more authentic, relevant and selective about his endorsements.

As we move from micro influencers toward macro influencers, we see higher potential payout opportunities, but experience less authenticity. Consumers could be more likely to trust their friends than David Beckham, as world-renowned as he may be.

In my opinion, as a former journalist and publisher, mega influence is created by a collective consciousness that influences consumers even more than superstars like Beckham do. Sources of mega influence include mainstream media, movies, TV, red carpet shows, festivals and experts. These influencers set trends, swaying millions of consumers with their content or context.

Studies show that video — be it a YouTube video or Hollywood blockbuster — profoundly influences product awareness, as people watch video not only for entertainment but also to learn about new trends. This influence drives people to buy, leveraging the power of storylines that create immediate and powerful emotional connections between consumers and products. Accurately monetizing this diffused mega influence has proven difficult because it’s impossible to accurately measure its extent.

Using Micro And Mega Influence

I previously mentioned that I believe blockchain has the power, DNA and bandwidth to make influence marketing a reality, scale digital marketing and enable micropayments. For micro influencers who are too small to get paid using traditional accounting and brand management, we use blockchain technology to automatically reward them with micropayments to realize peer-to-peer advertising, as GDPR and FCC limitations imposed on influencer marketing become a bottleneck.

We’ve found that mega influencers, who create shoppable content and engage with millions of consumers, can also see rewards via micropayments on blockchain. For instance, a movie studio could be instantaneously paid via blockchain for any sales generated by content connected to a film.

The benefits of blockchain-backed influence marketing for micro and mega influencers don’t necessarily exclude macro influencers. David Beckham could also leverage blockchain to support and endorse products he loves for his fans to shop. He would get a fair commission for the sales he generates, making his value more accurate, affordable and authentic.

There have been a number of blockchain-based technologies introduced to the industry, such as the new tech from Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group that uses blockchain within a network of participants to allow brands to make media buys on both broadcast and over-the-top (OTT) TV. Computer giant IBM is another big player in the space, as reported in Forbes. But perhaps more exciting is the effect of this technology in pull model advertising.

I believe blockchain could become an industry standard to realize cross-pollination efforts between media, consumers and retailers to make the world around us shoppable and track influence to sales dollars.

Mavatar co-founder and CEO Susan Akbarpour is a contributor for Forbes CommunityVoice series, where this article originally appeared.

September 2, 2018 12:00 pm

Highlighting Our CEO Among Other Iranian-Americans in Tech in “Decoding Silicon Valley” Series

Iranian-American diaspora after Iran’s revolution played a notable role in world of technology, especially in the U.S.

Renowned scientists such as Professor Ali Javan, who was the first to propose the concept of the gas laser in 1959 and Professor Lotfi Zadeh, who was best known for proposing fuzzy mathematics with undeniable applications in technology, economics, education, construction and many other multi trillion dollars industries. Maryam Mirzakhani; the first woman to ever win the Nobel Prize for Mathematics to Anousheh Ansari, the first female space traveler, Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder; Dara Khosroshahi, Uber CEOSassan Goudarzi, Intuit CEO and many others; are all belong to the Iranian- American community that according to the Iranian American Contribution Project database and Wikipedia, are among the highest-educated people in the United States.

Learn more at Iranian Americans’ Contribution Project.

Decoding Silicon Valley, showcases some of the successful Iranian entrepreneurs and VCs working in technology and examines their key to success. The series boasts viewership of 5–6 million young Iranians and is available to download for free. Decoding Silicon Valley offers an exciting inside look at Farsi-speaking Iranians working in tech and is produced by IranWire. IranWire is a media outlet focusing on citizen journalists, enabling a community of young Iranian journalists with a place to discuss local and global news in one place.

Mavatar co-founders Brom Mahbod and Susan Akbarpour discuss projects at their Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park.

The first 25 minutes episode of the Decoding Silicon Valley video series features Mavatar co-founder and CEO, Susan Akbarpour along with other Iranian-American tech figures. Akbarpour discusses shifts we’ve seen in work culture in Silicon Valley versus old, outdated methods of working. She also discusses the best mix of Iranian culture and family values which center around education and hard work with those of her adopted country. She believes that these practices morph with Silicon Valley’s culture of sharing, transparency and tolerance that has led to all of the accomplishments that we are witnessing coming from this community.

