The crowdfunding market is expanding rapidly. In 2011, the volume of contributions amounted to 1.5 billion US dollars; in 2015, it was 34 billion dollars. But companies in the adult market still have a hard time sharing in that success. Determined to find a solution to that problem, Jason Maskell started adultXfunding, a platform just for adult-oriented crowdfunding projects. We were curious to find out how this site is different from other alternative finance platforms and which benefits it offers to companies and investors, so we asked Jason for an interview.
You recently launched adultXfunding.com, a crowdfunding website for the adult industry. Why does the industry need a special crowdfunding platform? Jason Maskell: Although the crowdfunding sector has grown over the last few years, with some recently featuring a limited number of sex toys, these are still far and few between. The majority of these platforms do not cater to the adult industry as a whole and many are restricted to place their pitches on such sites. None of these have truly offered an avenue to the adult industry regardless of the project.
With adultXfunding.com we provide a platform that helps the adult industry to raise the capital these companies need to expand or to launch new projects.
How did you come up with the idea for adultXfunding?
I came up with the idea whilst working with numerous clients in the adult sector and being invited to be involved in start-up business opportunities. I soon realised that majority of these companies had lack of access to investment to achieve what they wanted to. It was this that inspired me to launch a crowdfunding platform specifically tailored to adult lifestyle and sexual health projects.
Can all projects be placed on your website or do they need to fit certain criteria?
adultXfunding.com is a platform aimed at companies in the adult lifestyle and sexual health sphere, that are looking to launch new projects or expand on existing projects. We will not feature pitches from individuals looking to raise cash for plastic surgery or to support a lifestyle.
We will carefully consider all projects and will work with companies so that they can make the most of their pitch. However not all pitches may it make online, it depends on the content and what they are looking for. We want to ensure projects listed on our crowdfunding platform will have the best opportunity to reach their target and then deliver on their plan. Quality over quantity is key so it works best for both the company and the investor.
“We will carefully consider all projects and will work with companies so that they can make the most of their pitch.”
One of the reasons you founded AdultXfunding was as a reaction to the restrictive funding politics of mainstream financial institutions. Is it really just because of their sexual nature that those projects are declined, or do professional investors doubt that these projects can turn a big profit?
I believe it is the mainstream financial institutions that are reluctant to invest of the adult sector due to lack of understanding and fear of the unknown. They refer to it as “reputational risk” but have not taken the time to research the industry or to look at companies in the industry for what they are, businesses! For example, many adult businesses are constantly dealing with banks rejecting their business purely because of the nature of their business as opposed to potential revenue income.
I feel professional investors are not as weary and understand that any business there is an element of risk, but it comparison to mainstream financial institutions they are more willing to invest.
Kickstarter recently allowed a first sex toy to be funded on their platform, while Indiegogo has accepted such products for quite some time. Why should I choose AdultXfunding instead of turning to those other platforms, if my product would have a chance to be allowed there?
It is great to see that these platforms are now allowing a small select number of adult related projects on to their platforms. However, on these crowdfunding sites, adult projects are featuring amongst everything else and may get lost in the mix. Potential investors have to search specifically for you. Whilst with adultxfunding.com as we only cater for adult lifestyle and sexual health projects, we attract investors that are interested in projects from this sector.
“I believe it is the mainstream financial institutions that are reluctant to invest of the adult sector due to lack of understanding and fear of the unknown.”
Let’s say I have a business idea for the adult sector. How would I proceed to secure funding on your platform?
The first thing to do is to sign up and register for free at www.adultXfunding.com then click on the ‘Start a Pitch’ button. It’s that simple! From that point, we will work with you to help complete your pitch so that you get the most out of it and can sell it to potential investors the best you can. Once this is done, the pitch goes live on the site.
In addition, we will help promote your pitch via our newsletters, blog and social media channels – Twitter @AdultXFund and FaceBook www.facebook.com/adultxfund
Which obligations do I have towards my investors if I gather enough money to fund my project?
We are starting with rewards based projects so when the target is met and funds are released, the rewards offered will have to be honoured and claimed by the investors who have pledged funds.
As an investor, which types of projects can I choose from and what do I get in return?
As an investor, you have access to, and can choose from the full choice of projects available on adultxfunding.com. If you make a pledge, you will receive the relevant rewards associated to the pitch once it has met its target. If the target is not met, funds are not released therefore your pledge is returned to you.
Your platform intends to offer equity and debt funding. What’s the difference between those two?
As I mentioned earlier, we are launching with a reward based system which means the incentive to pledge is based on rewards received. So investors can select how much they want to pledge and what they receive in return if target is met.
Eventually, we will be introducing equity and debt funding. This will allow for different levels of funding with the relevant regulation that is required with this.
If I support a company instead of a single product, what do I get in return for my investment?
At this moment, angel (sophisticated) investors are able to invest in a whole company and together with the investor and the company, we will work to arrange terms of agreement and establish equity offered.
What are the risks involved in such an investment and how is it protected?
For this particular type of investment investors will receive a full risk warning as part of the sign-up process. In addition, they will be able to access the details on the site here http://adultxfunding.com/risk-warning. This ensures investors are fully informed and can make an informed decision in how to proceed.
In addition, we are currently in the process of gaining our regulatory approval to allow equity investments and operate this within the terms of this regulation so investors and our entrepreneurs are protected. Also, no funds are released from escrow until all parties are in agreement regarding investment and equity terms.
What are your plans for the future of adultXfunding? Will there be some killer projects we can look forward to?
We are so excited about the coming year! We are looking forward to bringing a variety of more fantastic and international crowdfunding pitches to adultXfunding.com
We have some amazing pitches online right now including one from award winning director Kay Brandt from Jewel Box Films who is raising £225,000 to produce a mainstream erotic horror movie “Cutters” and IPTV multi-platform Addisone are looking to raise £50,000 for their project. This will be used to produce original programme content covering sexual lifestyle and wellbeing as well as setting up an e-commerce channel that will sell product too. Sex toy brand Pink Toys, a family run business is hoping to raise £25,000 to bring their product to market. Whilst NHLP Central are looking to hit their target of £35,000 to launch their new super-sized members site. To view all the pitches, please refer to www.adultXfunding.com
New projects are being submitted on a weekly basis, so it is worth checking in on a regular basis. We are also looking forward to seeing the site grow and helping business achieve their goal. We believe adultxfunding.com will be a game changer for the global adult industry by opening up investment opportunities that have not be available to them before and helping businesses reach their target and making their pitches into reality.