Chasing down your favourite celebrities, paying for meet and greet sessions or stalking them on social media are just some of the things you might have done to get their attention.
With Authentic Celebrity Experiences (ACE), these moves to get personalised interactions with celebrities are no longer necessary.
ACE allows users to receive exclusive content directly from celebrities and influencers via short videos — the content requested could range from personalised messages to answering burning questions.
ACE’s co-founder and CEO Dene Schonknecht notes that before their platform came about, it was “near impossible” to have such personalised interactions with famous individuals.
“The idea behind ACE is to provide access to famous people (we like to say: everyone has heroes). Before ACE, to do so, you had to know someone or just be lucky to be in the right place, at the right time,” he said.
The ACE platform was launched in February this year, and gained popularity during the circuit breaker period, where Singaporeans utilised its offerings to send messages to their loved ones.
According to Dene, 80% of ACE videos were purchased as gifts.
How To Get A Personalised Message From A Star
Drag queen Kumar, Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Lau, and influencer Nicole Choo are just some of the personalities on the platform that users can book for S$55, S$62 and S$69 respectively.
For a steeper price of S$276 and S$413, you can book influencer Xiaxue and 881 actress May Wan respectively.
Booking these stars is easy — simply key in the message that you would like the celebrity to say, and wait for them to accept and record the message.
Once the video is filmed and uploaded, payment is made and the video can be downloaded.
According to ACE, the talents on their platform set their own rate for a video. They get to keep 75 percent of the booking fee, while the company keeps 25 percent.
Though no specific numbers were disclosed, Dene told Vulcan Post that in July, the platform’s bookings increased by 500 per cent.
He added that there are two “appealing” reasons for a talent to get onboard ACE.
Creating a video on ACE is the “easiest money” they can make in a day. If we were to calculate what each talent earns in a couple of minutes per video, it is the “highest value minute of their time on a per earnings basis”.
Furthermore, the concept of ACE allows talent to be “paid to get more famous”. When a talent creates a video for a fan, it expands their reach as delighted fans will inevitably share the video on social media platforms.
Rapid Expansion Across Southeast Asia
According to Dene, ACE is the largest platform of its kind in Southeast Asia in terms of “reach and diversity of talent”.
When ACE launched in mid-February this year, the platform only had 15 talents, mostly from Singapore, for consumers to choose from.
In just slightly over five months, the number of talents on the platform grew ten-fold.
The company is now signing an average of 15 to 20 new talents each week, “accelerating exponentially” from the initial three to five per week when it first started out.
Besides Singaporean talent, ACE now has over 150 talents from six different countries, including Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, and is now adding in talents from Indonesia too.
Dene shared that the rapid expansion of the company in Southeast Asia can be attributed to the “unfair advantages” it has in various areas.
One of the startup’s co-founders is an “experienced TV producer who has been making shows in Asia for the past 20 years”, allowing the company to reach the right talent and management quickly.
Furthermore, the startup has advisors and investors from the entertainment industry who are able to bring talent partnerships opportunities that are “hard for others to replicate”.
More recently, ACE has managed to sign up some TV stars from a popular Netflix show, who will be going live on the platform in the next two weeks.
There Is A “Global Demand” For Such Videos
Most people think of Dene as the “tech guy”, and rightly so. The startup founder has spent 20 years working in technology companies like Microsoft and Adobe.
However, his experience expands into the media and entertainment industry around the world as well. The BBC was Dene’s client when he lived in London, and he had also spent time in the movie industry in Los Angeles, and a media agency in Singapore.
He believes that “software can disrupt any industry”, and wants to do the same with ACE.
The ACE team takes inspiration from the US where Cameo has done fantastically well, and adapts the idea and execution of the business for the Asian market.
Despite being an extremely new player in the market, Dene feels that the “brand, technology and talent focus (of competitors) is nowhere near the standard of ACE.”
That being said, the young startup is not void of challenges. It is well-known that consumer marketplaces are difficult to scale as founders have to balance both the supply and demand.
The same can be said for ACE, and the team is “always thinking about” how to strike a balance between the two.
Dene is certain that ACE will become a “truly international platform over time”, as there is a global demand for such short videos from stars.
As he aptly puts it, “anyone who sees the reaction from someone receiving a personalised video message from their hero, will completely understand why we are in this business.”
Featured Image Credit: ACE and Nicole Choo via Instagram