ODs go international with tech start up
The entertainment industry is tailored for agencies to thrive. Jaryd Hermann (2012W) and Stuart Miller (2013S) identified this as a gap in the market and have decided to fill it with WECAST.
Dani, Jaryd, and Stu. Co-founders of WECAST after we won 2nd place at Microsoft Pitch night (NYC)
“WECAST is building LinkedIn for the entertainment industry. We're the first marketplace platform that lets models, actors and aspiring talent secure prestigious jobs in the entertainment industry, without the need for an agent,” these are the words of WECAST co-founder and CTO, Stuart Miller (2013S).
While WECAST CEO, Jaryd Herman (2012W), was working in the entertainment industry in 2017, he realized there were no efficient means for an actor to book a commercial or film. The industry is tailored to benefit the agents, instilling an idea that these actors cannot carve out a career without them. This was the gap in the market Jaryd identified.
After having to go back to the drawing board and pivoting on more than one occasion and their latest iteration, WECAST was born.
“Anyone can create a free profile on the site and begin browsing available jobs within their city. Our platform matches the best applicants to the jobs listed on the site and then with a combination of automation and human oversight, applicants are screened and then bookings are made by the client,” says Miller, who studied a Bcom Management Science degree at Stellenbosch University.
What started as a small idea in Cape Town has evolved to venturing into uncharted territory in New York. While WECAST has managed to make a name for themselves in Cape Town boasting 21,000 users, the US has been somewhat difficult to navigate due in part to their industry regulations.
“Like South Africa, the market is very connection-based and people are sometimes hesitant to work with us until we get the opportunity to explain what our services are and how we can help them,” Miller says, while explaining their rationale behind setting up offices in New York.
There are of course many different talent agencies out there, making it difficult for WECAST to solidify a name for themselves. Their platform circumvents the low-quality jobs traditionally offered on other talent recruitment platforms and connects the talent with prestigious jobs, which traditionally would have gone to the big-name agencies.
Miller reiterates, “They [The existing online platforms] offer no service, which is a problem. For this reason they don't get access to the high paying jobs as clients are not trusting enough to transact directly with talent over these platforms.”
For now, the idea is to build up connections and attract investors. After this, they believe they will be able to establish themselves as a brand name within the entertainment industry, and as a result build trust.
WECAST came second in the Microsoft ‘Pitch Night’ in December 2019.