Manana Samuseva, the visionary entrepreneur, investor, and CEO. A luminary at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and business acumen, Manana has carved a remarkable path from her academic roots in mathematics to the forefront of the AI and Metaverse revolution. Recognized as one of the “Top 100 young entrepreneurs” and a leading figure in the world of venture capital, Manana’s journey reflects not only her formidable intellect but also an unyielding commitment to innovation and empowerment.
As the founder and CEO of Babylon Voice, an AI/ML-based company headquartered in the bustling heart of New York City, Manana leads a team pioneering secure voice-based identity solutions for the Metaverse, Games, Wallets, and Dapps. Beyond her role at Babylon Voice, Manana is a media entrepreneur, producer, and host on MTV, with a rich portfolio of investments and a passion for fostering inclusivity in the tech space, particularly through initiatives like “Women in Crypto.”
Today, we have the privilege of exploring the depths of Manana’s journey, the milestones that have shaped her, the challenges that have fueled her resilience, and the vision propelling her into the future. Join me in welcoming Manana Samuseva to share her insights on entrepreneurship, technology, and the exciting landscape of the Metaverse.
Early Entrepreneurial Ventures: Did you have any entrepreneurial experiences or projects as a child, even in a small or informal way, that foreshadowed your future as an entrepreneur?
During my early years, at the tender age of 4, I held a profound belief that as I grew up, I could develop a pill capable of shielding people from the anguish of loss and mortality, essentially eradicating the concept of death. This early belief in the potential of innovation and the desire to positively impact people’s lives has remained a constant wellspring of motivation. I had the opportunity to change 7 different kindergartens. In the final one, I convinced approximately 30 children to embark on an impromptu adventure to the park while the teacher was distracted, displaying my natural leadership and persuasion skills.
My journey into entrepreneurship began during my university days. I was offered an interview at one of the radio stations, where they proposed I host a show about relationships and sexuality. With the help of friends and family, I dived into 21+ content. Surprisingly, despite my 17-year-old age, my voice resonated well with the audience, and my innate entrepreneurial spirit and persuasive skills began to shine. It was at university that I joined a classmate’s advertising TV agency, where we focused on selling advertising slots on TV channels. This venture eventually led to the sale of a video production studio of advertising in South Africa, marking my first successful exit. I firmly believe that entrepreneurship is an intrinsic quality that exists in approximately 1-2% of individuals within any society. It’s a characteristic defined by an inherent aversion to working for someone else. This entrepreneurial spirit is often reflected in family legacies, where individuals inherit the drive to create and innovate. In my case, I’m not a first-generation entrepreneur, and I’ve witnessed the entrepreneurial traits in my family, which have undoubtedly influenced my path.
I applied mathematics in my marketing endeavors, including media marketing across more than four national TV channels (300 million audiences). During my time at MTV, I was offered an opportunity to host and lead a fashion program, which we named “Trendy.” I played a crucial role in selecting the program’s style, incorporating Japanese split screens. Additionally, I proposed an innovative integration with Nike advertising, which garnered excellent ratings and ultimately led to a successful outcome. This experience marked my first foray into the production world as a media producer.
My journey into entrepreneurship continued to gain momentum, influenced by my roles as a host at MTV and Disney’s invitation for me to serve as their Marketing Director. These experiences deeply connected me with the realms of entertainment and media, solidifying my passion for both technology and media as a formidable driving force behind my entrepreneurial endeavors.
I’ve always been someone who fervently believes that dreams, regardless of how wild or ambitious, can materialize with the right determination and conviction. I’ve never shied away from pushing the boundaries of what’s considered possible and ardently pursuing what I believe in. As Walt Disney once eloquently put it, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” This unwavering faith in the power of courage and determination has been at the very core of my entrepreneurial journey. I’ve discovered immense joy in embracing the seemingly impossible and navigating uncharted territories of innovation. “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do, and laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.” This philosophy has been my guiding light in the pursuit of innovative solutions. I’ve always found it exciting to do what others might consider impossible.
For me, the values of togetherness and collaboration are synonymous with teamwork. The challenges I’ve faced, including rejections from female venture capitalists and accelerators, have only intensified my determination. These experiences have served as a driving force to prove that I can succeed and make a significant impact in a predominantly male-dominated industry, even when my team, clients, and investors are men.
Your journey is truly inspiring, starting from mathematics and computer science to entrepreneurship. Can you share some key moments or decisions that you believe have had the most significant impact on your personal growth and career path?
Certainly, my journey from mathematics and computer science to entrepreneurship has been an incredible learning experience. There have been several key moments and decisions that have significantly impacted my personal growth and career path.
MTV Russia: A transformative chapter in my journey unfolded during my time as a TV-Host and Producer at MTV. Here, I had the privilege of producing my own show “Trendy,” a weekly show tailored for influencers, exploring the realms of fashion and subcultures. This hands-on experience allowed me to take charge of the entire production process, from content creation to production scheduling and financing. Notably, industry luminaries like Sony Pictures, Dori Media, Universal Pictures recognized the show’s innovation.
iLIFT TV: The launch of iLIFT TV was another pivotal moment, centered around the elevator pitch concept, where entrepreneurs had two minutes to pitch their startup to investors, while viewers participated in voting and crowdfunding. This groundbreaking media platform, designed for TV broadcasting, web, mobile, and social media, had a specific focus on supporting entrepreneurship, incubators, and venture capital funding for startups. Our global format, registered with FRAPA/BAFTA for U.S., European, and Asian markets. The impact of iLIFT TV extended worldwide. Beyond our presence at MIPCOM TV in Cannes, France, where we earned acclaim from industry giants, the show was broadcast on major TV channels across CIS countries, the U.S., Israel, and Latin America. It also gained recognition in Finland, China (CCTV), Singapore, and Hong Kong. Over seven years, more than 10,000 startups had the opportunity to participate, with an impressive 80% of them receiving investments from renowned figures like Peter Vesterbacka (Angry Birds), Paul Bucheit (Gmail, Adsense), Bill Tai (Investor Twitter, Partner CRV), Michael Seibel (Y-Combinator, Twitch, Socialcam), Dave McClure (500 startups), Igor Taber (Intel Capital), Ismo Rantala (Finnish Mobile Association), and many others.
