Miles Morales as Spider-Man has audiences captivated. Not only does the portrayal offer a fresh new perspective with all of its cultural immersions, but the ability to navigate across the multiverse also brings fresh energy to the film, introducing diverse versions of the character.
Although Morales and his multiverse activities are fictional, real-life innovative practices allow people to leverage technology to support multilayered connections on various levels.
Morehouse College senior Gera Baano-Stewart II recognized the power of this innovation and has launched several apps to support his generation, building a social connectivity ecosystem called Reign Verse.
A native of Chicago, IL, Baano-Stewart came to Morehouse College after spending time at a local junior college. Though he had dreams and aspirations to play collegiate sports at the Atlanta-based HBCU, he suffered an injury.
The injury and the pandemic’s onset motivated Baano-Stewart to pivot his focus from sports to entrepreneurship.
Admiring the success of Support Black Colleges’ CEO Corey Arvinger, Baano-Stewart partnered with his cousin, a Fisk University student, to explore developing a clothing line in the niche HBCU market. That idea was the birth of HBCU Season.
The brand did not see early success due to complications with the design. Still, Baano-Stewart and his cousin tapped into their creative bag and launched a design with a catchy slogan that changed the pair’s business trajectory.
“I came up with a slogan that says, ‘Pretty Girls go to HBCUs.’ And then [someone] came up with the phrase, ‘No Place Like My HBCU.’ And [someone else] coined the phrase ‘My HBCU Over Your PWI,” Baano-Stewart explained. “People were like, ‘Oh my God, I love this.'”
With official buy-in, Baano-Stewart and team structured a social media giveaway and leveraged that interest to make nearly $5,000 in just two hours of officially dropping the merch.
The success of HBCU Season provided the startup capital to tap into his interest in building and monetizing social apps.
With his interest piqued, Baano-Stewart dove into YouTube “university” to hone his coding skills and created a lifestyle app called U Vibe. It initially charted in the Apple Store at No. 60.
With quick success, he sold the app for $8,000. He, again, leveraged the sales and success to fund another growing interest, building out what would become the Reign Verse.
“We sold that off of just someone DMing the Instagram page and saying, ‘Hey, how much to buy the app?’ At first, we said $10,000. He said $5,000. And then we just got the agreement to $8,000,” Baano-Stewart said.
With a solid cash infusion, his most coveted creation to date came from a personal revelation about his social status.
Having a hard time in the dating scene, he decided to help solve his social problem and fuel his passion at the same time by creating the dating app Simp Now. With a straightforward model resembling Tinder, the app moderately succeeded in its initial launch.
But Baano-Stewart knew with the growing attention, he had to go to market with a perfect launch, though the app was something that started almost as a joke. In a few months, he removed the app from the Apple App Store and was ready to relaunch. However, updated guidelines limited the release of new dating apps unless they provided a unique and nuanced market value.
He and his team spent over a year trying to break through to get Simp Now in the Apple store. It wasn’t until January 2023, with the help of someone on the inside, that Simp Now made its premiere as a new-and-improved dating application that now offered a social component meant to help alleviate catfishing.
According to him, Simp Now has accumulated more than 12,000 subscribers and brought in over $10,000 in revenue in about three months.
The success of the app led to the full development of Reign Verse, a multi-dimensional platform for Gen Z by Gen Z.
In addition to Simp Now, Baano-Stewart and team have been keeping busy, creating Crowd Plays, a daily fantasy sports betting app, as well as continuing development of HBCU Season and Try Cue — a digital health clinic for sexual and mental wellness.
According to the Reign Verse website, the platform offers additional apps: Control, an app for mindfulness and meditation, and SnykyLink, “a social media app focused on connecting strangers with common interests.”
Baano-Stewart is actively working to grow his digital presence with new and yet-to-be-announced innovations. In the interim, he is open to investors, recently winning a pitch competition for Simp Now that landed the company $5,000.