Billion Success: Lacey Kaelani and Brad Larson – Co-Founders of Casting Depot


Ben Russell

Ben Russell

·8 min read

Lacey Kaelani and Brad Larson are the Co-Founders of media-tech startup, Casting Depot. Kaelani, an unscripted casting director, and Larson, a marketplace entrepreneur, aim to build a community in which democratizes access to on-camera gigs in the media and entertainment industry.

Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Casting Depot all about?

Casting Depot is the professional network for on-camera gigs in the media and entertainment industry. Through a suite of workflow tools, Casting Depot enables users to post gigs, process payroll and manage legal compliance. The platform has seen 446% MoM growth with casting calls from industry A-List players like Netflix, HBOMax, Twitch, Bumble, Verizon, and MTV.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?

Lacey: Funny enough, Brad and I met off of Angel List. When I pitched him the idea of a professional network that housed on-camera casting calls, he instantly saw and believed in the vision. His background in marketplaces and mine in casting has made for aperfect fit for a product like Casting Depot. Fast forward to today, our entire team consists of brilliant builders and makers who come from various industries across the tech landscape.

What are your plans, how do you plan to grow this company?

Lacey: Our priority focus is building a robust workflow process for both talent and creators that generates efficiency for every type of talent booking. As we continue to refine that flow, we’ll look to build features upon that which challenge the current status quo within the industry. In summary, we’re building more kick-ass features on the hush-hush. Create an account if you want to find out!

What was the biggest problem you encountered with your business and how did you overcome it?

Brad: The biggest problem for us has been when to launch. The typical answer is “now, launch yesterday” – and I 100% agree, but with certain marketplace products and services the bar for value is really high. So, we’ve been launching in phases – where we test something out by launching it, analyzing the usage and engagement, iterate, and move to the next item. We’ve pegged to launch a full featured marketplace. The launch out of our beta has felt like a tidal wave that’s been slowly picking up speed and we (obviously) hope it breaks at the right time.

What were the top mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?

Brad: The biggest mistake we made early on was expanding our beta too quickly. In doing so we put out a product to real customers that didn’t live up to the standards we believe in as a company. We definitely could’ve slowed down early on and studied the data more in depth. It’s tough because in order to cast well in our marketplace, you need scale.

How do you separate yourself from your competitors?

Brad: For us it’s about empowering our users to master their craft. In the business of casting, enabling casting directors and talent/actors to achieve their full allotment of creative abilities is huge. The difference between landing a role and booking the right talent is razor thin. So, we’ve built feature tools on our site like:

  • Smart matching tools for gigs
  • Streamlining workflow tasks that are tedious and – giving time back to both sides both sides
  • DM’ing and commenting to build engagement

    What is one thing that you do daily to grow as an entrepreneur?

    Lacey: I spend a good amount of my free-time watching lectures given by other entrepreneurs and VC’s.

    What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

    Brad: Start now. There are a lot of great reasons to start now and you’ve probably heard a bunch of them… but the most impactful reason for me is the data/feedback you accumulate in the process of starting is so damn critical. Sometimes it’s so eye-opening that I frequently say to myself, “I wish I had written that out sooner, or built that button component, or shown this beta feature to customer x”. Listen. Work. Seek Feedback. Rinse. Repeat.
    Lacey: My best advice to new entrepreneurs is to build a product around an industry you know well in which there’s a problem you frequently encounter. I see tons of startups that don’t have a strong founder-fit which often times can be a recipe for quick failure. Build a business around what you know, build a hobby around what you don’t.

    What is your favorite quote?

    Lacey: “The business that wins isn’t first to market, but the first to scale.” – Some VC on Twitter.

    How can we get in touch with you?

    You can visit our website Casting Depot, or find us on social media via Twitter.

    Article posted by: Billion Success