The author of the column is Alexander Savinkin, our investment expert and co-founder of Howtotoken. It’s #icobusted, where we scan the market for the newest and most remarkable upcoming ICOs and analyze them in-depth, with a focus on the viability of the business concepts behind these projects. This won’t concern pre-ICO/ICO price gaps, no gasps and groans about the team, and no code checking. Here, we will try to break everything down to see if there are any market prospects for the product if, and only if, that product can be delivered.
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iCasting is a marketplace where talented people, as well as those looking for them, can find each other without a middleman, creating a supply and demand market for talent casting. iCasting has been working to change the market ever since 2015, and it has already gained more than 140,000 talented individuals and formed over 35,000 matches, proving its effectiveness and potential. It also has its own online education platform, called iCasting Academy, that provides some services like in-depth interviews and instructional courses for various talents.
The current version of the product is only available in the Netherlands, and the upcoming ICO and development of the blockchain-based version of the platform is aimed towards a global launch. The Talent Token serves as its internal currency.
Although, it is our opinion that the blockchain is not a necessary feature for this project, and this is proven by the fact that a working current version of the service is already out. At the same time, it seems quite suitable for blockchain technology as it can provide a sophisticated solution for identity management and improved mutual settlements between clients and talents, with smart contracts guaranteeing a secure and transparent booking process.
The talent agency market has generated about $900 million in revenue annually in 2017, in the USA only (according to the IBISWorld research). It is without a doubt a stable and well-established industry. Currently, most of the casting work for the “top-performing” talents is done the old-fashioned way: using personal contacts, agents, etc. But “star” talents are not the whole market and there are several resources offering the ability to find actors online.
One of the biggest services is Actor Access, which has over 845,000 actors using the service (6 times what iCasting has), releasing over 43,000 breakdowns annually. Breakdown Services, the owner of Actor Access, has a variety of products for the acting industry, offering solutions for managers, actors, casting directors, and it is recognized by the Casting Society of America (CSA) as the preferred online resource.
In order to compete with such services as Actor Access, Mandy.com, Backstage.com, etc., iCasting has to offer better user experiences, more advanced talent profile settings, and a smart-matching algorithm. Also, most of the largest rivals target the North American market and some of them add the UK and Australia. So, the way to truly make a platform a global service is to make it multilingual and to develop partnerships not just with American employer associations but with the ones in all significant international markets.
What if the iCasting team delivers really competitive service, receives global clients, and makes, let’s say, x10 for its client base size and total amount of deals? We can make a crude analogy with Actor Access, iCasting’s direct competitor, which opens unlimited access to the website’s entire functionality for $70 per year. Is the stupidity or modesty – we don’t know, but iCasting doesn’t properly disclose the size of platform fees and its previous annual performance. Let’s assume that iCasting possibly could be able get $35 per one deal closed (it’s safe to assume they’d beat the rival’s price). Since 2015, iCasting matched about 12,000 talents on average per year. So if iCasting achieves x10 in closed deals (“matches”) they allegedly might count on $4,200,000 revenue. With such possible performance, iCasting may deliver on its promises in consideration of the $16 million hard cap.
The project seems rather promising, although the blockchain is not an obligatory feature to develop all of its functionality. And we haven’t forgotten about the fact that there are a bunch of competitors out there without the blockchain but with remarkable market positions. The main question here is whether or not iCasting will be able to deliver a convenient multilingual service.
By the way, 35% being allocated for marketing with hard-cap of $16 mln is just on the edge of feasible for a global marketing campaign in a B2C segment.
Pros and cons
(+) Existing service (non-blockchain based)
(+) Stable and global market
(-) Tough competitors
(-) Еlusive concept of the product and its advantages
So, what’s our final word? Honey is sweet, but bee stings hurt 🙂 iCasting is an attractive project, but not elaborated on enough in our opinion. To consider it further, investors would need more distinct and clear information about competitive features, pricing, etc.
- UpWork finances by Crunchbase
- Casting Agencies – US Market Research Report by Ibisworld
- Breakdown Services’ statistics by Breakdown Services
- Conditions to be met in order to provide escrow by Bizfluent
- Actor Access review by Eitantheactor