As the CEO, my leadership was instrumental in iLIFT TV’s success. I handpicked a diverse team of over 20 international professionals and defined the company’s values, mission, vision, and financial and marketing goals. Under my guidance, iLIFT TV evolved into a highly successful media platform, offering real-time insights into Silicon Valley. This period of growth saw revenue surge by over 100% in just two years, and sales increased by 40% over the same period. The influence of iLIFT TV on my personal growth and career path is undeniable, and these experiences have left a profound impact on my entrepreneurial journey.
As an investor and CEO of Babylon Voice, you wear multiple hats. How do you balance the different roles you play, and what strategies have you found most effective in managing such a diverse portfolio of responsibilities?
Balancing the exhilarating roles of an investor and CEO in the digital world requires a rather unconventional yet undeniably sexy approach. First things first, let’s talk about being a maverick: I don’t do schedules. Prioritizing tasks and setting those oh-so-tempting goals is absolutely vital. My secret weapon? Effective delegation. I ensure that every facet of my sizzling portfolio gets the steamy attention it deserves. Open, uninhibited communication is key. Regular rendezvous with the CEO, our stakeholders, limited partners, and our smokin’ users keep everyone on the same tantalizing page.
Empowering my team is where the real magic happens. I’m all about them making scorching decisions within their domains of passion. Trust is the aphrodisiac in this spicy equation. Given the ever-changing landscape and the intoxicating world of new technology, staying on top of industry trends and best practices is absolutely essential. And I do have some naughty little secrets up my sleeve – advisors and experts who’ve become more than just professional confidantes; they’re an essential part of the business.
It’s all about those sizzling tricks for maximizing my personal productivity, or as some like to call it, “getting things done.” But here’s where it gets saucy – I don’t keep a schedule. I refuse to commit to those mundane meetings, appointments, or activities at any preordained time in the future. I savor the freedom to focus on whatever sets my soul on fire, whenever I desire. Do you feel like writing a research report all day? Let’s do it! Or perhaps we’re in the mood for a coding marathon? Count me in! And if reading about the latest in AI over a cup of coffee at that charming café around the corner sounds tempting, why wait?
When someone proposes a meeting, and they’re oh-so-eager to pin down a specific time Monday at 3PM, my response is simple: “Darling, I don’t keep a schedule, but how about giving me a ring at 2:45 on that very day? If I’m available, we can make some magic happen. Or better yet, if it’s something truly electrifying, we can meet right here, right now. I must say, this seductive approach is an idea borrowed from a fantastic read called “A Perfect Mess,” a book that unravels the secrets to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s success as a movie star, politician, and business magnate over the past two decades.
My newfound freedom makes me absolutely ecstatic. I can focus on the things that truly set my heart racing – my company, the captivating board commitments, and the moments I cherish with my loved ones. But don’t get me wrong; there’s a clear line between the “must-do” tasks and those tantalizing opportunities that I’m not ready to schedule just yet. To keep the heat alive, I’ve devised a naughty little system that involves three tempting lists: the Todo List, the Watch List, and the Later List. Picture it as our evening plans – we pick three to five hot tasks every night that we absolutely must do the next day. And let me tell you, my day feels oh-so-complete when I can cross off those tasks. But that’s not all; there’s a secret ingredient to my day. Every time I accomplish something – anything – during the day, I take a moment to savor it. I write it down on my Anti-Todo List – it’s like a record of our naughty achievements that keeps the fire burning.
Now, here’s where things get a bit more playful. I’m a fan of something called Structured Procrastination. Instead of battling those tempting urges to procrastinate, I embrace them and use them to my advantage. It’s a scintillating dance of getting important things done while indulging in some sweet procrastination. And have you heard of Strategic Incompetence? It’s my cheeky little secret for gracefully avoiding tasks I’d rather not deal with. Deliberately messing something up the first time ensures I won’t be asked to do it again.
When it comes to email, I make it a rule to indulge just twice a day. I keep my email client locked up, with notifications turned off. Urgent matters? Well, they can be dealt with in far more enticing ways – think calls or a secret messenger pigeon. Emails are a bit like those sweet little endorphin hits you get, the ones that make your heart race. So, I play hard to get, ensuring I only respond when it really counts. After all, if something is urgent, why rely on mere text when we can share an intimate conversation?
Organizing my email is a tantalizing affair. I have a few subfolders where I keep the juiciest, most pressing topics. They’re my little secrets, where I store emails related to ongoing projects or those that require my attention. But remember, these folders are for the things that truly matter – the real heart-pounding tasks of the moment. The rest of my emails? They either go into the Vault, my treasure chest of past delights, or the Review folder, where they patiently await the day when I’m ready to dive in. As for those that need my follow-up love, they find a home in the Pending folder.
