Cuver CEO Ammar Amdani shares his superb story of COVID-era entrepreneurship. Uplifting and thrilling!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background did you have?
Ammar Amdani: I was born in Miami. I spent half of my life here in the US before moving to Dubai where I spent most of my teenage years. After that, I went to school in New York at NYU. I graduated a year ago and began a role in venture capital. That’s my professional background.
While I was at NYU, I launched an e-commerce company with my brother Sugar. That was my first experience in the space. It resulted in me wanting to spend more time and explore the space further.
I started off with a women’s street wear brand. This was the initial period where companies like Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and new e-commerce brands were emerging. We saw a trend there and decided to target it while private women’s brands were taking off at that time. We thought that it was a good opportunity.
We initially set up and built a team. This was during my freshman year. Within eight months, we collaborated with a lot of larger organizations. Our merchandise was featured in multiple plays around pictures, movies including Baywatch.
We collaborated with all kinds of influencers and celebrities like Bella Thorne. We also collaborated with other apparel companies like Ron Robinson and a few others. We eventually decided to exit that business about 18 months later.
A company based in the Dominican Republic wanted to expand their retail arm and target e-commerce brands. For us, it was more of an idea to see how things work in this space and establish some fundamentals. It worked out.
We ended up paying our own tuition. That was quite fruitful. After graduating, I joined an early-stage VC in London called RLC Ventures. I was there for a couple of months. I really enjoyed that space. That was something I wanted to do since I was a child.
At the beginning of this year, we decided to work on launching our own fund. We did start and made a few investments and then this opportunity came into play. We come from a background of textiles. It’s in our blood. We were seeing how we can cater to different demands for PPE products while still coming at it with a new lens and a fresh perspective. That is what we focused on.
Sramana Mitra: You saw the COVID situation and you decided that you were going to launch a mask company using your textile background?
Ammar Amdani: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: Where were you doing the manufacturing?
Ammar Amdani: The manufacturing is all based in Central America – Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico.