Crowdfunding Redux

As most entrepreneurs, David Lucatch has a storied career from buying and selling comic books to M&A in the public markets.

Gary Schwartz chats with David about lessons learned in funding the next generation of hero ideas.

Let’s start at the beginning. You are a media guy - your started your career collecting and cashing out on comic books. Explain what took you from entrepreneur to crowd funding and supporting upstarts
During my career, I’ve had the great opportunity to be creative and mentor young people. I’ve learned a lot from them and it helped me to better understand how I wanted to execute my next life and business chapter. This has led to the build of our crowdfunding Exchange.
The Exchange we’ve built is a hybrid. First, it is niche oriented, as our tech can be segmented for different business sectors. Secondly, it is adaptable to a variety of funding programs and thirdly, we are looking in 2018 at securities and co-investing programs.
What is really cool, is that I find comic book (and now Sci-Fi) collecting similar to helping emerging firms grow. When you collect, you’re looking for gems and for opportunities that others have overlooked. But when promoted correctly, these “items” can be a favorite of all.
There are so many crowdfunding models. Tell me how Crowdgener is differentiated in the market? How is your model helping identify “gems”?
It is the same with start ups and emerging companies. There are a lot of gems out there that need funding, promotion, marketing and business help to get off the ground. Once done properly, these can flourish.
Many of the current platforms for crowdfunding look at an “All or Nothing” solution with a platform that is both wide and deep taking in all types of projects. Crowdgener is different because it looks at business niches and how those niches need to be funded and supported.
So you are a niche focused and vertically integrated model? Traditional crowdfunding models are Investment-based, lending-based, presales-based, donation-based and the more standard Kickstarter and IndieGoGo reward-based model.
Crowdgener views the process as holistic. Yes, niche and vertical integration are important key differentiators, but we also add wisdom and experience to help our Talent. We believe that mentoring and support are critical to a Project’s success, both from us and the crowd.
It sounds like a virtual incubator model? To better understand the process, could you walk me through an example of how this would work with an upstart?
Crowdgener is starting our launch late Summer with about 8 projects in hand with another 4 by the end of the year. We will provide a tailored Project which includes a funding system, promotion, PR and support for a small fee - no equity position, so it’s not really an incubator.
As Crowdgener matures, it will look to add equity or securities components and co-investment, creating a more robust model for start ups and emerging organizations. We will also add additional niches to the program and tools and services to help maximize the success process.
You indicated that Crowdgener has a “niche and vertical integration”. Of the initial projects, what verticals are they supporting?
Initially Crowdgener, through Fandster.com will support the creative industry which covers inventors, educators and podcasters to artists, entertainers, cosplay and music. This Talent is the backbone of the Internet and in our opinion need the greatest amount of support.
We have 3 other niches currently on the drawing board as well as an integrated video platform called Vueki.com that will allow crowdfunders using our platforms to have buttons on their video channel that connect right to Fandster, allowing Supporters to directly fund Projects.
Our goal at Crowdgener is to “reduce the distance” between Talent and Supporters by providing a focused, mentoring and intelligent solution to funding.
It seems you are bring media chops to a monotone fund raising industry. I would think is particularly important for a creative community. Crowdgener seems to be supporting a suite of interlocking services.
Give me a sense of how your experience in media has influenced the way you see crowdfunding and connecting talent and the supporters of that talent (aka fans).
My experience in media, marketing and technology along with running several start-ups over the past 30 years have helped me shape what I believe the alternative funding market needs to really help emerging Talent reach Supporters.
Too often, Talent has too expend the vast majority of their energies getting noticed which takes time and resources away from their craft. Given our expertise, our goal is to assist Talent expedite this process, giving their more time to present their products and services.
We all look forward to hearing more about Crowdgener as it launches. How do interested upstarts contact you to participate in the crowdfunding exchange?
I agree - It’s all about the Story and the ability to create “buzz” and engagement. Thank you for time. It was great using Thinkwire to do this. If anyone wants to reach us, prior to the launch, they can reach out to us @crowdgener on Twitter