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School of Business Boasts Two Entrepreneurs on Forbes’ 2016 List of Brightest Young Breakout Talents and Change Agents

January 18, 2016
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travis montaque of emogi

Travis Montaque (BBA ’14) was recognized for his new
approach to measuring the effectiveness of  online
advertising with emojis.

School of Business MBA student Jared Finegold and an alumnus, Travis Montaque (BBA ’14) have been named to Forbes magazine’s 2016 national list of “30 Under 30 in Marketing & Advertising” – the entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents recognized for new strategies and tools for brand engagement.

"It is a real honor to be recognized by Forbes," said Finegold, 28, mobile product owner for Royal Caribbean International and a student in the school's Professional MBA Program. Finegold developed Royal iQ, a user-friendly mobile application that allows guests to manage their cruise experiences when sailing with the Miami-based cruise line.

"Royal iQ is built around a calendar so guests can plans and reservations without missing a thing," he said. "We have also included user-friendly kiosks with the app for guests who don't have a device with them."

A New York native, Finegold moved to South Florida and worked at a student travel company in Fort Lauderdale doing marketing and web development. In 2013, he joined Royal Caribbean's digital marketing web team, helping to develop a mobile version of royalcaribbean.com, the company's main website. 

"We started planning the new app before the launch of Quantum of the Seas, our most technologically advanced ship," Finegold said. "Since then, we have added Royal iQ to other ships, including the new Ovation of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas."

Finegold said he enjoys the fast pace of the cruise industry and felt the School's Professional MBA Program would be an excellent way to accelerate his career. "The classes are challenging, and the classroom dynamic is a lot of fun,' he said. "My classmates have very different backgrounds, and we enjoy sharing our varied professional experiences."

Montaque, 23, was recognized by Forbes for his innovative approach to helping brands and publishers measure the effectiveness of their online advertising. His company, Emogi, developed the Emotion Engine™, a proprietary technology that allows consumers to express their feelings by clicking on the wide range of smiling, sad, pensive and angry emoji faces and symbols used in text and email messages.

jared finegold royal caribbean

Jared Finegold, a student in the school's
Professional MBA Program, developed
Royal iQ, an app for cruise passengers. 

"We are the first company that allows brands to elicit and understand emotion in real time with a high degree of accuracy," said Montaque, who recently announced a partnership between IBM and his New York company with 20 employees. Emogi has also partnered with Kargo, the largest mobile marketplace for premium mobile brand advertising, to introduce emoji-enriched advertising in mobile.

Born in Jamaica and raised in South Florida, Montaque began his career at age 15 working at a Chik-fil-A restaurant. He was quickly promoted and by age 19 was managing two locations with $7 million in revenue and 120 employees.

Rather than continue in the fast-food industry, Montaque enrolled at the School of Business, becoming a finance major. He also was the founding president of the University’s Economics Club, vice chairman of the Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board and a Titan on the School of Business’ Hyperion Council, which consults with businesses in disadvantaged communities.

In his sophomore year, Montaque became interested in technology, and launched Splyst, a social media platform to deliver Internet content to users based on their interests.   "I had an opportunity to pursue a career in finance, but decided to go my own way," he said, adding that Splyst evolved into Emogi as he realized the need to improve the effectiveness of digital advertising.

"Rather than click or ignore ads, we integrate emojis into the content to give consumers an opportunity to express their feelings and increase brand engagement," he said. "Advertisers can use those responses to learn consumer preferences so they can retarget and deliver ads with greater relevancy."

Both Finegold and Montaque said they enjoy being on the leading edge of digital and mobile marketing. "In my career, I've gone from food to finance to technology to marketing," Montaque said. "I like exploring new fields and capitalizing on new opportunities."

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