Last Updated on November 16, 2020
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About Lacey Kaelani & Jenna Kammo
Lacey: My undergraduate was in economics and my graduate is in finance. I always thought I’d go into economic analytics. I had an opportunity to interview for Nickelodeon Animations’ BA department as an intern and was unfortunately turned down. That was a tough pill to swallow. Instead, the head of the department offered me a position in casting and development. I had no idea what that entailed but took it anyways to get my foot in the door. That internship experience was incredible dare I say… magical? Eventually, that lead me to New York where I continued to intern for the Viacom brand in their development department under one of the SVP’s of Casting & Development. I fell in love with creating ideas for TV shows and the art of “the pitch”.
Jenna: When I landed my first interview for a PA position with a talk show at NBC, my mother actually drove me to the interview – yep, from Detroit, MI to Stamford, Ct. My interviewer asked how long I had been living on the east coast for, I smiled and said, “about two months. I’m loving it here!” – knowing full well my wonderful mother was outside waiting for me. I couldn’t let something as minute as living 11 hours away stop me from getting the job, right? I stayed with that show for 3 years and then got into freelance casting before working on another talk show. The combination of working on talk shows and freelancing on different genres in the unscripted space shaped my knowledge of this industry.
About Casting Depot
Lacey: In 2018, we had both been at a point in our careers where we were tired of working for other people. I absolutely hated developing concepts that I wasn’t passionate about, nor made a positive impact on the people that viewed them. She, on the other hand, hated casting for talk shows. We were on set one day and had the typical startup conversation of “I think we can do this better and for ourselves”. We ended up leaving our full-time jobs about two months later and voilá! Casting Depot was born.
Over the course of 2019 we ended up casting for Fortune500 companies such as Hearst Media, Bustle Digital Group, HGTV, MTV and more.
At the end of 2019, we decided to pivot our business. We were consistently frustrated with the casting workflow process and needed a more efficient way of booking talent for our gigs. So – we decided to turn our small casting company into what it is now – an online marketplace for creators (like ourselves) and talent to engage and source gigs. We have an incredible team now, including our CTO Brad Larson.
How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?
Lacey: We acquired users through our current database as a casting company. On our platform, we have a few thousand users and casting calls from the major networks including Netflix, Quibi, NBCU and more.
How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?
Jenna: Our company is a consumer facing brand. Like any consumer facing company, we aim to grow through referral, word-of-mouth, marketing and advertising. Our goal is to be able to service the entire talent market (including SAG-AFTRA) while enabling our users to consistently book gigs.
What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?
Jenna: “Surround yourself with the right people”, that’s something my beloved Aunt Mae would tell me. Positive people are a must. But more than that, seek relationships with people who inspire and challenge you to be the best version of yourself – in your personal and professional life. Your company will grow when you have the right people sitting at the table
What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?
Lacey: Raising institutional funds for a media-tech company is tough, especially as a first-time founder. Luckily between advice from my close friends who are also founders and an MBA that taught me a tiny bit about the process, I was able to take a really daunting process and have a bit of fun with it. There’s nothing more exhausting and exhilarating than “selling the dream”. While it was a learning curve at first, I found that reading articles written by other founders, brainstorming with friends and ultimately “winging it” helped me overcome the fundraising process.
What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?
Lacey: Finding our CTO Brad Larson was one of the funniest things that happened during my founder journey. After attempting to find a good CTO off of every platform imaginable, I came in contact with Brad on AngelList. When he showed up to my office for the second interview, he had his dog in a fannypack across his chest. I tried really hard not to laugh, because he obviously took it seriously.
What Are Your Favorite Books?
Lacey: My favorite book is Shoe Dog. It’s an incredible story of an entrepreneur who faced multiple pivots over the course of his business to not only better his understanding of the market but in order to change the market as we knew it.
Anything You’d Like To Plug?
- Being Authentic And Doing Customer Research With Dr Mary Donohue
- Building Patience And Driving Referrals With Tom Parmentier
- Turning Car Negotiation Skills Into A Business With Neel Mehta
Book summaries, notes, interviews, and more!
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