top of page

Who Crowdfunds the Crowdfunders? Answers with JORDAN PLOSKY of ZOOP!

Zoop CEO Jordan Plosky stopped by the Yeti Cave to discuss the recently launched equity crowfunding campgaign Zoop has launched. Check it out on Republic now and read more below for the opportunity to learn more about what investing in Zoop truly means.

 

COMIC BOOK YETI: Jordan, it’s a pleasure to have you on the other side of the interview table after lining up so many creators to discuss their campaigns over the past year or two. How’s California treating you lately? 



JORDAN PLOSKY: Thanks Andrew.  We’re finally getting out of the cold season!  Also looking forward to WonderCon coming up in a couple weeks! 



CBY: I wish I could be there, but we've got SupaNova here in Melbourne in a few weeks, so I've got that to look forward to! So Zoop has just kicked off its round of equity crowdfunding. Can you take us back to the start, and let us know how you got things off the ground when you started Zoop in 2021?



JP: I was working my day job. Hours were cut, pay was cut, we were all quarantined in our homes during the pandemic.  I was losing my mind, and needed a creative outlet. Something positive to focus on.  

I started having conversations with lots of people to hear what opportunities might be out there.  I reconnected with my Co-Founder, Eric Moss. We had worked together in the past.  I had a startup called ComicBlitz, which had the Comixology Unlimited/subscription model, and Eric was handling BizDev at IDW.  I would license content from him.  

We got on a call, and saw an opportunity in the booming space of crowdfunding.  He was thinking of consulting as a campaign manager, and with my background of building a company we just said, let’s do this ourselves.  We started looking at the landscape, and what was missing, and that’s when Zoop was born.



CBY: It's nice to get a bit more of the context around how it all started. So equity crowdfunding is one of various ways for start-ups or other businesses in need of a capital injection can invite decentralized contributions from a large range of backers instead of capturing the attention of an angel investor or other venture capitalist/high net worth individual. Given Zoop’s crowdfunding format, I assume this was the obvious route to take, but could you let readers know why the other options available for pursuing investment might have dissuaded you?


JP: It did seem like the perfect fit for us.  We love what we do, and by utilizing this model, it allows us to maintain control, and keep our hands on the wheel, as opposed to having to relinquish control, and answer to investors who are only focused on the bottom line.  This method of fundraising puts the power directly in the hands of our community, and let’s them speak with their support.  It allows for a more organic growth, and decisions made for the benefit of the community rather than the dollars earned.  Don’t get me wrong, we love money, but there is a balance, and we want to be here for the long haul.  



CBY: That seems like a good approach to take. So I’ve seen a number of different equity crowdfunding platforms pop up over the past decade. What made Zoop decide to go with Republic for this campaign?



JP: We saw the tremendous success that companies in and around our space had over there.  Skybound and Gumroad being the two best examples.  We figured if we can tap into that investor base too, that would give us a pretty good shot at success, and embellish upon our userbase. Also, the team at Republic has been super responsive, and helpful.  We had conversations with other platforms, but Republic really just came out on top for us.



CBY:  …and regarding crowdfunding platforms, let’s turn the lens upon Zoop - what constitutes a full-service solution for comic creators, and how does your support structure set you apart from other crowdfunding platforms that focus on other types of creative work and products? How do you tailor Zoop for comic creators?



JP: Crowdfunding is hard, time consuming and frankly a lot of work!  If you’re a writer, or artist, you now have to understand finance, technology, marketing, logistics, and so much more!  We realized that we can make crowdfunding so much easier by handling all of that for creators, so they can focus on doing what they do best, which is creating!  

Our core services are: Campaign Management, Marketing, Printing, Fulfillment.  We also handle customer support, budgeting, strategy, pledge management, and retailer outreach.  So, while we take a larger percentage than our competitors, you get a built-in team all in one place, with all of our fees on the back-end of a successful campaign!  So, no financial risk, or having to micromanage, as we are incentivized to bring in as much money as possible on a campaign!



CBY:  Now, you bring a lot of awesome publishing campaigns to Comic Book Yeti for interview coverage, but I don’t see the rest of the Zoop team dropping into my inbox with the same welcome frequency. Can you tell our readers a bit more about the rest of the team, including your co-founders Eric Moss and Marvin Oswald, and Brett Schenker? What does everyone else bring to the table, and how will this equity crowdfunding campaign with Republic enable Zoop to grow beyond the core team and business development/investment partners?



JP: Will try to keep this concise.  Eric Moss is our Co-Founder & COO.  He was the project manager on the BRZRKR campaign, and many others for IDW and Cryptozoic.  He handles all campaign management, printing, and fulfillment for us.  It’s a lot, but he’s a well-dialed in machine. At this point, I don’t think there’s anyone else out there that’s run as many campaigns as he has!

Marvin Osswald is our CTO handling the website, maintenance, upgrades, features, etc.  

