The entertainment industry has long been one based on connections, which can make it hard for new or undiscovered entertainers to find work. The pandemic has further exacerbated this issue. A lack of live performance opportunities — often the main source of income for entertainers — has forced people to find other ways to put their talents to work.
Doodeo wants to eliminate this problem. It is creating an all-encompassing platform for entertainers, bringing together live-streaming capabilities, social media, ad creation, and gig discovery in one place. To find out more about this ambitious idea, we spoke to founder and CEO Rony Hage. He told us about how years of experience in the entertainment industry revealed the need for a platform like Doodeo.
Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
Doodeo is designed to be the “LinkedIn for Entertainers,” where performers can connect, collaborate, and find opportunities. Whether it’s finding gigs, using Livestream to make money or using any of our future tools to generate more income, we want our users to be able to easily grow their careers and have opportunities to make money. I also wanted to create an online community devoted specifically to entertainers where they can form valuable connections and grow their relationships.
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
I was handling the commercial end of some large entertainment platforms such as The Voice, Idol, and X-Factor. In one season of The Voice, the talent acquisition manager told me that they were having difficulty finding new, impressive voices after so many seasons. Meanwhile, my own friends — who I believed were deeply talented — were desperately looking for opportunities. The idea for Doodeo came to life when I realized how difficult it was for so many talented people to make a living doing the thing that they’re most passionate about.
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
I have a very extensive media background, especially in entertainment. In fact, I’ve spent almost thirteen years now in this industry. In all those years working with large entertainment and television platforms, I had the unique opportunity to gain the experience in media and entertainment to create a company like Doodeo. This position gave me access to many performers, and I was really able to see how it was oftentimes difficult for clients and entertainers to connect. I was also lucky enough to previously manage great minds, which fortunately gave me all the experience I needed to lead and shape our company.
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
I feel the entertainment industry has failed to embrace technology in a real and useful way. There isn’t a specific “Facebook” or “LinkedIn” dedicated totally to entertainers and their search for work. I believe we’re still in the initial stages of how technology can truly revolutionize the industry. Especially during this pandemic, when people are being told to isolate and avoid gatherings, it seems clear to me that a massive push toward innovation in online performance and artist interaction is necessary. It’s my hope that Doodeo will be able to play a part in giving entertainers more opportunities to find work and grow their brands through these online interactions and performances. I don’t believe that you have to be well-connected or already famous to find work as a performer, and I hope that the use of technology in the entertainment industry will help open doors for more talented people.
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
I have a wonderful, dedicated team that has been truly instrumental in helping Doodeo reach the current potential I always knew it had. Geraldo is our Head of Growth, Veronika is our Marketing Manager, Vijendra is the Head of Engineering, Tony is the Community Team Leader, and Rex is our Content Strategist. Basically, the team began to come together when I was looking for an engineer and growth hacker. I did some research through various job seeking sites,and came across Geraldo and Vijendra. I asked if they were interested in my concept for Doodeo and assigned them a specific task. I was so impressed with their passion and creativity that I knew their work would fit in extremely well with a platform designed to appeal to entertainers. So, I quickly brought them onboard. I’ve continued to use this approach to assemble the rest of my amazing team.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
Yes, we do have competition from other gig finding services and live-streaming platforms. All wonderful companies, but the difference between these platforms and Doodeo is that we aggregate many different entertainment specific functionalities and “put them under one roof,” so to speak. Our users are able to find gigs, use live-streaming capabilities, create ads, and participate in online teaching sessions in the future while generating an income from a fan-base that they’ve curated through Doodeo’s social network. Instead of these capabilities being spread across many different platforms, we put them all in one place. In other words, we’re the one-stop-shop for performers to sustain and grow their careers.
What does your business model look like?
There are quite a few ways that we plan to generate revenue for Doodeo while providing our users with many money-making opportunities at the same time. We offer:
- A Doodeo Pro monthly subscription plan at $16.99 that gives our users many valuable functionalities that will put them at the front of the line for lucrative opportunities.
- An ad system that helps our members and brands create ads that will target our niche community.
- Livestream Events where our users can host online concerts, fundraisers or private showings through our platform from which the company will take a set percentage.
- The company will also charge a percentage of the amount its entertainers earn from gigs booked through our platform.
In the future, we plan to add even more tools as Doodeo evolves along with its users’ changing styles and needs. We completely understand the importance of providing for the needs of our members while maintaining a self-sustaining business.
What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
When I came up with the idea of Doodeo in 2018, I went on to raise money from angel investors. Today, in our second round of funding, I realized that crowdfunding would be the most efficient and effective way to raise the funds needed to accelerate the growth of Doodeo. This not only brings in money, but valuable connections as well. To scale the business after this current round of fundraising, I want to hire more brains, basically. I’m interested in bringing on engineers and growth talent to take us to our full potential. Of course, I also plan to use these funds for marketing so we can expand our growth and spread the word about our fantastic platform.
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
Along with what I’ve talked about before, I really want to stress to potential investors my honest desire to help entertainers thrive and make a living. I’ve seen too many incredibly talented people give up on their careers because they just couldn’t find the work they needed to survive. I also feel that Doodeo could really be on the cutting edge of incorporating technology into the entertainment industry that will make a profound difference for entertainers. I want our company to be on the forefront of developing tools and functionalities that will help performers navigate an increasingly virtual landscape in the world of entertainment. Essentially, my vision is for entertainers to start using Doodeo the same way any other professional would use LinkedIn to showcase their experience and talent.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
I would say our most ambitious exit opportunity would be our IPO. Beyond that, acquisition by a larger company down the road would be a solid strategy for us. I envision a company like Universal or Warner Music acquiring Doodeo to obtain access to our community of performers. Of course, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that a social media giant might incorporate Doodeo into its fold as a strategic acquisition down the line, such as LinkedIn.
As far as our future goals, we have lots of exciting tools in the works that will engage our users and benefit the company financially. Features such as our users creating personalized crowdfunding campaigns through Doodeo, metrics about the entertainment community in our members’ area, and instructor profile pages where our users will be able to teach students through our platform and draw an income. Our goal is to be the premier online community where performers can share their talents and get discovered to make a comfortable living.
We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Rony and his team take the company. Doodeo is currently raising on Wefunder.
About: Olivia Strobl
Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.