Business, Lifestyle

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.”

Founder of StageKeep, Axel Villamil

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!

Founder of StageKeep, Axel Villamil on stage at Collision Conference 2022 with dancers
With Toronto’s best dancers by his side, Axel took the Collision Conference stage by storm, defying expectations and changing perceptions. The electrifying performance not only impressed the audience but also caught the attention of Sunil Sharma, the Managing Director of Techstars Toronto. It was a turning point that led to Techstars’ investment in StageKeep, further solidifying Axel’s determination and commitment to his dream. “I remember when the money hit the company account I went to the Drake Hotel in Queen West, sat at the bar and ordered a Negroni and cried profusely. I then called every single person I knew that got me here and poured my heart out. This doesn’t happen alone. It’s the people you surround yourself and their energy that can make you believe the impossible is possible.” said Axel emotionally. Axel’s rollercoaster journey continued, marked by moments of sheer jubilation and tearful triumphs. A second investment from Sunstone Management through the Lair East Labs accelerator in New York followed, further validating StageKeep’s potential and propelling Axel’s entrepreneurial odyssey to even greater heights.
Founder of StageKeep, Axel Villamil
“Running a business can be stressful, and being an entrepreneur can be draining but you have to love what you do. You have to truly believe that you are the shit. You have to believe that what you’re doing is worth it. I’m delulu’ing my way to success. I’m excited to show everyone what else StageKeep will be doing,” Axel declared with unshakable determination. With eyes set on the future, Axel Villamil is poised to redefine the live performance industry and bring the world of tech and entertainment closer than ever before. As the visionary founder of StageKeep, he has solidified his position as a trailblazer in the tech industry, captivating audiences not only on the stage but also through his visionary leadership off it.

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June 2024


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