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Starting a Startup: How Strada Raised $2M and Launched a Beta in Just 7 Months

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In early 2023, brothers Michael and Peter Cioni left their roles at Adobe and Netflix (respectively) to build a new company following a hunch that the greatest opportunity for creative professionals brought by machine learning is not Generative AI, but intelligent workflow automation for content creators. Together, they are betting everything on Strada, which they believe will completely reinvent creative workflows.

They’re building Strada in public, a technique in which companies that are building themselves from scratch document – and share – the entire process, in full view of their peers, investors, potential partners, customers… even competitors! The Cionis created their YouTube series, “Starting a Startup,” followed by “Building an Alpha,” documenting how they’ve navigated all the pitfalls and successes – all featuring behind-the-scenes footage (good, bad and ugly) and narration to sum it all up with key takeaways. 

Strada’s series is a masterclass on how to successfully launch a new business. It’s packed with invaluable tips for any entrepreneur, new or seasoned, who is looking to launch their next business, uncovering a goldmine of information. The series documents all the painstaking steps that go into building a business, brick-by-metaphorical-brick, from identifying and dissecting the problem you plan to solve (because not every problem is worth solving with a new business) to the forms of funding one may be seeking and which is right for you. 

The goal is that through this transparency, sharing updates, successes, and failures, as they bring vision to reality, it will make for an even better end result.


The brainchild of Hollywood tech veterans and brothers Michael Cioni, a workflow expert with hundreds of film and TV titles in his portfolio, and Peter Cioni, an accomplished media and entertainment executive, Strada is a first-of-its-kind A.I.-enabled cloud platform for content creators. It will combine a cloud marketplace with an intelligent workflow builder to help creative professionals improve the quality of their content. As Michael explains in the startup’s “Building an Alpha” YouTube series, ep. 14: A Technological Defining Moment, “Strada is not an upgrade to your workflow; it’s an entirely new way of working altogether.”

In the penultimate episode of the “Starting a Startup” series, the team announced a major victory: $2M in pre-seed funding following months of research, development and debate (documented for all to see). In its earliest stages, Strada got backed by major Hollywood players, including: filmmakers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Rabbit Hole,” “This Is Us,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”), Jason Fotter, co-founder and former CTO of FuseFX, the principals of Ataboy Studios, as well as well an investment group behind Donut Media, Endcrawl and Goldieblox. Panavision, a storied American motion picture equipment company, is also supporting Strada as a strategic partner, with President and CEO Kim Snyder joining the Strada Advisory Board.

Just three months later, Strada hosted its first deep-dive webinar (ep. 17: A New Form of Workflow is Born), which saw hundreds of attendees and has continued to rack up views since. Through the webinar, the Cionis gave folks the deepest look into Strada yet, inviting feedback and criticism to ensure that when the beta was delivered in early 2024, the “time to value” for customers would be as short as possible. To offer the most value, Strada planned to launch with features that will improve the tasks that all content creators require for every project – regardless of budget or team size – allowing them to tell stories with higher quality and improved collaboration in less time. 

In January 2024, the Strada private beta was released, mere months after the Cionis announced they were quitting their jobs to start something new. At the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank, California, Strada founders Michael and Peter Cioni debuted the brand-new A.I.-enabled media workflow platform to hundreds of creative professionals. They presented in front of a live audience with no pre-recorded demos and no room for error. That live beta launch is also available on the Strada YouTube channel and has prompted comments such as "this might be the iPhone moment for all of our workflow needs.”

As Michael stated in his opening keynote, the entire experience has not been without doubts or fears, but by chronicling all they learned, they have been able to establish trust and create a tool that they believe the creative community will embrace. 


“Building Strada in public has been an incredibly challenging, scary, but ultimately EXCITING and rewarding experience,” says Michael. “We’ve gotten so many validating responses, everything from ‘can’t wait to use the platform’ to ‘this is gonna be huge.’ But some of my favorite comments are from those who are skeptical that what we aim to deliver is too good to be true.”

Since launch, Strada has racked up hundreds of thousands of views and interactions across YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. Most impressively, they reached 1,000 YouTube subscribers in under three months, a feat that takes most, on average, 15.5 months to achieve. Their subscriber count currently sits at an impressive 5.66K subscribers – from non-existent to thousands of regular watchers, 70 videos, and more than 500K views. 

The Strada team has even had content go viral: “How We Got iPhone 15 to Look Like an 8K Cinema Camera,” ep. 18 of “Building an Alpha” has more than 130K views and nearly 500 comments. On Instagram, that post gained 34K likes and hundreds of comments. 

The launch of Strada was covered by major publications like Business Insider and The Hollywood Reporter, and important industry pubs like RedShark News and CineD.

Michael summarizes: “If we accomplish what we are setting out to build with Strada, we believe it has the potential to completely change the way everyone creates content. We are on the brink of the next major technological shift to democratize content creation, and we are looking over the precipice.”


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