Everyone on earth makes an impact. From the communities we build to the businesses we support to the changes we demand of the world, the choices we make individually direct the path toward our collective future. Technology and communication have irrevocably connected us. We’re linked to one another’s successes and failures, our joys and our struggles, our ambition and our constraints. Now more than ever, we each have a united stake in creating a more equitable way forward – especially for those of us who have historically and deliberately been excluded.
Among Founders of VC-backed companies, only 3% are Black or Latinx.
To help support these needed cultural shifts, Revery joined forces with Black Ambition – a nonprofit prize series aimed at closing the wealth and opportunity gap for Black and Latinx founders and visionaries, two communities historically excluded from the American entrepreneurial landscape. This was early 2021, in Black Ambition’s inaugural year, and we were joining a wave of efforts to disrupt the old systems that keep new voices locked out. Black Ambition’s mission centers on a future where ideas flourish, where new visions can be pursued without fear of ruin, and where Black and Latinx founders have the support and resources to pivot, not quit – like their white counterparts have been able to.
If Black and Latinx people were supported to succeed as entrepreneurs at the same rate as white people, the United States could add 1.1 million new businesses and 9 million new jobs to the economy.
Revery’s role was to support Black Ambition in building a storytelling platform to amplify their powerful vision – to support the budding leaders of today who will build the change-making companies of tomorrow. Beyond changing the entrepreneurial landscape, or even changing America, this was about changing the future. How would the whole world change if Americans were supported in equal measure? How would the changes we made today impact the future generations of our planet? How could a company like Revery, founded by two white partners, best utilize their resources in alignment with this non profit mission at such a critical time?
Of the world’s 10 biggest companies, 7 of them are American. Of those 7, all but 1 were founded by white men.
First, Revery took Black Ambition’s mission to heart – to supplement ambition with access, and to support the idea that applied knowledge is power. We found our answer in developing a unique inaugural Content Series, and producing Demo Day, Black Ambition’s culminating live event and prize announcement. Our goal for each was to build lasting infrastructure – a solid foundation for Black Ambition’s efforts, and a launchpad for the entrepreneurs who would participate and join the Black Ambition Circles community in the years to come. Over 40 Revery team members helped carry this project forward, ensuring each touchpoint was valuable, thoughtful, and aligned with the ambitious and significant scope of Black Ambition’s mission. Our teams provided remote and in-person production support across multiple time zones to put practical power behind Black Ambition’s inaugural brand launch.
DECODE THE ENCODED:
THE CONTENT SERIES
The heart of our platform was Decode The Encoded, a content series that provided Black Ambition prize applicants with unprecedented access to thought leaders of today who are changing the world with their ideas and actions. We created a library of evergreen content across a variety of formats, including Keynotes, Workshops, and Office Hours.
The goal of this series was to get inside the heads of exceptional leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs, equipping the audience for their own journey to success. This content wasn’t flashy or didactic – it was practical, helping to give budding founders and visionaries the key to joining in on the entrepreneurial game. In Pharrell’s words: accessing the “cheat codes” that can unlock both the fast-track to success, and help provide the inside access that generations of oppression had worked to seal off.
We focused our production efforts on maintaining and capturing the authenticity of each speaker – who they were as not just as an expert business leader and visionary, but as a human. In large part due to pandemic restrictions, the work was to show this compelling story through the lens of video conference platforms: developing the compelling human stories to connect real world insights, to opportunities to win the Black Ambition Prize money during Demo Day. Many of these exchanges were two-way so Revery leveraged Black Ambition’s existing brand language to soften the sense of boundary – leaning into the expansiveness of space, the ever-changing nature of clouds, and the hypnotic, uplifting tone that served as our antidote to restriction.
Our creative priority with Decode The Encoded was for our content to be grounded and approachable. We shot on iPhone, using two fixed perspectives to create a more dynamic sense of narrative. We incorporated design and motion graphics to build visual resonance around the speakers’ concepts and ideas, and we used typography to emphasize important messaging. Each piece we created became part of a permanent library of content, a cohesive fully-accessible collection that lives on the Black Ambition website.
THE CULMINATING EVENT
The culmination of our efforts was Black Ambition’s Demo Day – a live, two-day digital event where Black Ambition finalists pitched to investors, and monetary prizes were awarded to the winners: $50,000, $250,000, and a grand prize of $1 million. But Demo Day was more than simply the culmination of Black Ambition’s inaugural year – it was a life-changing opportunity, an experience that celebrated the immeasurable efforts of all Black Ambition’s prize finalists and could launch their potential into the future.
Revery’s goal was to honor the power of this event by creating a uniquely ownable Black Ambition moment: both around announcing competition winners, and in celebrating the efforts of all Black Ambition applicants. We also sought to create a space for Black Ambition applicants to network with investors and forge connections with one another, ensuring that the impact of Demo Day as a singular event could be as expansive and transformative as Black Ambition’s larger mission. The goal was to carry that energy forward, not only capturing the spirit of these journeys, but also inspiring the many Black & Latinx entrepreneurs to come and apply in future cycles.
In preparation for Demo Day, Revery produced and developed a series of pre-recorded assets plus a graphics pack to incorporate alongside the live portion of the event, which would span two days. We ran dress rehearsals and tech calls, operated a command center, and managed crowd participation with over 1,000 attendees. We teed up and ran all content, incorporating our pre-recorded content with live streaming on a seamless schedule. We were moving quickly in real-time with a large number of deliverables – a kickoff and commencement speech, opening and closing remarks, founder stories for each participant, and graphics throughout – and we were providing both digital production and tech support.
But even with so many moving parts, the result was so much bigger than its individual components. It transcended the rehearsals, the tech calls, and the mutually agreed upon deliverables, and the sum was truly greater than its parts. What we created together was a form of joy after continued years of being overlooked. Even through a digital screen, the human emotion was tangible – exhilaration, tears, countless smiles. For many Black Ambition finalists, this was the first time their work, dedication, and ambition had been met with true support. This wasn’t simply a monetary prize, it was an investment in both a team and their collective future: a long overdue recognition that yes, your idea has always been capable of changing the world.
THE CALL TO ACTION
This was a unique project for Revery. Black Ambition wasn’t about highlighting a moment, but about contributing to an ever-growing movement. Our goal was to bring euphoric transformation, exciting disruption, and galvanized potential. It’s our united stake in a new, brilliant future.
Where Black Ambition saw a future where ideas could expand, where our differences were our super powers, and where Black and Latinx founders could afford to take big risks, Revery saw where we could help build the support beams. In partnership with our creative network and production teams across the country, we helped to actualize Black Ambition’s mission – in this inaugural year, our true North was in setting a direction for the years of this Prize that will follow.
This is only the beginning – one in which we walk with equal footing, and where the paths and vision we helped to create light the way for future cycles and applicants. We’re excited for where Black Ambition goes next, and what that will mean for our collective, boundless future.