By Riley Kaminer
Entrepreneurship has coursed through broward-based Ari Zebersky’s veins since he was a child. He launched his first venture at the ripe age of 15: a nonprofit that ultimately brought a few hundred underprivileged South Floridians to professional sporting events around the region. At 17, he started an on-demand delivery service that aimed to ferry products and forgotten items around South Florida.
Now, at the age of 20, Zebersky is onto his most ambitious venture yet. In July 2021, alongside fellow South Florida local co-founder Dylan Karofsky, Zebersky launched BIP, an intellectual property (IP) licensing marketplace.
The idea is that through BIP, licensors that own IP can connect with licensees who have the interest and know-how to manufacture, market, and distribute branded products. All along the way, BIP provides both parties with tools to make the deal making process smooth including real-time tracking enabling all users to easily track deal memo progress, virtual chat room communication, and post-deal management services.
Users pay BIP based on the service they use. “That makes it a risk-free marketplace, since it’s free to use,” Zebersky told Refresh Miami. For self-service deals, which involve the use of BIP’s platform but no hands-on input from the team, BIP takes a 12% cut of the royalties stemming from deals on the platform. When the BIP team’s licensing experts walk clients through the entire process, they take a 22% cut.
At first, BIP focused on the market for IP stemming from NFTs. But soon, Zebersky saw the much broader potential for the platform. That bet has paid off, with BIP having just closed a partnership with Sunrise-based global toy brand Jazwares. The toy company is offering the IP from its plush brand Squishmallows and First Act, an instrument brand for aspiring musicians.
“What we’re doing is we’re enabling new brands that have so much potential behind them to gain recognition within an industry that is usually forgotten,” Zebersky asserted. “Now licensees and manufacturers – instead of having to go after only the massive brands that everyone knows about – can now go after newer, more emerging brands. We’re providing that discoverability.”
BIP reports having raised close to $1 million from angels to launch the platform. This has enabled the company’s five full-time employees to attract over 100 users and 50 brands to the marketplace. Zebersky hopes that this is just the beginning.
“We’re excited to build a massive network of brands and licensees transacting on this marketplace. And once we have that network, we’re able to expand into a lot of different categories.” Zebersky gave the example of leveraging the data in the platform through AI to uncover recommended matches between licensees and licensors.
“Once we have people on the platform and build such a huge network, there are a lot of fun things and cool and tech enabled ideas that we can do from this platform.”
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