In a tale that could rival the most enthralling Broadway performances, Axel Villamil, the founder of StageKeep, has taken the world by storm with his revolutionary SaaS productivity tool for the live performance industry.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario, Axel’s passion for the arts emerged at an early age when he ventured into the world of acting. From acting in commercials to taking on roles in iconic productions like “The King & I” at the Stratford Festival, Axel was no stranger to captivating audiences with his talent. He’s been trained as a singer by Better Midler’s vocal coach who graduated from Juilliard and trained as an actor by Dean Armstrong who has trained stars like Miley Cyrus and Nina Dobrev. There is no question of Villamil’s skillsets as an entertainer. It was at the Stratford Festival that Axel’s artistic path took a serendipitous turn. Captivated by the world of dance, he found his true calling and embarked on a journey that would change his life forever. Axel’s dance education began at local studios in Cambridge, “I trained really, really hard. I really pushed my boundaries at Move With Grace in Cambridge as a comp kid. I was forced to do so many styles, so it made me really well-rounded.”
While representing Team Canada in Graz, Austria, Axel’s innovative spirit caught fire. Fuelled by his background in computer science and new media studies from the University of Toronto, he conceptualized StageKeep, a groundbreaking platform that connects choreographers, producers, stage managers, and stakeholders. With a mission to optimize budgets and streamline the production process, StageKeep was set to revolutionize the live performance industry.
Axel’s journey as an entrepreneur has been nothing short of challenging and transformative. Determined to turn his vision into reality, he navigated a tumultuous road that included rebuilding the software from the ground up and assembling an entirely new team. Despite facing personal setbacks, including the end of an eight-year relationship, Axel refused to succumb to the odds and powered through the darkest of times. As a BIPOC founder in the tech industry, Axel encountered additional obstacles, especially when presenting a niche product to conventional investors. “If there’s one thing I do best, it’s being able to put on a great show on stage,” Axel said. “So I spoke to my friend Michele Romanow from Dragon’s Den. I was working as a consultant for her, and she knew about StageKeep. I said ‘Michele, I saw that you’re speaking at Collision Conference in Toronto, can I open for you?’ and the homie said hell ya.” Even after facing initial rejection, Axel refused to back down, leaving no stone unturned to secure his spot on the stage. And what a show it turned out to be!