Mavatar co-founder and CEO Susan Akbarpour appears the Iran Wire series, Decoding Silicon Valley.

Akbarpour explains how transparency led to new forms of incubators, accelerators and open platform workplaces in the valley where multiple companies share space and resources without the fear of giving away their secrets. “The workplace is really your second home; I’m spending over 10–12 hours of the days here, so it’s not fair to go to a depressing and isolated place everyday.” Collaboration even beyond the border of your own company, bring-your-pup-to-work days and working outside of traditional work hours are all part of startup life for Iranians like all other tech gurus experience as a way life in Silicon Valley.

There are thousands of young Iranians who want to better understand the key to success of their expatriots and how their fellow expatriates are navigating the fast-paced space in Silicon Valley: the utopia of entrepreneurship for millions of innovators around the world . The series goes beyond living and working in technology and also aims to, “to highlight the importance of the values ​​that bring about the success of technology companies in this habitat. Values ​​such as: appreciating failure, tolerance, transparency and sharing, and the important role of minorities, especially women and immigrants in shaping Silicon Valley,” according to the site.

Recently Intuit announced its CEO is stepping down and will be replaced with Iranian Sasan Goodzari. Goodzari’s current role focuses on QuickBooks Online, which primarily serves the self-employed and small businesses. Goodzari’s global insight is expected to serve him well as he takes on the top position at a company with several well-known technologies. Born in Tehran, Goodzari said, “It was an amazingly tough childhood that shaped a lot of what I am today. It shaped me in terms of being a dreamer and also in appreciating diversity.”

The TechCrunch piece discussing Iranian Dara Khosrowani, who served as CEO of Expedia and now serves in the same outpost for Uber. “Venture capitalist Pejman Nozad, who was practically penniless and unable to speak English when he moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1992, says that neither Khosrowshahi’s success, nor that of his extended network, should come as a shock to anyone who knows how Iranian families tend to operate — putting family and friends first, followed closely by a dedication to study, particularly of math and science.”

Shortly after moving to Uber, WIRED interviewed Khosrowani, who said, “When you’ve lost everything, and my family really did lose everything, you learn that loss is a part of life.” It’s this ability to regroup and persevere that makes Iranians ideal for an ever-shifting industry filled with highs and lows.

IranWire is sure to give young people an honest and fresh look at the movers-and-shakers working in Silicon Valley to develop new technologies and elevate well-known products as they take on new leadership roles.

Watch the first episode here.

September 2, 2018 12:00 am


Susan Akbarpour is CEO and co-founder of Mavatar, the company behind mCart, a blockchain-powered platform that connects consumers, retailers, and influencers.

She’s spent the last 30 years working as an entrepreneur, investor, and product developer, and has built four companies along the way while guiding many more.

We sat down with her to talk about blockchain, its impact on advertising, and what will happen when the whole world is “shoppable.”

What does blockchain technology mean for your business?

Blockchain may be a buzzword, but it’s helped us solve a huge problem and bottleneck.

Last year, we visited the top retailers to tell them we’d created an Uber for retail sales — a platform that makes the world shoppable in a user-friendly way.

These retailers took one look at the technology and said, “Sounds good, but how do we deal with all the influencers behind this content? The more influencers promoting our products, the more we’ll have to spend on back-office services.”

The only way we could make our platform scalable was to utilize blockchain to tokenize the system. The technology lets us create an immutable smart contract between multiple parties in a transaction. This means we can handle innumerable settlements and micropayments in a fair and transparent way. As a result, we now work with a lot of top retailers, including Walmart.

That’s how blockchain worked for us. It helped us bring our solution to market and remove any barriers to adoption. It truly saved us.

One big challenge for companies like yours is separating the reality of blockchain technology from the hype. How do we get people to focus on its real value?

There’s a lot of doubt and hype around blockchain because only a very small number of platforms are actually making practical use of it.

This is exactly like in the 90s when a lot of people were talking about the internet but most didn’t understand how the internet protocol works.” Fast-forward to today, and most of us still don’t know how the internet protocol works, but we’re all using the applications that are built on top of that protocol.

The challenge is to make more easy-to-use applications, then adoption will rise.

User experience designers have a huge responsibility here. They need to push the complexity of blockchain to the back end and make the front end more user-friendly.

Speaking of the applications of blockchain, how will advertisers be able to use it?

There are loads of applications for the blockchain, but its best use is removing the bottlenecks and middlemen from a platform or ecosystem.