Now, let’s talk about phone calls. I prefer to let them simmer while I enjoy the sweet sound of silence. But for those urgent matters that can’t wait, there’s nothing like the allure of a direct call, or even a telegram. To add a touch of glamour to my mornings, I kickstart the day with a seductive, sit-down breakfast that lasts a delicious 45 minutes. It’s my way of setting the mood for the exciting day ahead, promoting that perfect work-life balance we all crave. So, there you have it – my irresistible secrets for keeping the flames of productivity burning as an investor and CEO. It’s all about embracing the sizzling moments, prioritizing the thrilling tasks, and maintaining that elusive work-life love affair.
Structured Procrastination is a valuable strategy derived from the insights of John Perry, a philosophy professor at Stanford. Instead of resisting procrastination, I leverage it to my advantage. By engaging in productive tasks while avoiding less critical activities, I enhance overall efficiency. Robert Benchley wrote about structured procrastination back in 1949. Wonderful essay—highly recommended. That may be the case for some people, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived home at night and am at a loss as to what I actually got done that day, despite the fact that I worked all day. And I also can’t tell you how often I’ve had a huge, highly-structured todo list in front of me with 100 things on it and I stare at it and am paralyzed into inaction (or, more likely, structured procrastination). So a day when I get 3 to 5 concrete, actionable things done in addition to all the other stuff one has to do to get through the day—well, that’s a good day.
A few people have said, why not just use GTD (David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” approach). I discovered after writing this post that Paul Graham talks a bit about the role of time and focus on personal productivity in his essay on “The Power of the Marginal”.
You’ve been recognized as one of the “Top-100 young entrepreneurs” and a “Top VC Crypto.” What values or principles have guided your professional journey, and how have they contributed to your success and personal growth?
First and foremost, it’s all about embracing audacity. Life’s too short to play it safe, don’t you think? I’ve never shied away from daring to dream big and reaching for those seemingly unattainable stars. It’s this daring spirit that’s led me down the exhilarating path of entrepreneurship and venture capital, as you may know, is like a thrilling roller coaster ride, and I’m here for the heart-pounding twists and turns.
It’s the resilience, the unyielding belief in my vision, that has seen me through turbulent times. If you ever find yourself at a crossroads, just remember that success often lies just beyond your comfort zone. And that’s where I thrive – right at the edge of what’s possible. And then there’s the art of connection. Building and nurturing relationships with the most fascinating minds and entrepreneurial realms has been an absolute delight. I’ve found that collaborating, learning, and growing with others is like a beautifully choreographed dance. It’s these connections that have unlocked doors to opportunities I could have only dreamed of.
But let’s not forget to sprinkle a touch of passion into the mix. If you’re not head over heels in love with what you do, why even bother, right? I’ve always followed my passions. Passion is my secret ingredient, the spark that ignites every project and venture I undertake. And, of course, there’s a hint of serendipity. Life has a way of surprising you when you least expect it. Some of my most remarkable journeys started with a chance encounter or a serendipitous conversation. Embracing the unknown with open arms can lead to the most astonishing adventures.
So, there you have it! Daring audacity, unbreakable resilience, the art of connection, boundless passion, and a touch of serendipity – these are the values and principles. They’ve not only contributed to my success but have added that extra bit of spice to my personal growth. After all, life should be a grand adventure, don’t you agree?
Babylon Voice is at the cutting edge of AI and the Metaverse. How do you stay ahead of the curve in such a rapidly evolving industry, and what have been your most valuable learning experiences in this domain?
You see, in this rapidly evolving industry, adaptation and innovation are the names of the game. First and foremost, it’s all about the people. We’ve assembled a team of visionaries, dreamers, and tech wizards who live and breathe AI and the Metaverse. They’re the heart and soul of our innovation. By fostering a creative and collaborative environment, we ensure that groundbreaking ideas keep flowing. Learning is at the core of our DNA. We’re voracious consumers of information and we’re always on the lookout for the latest breakthroughs, be it in AI algorithms. It’s like a never-ending treasure hunt, and we love every moment of it. Now, let’s not forget the art of adaptability. The tech landscape can change overnight, and it’s essential to be flexible and nimble. We’ve had our fair share of pivots and shifts, but each one has been a learning experience. They say that in the world of tech, if you’re not disrupting, you’re being disrupted. And we’re definitely not ones to stand still.Speaking of learning experiences, some of our most valuable lessons have come from the Metaverse itself. It’s a realm where imagination knows no bounds, but it’s also where challenges can be as grand as the opportunities.
We’ve learned that to truly succeed, you must be prepared to dive headfirst into uncharted territories, embracing the unknown with open arms.And, of course, there’s the thrill of experimentation. We’re not afraid to take risks, to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Lastly, it’s our community that propels us forward. We engage with passionate individuals, from users to partners, who inspire us to reach for the stars. Their feedback, their dreams, and their needs are the compass that guides us on our journey. It’s a recipe for success that keeps us on the exhilarating path of innovation. The future is an open book, and we’re ready to write the next chapter.
The inspiration behind Babylon Voice stems from a deeply personal experience that addresses critical issues in the digital world. It all began with a profoundly personal event: the loss of my father to cancer during the Covid-19 pandemic, further complicated by his prior exposure to radiation in Chernobyl. This loss, coupled with a sense of isolation, led me to a unique coping mechanism – streaming content for eight hours each day as a source of solace. However, not everyone shared the same enthusiasm. A friend’s request for summaries of my content sparked a pivotal moment. They exclaimed, “I hate you! Your ten-hour-long interviews on Facebook are driving me insane; just send me a five-minute summary.” This notion of condensing lengthy content with the help of AI/ML into bite-sized, easily digestible formats became the initial spark for my research in Voice and Computer Vision.
