Company: Big Bad Boo Studios, Vancouver, Canada
Company Description: Big Bad Boo produces high quality entertainment for children to teach them about different cultures. Founded in Jan 2008 by Shabnam Rezaei and Aly Jetha, the company currently employs 70 people in Vancouver, NYC and LA. Big Bad Boo produced Mixed Nutz, which airs on PBS and Shaw TV this Fall. It has also attracted Fortune 500 clients such as Fisher Price. They are currently producing 1001 Nights.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Canadian Entrepreneur
Nomination Title: Shabnam Rezaei, Managing Partner
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):
Shabnam has built Big Bad Boo Studios tremendously in the last 2 years from
nothing. Her dream started initially as a hobby while she was an executive
running the Professional Services division of Deloitte & Touche. With her
passion for Iran, she launched an online magazine called PersianMirror, which
aims to teach the world about Persian culture. She grew that site in 6 months to
feature more than 10,000 business listings and get viewership from around the
world. It was through PersianMirror that she met writer Dustin Ellis from LA.
Together, they produced their first direct to DVD cartoon named Babak & Friends
– A First Norooz. The story features a little boy named Babak who was stuck
between his Iranian and American life. They used Oscar nominee Shohreh
Aghdashloo in the cartoon and launched the product one year later. The film was
screened in Apple Stores around the world as well as more than 40 museums such
as Asia Society, The Smithsonian, The British Museum and Chicago Children’s
Museum. With it, they won the NYU business plan competition, $50,000 in cash and
received significant publicity from the media. That year, they sold
approximately 20,000 copies of the DVD.
Although Shabnam had a very successful career in financial software, she decided
to pursue her passion for culturally rich and entertaining products. With that
in mind, she and her partner Aly Jetha decided to raise funds to produce the
first multicultural cartoon that featured kids from Iran, India, Cuba and Korea.
When they initially raised close to $3 million in funding, they were outsourcing
the animation to the Philippines.
In late 2007, Shabnam discovered that starting an animation company in Vancouver
would enable her to produce a very high quality show locally and have more
influence on the animation.
In January of 2008, Big Bad Boo opened its doors in Yaletown to produce 7 of the
13 episodes of Mixed Nutz. Shabnam hired Glen Kennedy, an animation veteran to
be the Animation director. In addition, she hired animators, production staff
and outfitted the studio with the latest technology. In 2008, the staff of Big
Bad Boo produced Mixed Nutz under her direction. In addition, Shabnam continued
to add high profile clients to the list. Big Bad Boo completed animation for a
toy project for Fisher Price.
By early 2009, Shabnam had raised an additional $3 Million to start a new series
1001 Nights. Big Bad Boo currently employs 70 people who are working on 1001
Nights, which showcase the animated adventures of Sinbad, Ali Baba and many
other famous tales as told by Shahrzad. The first series Mixed Nutz is launching
this fall on TV stations.
List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, [http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:
Shabnam Rezaei “Young Gun” feature on FOX
Mixed Nutz Features on CNN
Mixed Nutz Clip “Bollywood Dream”
More at: http://www.youtube.com/sarasefeed
Company site is http://www.bigbadboo.ca and is currently being updated with a
new launch date of Sept 30th.
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):
With a BS in Computer Science, a BA in German Literature from the University of
Pennsylvania, and an MBA from NYU, Shabnam has spent over 13 years servicing
Fortune 500 clients such as JP Morgan, and ING. She has held managerial
positions at EXIS and Deloitte & Touche in New York and London.
Before starting her own companies, she was the head of Professional Services for
Misys’s Treasury and Capital Markets division.
Shabnam has been featured on local and international media outlets such as CNN,
BBC, FOX, CBC, VOA, the National Geographic, the New York Times and NPR.
Shabnam was born in Iran and grew up in Austria. She speaks English, German,
Persian, French, and Spanish. She lives with her husband Aly Jetha between New
York and Vancouver.