By Bernd Debusmann Jr
The firms include a tech company aimed at connecting celebrities with fans and an influencer management agency
Emirati serial entrepreneur Sara Al Madani has plans to launch at least three companies in 2020, including a tech firm that allows high-profile personalities to earn money for video “shout-outs” to their fans.
Al Madani – a board member of the UAE Ministry of Economy’s SME Council and of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry – has already founded a number of companies. Among them are Social Fish, a marketing, branding and social media consultancy based in Dubai and Los Angeles, as well as Proposal Cupid, an events company specialising in proposals, engagements and weddings.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Al Madani said that the companies she is launching in 2020 include HalaHi, a company that allows celebrities to send personal video messages to fans.
“It’s a way for celebrities to engage with their audience in a very organic, fun way. It’s [meant] to create a bridge between people and those they idolise, their role models,” she said.
“It also helps the role models be down to earth and engaged with their fan base – and to monetise it and make money out of it,” Al Madani added.
According to the firm’s website, celebrities and ‘influencers’ will be able to earn between $20 and $500 for a single video – often of 30 seconds of less – and take away up to 70 percent of their earnings.
Using the platform, the celebrity is able to choose the videos they wish to do and set their own price.
HalaHi is officially due to be launched in March.
Additionally, Al Madani revealed plans to launch a fitness meal prep company – Fitbar – that is currently being “tested out” on the market.
Lastly, Al Madani said that later this year she plans to open up a talent management agency that hopes to address one of the most common issues she sees with influencers in the region: mismanagement.
“I’ve seen the way that agencies manage talent. They take the influencer, and make them a money machine, but don’t teach them how to manage their finances,” she added.
“Agencies kill talent and give them an expiry date,” Al Madani said. “They teach them that everything is money. They become so commercial that their shelf life is short. If you’re commercial, someone is always going to come along who is better than you.”
Madani, however, said that she could potentially open more companies this year.
“Do I have more capacity to start more businesses? Yeah. I can go 10 more if I find the ideas,” she added. “Three months ago I had no idea I was going to open these three companies.”
The key, she said, is acting quickly on the ideas.
“If you don’t do it, someone else will. Then you’ll end up working for them,” she said. “If you have a thought, put it in action, or let it go and don’t stress.”