Another significant turning point occurred when a biotech investor, concerned about misinformation, approached me with a request: “Help me find all stories on Instagram with the message ‘Moderna mRNA vaccines change your DNA and could cause cancer.'”
Upon returning to New York City during the Black Lives Matter movement, I encountered a new set of challenges, including theft and hacking incidents. During this time, all my belongings were stolen in NYC’ Hotel, including my ID, banking cards and MacBook. In a disturbing turn of events, my Bank account was hacked. To add to the complications, embassies required me to initiate the identity search process, and Chase Bank identified identity theft and subsequently closed my account. The remaining banks demanded two documents, leaving me without proper identification and access to bank accounts. It was during this period that banks began noticing a significant surge in deep fake attacks, with a staggering 600 percent increase. Amid this crisis, I reached out to Max, former partner at a16z and my brother, seeking founders help.. This marked the inception of Babylon Voice, with a clear vision – the “Black Box” concept, offering a comprehensive solution comprising a Media Wallet, web3 Storage, and Ownership. This empowered users to effortlessly create high-quality content and aimed to democratize creativity by enabling users to replace human content creators, all while operating on a minimal budget. The question to ponder is: why does this sound familiar? Ask yourself.
Having a PhD in Mathematics and a background as a Quantum Trader and former host at MTV, I aimed to find academic papers without the AI/ML programming. Surprisingly, I discovered that voice was the key to unlocking AI’s potential in this regard. This journey received support and grants from Amazon, OpenAI, and Spotify Datasets, focusing on solving the voice cloning problem. In a world where millions fall victim to identity hacks and social media-driven financial scams, Babylon Voice provides a solution that is 34 times faster and requires only 7 seconds of voice to be cloned.
Traditional identity systems, often centralized and susceptible to attacks, have proven inadequate. The high costs, easily guessed passwords, and low-security authentication methods associated with these systems have rendered them unreliable. With a 900% increase in deep fakes online from 2019 to 2022.This alarming trend has resulted in an annual fraud cost of over $80 billion in the US alone, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue. Identity theft, spambots, copycats, account impersonation, and illicit crypto wallets have collectively received $14 billion in illicit gains, marking an 80% increase from 2021. These incidents underscore the growing trend of social media being exploited as a tool for amplifying financial scams. According to the CISA, there were over 14M cybersecurity incidents reported in 2021, 8 million were phishing attacks, and over 4M were malware attacks. Equifax credit reporting agency was hacked in 2017, exposing the personal information of over 145M Americans. Marriott International hotel chain was hacked in 2018, exposing the personal information of over 339M guests. Capital One bank was hacked in 2019, exposing the personal information of over 100M customers. Cost: Traditional identity systems can be expensive to obtain: facial recognition $2, fingerprint scan cost $50, while a more advanced biometric check may cost as much as $200. In conclusion, Babylon Voice utilizes AI Voice ID, akin to iPhone’s FaceID, merging AI with voice signatures for privacy, verifies identities and authenticity, securus payments, validates content, and safeguards Digitally Native Intellectual Properties (DNIPs) and Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs).
Through seamless API integration on devices, content ownership and security are guaranteed across payments and commercial applications, crafting practical voice authentication revenue across industries. Babylon Voice earns royalties with each authenticated human voice. $132 trillion Market, with 5 billion new users in the next 5 years, CAGR 45% by 2030. Our team comprises exceptional talent, including AI scientists, programmers, Ph.D.s, and experts with impressive backgrounds from institutions like Stanford, MIT, Disney, Google, Intel, Uber, and Telegram.
The support for our endeavors is growing rapidly, with notable figures from Zoom, YouTube, Tesla, Twitter, and Apple joining our community of supporters. The far-reaching impact of our technology is evident through its adoption by industry giants, including Minecraft, Fortnite, Bloomberg, Disney, Republic, JP Morgan, and Roblox. These adoptions underscore the caliber of our innovations and their significance. Guiding our journey is a former partner from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), who joins as a founder, having successfully sold their company to Disney. Leading the charge is our CEO, Female Founder, equipped with a Ph.D. in Mathematics, a background as an MTV host, and a history of selling her company to Sony Pictures. In summary, our record of recognition, the exceptional prowess of our team, and the widespread adoption of our technology collectively underscore our position as a formidable player in the AI landscape. AI Voice ID serves as the digital identity standard for Games, Wallets, Apps, Media, and Payments—enabling rapid decision-making, content rights management, protection against scams, deep fakes, and transformative content creation using AI voices.
Our collaboration with Amazon, Open AI (Microsoft), and the application of zero-knowledge cryptography underpin this cutting-edge solution. Brief: Babylon Voice, AI Voice ID—a revolutionary leap that transforms your voice into an impenetrable digital signature. This robust voice imprint safeguards digital, streamlines app access, and amplifies gaming experiences. We revolutionize digital identity verification by the process, countering the shortcomings of conventional methods. Our technology’s sphere encompasses revered names like Minecraft, Fortnite, Reddit, Bloomberg, Verizon, Disney, Citigroup, Republic, JP Morgan, Roblox. Amid the rampant threat of hacks occurring every 6 seconds, Babylon Voice emerges as a game-changing solution—a seismic leap forward, 34 times faster, with a mere 7 seconds needed to clone a voice.
