Castiko is a project management and contacting tool for casting directors. Casting directors spend a lot of time and energy trying to manage their actor data. With every project, they have to spend hours upon hours looking for options for a role, contacting the actors, organizing auditions, etc. Castiko allows them to do all of this in a fraction of the time. That also means that casting directors are now able to really come closer to and stay in touch with their actor networks – something that was a Herculean task earlier.
The main challenge faced by the start-up was to understand how the casting process works. It is a very particular kind of business activity, and the main effort was to empathize with the process deeply and deliver a product that matches casting director’s way of working as closely as possible. Shiv Tandan, the deviser behind the project says “We are proud to say that the casting directors we work with really trust and depend on Castiko, and are comfortable enough to tell us explicitly how we can serve them better. That has been the key to our initial success.”
Secondly, actors come in all age-groups, so the design challenge is immense. Castiko is building something that will be user-friendly for children and elderly actors alike. It’s a unique challenge, and it keeps them constantly on their toes
THE EUREKA MOMENT
Thousands of actors come to Mumbai each month, hoping for a “break”, and casting directors are the king-makers who could make or break an actor’s career. Actors spend hours upon hours just walking from studio to studio trying their luck, introducing themselves. It’s a tremendous exercise in hope, optimism and will power. And it isn’t as if casting directors are inaccessible: in fact the casting directors are very willing to meet new actors and test them. They simply don’t have tools to really activate all that data into something truly usable. So that’s the insight that gave birth to Castiko -if you help casting directors, you will help actors too.
ABOUT THE CORE TEAM
The core team consists of Shiv Tandan (shivtandan.com) and Prashant (prashantkiran.in). Shiv Tandan is an associate artist with Checkpoint Theatre in Singapore, and have studied Industrial and Systems Engineering from the National University of Singapore. He focuses on user research, client service, sales and marketing. Prashant Kiran is 23. He did his civil engineering (B.E.) and economics (M.Sc.) from BITS Pilani. He focuses on development. They both work together on product management and strategy. They also have three super-interns – Dilip, Shreyas, and Divija. Dilip is a developer, while Shreyas and Divija are work on Business Development.
REVENUE, TRACTION AND GROWTH
Castiko got launched in the first week of July. They charge a subscription fee from casting directors. Actors can also upgrade to a Pro account which allows them access to certain premium features. The start-up is growing at an immense rate – around 100% per month consistently. Castiko already has 2000 real actors registered and have actors already paying for the services. But the most exciting metric that the deviser swear by is engagement – and their 70% of their users come back Castiko within a day of first signing up.
USP OF CASTIKO
On this Shiv Tandan adds “I think our competitors are more focused on solving problems for actors, while we are focused on casting directors. In that sense, although there are several players in the general casting zone, we don’t have any direct competition. The reason is that what we are doing is B2B, and much more niche than what our competitors are aiming for.”
MODUS OPERANDI OF CASTIKO
It’s very straightforward. Say a casting director decides she wants to systematize the way she works. Castiko creates an account for her, and from the next project onwards, it helps her keep track of everything: contacting actors, calling them for auditions, whether or not they showed up, their audition videos, and finally sharing the auditions with the client. Castiko helps her save hours upon hours of time and effort. There’s transparency in the whole process: she can easily see a project’s progress in real time. It also helps her save money on every project – because she needs lesser manpower (and almost no paper) to get the same work done in a more efficient way.
The team hopes that Castiko will become the de-facto casting tool for Indian casting directors. They want to make it so witheringly easy that actors and casting directors around the country would wonder how they got all this done before Castiko. The team is also excited to deliver similarly niche, specific tools to parallel, related fields in art. Originators believe that the intersection of technology and art is anexciting space. The team loves inputs, so if you’re an artist do drop in a mail to Castiko with your feedback/inputs. Website Castiko.com. Read more Startup News.