Now that we can see who’s done what for a top retailer, we can cut affiliate networks out of the equation and give brands the ability to reward their influencers fairly and at scale.

In advertising, it’s time to be fair and it’s time to be transparent. We’re inundated by so much noise and our lives are cluttered with so much information that we have to process.

Now, with the arrival of blockchain, this won’t be as much of an issue. Brands will make a lot of money by cutting the cost of sales and marketing and shifting their marketing dollars to best-performing channels, but only if they’re fair and transparent.

Can you explain how blockchain technology will benefit influencers?

Today, content publishers have to endure a series of painful affiliate sales processes to monetize their content.

I’m talking about things like stiff technology integration and approval processes, expiring cookies, outdated tracking techniques with a high margin of errors — the list goes on and on.

At the end of all this, they still haven’t made that much money. This breaks my heart, as I know creating content isn’t easy. It’s unfair that middlemen are giving the results of influencers’ hard work to what I call “last-click hijackers.”

With blockchain, we can attribute a sale to the content publishers that did the most important job. This is going to change everything because until now, influencer marketing had only ever targeted a fraction of influencers out there — macro influencers. Now we can serve micro- and mega-influencers and that’s a huge opportunity.

What first inspired your interest in blockchain? Had you always envisioned blockchain technology being an integral part of your business?

Our blockchain, and the tokenization of our system, was the brainchild of Shayan Zadeh, Mavatar’s executive chairman. He founded Zoosk and was one of the early adopters of blockchain technology.

He saw how the micropayment issue was blocking adoption of our technology and suggested blockchain as a potential solution at one of our board meetings. It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.

Can you tell us a bit more about your life before blockchain? How did you get into software development?

My first project, Teksia, connected the financial resources and best practices in Silicon Valley with entrepreneurs around the world. It was a brilliant and formative experience for me as I built a very strong network of decision makers and technology influencers.

Then we created Linkore, a management consulting company with three major focuses — executive search, investors, and customer relationship management. In essence, it was a concierge service for startups. We were helping them find the right connections, deals, and resources.

I was involved in software UI/UX design at both companies. I ran them with my brother, a software and hardware engineer, and we couldn’t afford to buy much software so we decided to build our own.

I come from a desktop publishing and design background, so my job was designing applications for our businesses; things like a résumé bank, event management systems, and networking software.

Then, when I went to Stanford Graduate School of Business, I realized there was an opportunity to optimize the advertising industry. When I was a publisher, one question I could never answer was, “How can I calculate the ROI of an ad in our publication?” I thought it was time that technology answered this question because it’s a fair one. Everyone tracking advertising dollars to sales dollars needs a precise answer.

What made you pursue a career in advertising?

I’ve been living in the advertising world for almost my entire life. My parents were very entrepreneurial and forward-thinking and launched what I believe was the first advertising agency in Iran.

They also worked as publishers and I followed in their footsteps. I started my own publications and this brought me into contact with advertisers. I also spent some time working as an advertiser myself.

Working on both the buy and sell sides has made it easier for me to picture a win-win situation for everyone involved in the industry.

How has advertising changed since your parents’ day?

The sad truth is: not a lot. Most brands today are still pushing a “get it or regret it” type of push advertising in the hope that consumers will make a purchase decision faster. We have to ditch this paradigm and embrace pull advertising. This means attracting customers with content and empowering them to make smarter decisions at their own pace.

Susan speaks at RampUp Chicago ’18 on September 9th. Interested in knowing how to apply blockchain to your digital marketing strategy? Register for RampUp on the Road Chicago to hear Susan speak about this topic!

August 28, 2018 12:00 am

SEC reviewing BTC ETFs decision: could utility tokens be far behind?

According to Fox Business, the SEC has announced it will review the decision to reject BTC ETFs. This touches on the topic discussed with Mavatar co-founder and CEO’s Susan Akbarpour on Varney & Co. show two weeks ago.

In her segment on the financial show, Susan explained the advantage of utility tokens for the U.S. economy and technology applications and how countries who are dragging their feet on ICO, defining utility tokens and crypto regulations stand to lose out.

Switzerland, Poland, Singapore and several other countries already have implemented legislation to categorize cryptocurrencies and to regulate ICOs causing U.S. entrepreneurs and developers to take their enterprises overseas.

Read the full Fox Business article here.