Shots Studios has forged a place for itself in the name of talent management and content production. From humble beginnings as a mobile gaming company, to partnerships with mega-stars like Justin Bieber and Shaquille O’Neal, brothers John Shahidi and Sam Shahidi made a company that can do it all. Now, they’re taking their creation to the next level in gaming eSports as Shots Studios forms a partnership with esports giant, NRG eSports.
Shots Studios history
John and Sam were born in Los Angeles, California. Raised by their mother and grandmother, the pair began developing software in 2009 when they created what would become Shots Studios under the name Rock Software. Rock Software developed gaming apps. The first app to make it big for Rock Software was called RunPee and helped users know what the best time was to duck out to the bathroom during a movie without missing the important parts.
Rock goes pro
After a childhood friend introduced the brothers to Chad Ochocinco, they partnered with the star wide receiver to create two apps for him, The Chad Ochocino Experience, and MadChad.
In 2011 as the company grew, Rock Software was re-branded as RockLive. They focused on offering app development to celebrity athletes like Usain Bolt, Mike Tyson and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Shots is born
In 2013, the Shots name was born as the brothers created an app for social media sharing and photo editing. An early investment by Justin Bieber lent the app legitimacy, and soon the early investors list grew to include Floyd Mayweather, King Bach, Marlon Wayans, Omar Epps, Shervin Peshevar, and Ben Parr. Ad partnerships with companies like Proctor and Gamble, Coca-Cola, and American Express helped the app gain nearly $15 million in early funding.
From ‘selfie app’ to talent management and content platform
Early on, John and Sam took note of Shots users who were building a large fan base. This sparked the idea to move into the realm of talent management and content production. Soon, they partnered with former Vine star Rudy Mancuso. Mancuso brought the Awkward Puppets series to a partnership with Shots, and soon John and Sam saw an avenue for growth; YouTube. John spoke about it in an interview with Vox, explaining how Mancuso was initially hesitant to make the leap from exclusively sharing content on Shots to joining the battle for top spot on YouTube.
John said, “But with Rudy, so … and Rudy was actually, Rudy was in the beginning, ‘I don’t want it on YouTube. I don’t care, we’ll make this work.’…
…He loved it. He was the one we were fighting, I was like ‘Rudy, trust me, let’s do it on YouTube.’ But he was so Team Shots at the time where he was like, ‘No, it’s so much cooler to have our own thing,’ he kept it on ours even though he wasn’t an investor at the time. He was just part of, he just believed in it so much, but then I was like, ‘We’re doing a disservice to you, Rudy, this is too funny, too good.’… …And as soon as we put it on YouTube, it blew up and then it got the attention of YouTube where we spoke with them more and we said, ‘You know what, we’re going to bring everyone onto YouTube.'”
Shots quickly discovered the magic formula to support content producers
And so they did. With creators like Lele Pons signing on in 2016, Shots began really making a name for themselves in talent management and content production. They were rocketed to music management stardom in 2017 after Mancuso’s debut music single, “Black and White,” took the Billboard charts by storm. A collaboration with Grammy award winner Poo Bear, “Black and White,” was a game-changer for Mancuso who performed opening numbers for stars like Bieber. Of Mancuso’s talent, John said, ““Rudy is a game-changer and a complete package in ways we haven’t seen since Charlie Chaplin. He’s one of the most creative and talented entertainers today.”
Shots app becomes Shots Studios
By 2016, Shots Studios was a full-time digital studio, and the app was pulled from app stores. That same year, Shots partnered with Mike Tyson to help him produce content on his own YouTube channel, and soon partnered with Anwar Jibawi, Hannah Stocking, and aforementioned Mancuso and Pons to help manage their content creation and YouTube channel success. In 2020, YouTube giant Jake Paul joined the Shots Studios family team. Early in 2020, Shots launched their own merchandise website, Lil Shop.
No matter how big the company grows, Shahidi brothers want a company focused on mutual growth and support
John and Sam always intended for the company to feel like a family. They weren’t looking for quantity, they sought quality. A 2017 article from Billboard waxed poetic on the success of the Shahidi brothers and their company, “Shots Studios has built an empire on a well-versed dedication to understanding and implementing viewing — and now listening — engagement analytics. They have, in short, put their time in.”
What is NRG eSports?
NRG eSports is a collaborative group of esports content producers. Huge investors have backed the company, like Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille O’Neal, Tiesto, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Strahan, and Jennifer Lopez. The NRG eSports websites shares their mission, “Led by the expertise of traditional sports and the tech biz, NRG eSports is looking to set precedence in the industry of esports. We look to set the standard within our beloved space; whether it’d be high class management or jaw-dropping media, but above all else, camaraderie and competition. We don’t want to just build a great team, we want to build a legacy.”
What does NRG bring to the partnership with Shots?
NRG was formed in 2015. Game rosters include Apex Legends, Call of Duty, Clash Royale, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Gears of War, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Valorant, Rocket League, and gaming meta-hit Fortnite. Most NRG content producers stream on Twitch, and they boast one of the most successful content producing rosters in the esports world.
Shots has big plans to support NRG creators
With Shots and NRG combining, content producers from both companies will get the best of every world. Shots has now expanded into producing content for more than YouTube, branching out into the world of Netflix and Spotify as well. With this sort of reach, NRG content producers can expand beyond gaming if they wish. A spokesperson for Shots told Tubefilter, “…[they are] developing a ‘wide-ranging content strategy’ for NRG that will seek to transform its social media presence, and better complement its competitive acumen. Additionally, Shots says it’s currently working on a ‘significant unnamed project’ with NRG executive producer Grady Rains that will ‘introduce a new multi-platform brand and content format centered around gaming culture.’”
Shots won’t provide talent management to NRG’s creators, but they will help steer content production and offer merchandise services.
Big things happening for NRG and Shots
Just in time, too. NRG just launched their, “Fornite House,” presumably in opposition to content houses like the Sway House. Gaming creators like Clix, Benjyfish, Ronaldo, Unknown, and Edgeyy will be able to use their close – really close – proximity to one another to support channel growth. With this new opportunity for Shots to flex their production management skills and merchandising abilities, NRG and Shots are off to a glorious start as partners.
Sam told CELEB exclusively about his feelings on the partnership, “John and I have always had a passion & respect for gaming world. Joining forces with our long time friends at NRG, one of the best organizations in the industry, feels like home. There’s so much potential for content — especially with the new NRG Fortnite house — and we’re looking forward to lending our understanding of social and production to unlock it.”