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Meet Edward Madongorere of MOON Selfie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Edward Madongorere.

Edward, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My Mother would often say, “Ed was born with a pencil in his hand.” As a young boy, raised in Queens, NY, my mother would often come home to the horrifying discovery of an entire wall destroyed by what I’m sure I thought was art. Being the supportive and incredible woman she is, instead of a time-out, she designated an entire wall for me to destroy as I saw fit. She encouraged it, which most felt was crazy. This single act allowed me to realize my potential and soon my indecipherable drawings would turn into better and better works of art. At tender preschool age, I discovered my natural gift for design and a love of interacting with people and building strong relationships.

When I was twelve, I had the opportunity to go to school in Zimbabwe. I attended three very different schools. Alexandra Park Primary (the prep school), then Dudley Hall Primary (the farm boarding school) and Allan Wilson High School (the tough all boys boarding school). It was in Zimbabwe where my entire perspective changed. I began to see the world differently and started to appreciate what opportunity I had and would no longer take life for granted. I returned to the U.S. to continue high school in Goffstown NH, then transferred and graduated high school in Worcester, MA at Doherty Memorial High. By the time I graduated high school I had attended seven different schools in three different states and two continents. These experiences forced me to learn how to adapt and the fear of change seized to exist.

After graduating, my dream was to pursue a career in industrial, automotive design. I was accepted to the Academy of Art in San Francisco but was not able to attend due to lack of financial resources. I was encouraged to go to a community college but, it wasn’t for me, so I dropped out. Since I couldn’t go to the school of my dreams, I decided to forego a higher education altogether and instead chose a different path. I dabbled in music, where I made a demo that would later get him a firm rejection from a major record label (a failure that did have an upside). As I dabbled in music, I became very interested in software, and because I needed an album cover, I taught myself how to use design software. With every problem I encountered, self-education become my solution for just about everything. I needed a website, I learned to code. I needed a music video, I learned to direct, film & edit. I wanted a job that required a skill set I didn’t have, I researched and figured it out. With all the access to information, there was no excuse.

These newly acquired skills would serve me well when I began a career at Comcast where I worked my way from customer service in an overnight shift to a regional Marketing role. I then worked at Cisco, developing eLearning programs. While at Cisco, I recognized that there was a gap in how the sales teams were executing their email blasts and came up with a solution. As my then boss, Morris Porter, Former VP of Sales and now advisor to MOON would say, “Ed transformed our sales training organization and pioneered a video email marketing process (back in 2007, when nobody was doing this!). After leaving Cisco, I was asked to come to join a thriving new startup, Affectiva, where I was involved in many aspects of the company. From designing and implementing customer engagements with major brands, to UX/UI design and much more. Working at this startup was a great lesson which would come in handy when it came time to venture out on my own. I then started my own boutique design & production company, Edemanté Design & Film, a producer of stunning ads and content with work that has appeared on CNN, Fox, CBS, MTV, and others.

All of these life and career experiences would come to a head one night when I was at dinner in downtown Boston with my wife, Jamese. Taking selfies before eating dinner had become our ritual, and this one night in a dimly lit restaurant, our frustration hit a boiling point. We experienced what so many people suffered. Poor quality photos and videos due to lack of good light. This moment would spark what is now MOON. An idea that was sparked by my love of high-quality imagery, mixed with creating memories and being social. I had an actual “light bulb” moment and decided it was my responsibility to solve this problem for everyone.

I sketched an idea on paper, found an engineering whiz, who became my co-founder, put together an extraordinary team of talented individuals and formed MOON Selfie, Inc. Our flagship product, MOON Selfie Light, is a first-of-its-kind small portable lighting accessory. It’s beautiful, sleek, and sophisticated design is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and thin screens alike. With a small form factor, customizable brightness and color temperature, users can optimize their lighting preference easily with a simple touch of your finger, allowing for perfect lighting and the best selfie experience whenever and wherever they find themselves.

MOON is indeed is the culmination of all of my life experiences. My love for people and the idea that anyone can overcome challenges is what excites me. I love to encourage people to pursue their passions, put fear aside and have a positive perspective on life. Today, I sit on three Advisory boards, and when I’m not working full time on MOON, I volunteer my time to Autism related organizations and also mentoring high school and grad students about entrepreneurship.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In my experience, smooth roads generally don’t exist in the world of an entrepreneur. In some cases, a smooth journey can be an indicator that you’re likely not on the right road and need to reroute your course or take the next exit ASAP. One of my toughest struggles was when I decided to go all in on MOON and asked my family to make the ultimate plunge, sacrificing their comfortable lifestyle we had worked so hard to build in pursuit of what was unimaginable. First was moving all four of us out of our spacious home to a tiny one bedroom, which we shared with my mother in law. I knew we would need to give up just about every overhead expense and live as frugal as possible if I was to make it to the finish line.

Although I faced this and many other struggles along the way, I’m thankful for each of them for they gave me battle scars. Remember, a lack of battle scars means you never went into battle and to be an entrepreneur is to be a warrior of sorts.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with MOON Selfie – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My company is MOON Selfie, and my job title is Co-founder and CEO, but I like to think of myself as the head cheerleader or head rebel. We’re a team of cheerleaders and rebels. Motivating others to live in their best light is what it’s about. We are far from conventional.

At MOON we believe moments are so precious and when we find ourselves in a unique experience, we want to capture, share and bottle them to one day relive them. The first problem is too often, these precious memories are lost due to poor lighting around us. The second is the perception that the act of taking selfies are all about vanity. Selfies and stories are so much more than just a snapshot of our lives. They represent who we are. They empower us.  Our solution/flagship product is the MOON Selfie Light, an elegant & portable lighting solution that features intuitive touch controls to allow users to adjust brightness and color temperature. Packed into a small form factor that attaches to virtually any mobile device and even laptops. Perfect for your photos, videos, stories, snaps, video calls and more. MOON will be there to help you capture your genuine selves in the best light!
Our team is comprised of incredibly obsessive designers, photographers, cinematographers, engineers, socialites, extroverts, introverts and all of us have a genuine love for people and encouraging those around us to believe in their inner selves and selfies.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The future at MOON is looking very bright (pun). I’m excited for the day we see our products in the hands of so many. Being able to give our customers that extra bit of time while brilliantly enhancing the quality of their photos, videos and digital memories gets us pumped. We’re bringing MOON to the US market then expanding globally shortly after that. We will be growing our team, and It’s also pretty amazing to know what we are doing, allows us to create some pretty cool careers paths for so many talented, hardworking and deserving people.

Personally, I am driven and excited to see others realize their full potential, chase their dreams, and win in life. As I continue my personal growth, I want to be in an even better position to help other entrepreneurs and young men and woman of color that may not have the same opportunities and encouraging them to pay attention to that inner voice that is screaming for them to go for it. I want to do my very best to support as many as I can in their journey.

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