Why actor Rakul Preet Singh and her brother decided to build a Naukri for creator talent

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Starring You is a talent discovery platform that connects artists with producers, content owners and distributors. It’s been founded by actor Rakul Preet Singh and her brother Aman Preet Singh.
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If there was one thing actor Rakul Preet Singh was sure of was that finding inroads into the film industry isn’t easy. 

“While all other professions have a platform where people can build their resumes, the film industry and creator talent doesn’t have anything like that,” says Rakul in a conversation with YourStory

Rakul explains, most people end up coming to cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad to try their luck in the film industry, but without the right connects and network building a career in the industry can be challenging. 

“It was something my brother (Aman Preet Singh) and I had faced, and we knew the nitty-gritty details of the industry and thus decided to build Starring You,” says Rakul. 

Starring You, she says, is a democratising platform that bridges the gap between an artist (in front of and behind the camera) and their dream. 

What does it do? 

The platform helps aspirants overcome the hurdle of physical distances and boundaries. Audition from anywhere for any opportunity on StarringYou for Your Big Break, the startup claims. 

“We help aspiring actors, directors, editors, writers, dancers, choreographers, and other professionals who wants to work in films make their dreams come true. We provide life changing opportunities in Indian Cinema on a level playing field, to budding artists all over the world,” adds Aman. 

They explain the idea is to build an ecosystem that will work as a one-stop destination for all the aspiring talent we have in the country and globally. The app will have all the divisions and tie up be it music, casting, media and production houses. 

“Our aim is to build such creative partnerships with the talent that are looking for a platform to showcase their work,” adds Rakul. 

However, the siblings, being non-techies, had to learn the basics before diving into development. 

“It was like going back to college to learn the basics of technology. I would pour over multiple books, websites, take online courses, and speak to multiple people to get a basic understanding of how we can build this. It was then that we hired the right people for the job and ensured that the product was built the way it is,” she says.

Building the team 

Over the last couple of years, Rakul has made her mark in the Indian film industry both in Hindi films and South Indian language films.

She has made her way in the industry after hundreds of auditions and found her way to the perfect team who can guide her in her journey. 

Apart from his filming debut and co-founding Starring You, Aman has also built a gymnasium and functional training space in Hyderabad. Currently, the team is working on multiple business models. 

“We have a team in place. It is a small and growing team of tech people, branding, and marketing executives. We took a few months of research and testing, took customer feedback based on the MVP and then further enhanced and built the app. There will be iterations as we further add people to app,” explain the duo. 

Tie ups and market 

Starring You has already tie-ups with established production and media houses like Anti Casting, Pooja Entertainment, Hummara Movie, Luv Films, Venkatadri Talkies, Vision Celeb Hub, Suresh Productions, Music labels - Just Music and Salim Merchant to ensure that upcoming talent gets to work with the best in the film industry.

Apart from Starring You, actor Suniel Shetty founded FTC Talent also works in the same space. 

According to an IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation) report, the media and entertainment industry is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.5 percent during FY19-FY24. The report stated that the market is set to touch Rs 3.1 lakh crore by 2024.

There are several international talent casting apps like UpCast, TableRead, WeAudition, and BackStage Casting to name a few. However, FTC Talent works with an understanding of the Indian market and industry. 

Starring You is working on different revenue models. One of them is a subscription-based model. The team is also exploring other avenues like advertising to make money. 

Speaking of the future, the sibling duo say, “There is no dearth of talent or for that matter even shortage of jobs. The idea of Starring You is to match the two ends. And this is a universal problem. We believe there is scope to take Starring You to bigger global level.” 

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti