Working with musicians, producers and technology for over forty years, Mario Shirley saw the increasing frustration caused by an industry starved of innovation by the legacy business practices of the labels and studios, and the way that streaming services were aligning to old models and not using technology to benefit fan and artist engagement.

Educated at Florida A & M University and calling on experiences deploying technology for streaming, and business partnerships formed during the birth of the mobile internet, Mario transformed his entertainment business, Ups N Downs Entertainment Inc., by enlisting the commercial support of Bango PLC – leader in Mobile Payments – and by negotiating exclusive access to IP that protects artist rights in a “Pay-Per-Play” environment. In stealth mode, under the code-name “Project Celena,” Mario built a founding team, validated the key concepts behind Project Celena with creators and platform partners, and signed initial agreements to enable commercial traction.