Name: Victor Truel
Short Bio: LV Startup CEO creating safer path for aspiring models
City where you’re from: Las Vegas
1.What’s your story? How did you start this?
Victor Truel: Having lived in Las Vegas for more than 10 years, I’ve grown in an environment where individuals and businesses hire models for almost everything. To go out to clubs, as golf caddies, cocktail waitresses at the casinos, trade shows, ads, and even as champagne servers for luxury stores.
It is because of this environment that I saw an opportunity to provide an on-demand service so I built the platform to make it more convenient for customers to connect with models for paid projects.
And while it does simplify the process of hiring models for brands and other entities, it was through the models that we found what it really meant to provide a solution.
Before we started with development of the app, we made it a point to personally listen to all the models that we interviewed, we wanted to know their thoughts and frustrations, to understand their experiences in the current industry and what they liked and disliked about their agents and agencies.
It was through those conversations that we found that there were a number of men and women in front of cameras that had been left feeling disenfranchised by the agency system. There were so many aspects that we learned were part of the problem, all of these things models deal with regularly: payment delays, high commissions taken by agencies, lack of respect for privacy and personal space, and sexual harassment.
Personally, I was stunned, and it hit very close to home because while I was in the Philippines attending high school, my older sister Tiara, moved to New York alone when she was 17 chasing her dream to become a model and actor. And while I was not there to experience any of the hardships she endured, I know from our conversations, that it can be cruel trying to find your way in an industry where seemingly everyone is trying to take advantage of you. And sadly, not much has changed since then, there are still so many men and women who are experiencing these same things now.
It was through this that we made it our goal to engineer Moda’s platform to be a solution, one that can solve some of the issues happening in the industry and one that can empower models to manage their own carriers, in the palm of their hands. The needs of these models are central to the app’s user experience.
These sets of problems are also what propels us to continue to create initiatives in providing continued solutions that can change peoples lives, because at the end of the day that’s what matters the most.
2.What are the top 3 things that you as a founder would want to be known for?
1.Challenging the status quo
I always encourage my team to question the rules, especially if logic dictates it. I have a firm belief that in order to create a change, we must be willing to challenge the status quo.
A) Pushing boundaries and breaking barriers are never easy tasks. In fact, it plain uncomfortable, but if I learned anything from my journey with starting Moda, it is that when faced with what seemingly feels like life and death scenarios, even if it’s the harder thing to do, we must have the courage to do what is right. Not because the rules say so, but because you know that every decision you make affects your team, and affects the people you wanted to help in the first place.
B) Many of our advisors cautioned against building partnerships with other existing modeling agencies because they wanted to disrupt the industry. They wanted to follow the footsteps of what Uber did to the taxi business. It wasn’t easy for me to make the decision but ultimately I believed that the only way we could make this platform a solution to the problems that we wanted to fix in the industry, is if we included everyone, even other agencies and models from those agencies. So I started to make partnerships with other agencies so that their models can be part of the platform and so that even their models can be booked from the Moda Casting app
C) The moment we started talks with partnerships with agencies, the first question they would ask is why? and to this day, some might say that it wasn’t the best business decision, but to this day I also still believe my decision was the right thing to do, even if that meant that it would significantly cut from our profits.
2. Being the largest provider of talent.
A) The broader objective is to be able to create a larger environment than just providing models. We want to one day be able to lend the platform for all kinds of creative work that is part of the gig economy. My goal is to make Moda Casting the largest provider of talent in the world. A platform where professional talent, budding musicians, make up artists, photographers, and even dancers can find work on-demand.
B)We’ve recently added photographers in our platform and the next category we are researching is a service for digital brand ambassadors and social media influencers.
3. Making a difference in someone’s life
A) Ultimately the most important thing we’ve done so far is provide a safer environment for the models that are on our platform.
B) We created a system that vets clients and models during the sign up process. It includes a video verification to ensure as proof of their identity
C) We added GPS tracking to ensure that we know where the models are at while they are working on a job
I) And we employ a two way rating system where both the clients and models can rate and comment on their experience with working with each other.The convenience that we afford our clients means that we are giving them more time. Time that they can use for more important tasks. Instead of having to go back and forth with dealing with an agency, they can now book models on the go with just a press of a button.
II) And for the models, more than the added income, or jobs that are created through this gig economy, what we offer is peace of mind. And for a young model in this industry, that’s something that’s priceless.