You have a strong interest in emerging technologies like autonomous robotics and Industry 4.0. How do you approach learning about and adapting to these innovations, and how do they influence your personal growth as a leader in the tech sector?
When it comes to diving into the tech world, including wild rides like autonomous robotics and Industry 4.0, I don’t just walk in; I strut in with a flair for the dramatic and a Gen Z twist.
- Continuous Learning: I firmly believe that the tech sector is ever-evolving. To stay ahead, I dedicate time to continuous learning. This involves following top-10 folks in this endustry, reading academic papers, industry publications, and attending conferences and seminars to gain insights into the latest trends, breakthroughs, and best practices.
- Networking and Collaboration: Building a strong network is vital. I engage with experts, researchers, and professionals in the field to exchange ideas, collaborate on projects, and gain diverse perspectives. This not only expands my knowledge but also opens up opportunities for innovation.
- Techy Social Media Tutorials: Who said learning couldn’t be entertaining? I whip out my phone, create snappy IG, TikToks, and break down complex tech concepts with a side of humor, memes.
Memes aren’t just for laughs; they’re for learning too.
- Hands-On Experience: I value practical experience. This experience provides a deeper understanding of the technologies and helps me identify potential challenges and solutions.
- Mentorship: I actively seek mentorship from seasoned professionals who have navigated the complexities of emerging technologies. Their guidance and advice are invaluable in shaping my approach and decision-making.
- Cross-Disciplinary Approach: The intersection of different fields often leads to groundbreaking innovations. I encourage a cross-disciplinary approach, fostering collaborations between tech and other sectors like fashion, aging, healthcare.
- Experimentation and Risk-Taking: I am not afraid to take calculated risks. Experimentation is key to innovation. I support a culture of experimentation within my team, where failure is seen as an opportunity for growth.
- Adaptability and Agility: The pace of change in emerging technologies demands adaptability and agility. I ensure that my team and I are quick to pivot and adjust our strategies in response to new developments or unforeseen challenges.
- Mental and Physical Wellbeing: I prioritize a healthy work-life balance and encourage my team to do the same.
I participate in initiatives that promote STEM education and support the next generation of tech leaders. This involvement provides a fresh perspective and reinforces my commitment to the tech sector.
- AI Pick-Up Lines: Flirting with AI? Why not! I craft AI-themed pick-up lines that are sure to make you smile.
- Tech Fashion Forward: Mixing tech with fashion is my vibe. I rock wearables that keep me connected while looking fabulous. Who says tech can’t be stylish?
- Robot Roasts: Roasting robots in a playful way is my guilty pleasure. After all, who can resist teasing those friendly, autonomous bots?
- Funny Programming Jokes: I’m all about those funny programming jokes that make you giggle while learning. “Why do programmers always mix up Christmas and Halloween? Because Oct 31 = Dec 25!”
- Tech Treasure Hunts: Exploring emerging tech is like going on a treasure hunt. I sprinkle clues and riddles across my content, challenging you to uncover the tech secrets.
Founding the “Women in Crypto” community and hosting “Trading for Women in Crypto” events are impressive initiatives. Could you share more about what drives your passion for supporting female founders in the cryptocurrency space and how it has impacted your personal growth?
My passion for supporting female founders in the cryptocurrency space stems from a deep belief in the importance of diversity and inclusivity in this emerging tech-driven industry. I founded “Women in Crypto” as a global directory, digital media, and community with the aim of connecting and empowering women in the field. Our community has grown to over 10,000 members across more than 30 countries, and it includes both founders and investors, with a special focus on supporting women in investment decision-making in the new economy and emerging tech. One of the initiatives that I’m particularly proud of is the “Trading for Women in Crypto” event.
These events have seen great success, with over 5,000 women participating, representing both the public and private sectors, including major companies like JP Morgan, GE, Morgan Stanley, Linkedin, Deutsche Bank, and CitiGroup. The events have also garnered attention from media outlets like New York Magazine, WSJ, and the “Breaking Banks Show” with Brett King, a prominent Fintech and Blockchain podcast. Empowering female entrepreneurs and bridging the funding gap is a significant part of our mission. Through events like “Women on the Block” in New York and Singapore, weekly gatherings of “Women in Crypto” in NYC, and CNBC’s breakfast, we aim to equip female founders with the skills and resources they need to succeed.
We also want to show investors that investing in women can lead to better returns. My involvement in “Women in Crypto” has allowed me to interact with diverse and dynamic individuals from various parts of the world. I’ve received valuable feedback and insights from events like the UN Blockchain for Impact Summit in 2019. In my role, I’ve had overall responsibility for shaping the strategic direction of “Women in Crypto.” This included financial management, business operations, business development, building alliances, and managing strategic partnerships with other organizations. I’ve also been an advocate for the industry, educating the media and entertainment sector about the potential of women in crypto, blockchain, and investments. This has involved speaking at local and global events and engaging with press outlets on a global scale.
You’ve made substantial investments in various companies and achieved top decile returns. What strategies or insights have you gained as an investor that have contributed to your own financial and personal growth?
Investing isn’t just about numbers; here are some strategies and insights that have fueled my financial and personal growth as an investor:
- Diversify Like a Pro: I don’t put all my eggs in one basket. Diversification across various asset classes and industries is key. It’s like having a buffet of investments – you get a taste of everything!
