Meet the Team: Alessandro Mapelli, the Chief Creative Officer

Meet the Team: Alessandro Mapelli, the Chief Creative Officer

CLIKA’s mission is to connect AI software to various hardware devices around us. CLIKA's AI compression technique, developed in-house, dramatically reduces the size of AI models without sacrificing their performance, enabling businesses to quickly, economically and reliably commercialize their AI applications on devices used in our daily lives.  

In this blog, we interview Alessandro Mapelli (Alex, for short), who is the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) at CLIKA. His primary role is to oversee the marketing and the software building side of things, in addition to managing the creative operations of the company such as branding and design. 

Alessandro Mapelli (Chief Creative Officer)

Prior to joining CLIKA, he worked for numerous well-known companies such as Luxottica—an Italian eyewear conglomerate based in Milan. Throughout his career, he has been creating motion graphics and videos for web platforms and TV commercials for over nine years. Additionally, he has produced, directed, and managed numerous digital media projects with budgets exceeding well over $500,000. He also co-founded his own studio, TWOHSOT, with two other people.
Q. Can you tell us about your educational background? 

My education is in Japanese language and culture. It was a ton of fun. I studied them in Italy. I also spent six months studying in Sapporo, Japan back then. But then when I graduated from college, I realized that my education would not really help me get far. So, I had to sit down and think: What do I like? What do I want to do as a job? I took a few months off after school and started to learn how to make movies. That’s what I wanted to do because I’ve always liked movies. I am self-taught in design and video making and animation. 

Q. How did you start your career in design? 

I started experimenting and learning. Soon, with my friends, we began making short movies every weekend to test and improve them. Then, I had the opportunity to participate in this competition organized by a very famous design and film making school in Milan. 20 people were chosen to make five commercials for Coca-cola. I was one of the 20 people that got selected. During the entire process, we had help from industry professionals, and I got along with one of them. We started collaborating on projects, and we became business partners. That is how our first company, TWOSHOT, was founded. That is how my career started in design. 

Q. How did you find out about CLIKA? 

I found out about CLIKA from Nayul and Ben, the founders themselves, and I have personally known Nayul for close to 10 years. 

I was stuck in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic when Nayul and Ben invited me to join the company. I could not join then due to closed borders and travel bans at that time. The first time I heard about CLIKA was through Ben, who explained to me over the phone what it was all about. I was very intrigued and interested, and as a result, I wanted to come over to take part in what they were building. 

I gave Ben and Nayul my word that I would join as soon as Korea lifted its travel restrictions. I started working for CLIKA since then, as of March, 2022. 

Q. What were you doing prior to joining CLIKA? 

I was working at Luxottica, an Italian eyewear conglomerate based in Milan that designs, manufactures, distributes and retails its eyewear brands. I was employed as a 3D motion designer with the task of building an in-house 3D content making team. 

Prior to working at Luxottica, I was working globally as a freelance motion designer and a video maker. I really liked working at Luxottica, particularly because of the freedom that it gave me in allowing me to create rules for the team.  

But I wanted a challenge. 

I’ve also worked with Nayul in the past and had my own company called TWOSHOT, which I started with two other people back in 2015. Our clients included major brands like Bugatti, Valentino, Gucci,..etc. 

Q. What is your role as a Chief Creative Officer? 

I am responsible for anything that is design-related in what we are building. But my work is not limited to design. The idea is that I handle anything that is front-facing, meaning what everyone outside sees about CLIKA—the cover. Ben, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), deals with what’s under the hood—the inside. Design is incredibly important because it adds to the reputation of a company, which means influencing how it is perceived by clients, customers, and the broader market. Design also requires a structural work process, meaning what you see from the outside has a thought process behind it—just like translating something technical into something relatable by the public requires a process.  

Q. What has your experience been like working in CLIKA? 

My experience working at CLIKA has been very exciting and fun, but it is also a job not a hobby, meaning I need to follow what needs to be done and meet tight deadlines sometimes under a lot of pressure. Because we have a limited number of people working for our team, each and every one of us assumes a lot of responsibility and workload. In my case, I am working mostly as a one-man team, so I cannot delegate or have someone else help me. 

The hardest part of working at a startup like CLIKA is that there is no tight structure of things. Although this can be often fun, you sometimes have to learn things on the spot and go with the flow. Managing your time with other team members can be also difficult, as everyone is already busy. 

Overall, however, part of my positive experience at CLIKA has come from having great co-workers in a relatively small team with a very friendly environment. 

Q. So what do you see yourself doing in the future at CLIKA? 

Personally, I want to design a system that is enjoyable to use. This is because whenever I see engineers work, everything looks extremely boring and not-so-joyful. I want the technology to be fun to use for the engineers, who are also our users. Think of it as adding a creative, human element to a very technical solution.