The tech start-up from Cape Town taking on New York

When MyBroadband met WeCast co-founders Jaryd Hermann and Stuart Miller at their New York office, one thing became clear – they are ready to conquer the world.

What started as an idea in Cape Town in March 2017 is now an innovative tech business with operations in New York, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. And this is only the beginning.

To fully understand the WeCast business, it is necessary to go back to March 2017, when Hermann booked 20 of his student friends on a commercial.

He realised that many people wanted to be in the industry (adverts, series, and films) without the needs and attachments of a full-time agency.

Hermann decided to start an online platform to make it easy for production companies, ad agencies, and brands to book models and actors and people willing to work part-time.

WeCast launched its private beta in December 2017 to serve as a marketplace for production companies.

Since then, the company has pivoted multiple times before reaching its current version which launched in January 2019.

Since its humble beginnings in Cape Town, the company has drastically improved its online platform and has evolved into a digital talent agency and job platform.

The company now connects models, actors, and everyday people with jobs to be in commercials, TV shows, digital content, and films in 3 locations – Cape Town, Johannesburg, and New York.

From Cape Town to New York

Through its automated agency, WeCast is offering people jobs which pay anywhere between R1,000 to R300,000 per day, of which the company takes 20%.

This business model suits ad agencies, production houses, and users, which is the reason for the company’s rapid growth. It now has over 21,000 users and is growing at roughly 10% month-on-month.

With a repeat rate of 95% from companies working with WeCast and over R20 million in jobs on the platform to date, the demand is there for the service.

Most of WeCast’s business is currently in South Africa, and while they maintain a strong presence in the country, the company is now gearing up to go global.

WeCast is aiming to generate $120 million (R1.7 billion) in net revenue by 2028, and to realise this growth it needs a strong presence in the United States and Europe.

This is why Hermann and Miller moved to New York. They are now growing their footprint in the United States and are courting investors who can help to take the business to the next level.

Big plans in the United States

Hermann told MyBroadband they are currently speaking to investors in New York and there is a lot of interest in the company.

To date, the co-founders have self-funded the company, and it is possible to run it profitably with current revenues.

However, to rapidly scale the business more money and connections from US-based investors and partners are needed.

This is why they are talking to venture capital firms in New York. He said the networks and know-how from these strategic investors are a core ingredient to their expansion plans.

These strategic partners are needed to rapidly grow the business and help to realise the ultimate goal of providing an enterprise software-as-a-service platform for their industry.

While Hermann and Miller said it can be challenging to compete when you come from South Africa, the interest from potential funders has been encouraging.

They are confident to close their seed funding round in February, which will be followed by growing their South African and New York offices.

Now read: Southern African tech startups make their mark in Helsinki

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The tech start-up from Cape Town taking on New York