- Stay Informed, Not Just Invested: I don’t just throw money at a company; I become a Sherlock Holmes of the financial world. Research, analyze, and understand the businesses I invest in.
- Long-Term Love Affairs: I’m not into one-night stands with investments. I commit for the long haul. Warren Buffett once said, “Our favorite holding period is forever.” I take that to heart.
- Risk-Proof It: Risk is like spice – a little adds flavor, but too much can ruin the dish. I manage and mitigate risk like a boss. Asset allocation and risk assessment are my trusty sidekicks.
- Tech Talk: I’m all about staying ahead of the tech curve. In today’s world, you can’t ignore the impact of tech on investments. From energy, to AI, I keep my finger on the tech pulse.
- Patience Is a Virtue: The stock market is like a frenzied bazaar. I don’t let the noise distract me.
- Crash-Proof Mindset: Market crashes are like storms; they come and go. I don’t panic – I prepare. Crashes are opportunities to buy low and sell high.
- Emotionless Investing: Emotions are for poetry, not investments. I stick to a solid plan and avoid impulsive decisions. No FOMO or FUD here!
- Adapt or Perish: The financial world evolves faster than a tech startup. I adapt to changing market conditions and emerging trends. Flexibility is the name of the game.
- Continuous Learning: I’m a lifelong learner. I devour books, research papers, and expert insights. The more I know, the better my decisions.
- Sustainability Matters: I don’t just invest for profits; I invest in companies with a mission. Sustainable and ethical investments are the future.
- Mentorship Magic: Learning from the best is a shortcut to success. I seek mentorship from seasoned investors who’ve been there, done that.
- Risk-Reward Balance: I assess the risk-reward ratio of every investment. If the potential reward isn’t worth the risk, I pass. It’s all about balance.
- A Dash of Creativity: Investing isn’t just about spreadsheets. I bring creativity to the table, looking for unconventional opportunities.
- Dare to Dream: I don’t just invest; I dream big. Financial growth isn’t just about numbers; it’s about creating a future that’s exciting and fulfilling.
Investing isn’t just about making money; it’s a path to financial freedom and personal growth. It’s a journey of calculated risks, strategic decisions, and the thrill of watching your investments grow.
Babylon Voice is at the forefront of providing voice-based identity solutions for the Metaverse. Can you share the key milestones and strategies that have contributed to the company’s rapid growth in this dynamic industry?
Absolutely, our journey with Babylon Voice has been nothing short of exhilarating, much like an adventure in the ever-evolving Metaverse itself. It all began with a vision – to redefine digital identity through the power of voice. And now, as I look back, I can’t help but smile at the incredible milestones we’ve achieved.
Our first milestone was the spark of inspiration. It originated from a deeply personal experience, the kind that fuels innovation. I lost my father to cancer during the challenging days of the Covid-19 pandemic, a battle further complicated by his prior exposure to radiation in Chernobyl. This personal loss, coupled with a sense of isolation, led me to a unique coping mechanism – I found solace in streaming content for eight hours each day. But innovation often springs from challenges. Not everyone around me shared the same enthusiasm for my marathon content consumption. A friend’s plea for content summaries marked a pivotal moment. They humorously exclaimed, ‘I hate you! Your ten-hour-long Facebook interviews are driving me insane; just send me a five-minute summary.’ This seemingly small but resonant request was the genesis of our research in Voice and Computer Vision.
The next significant turning point came when a biotech investor approached us with a specific concern – the spread of misinformation on social media. They challenged us with a request: ‘Help me find all stories on Instagram with the message ‘Moderna mRNA vaccines change your DNA and could cause cancer.”
Amidst this journey, I found myself back in the vibrant heart of New York City during the Black Lives Matter movement, and it brought forth a new set of challenges – theft and hacking incidents. My belongings, including my ID, banking cards, and MacBook, were stolen from a hotel. To complicate matters, my bank account was hacked, and the bureaucratic maze for identity recovery was disheartening. It was during this turbulent period that banks began noticing a significant surge in deepfake attacks, with a staggering 600 percent increase.
In the face of these adversities, I reached out to Max, a former partner at a16z and my brother, seeking co-founder support. This marked the official inception of Babylon Voice, with a clear vision – the ‘Black Box’ concept. We aimed to offer a comprehensive solution, including a Media Wallet, web3 Storage, and Ownership. This vision empowered users to effortlessly create high-quality content, with the audacious goal of democratizing creativity by enabling users to replace human content creators, all while operating on a minimal budget. It’s an ethos inspired by the very essence of Web3 – decentralization and empowerment.
Now, you might wonder, why does this narrative sound familiar? It’s because it echoes the sentiments of countless individuals who’ve faced identity theft, hacking, and misinformation, a growing trend that threatens our digital world. Traditional identity systems have proven inadequate, with high costs, easily guessable passwords, and low-security authentication methods. The urgency to address this issue has never been clearer, with a 900% increase in deep fakes from 2019 to 2022, resulting in an annual fraud cost of over $80 billion in the US alone.
In conclusion, Babylon Voice’s journey has been a testament to the power of innovation and resilience. We’ve crafted a solution that utilizes AI Voice ID, akin to the iPhone’s FaceID, merging AI with voice signatures for privacy, identity verification, content validation, and the safeguarding of digitally native intellectual properties. Our journey has received support and grants from industry giants like Amazon, OpenAI, and Spotify Datasets. But our success wouldn’t be possible without the exceptional talent in our team – AI scientists, programmers, Ph. D.s, and experts from institutions like Stanford, MIT, Disney, Google, Intel, Uber, and Telegram. Our innovative technology is already embraced by industry giants such as Minecraft, Fortnite, Bloomberg, Disney, Republic, JP Morgan, and Roblox.
