LALA Profile

LALA logo.

LALA is a digital collectables marketplace allowing customers to own royalties from movies and television shows they love. 

Founder(s): Hiram Vazquez

Industry: Tech

Founded in: 2022

Location: Miami, Florida

Interview With Hiram Vazquez

Describe your product or service & the problem it’s solving:

“LALA is the world’s first digital collectible marketplace that allows fans to own royalties from movies and TV shows. It is creating a next-generation fan experience in the entertainment industry. By partnering with existing IP and new releases, LALA is providing fans with new points of ownership and access to their favorite stories. The entire LALA company vision has been developed to redefine the fan experience and create deeper connections for entertainment lovers. Fans who purchase a LALA collectible will unlock access to a portion of the revenue streams from the movie or show, which will give them fractional ownership to the IP. Until now, fans never had this opportunity. Beyond the collectibles, fans will become part of a community with a shared goal of celebrating exclusive content and the love of movies and shows. Fans also receive access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content, official merchandise drops, online and offline community events, and other rewards. LALA aims to revive and extend the love for movies and shows.”

How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!

“I have been working in the startup community for 13 years, having built innovative products for early stage companies such as Uber, as well as at Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm Seven Seven Six. While at Seven Seven Six, I was part of the inaugural Operator in Residence program, where I built and managed the firm’s proprietary software Cerebro, in addition to supporting portfolio company founders in various capacities. Upon completion of the program, I became founder and CEO of LALA, the Web3 entertainment company that I incubated with Ohanian while at the firm, and which Seven Seven Six is the lead investor of. LALA is the world’s first digital collectible marketplace that allows fans of television shows and movies to own a piece of the revenue streams, in addition to giving new points of access to their favorite stories. My inspiration for LALA stems from my childhood obsession with TV shows, movies, and video games. In addition to being geographically far away from Hollywood, most of the promotions, fan contests, or sweepstakes that I would learn about from TV commercials or the back of cereal boxes were exciting for kids in the States but not eligible for residents of Puerto Rico. I sought out different ways to allow fans to connect with their favorite entertainment no matter where they were located.”

How is your startup funded, and what advice do you have for other founders seeking funding?

“I founded LALA in 2022 and launched the company in 2023 with $3 million in funding led by Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital fund Seven Seven Six. The advice that I would give founders is that showing progress to potential investors is key as you establish the relationship. Even though I incubated this at 776, I still had to hit certain milestones as a founder and show to the team that this would be a good opportunity for them to make a return on their investment in order to get the Seed check.”

Who is your target market? How did you determine this, and what strategies did you use to reach and engage them?

“TV and movie lovers. Currently, adult fans are underserved when it comes to engaging with their favorite IP.”

What’s your primary marketing strategy?

“To us, our primary marketing strategy revolves around building something people love and making sure we are super clear in terms of our value proposition and what LALA is trying to offer to movie and TV show fanatics.”

What has been your most successful marketing campaign, and why do you think it worked so well?

“This is a great question! We are learning a lot from our Beta release. I think so far, the most successful marketing campaign has been on Twitter and organic content. From day one, we knew that we wanted to really focus on creating unique content and connections on Twitter (where the majority of our target audience lives). We have dedicated a lot of time and resources into explaining what LALA does and this new concept of fan ownership, from the evergreen content we create to the accounts we choose to interact with to the videos we are starting to release after the drop. We have been able to achieve 2,000 followers organically, and our engagement has been increasing steadily. There is still a lot of work to do, and we believe in testing and trying different things until we find what works, so I don’t foresee that stopping any time soon.”

What do you consider to be your company’s biggest competitive advantage, and how do you maintain it?

“On one hand, LALA’s biggest competitive advantage lies in fan ownership. For the first time ever, we are elevating fandom in a way that makes movie and TV show fans partial owners of the stories that they have fallen in love with. We are transforming viewership into ownership, allowing fans to have different points of access to a movie after the end titles. On the other hand, we are giving IP owners and studios an additional revenue stream that will allow stories to persist in time, even years after the release of a movie and TV. The Wolf of Wall Street film is the perfect example.”

What were the biggest challenges you faced in the early stages of building your startup, and how did you overcome them?

“Making people believe in my vision is something that’s very challenging at first, when all there is is an idea. Putting your vision into paper and learning to talk about your ideas was something that is challenging at first because these ideas are so fragile. They’ll most likely change too. So continuing to refine and share your ideas is how you become better at it and convince others to join you in your mission.”

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?

“The amount of learnings, from situations, customers, employees, partners, investors, etc. I receive on a daily basis is incredible. It’s difficult to notice, but I’m confident that this, in addition to all the stumbling blocks, challenges, failures, experiments we go through, will make me a better person and professional. At the very least, it will make me so much more resilient and adaptable, and I look forward to that.”

What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?

“Embrace the uncertainty and keep things moving forward. There are so many twists and turns that one encounters while building a startup. Things rarely go as planned.”

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