Representation in the media has changed significantly over the past decade. There was a time when nearly all of the media we consumed on mediums such as TV or Radio were controlled by a small group of organizations. The proliferation of both hardware such as the smartphone and the rise of social media has meant millions of people around the world can now produce and distribute content. This change has brought increased transparency with examples such as police officers in the U.S. being filmed on smartphones to major political events landing on Twitter before they are covered by mainstream media. One company that has spent the last few years building a platform to enable content creators from over 90 countries to share authentic content of what is going on in their community is “Dose of Society,” founded by Ahmed Faid and Nii Lartey.
Ahmed and Nii both grew up in London, U.K., and met each other through mutual friends just before they went to university. Faid studied Economics at University of Essex and whilst he expected to end up in a corporate job always knew he also had a desire to try his hand at entrepreneurship. One idea he had was filming his local community in London to “give them a voice” given the difference between what he saw in the news and what was happening around him. He parked the idea for some time until one summer holiday when his older sister who worked abroad visited and left her video camera behind. Faid seized the opportunity to go and film people in his local area.
Somewhat naive he thought it would be a straightforward task filming people but he quickly realized walking up to people in London, where most tend to be defensive was not. Three hours later he spoke to the first person who agreed to answer the question “if you could change one thing in society what would that be.” He got a wide variety of answers some of which he found very surprising. Faid started posting these videos on social media and they started to create a buzz so he continued doing this whilst completing his studies at university.
As Faid was nearing the end of university his videos and following on social media was continuing to grow. He knew it had the potential to be a viable business but knew he had to build a team to make that a reality. Lartey studied Broadcast Journalism at Nottingham Trent university with ambitions to follow in the footsteps of many of the journalists he had seen on TV growing up. However, as Lartey got closer to the industry working with several prominent organizations he quickly realized “I couldn’t share what myself or my community were going through as much of the news was filtered.” Faid later contacted Lartey to discuss coming on board with Dose of Society and showed Lartey a game plan of what the media platform could look like in the near future with him coming on board. They immediately clicked, both understanding the need for the media platform, and they started working on expanding the business alongside their day jobs.
Leap Of Faith
As the buzz around Dose of Society continued to grow, Faid and Lartey applied for Facebook’s LDN_LAB incubator and were fortunate enough to receive an offer. Whilst this was great news they had a crucial decision to make as the incubator would require them to walk away from their day jobs. They decided the leap of faith was worth it and the incubator was a “game-changer” for the duo. The experience taught them how to leverage the traffic they were getting, what type of content would be most impactful, and also paid marketing strategies to widen their reach.
Soon after the Facebook incubator the duo applied for Snapchat’s “Yellow” accelerator and were successful. This accelerator was well documented and very competitive. The pair had to fly out to L.A. to pitch their business, fortunately, these tickets were paid for by Copenhagen Youth Project set up by Stephen Griffith, an organization Faid had been working with from a very young age which helped to keep him focused growing up in inner-city London. The pitch format mimicked the TV show Dragon’s Den and whilst Faid and Lartey were nervous they got through it and were selected to attend the incubator in Los Angeles for 4 months. The experience was “life-changing” altering the way the pair viewed their business. Many workshops and sit-downs with high-profile people such as Gary Vaynerchuk and Evan Spiegel equipped them with skills to take their business to the next level.
In the year that has followed the Snapchat accelerator, the pair have formalized their business. They now receive tremendous business support from Havas, thanks to the Chief Creative Officer Mark Whelan. To date, Dose of Society has accumulated 300K+ followers & 100M+ views across all socials. They have also worked with a number of clients such as P-Diddy’s Revolt TV, enabling them to book revenue.
Also, they mainly pride themselves on their global community which has 300+ advocates in 97+ countries, leading them to build the next iteration of Dose of Society which will be an APP where many of their advocates can share authentic content from their communities all around the world. In addition to posting content, they will be able to take action on the platform doing things such as creating a fundraising campaign or a petition. The duo are very keen that their authentic form of media doesn’t feed a “here today, gone tomorrow” culture we have in society today but ultimately leads to positive change.
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