As we venture further into the dynamic industry of the Metaverse, Babylon Voice is not just a company; it’s a movement. It’s the embodiment of the Web3 spirit, and it’s a commitment to making the digital world safer, more accessible, and truly empowering. Our milestones are markers of this journey, but the road ahead is filled with exciting opportunities, and we’re thrilled to be at the forefront, shaping the identity solutions of tomorrow.
As the CEO of Babylon Voice, what obstacles have you encountered, and how have you overcome them in your pursuit of advancing AI technology and securing digital identities in the Metaverse?
As the CEO of Babylon Voice, my pursuit of advancing AI technology and securing digital identities in the Metaverse has been a remarkable journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and dramatic twists. Every obstacle we encountered became a stepping stone, propelling us forward in our quest to redefine the digital landscape.
- A Defining Realization: One pivotal moment came when I realized that the Metaverse had two distinct facets: one in the realm of gaming and the other in the world of finance. The emergence of platforms like FTX and the looming specter of an impending bear market had a profound impact on this realization. The tension between these two worlds created a dramatic backdrop for our endeavors.
- OpenAI’s Game-Changing Revelation: The revelations and presentations surrounding OpenAI were groundbreaking, opening doors to a new era of possibilities. It made securing both investments and clients a thrilling roller coaster ride. We witnessed a 300% increase in investments and a 145% growth in our client base within a year.
- The Uncharted Territory of Unreal Epic Engine 5, Roblox, Meta Quest and Apple Pro: Our journey led us to venture into the world of Unreal Epic Engine 5, where we faced both excitement and trepidation. This was uncharted territory, a digital Wild West, and we were the pioneers. It was a high-stakes drama where every innovation had the potential to disrupt the industry.
Harnessing the Power of the Evolving Metaverse:
We harnessed the power of this evolving Metaverse to create cutting-edge solutions for digital identity and voice-based technology, making Babylon Voice a household name in the Metaverse. As part of our journey, we secured partnerships with tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple, leading to a dramatic surge in our influence.
- The Drama of Deepfake Battle: In the battle against deep fakes, where the number of fraudulent videos surged by 900% from 2019 to 2022, Babylon Voice became a beacon of hope. We spearheaded an AI revolution, receiving backing from renowned institutions like Stanford, MIT, and Disney. This clash against deception was a dramatic showdown, with every victory signifying a triumph over deceit.
- Guardians of Trust in the Metaverse: With over a billion people lacking a legal identity, and financial scams raking in an annual fraud cost of over $80 billion in the US alone, the drama was palpable. Babylon Voice stood at the forefront, ready to protect users from malicious actors. We became the guardian of trust in the Metaverse.
- Collaborations with Industry Giants: Always important being in collaboration with industry giants like Nike, Microsoft, Mastercard, Roblox. These alliances underscore the impact of innovations because of social proof. And we extremely believe in the ZK protocol playground. With a rapidly growing user base, strategic alliances, global reach, and pioneering AI technology, we’re ready to script the next chapter of our remarkable story. The drama continues, and the world watches in anticipation.
You’ve mentioned the importance of AI capabilities and influencer voices in supporting the metaverse’s creative economy network. How has this approach fostered business growth, and what impact do you foresee on the Metaverse’s future?
Voice, by itself, cannot typically be trademarked as it is considered a common and essential element of human communication. However, when it comes to voice-related technologies or products, such as specific voice assistants or unique applications of voice technology, it is possible to trademark associated brand names, logos, and slogans. Grimes wants 30% revenue for voice, it’s essential to understand the context and specific details of any agreement or contract Revenue-sharing agreements can vary widely, and artists or individuals may negotiate a percentage of revenue for their contributions to a project or technology.
In terms of the impact on the Metaverse’s future, we foresee several key contributions:
- Content Quality and Diversity: The use of AI to enhance content creation will result in an even broader array of content types and styles. This diversity will cater to a wide range of user preferences and ensure the Metaverse remains a dynamic and engaging space. User Engagement: Influencer voices and interactive AI-driven characters will continue to drive user engagement and immersion. The Metaverse will become a hub for social interactions, entertainment, and education.
- Digital Identity Protection: The importance of securing digital identities will only increase as the Metaverse grows. Babylon Voice’s technology will set a standard for trust and authenticity within the Metaverse, mitigating risks associated with deepfakes and fraud.
- Monetization Opportunities: The Metaverse’s creative economy will expand, offering new monetization opportunities for content creators and businesses. Babylon Voice’s innovative solutions will be at the forefront of these developments. Industry Collaboration: As the Metaverse ecosystem grows, more industry players will seek collaborations with companies like Babylon Voice to enhance their offerings. This collaborative spirit will further accelerate the development of the Metaverse.
- Empowering Content Creators: By harnessing the power of AI capabilities, we’ve empowered content creators to generate high-quality, engaging content more efficiently. Our AI-driven tools have made content creation more accessible and democratized creative ownership. This, in turn, has attracted a diverse range of creators who have flocked to our platform. The impact is seen in the sheer volume of content being produced, with over 100 million content pieces generated, fostering a vibrant creative ecosystem.
