Cayse Llorens is CEO and founder of CelebTango, a digital tech startup based in 1871 that delivers live, personal comedy shows with celebrities via group video chat. He is also a comedian, hip-hop performer, software architect, project manager, and reclusive billionaire in the making. Cayse has built his career on business consulting, technological expertise, and the performing arts. Having managed multi-million dollar international projects and built tech solutions that have simplified and revolutionized people's lives, he's now dedicating his life to creating what he lovingly refers to as "Entertainment 3.0".
Can you tell us about CelebTango?
CelebTango brings the comedy club to your living room. Imagine a group of friends hanging out over beers in a living room, waving at a celebrity comedian on the screen who sees them, waves back, then teases them about their girly wave.
Picture a suburbanite, like myself, that has to drive an hour to get to a comedy club and then pay for expensive tickets, drink minimums, tips, parking, and feels like a night out is more work than fun.
Now picture that same person having a live, personal comedy show for them and their friends from the same comedians they previously had to suffer to see live. In their own home. On demand. For just them and their friends. What a great world to live in, right? That's the world CelebTango has created!
CelebTango is also my only child. It's a perfect blend of what I'm passionate about and (in my humble opinion) exactly what the world is missing - awesome, personal entertainment from today's leading comedians, made possible through sophisticated yet simple to use technology.
Where did the idea come from?
A year ago I had 3 of my favorite comedians come to my apartment and do a private show for my friends and I. My dad kept jumping in and basically heckling the comedians. They worked him into the show, and then proceeded to talk with, not at, my friends and I, totally catering the experience to us. Suffice it to say that we all agreed it was a magical experience.
A year later I've quit my job to deliver that same magical experience to everyone reading this! This is truly Entertainment 3.0.
First comedy fans had to go through all the trouble of going to a crowded, smokey, club to have a laugh. That's inconvenient and impersonal. Then, with the advent of dvd's we could watch those routines at home. That's ok, but it totally disconnects the fans from the live experience...and it's still impersonal.
Now CelebTango delivers the convenience of in-home entertainment in concert with the magic of a live show. Did I mention that for the first time ever the show is about you and your friends, and the comedians actually joke and interact directly with you? Our customers absolutely love the experience.
Can you tell us about the technology behind CelebTango?
CelebTango delivers live, real-time, interactive comedy shows via group video chat that allow friends, family and comedians from all over the world to connect online and truly experience Entertainment 3.0.
While our specific technology stack is part of what gives us our competitive edge, I can say that it's no easy task to deliver a blu-ray quality live streaming show that lets everyone participate. We do all the hard work so that all comedy fans have to do is click, Tango, and repeat.
How did you get into the world of startups?
I'm an entrepreneur by nature. When I was in elementary school I published and sold comic books to my classmates. When I was in high school I bought gum wholesale and sold it by the stick in the hallway (my locker was regularly raided by the powers that be!) Truth be told, I never really entered the world of startups. I was born into it and refuse to leave!
What do you think Chicago's greatest strengths are for entrepreneurship and what do you think is its biggest area for improvement?
I think the entrepreneurship scene in Chicago is exploding. CelebTango is actually my third startup. When I launched my first one back in 2007 there was little to no startup community here. Nowadays we have great resources like 1871, BuiltInChicago, Technori, and a slew of others.
We're on the international stage being called "The New Silicon Valley". I think in a few years other places will be called "The New Chicago." In terms of areas for improvement, I would love to see more and more successful startups hire in and stay in Chicago. I'd also like to see more people take the plunge and join the movement!
You won a Lean Startup Machine. What do you think is the recipe for winning this?
For those who don't know, Lean Startup is a movement that, at its heart, encourages entrepreneurs to get back to basics and make sure they are iteratively building a product that people want.
When I won LSM the judges wanted to see that the teams understood lean principles and applied them throughout the 3 day competition to identify and test their assumptions, and thus move their company forward in an educated and principle-based way. It also helped that the packet they hand out on day one clearly states how startups will be judged on presentation day.
I would actually offer that the real winners of Lean Startup Machine are the ones who internalize the process and use it to build great, relevant products. Beating 20 companies from around the world and winning first place was great. It was even greater, though, to see my fellow entrepreneurs get out of the building and actually understand and engage customers.
What other skills and experiences would you recommend to would-be entrepreneurs?
Just do it. I've attended a lot of seminars, read books, and done tons of research. At the end of the day being an entrepreneur teaches you to be an entrepreneur. And if all else fails, ask me. My contact information can be found at CelebTango
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