Elevating Marginalized Voices: NeverEnding’s Impact on Global Content Creation

Author
Hua Wang
Published
June 3, 2024

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Jamie Van Doren, the Founder and CEO of NeverEnding, is on a mission to transform the landscape of content creation. Van Doren discusses the critical role of international trade, and his policy recommendations for fostering a supportive environment for tech startups.

Empowering Creators with Advanced Digital Technologies

Van Doren’s vision for NeverEnding is rooted in the democratization of content creation. “We are building an entire ecosystem around animation and content creation that starts with a platform. It’s NeverEnding, a place where content creators can make, share, and monetize studio-quality animated videos without the studio,” he explains. This platform is designed to uplift diverse voices, enabling more representation and meaningful storytelling in the content creation space.

Technologically, NeverEnding leverages a robust stack including Python and Django for the backend, and Unity for 3D rendering. He is exploring the open-source Godot engine in order to maintain greater control over the platform’s development and scalability.

Global Reach

“We are truly a global team,” says Van Doren. “From the outset, I made a deliberate decision to focus on local outreach and then expand globally. We have a software developer in Seattle, Washington, and another here in Cleveland, Ohio. Our team includes a developer in Vietnam, and we’ve previously worked with a team in Ukraine on our Unity and 3D projects. Our illustrators are based in Brazil and Indonesia, and we had one in Ghana for a while. We also have a project coordinator in Argentina and a small team in India. Our finance and administrative person is in Florida, and then other co-founders are in LA and New York.”

Van Doren emphasizes the importance of having diverse voices on the team to create a platform that elevates diverse voices. “I believe that if we’re creating a platform meant to uplift diverse voices, we need to have those voices on our team. While I represent some diversity as a Latino, my voice is not every voice. I’m excited to have more people contributing their unique perspectives,” he explains.

NeverEnding has users across the globe, with contingents in Brazil, India, the Philippines, UAE, Saudi Arabia, the US, and Canada. This global user base not only validates the universal appeal of NeverEnding but also underscores the need for policies that support cross-border data flows.

“Technologically, we don’t have borders anymore. From a technological aspect, I can use an app that’s based out of the UK or India as easily as I can use an app that’s based in the US,” Van Doren notes. He advocates for policies that reflect this reality and support startups in navigating the complexities of international regulations.

Data Localization Requirements and Digital Taxation

“When policymakers consider these regulations, they’re often focused on the largest companies like Meta, Google, and Stripe,” says Jamie Van Doren. “However, they overlook the impact on small companies. These policies can make it incredibly difficult for smaller businesses to compete on a global scale. A digital service tax or data localization requirement might be manageable for a big corporation, but for a startup, it can be crippling.”

Van Doren elaborates, “Even if a small company has enough revenue to theoretically afford these costs, they lack the resources to manage the compliance. They need personnel to focus on understanding and adhering to these regulations, which diverts attention and resources from their core business activities. This makes them less competitive because they are forced to split their focus between navigating regulatory hurdles and the monumental task of building and growing their business. Ultimately, these policies can stifle innovation and economic value that smaller companies could bring to the market.”

Looking Ahead

NeverEnding is poised for growth, with projects like a pilot animated series aimed at empowering black children through education and representation. Van Doren’s strategic focus on minority and marginalized creators has already driven user growth, demonstrating the business potential of socially responsible entrepreneurship.

Van Doren’s holistic approach to business—balancing profit with purpose—offers a compelling model for other startups. As he puts it, “Our best pathway to success is minority and marginalized content creators because it’s such an untapped niche market.”

NeverEnding

Jamie Van Doren