New App Features Le Moyne Emojis Thanks to Start Fast Venture

Rachel Chea

More stories from Rachel Chea

The Single Life
March 23, 2017

This past summer Le Moyne welcomed the StartFast Venture Accelerator program to their new permanent home at the Madden School of Business. The No. 1 business accelerator in Upstate New York accepted five out of the 2,000 startup companies that applied for this summer’s program.

These entrepreneurs “occupied the Madden School for the whole summer; from right after graduation up until everybody started coming back in August,” said the Dean of the Madden School, Jim Joseph.

One pair of entrepreneurs was CEO Shuai Payne and his CTO Michael Moore, who are co-founders of the Mogee App.

Mogee is a keyboard app, filled with different kinds of animated moving emojis [commonly known as gifs]. The app is available for free download in the Apple and Android app stores, and is available for use on existing messaging programs. However, Payne says it is optimized for iMessage and Google hangouts.

Payne, who grew up in Jamesville-Dewitt, graduated from Syracuse University in 2008 where he majored in accounting, management, finance, and supply chain management. After working and gaining experience in the business and financial worlds, Payne taught himself how to code and hasn’t looked back since.

Payne’s CTO and co-founder, Moore, works remotely from his home in North Carolina, but has been coding since he was 12-years-old.

“About two years ago, I realized the boom in contextual, visual communication [and] the popularization of gifs,” said Payne. “[I] Recognized that we are now in a content age, [where] content drives the future and to be successful in the future you need to own content or own a pipeline that distributes content.”

With his business background, he realized there was a big opportunity for him in this market. And just like that,  Mogee was born as a content platform that Payne says enhances communication.

Mogee comes with a default library, as well as its own store where users can download different packs. With assistance from Le Moyne intern Liz Peters this summer and in cooperation with Le Moyne, Mogee created a Le Moyne package of five emojis available for download..

Peters [a senior Marketing, Management and Human Resources major] worked with StartFast as a marketing intern over the summer, lending assistance to all five companies. Her duties ranged from brainstorming, to social media, and coming up with conceptual ideas to direct involvement in projects.

When Peters was approached about coming up with a Le Moyne pack for Mogee, she said she basically had free range of what she could do. She focused on aspects such as our mascot, graduation, and Dolphy Day.

“I tried to capture the Le Moyne culture in a moving image,” said Peters. “I thought about what makes Le Moyne uniquely different from other colleges, who will potentially be using this app and created them that way.”

Mogee focuses on concise non-verbal communication, with their focal target audience being the college demographic. The company would eventually like to connect more with colleges, and also some of the brands they love.

Mogee currently has its base in Syracuse. However, they are contemplating relocating to Ithaca, New York City or California. In California, Mogee is looking at either Los Angeles or San Francisco because there are a lot of potential investors for this type of business. Jim Joseph however, along with many others, is trying to get Mogee to remain in Syracuse.

So the big question is: What will make them stay?

Simply put, it all comes down to resources, which includes finding talent to work for them. Payne currently stated that at Mogee, they have three main needs. They are searching for talent in the areas of illustration as well as development, which includes coding. Additionally, Mogee is looking for those interested in advertising and marketing, as they are in need of brand and content consultants.

“We need to consult the brand on how to make content for them, to make advertising more subtle through emojis,” said Payne. “Putting recognizable brands in emojis [is] a way for brands to be naturally a part of conversation in a way that’s non-intrusive. People hate advertising but love their favorite brands.”

When looking for talent, Payne expressed that he looks at three main things: a person’s velocity in terms of how fast they are able to learn, adapt, and how driven they are.

Employees and interns can even work remotely. In fact, Payne says the company has interns from Cornell, one at Trinity College and one in high school. For him, your background in terms of what you studied doesn’t matter. What does matter is how talented someone is, if he or she can contribute to our three areas of need and work independently.

“No one will have the required skill set for what we’re doing because we’re doing it for the first time; but I need someone who is willing to learn, to work hard and able to find the answer to unknown questions,” Payne stated.

At the end of the month Mogee will make a decision about their permanent location.


If you have any questions or are interested in working with Mogee, contact Shuai Payne at shuai