Ayden Syal, CEO of MOGL, discussed his transition from finance to running a startup focusing on influencer marketing for athletes. He explained the impact of NCAA rule changes allowing athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness (NIL) since July 2021. Athletes can now engage in sponsorships, endorsements, and more to leverage their audience and receive compensation.
The landscape is evolving rapidly, benefiting both well-known and up-and-coming athletes. College athletes are a powerful subset of influencers targeted by brands to reach Gen Z consumers. They have high engagement rates on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. MOGL acts as a marketplace connecting brands with micro and nano influencers in collegiate athletics for influencer marketing campaigns. Initially focused on revenue-generating sports like football and basketball, now expanding to other sports/longer tail like women’s basketball and track&field. The platform is vertical agnostic and allows brands to run campaigns with athletes from different sports to reach specific markets and demographics. MOGL streamlines the process, including compliance, contract generation, and performance tracking, setting it apart from competitors. The discussion also involved the importance of compliance in athlete sponsorships, where athletes must disclose details to their schools.
AI is an important tool in matching athletes with brands based on criteria, making the selection process efficient and effective. Aydan also touches on leveraging AI for customer service and business development. They raised significant funding rounds but also faced challenges in different market cycles. The process was described as grueling but the team has received significant support from advisors and VCs. He stressed the significance of having a strong team and the need to constantly evaluate the return on investment to drive the continued growth of the business.
The conversation also delved into the challenges and strategies involved in scaling a two-sided marketplace. Aydan discussed the importance of managing resources efficiently and optimizing the allocation of human capital to support the company’s rapid growth. He emphasized the constant focus on removing friction for brands and athletes in the sponsorship and endorsement process, as well as the need to streamline operations to accelerate and reduce the time for completing campaigns.

Chapter Summary
(00:00:51) – MOGL founder journey
(00:03:01) – The Revolution in College Sports: Name, Image and Likenesses
(00:06:53) – Democratizing influencer marketing for college athletes
(00:10:54) – Marketing to Gen Z with athletes in different verticals
(00:15:16) – The importance of AI in the athlete management platform
(00:18:27) – The financing route: successes and challenges
(00:20:48) – The challenges of the venture fundraising market
(00:23:30) – Developing a successful remote team in today’s business world
(00:25:11) – The strategy and KPIs for the subscription model
(00:27:46) – Promoting MOGL to Athletes: Marketing Strategies
(00:30:21) – Book recommendations for startup founders and podcasts: A personal perspective
(00:34:41) – Efficient Resource Allocation Strategies for Business Success


Resources mentioned in this episode
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

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