- Enhancing User Engagement: The introduction of influencer voices, powered by AI, has significantly enhanced user engagement. Users can interact with virtual influencers, digital twins, and non-playable characters (NPCs) in ways that were previously unimaginable. This has not only elevated the entertainment value of the Metaverse but has also contributed to longer user sessions and deeper engagement. The strong user base of 50,000 users/followers and Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) attests to the growing interest and engagement in the Metaverse.
Security and privacy are paramount in the Metaverse. Could you elaborate on the unique features and technologies that Babylon Voice employs to address these concerns and how they’ve driven the company’s growth?
Absolutely, security and privacy are at the core of Babylon Voice’s mission. We’ve taken a multi-faceted approach to address these concerns, and it’s been instrumental in our growth. First, we employ AI Voice ID technology, which functions much like the iPhone’s Face ID but for voice. It ensures that only authorized individuals can access their digital identities. Furthermore, we utilize cutting-edge encryption methods, including zero-knowledge proofs, to protect user data and ensure privacy. This not only safeguards personal information but also protects digitally native intellectual properties (DNIPs) and decentralized identifiers (DIDs). In addition, our Media Wallet is designed with strong security features like fraud detection and anti-bot measures to prevent misuse. With the rise in deep fake incidents and identity theft, these measures are crucial in the Metaverse. Our commitment to security and privacy has garnered trust and support from industry giants like Amazon, OpenAI, and Spotify Datasets, who have recognized the significance of our solutions. We’re actively contributing to the creation of a safer and more private Metaverse, which is pivotal in our growth and the industry’s future. Our technologies are built on trust, and that’s what sets us apart
Looking ahead, what are your personal growth goals for the coming years? How do you envision your role evolving in the ever-changing landscape of technology and entrepreneurship?
Looking ahead, my unwavering passion for pushing the boundaries of innovation in the digital space drives my aspirations. In the coming years, my primary objective is to steer Babylon Voice to even greater heights while nurturing a culture centered on diversity, innovation, and ethical technology. I envision Babylon Voice maintaining its pivotal role as a trailblazer in developing secure, private, and inclusive solutions for the digital landscape. My evolving role transcends that of a mere tech leader; I aspire to create an environment where every individual can thrive. Top on my priority list is shattering barriers and promoting diversity, especially within the Gen Z demographic. I am committed to the noble cause of inspiring and mentoring more women to emerge as influential figures in the tech realm. As a female CEO, I firmly believe in the incredible power of diversity, and I perceive Babylon Voice as a symbol of inclusivity. Active engagement with communities and industries constitutes another significant aspect of my journey. Here, my aim is to champion a safer and more transparent digital sphere. Welcoming challenges with open arms, I eagerly anticipate collaborating with brilliant minds, strategic partners, and, most importantly, our exceptional team to drive forward Babylon Voice’s mission.
It’s worth noting that I once expressed my childhood desire to invent a remedy for mortality. On a personal level, the fear of death still lingers, amplified by my recollection of certain episodes from the television series “Black Mirror.” These concerns reflect my apprehension that many individuals remain vulnerable in the digital realm, and I’m particularly concerned about children who face various fears and threats. This leads me to ponder whether, beginning with the safety provided through voice technology, we can address digital vulnerabilities and pave the way for a safer digital existence and to invent a remedy for digital mortality via voice. Voice can be our ID standard for 1 billion unbanked and invisible people worldwide.
The projection that the Metaverse will have 1 billion users by 2027 is significant. How is Babylon Voice preparing to meet the growing demand for identity verification, financial services, and creative content within the Metaverse, and what strategies will drive this expansion?
With the anticipation of the Metaverse attracting 1 billion users by 2027, Babylon Voice is steadfastly positioning itself to not only meet but exceed the growing demand for critical services within this evolving digital realm.
Identity verification is a cornerstone of trust and security in the Metaverse. Babylon Voice leverages cutting-edge AI VoiceID technology, akin to iPhone’s FaceID, to provide an impenetrable digital signature. We’re investing heavily in refining and scaling this technology to ensure rapid, secure, and user-friendly identity verification, meeting the needs of the expanding Metaverse population.
Financial services play an integral role in the Metaverse’s economy. Our approach combines innovative solutions for secure payments and content rights management. With the financial landscape changing rapidly, Babylon Voice is staying at the forefront of these developments by employing strategies that emphasize inclusivity, accessibility, and privacy.
Creative content is the heart and soul of the Metaverse. Babylon Voice is fully committed to fostering a dynamic environment where creators and users can flourish. Our Media Wallet, with features like lightweight KYC, Voice multi-sign, and end-to-end encrypted voice messaging, serves as the cornerstone for secure, efficient content creation, and ownership. In our pursuit of expansion, Babylon Voice is dedicated to forming strategic alliances with key industry players, including Amazon, Google, Apple, and Epic Engine 5. These partnerships are instrumental in amplifying our reach, influence, and technological capabilities. Furthermore, we are committed to maintaining a strong presence in global markets, addressing the diverse needs of the Metaverse’s emerging user base. Our strategy involves robust localization efforts, ensuring that our services resonate with users worldwide.
As the Metaverse rapidly takes shape, Babylon Voice remains agile and responsive, continually adapting to the evolving landscape. Our user-centric approach, commitment to innovation, and our extensive network of experts ensure that we are well-equipped to meet the growing demand for identity verification, financial services, and creative content within the Metaverse. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this transformative journey.
How can people find out more about Babylon Voice and connect with you?
LinkedIn – Manana Samuseva