Ryerson students redefine Instagram selfies

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By Andrea Vacl

Bryan Gold and Adam Rivietz co-founded the Ryerson Digital Media Zone (DMZ) startup, #paid.

Their startup uses social media to connect companies to celebrities to create sponsored product placement on social media.

“Our vision is to change the way celebrities interact with social media and enable them to just make money by taking pictures of their everyday actions. Their life is just sponsored now by a brand or two,” said Gold.

Gold and Rivietz brought this vision to TechCrunch Disrupt in San Franscisco last month. TechCrunch is a leading company in technology media, whose events, like the Disrupt series, are among the largest technology conferences in the world. Disrupt includes a Startup Alley where early startups can set up booths to gain exposure.

Gold and Rivietz’s set up a booth for their start-up decorated with gold coins and money bag-laden — intriguing investors.

“It got us a lot of sales leads with the startups including companies that were there looking for ways to advertise and also got us the start to some relationships with investors,” said Gold.

“There was probably at least one investor from every continent who came up to us and said, ‘This is a great concept like keep in touch with us,’” said Rivietz.

The buzz surrounding #paid landed them an interview with TechCrunch writer Alex Wilhem and they were featured in the TechCrunch San Francisco video coverage space online.

“That video came out and we got 60 sign ups on our site,” said Rivietz.

#paid started on Instagram and currently works exclusively with fashion companies, connecting them with models and athletes

Gold and Rivietz are looking to fitness as a next step for expansion.

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