Category: In the News

Sian Morson

A Leader at the Intersection of Tech, Art, and Culture

Sian Morson is a trailblazer in the fields of entrepreneurship, investment, and web3. Renowned for her thought leadership and innovative ideas. Her influence transcends multiple domains, from mobile app development and beauty tech to web3 spaces and venture capital.

As an entrepreneur, Sian is the CEO of Kollective Mobile, a boutique mobile development studio that has carved out a niche in delivering unparalleled mobile experiences. She is also the mind behind Cast Beauty, a data-driven beauty recommendation app that gained widespread acclaim and was eventually acquired. 

For her innovations in the beauty tech space, Morson was honored with the L’Oréal Women in Digital Award, recognizing her gift for blending technology and aesthetics seamlessly.

Sian took her entrepreneurship acumen to the next level when she became the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at Cross Culture Ventures, working alongside industry veterans Troy Carter and Marlon Nichols. She has also been an active angel investor and startup advisor, providing mentorship and expertise to budding entrepreneurs at Techstars, Backstage, and other incubators.

As the founder of TheBlkChain, Morson has become a leading voice for culture and creativity in web3. This online platform has quickly become a hub for underrepresented artists and collectors in the NFT space, giving them a much-needed platform to amplify their work. In recognition of her contributions, she was awarded the NEAR Foundation Women in Web3 Changemakers Award for 2023.

Sian is not only an art curator but also a passionate collector and artist, having showcased her work in multiple exhibitions. She has also authored two books on iOS design—*Learn Design for iOS* and *Designing for iOS with Sketch*, the latter being the first book ever written on Sketch for iOS design and was #1 seller on Amazon.

Sian seamlessly weaves through the diverse sectors of technology, investment, art, and social impact. She is consistently pushing the boundaries of what is possible and setting new standards in every field she touches. Sian holds a degree in Film & Television from New York University and a Master’s in Electronic Art from Middlesex University and has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Essence, Ebony, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and Bloomberg. 

Luis Castro

Philanthropic Investments and Strategic Partnerships Lead

Luis Castro is an accomplished strategist and creative producer with two decades of experience developing and executing strategies to create a more diverse and inclusive entertainment industry. As a producer, Luis works with diverse storytellers to develop TV, film and multiplatform projects that change the cultural narrative. Through his consulting practice, Luis works with institutions large and small – from global media companies to groundbreaking nonprofit organizations and innovative funders – to design and implement integrated and impactful inclusion strategies, organizations, and creative talent development initiatives. Luis specializes in integrating equity into overall strategy, program design, implementation, and operations. 

Luis was an executive in programming at HBO in Los Angeles, where he devised a comprehensive equity strategy and worked across film and television to expand the network’s relationships with diverse creators, find new scripted projects, and identify diverse writers for existing shows. Before joining HBO, Luis led corporate grant-making as Executive Director of Philanthropic Initiatives at Time Warner. Luis was Acting Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, overseeing the agency charged with supporting and promoting NYC’s multibillion-dollar film, TV, and theater industry. Luis began his career in Washington, DC, as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Paul Simon and served as a legislative advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education. Luis served as a Senior Fellow of TV Storytelling and Culture Change at The Pop Culture Collaborative. He was a member of the TONY Awards Nominating Committee and served as an advisor to The Sundance Institute Theater Program. He is on the Board of Directors of New Dramatists and the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Luis lives in Garrison, NY, with his wife and 13-year-old son.

Luis was born and raised on Chicago’s southside, the son and grandson of Mexican immigrants. His mother emigrated to the United States from Guanajuato. Luis’ paternal grandparents came to South Chicago in the 1920s to work in the steel mills. They helped build the community and parish that made up the first Mexican settlement in Chicago. Luis’ late father, Ray Castro, was a prominent community and political activist.

Mauricio Mota

Partner | Artist-Entrepreneur Strategy & Investment Lead

Mauricio Mota is an investor and entrepreneur with 25 years experience across Edtech, Media, Entertainment and Impact Investing in the US and Latin America. Recently he founded Ashé Audio Ventures with JuVee Productions, Viola Davis’s and Julius Tennon production company. He also served as executive producer of East Los High, an award-winning drama series that earned 6 Emmy nominations during its run on Hulu for its realistic portrayal of Latino high school students. The show also became a global case of Impact Investing and how Social Impact for its partnerships with philanthropies and non-profits. 

Mota began his career as an entrepreneur at the age of 15 when he developed a storytelling board game, which he sold door-to-door all over Brazil. It is now present in over 5,000 schools. It later became a YA book collection and has been used by many Forbes 500 companies and the United Nations to foster creativity and innovation for their  Millennium Development Goals. The game’s patent was used as the foundation for a literacy social network employed by 700,000 kids in public schools across the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Later, Mota founded multiple companies, pioneering multi-platform content by designing and creating products and content for TV channels, Audiobook companies, movie studios, and advertisers globally. Mauricio was the first Latin American to speak at the Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT. He has been a judge on many international juries, such as Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Festival of Media, the Emmys, and the One Show. Mota represents the 4th generation of one of the most important Latin American storytelling legacies and has helped his mother re-shape the estate created by his grandfather, Nelson Rodrigues, who is considered the Brazilian Shakespeare, into the largest and most diverse IP estate in Latin America. Most recently, he designed The School of Series, a TV series/IP development lab that aims to shape the next generation of showrunners and content creators in Brazil.

Mauricio currently serves as a General Partner of Starfish, an organization built by artist-entrepreneurs of color to help other underserved artist-entrepreneurs turn their culture-defining ideas into career-defining ventures. He sits on the boards of Young Storytellers (a non-profit focused on mentoring low-income students through storytelling), A Call To Men (non-profit focused on reshaping manhood in society), the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and the Center for Third Space at the Annenberg School (an Institute focused on shaping the next generation of business leaders). Mauricio also has spoken for national and international audiences including the World Bank, The White House Fellowship and the State Department.

Mahyad Tousi

Founder & Managing Partner

Mahyad Tousi is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and filmmaker with nearly two decades of experience working across multiple media platforms. He is currently writing and producing a television adaptation of Ted Chiang’s award-winning novelette “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate.” Tousi wrote and co-created “REMOTE” in 2022 with renowned video artist Mika Rottenberg, marking his directorial debut. Previously, he executive produced two seasons of the CBS primetime comedy “UNITED STATES OF AL,” honored by the MPAC Media Awards for “reaffirm[ing] the importance of on-screen representation and narrative building.”

Originally a conflict zone videographer and documentarian, Tousi has been writing and producing narratives across film, TV, VR, and emerging media for 18 years. Beyond the screen, he founded Starfish, a hybrid social enterprise investing in underrepresented artist-entrepreneurs and amplifying their culture-defining ideas. He is also the co-founder of BoomGen, an independent incubator and cross-platform development studio, and sits on the advisory board of MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality.

Born in 1973 in Portland, OR and raised in the Iranian capital of Tehran, Tousi spent his childhood amid revolution, war, and a drastic reorganization of society. He emigrated to the United States as a teenager and now splits his time between Los Angeles and New York, where he’s lived for the last 26 years.

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