Brett Schenker is our Head of Marketing, handling e-mail marketing, and social media.

PR is just one of the duties that falls to me, which is why you get the pleasure of my e-mails so frequently!  



CBY:  It's good to know about all the other moving parts in the Zoop machine. I mentioned the quality campaigns you put together - can you tell us a bit about Zoop’s partnership strategy? What does your process of outreach look like when it comes to bringing key creative talent into the fold for successful campaigns at impressive scale?



JP: We do a lot of outreach on social media, but I think the majority of our clients have come from face-to-face meeting at conventions.  For the past few years, I’ve been traveling to most major conventions and walking up and down artist alley. That, in addition to the organic word of mouth, and happy clients telling other creators has led to a “who’s who” kind of list of creators we’ve worked with.  Randomly, I saw Howard Chaykin was doing a speaking engagement by where I live.  I went, approached him, and a few months later, we launched his campaign for Fargo, which was super successful.



CBY: Yeah, it was awesome talking to Howard about Fargo when the campaign was up and running! Now, you’ve put up a target of U$1.24 million for this campaign - since I started writing this question set this morning, you’ve picked up around $10k. If that rate continues for the remaining 90 days of the campaign, you’d be set to nearly double your goal. What does the investment structure look like (i.e. - where would the money go?), how are shareholders engaged in company strategy and decision-making, and what sort of benefit sharing/dividend structure have you decided would be the best way to remunerate investors (i.e. - what’s goal for the return-on-investment)? Why is Zoop a better option for our readers’ investment dollars than another market participation avenue from the equity crowdfunding landscape (or even traditional stock and bond investments)? 



JP: That’s actually not 100% correct.  This platform is a little different than Zoop, or other project based platforms.  That $1.24 million is not actually our goal, but rather the maximum we are allowed to raise under the SEC’s Regulation Crowdfunding guidelines.  So, it’s not that we’re only 10% of the way to our goal.  This platform is not “all or nothing”, we can essentially take any amount at this point as a victory!  

This investment is going directly to improving the product and platform.  Depending on the amount we raise, we have plans for building out more functionality on our upcoming e-commerce site.  We’re going to make it easier for anyone to run a campaign on Zoop by themselves, without having to utilize our services. And believe it or not, we’ve barely ever spent any money on marketing!  We have a few other initiatives that will be some bigger swings in the near future that we will be announcing shortly!

Investors in Zoop receive a SAFE note in exchange for their investment. This is a standard, quick and easy instrument to provide a company working capital, and get an investor on the cap table. We do have an early bird special that gives a discount for early backers, so if you’re thinking of investing, the earlier you do, the further your investment goes!  

I should caution that investing in startups is always a risky proposition, and I can’t say that it’s a sure bet, but the higher the risk, the higher the reward!  If you believe in Zoop, in comics, then it’s worth the risk. 

We truly see this as the baby stages of what can be a huge company in the next few years.  So the reward to those who invest at this stage is seeing the value of the company, and therefore the value of their investment only continue to grow!



CBY: Oh, thanks for clarifying the structure of the funding targets - that's definitely good for prospective investors to understand up-front. The last question was a hypothetical, but the next is more pertinent; I like what Zoop is doing, and I’m sure a lot of other folks in the industry are interested in investing after seeing the run Zoop has had the last few years. My immediate question concerns conflict of interest (i.e. - in my case, how would having a stake in Zoop potentially skew my coverage in preferential ways?) How might equity stakes by existing industry professionals (unlike me, who currently undertakes this interview  merely out of a sense of vocational curiosity) create potential challenges over an investment from the average comic fan who has previously only existed as a reader of the medium and just wants to get involved in a token capacity that pays off over time?



JP: Pretty sure that’s always solvable by a disclaimer, in your case!  But, I don’t see a conflict of interest.  Creators can invest, and continue to run campaigns elsewhere, if that’s what you mean?  We can own shares in Wal-Mart, but also shop at Target, right?  Ideally, we’d love it if creators money in us that they’d also invest their projects to help us grow too, but an investment is not contingent upon that.  



CBY: That's certainly true! So I ran a Kickstarter campaign for the Marshallese Land of Danger project last year, but they haven’t printed/shipped yet because of a variety of multi-stakeholder decision-making processes around getting the books printed and shipped internationally. How could Zoop help me avoid that with my next comic? Can you share with our readers the full range of client support that separates the Zoop campaign from the rest? Any other partners along the supply chain you’d like to shout out for doing a great job and adding value/reliability into the Zoop campaign process?



JP: Congratulations on the success!  I think we help cut through the layers because we come to the table with vendors and processes already in place. We handle getting quotes, logistics between printers and fulfillment, where we have a domestic, and UK based warehouse, which means we can save your international backers on shipping costs as well!



CBY: Obviously, the whole business model of Zoop involves platforming comics you’d like other people to read, so let’s open it up specifically to other media; what films, music, literature, art, etc. has been catching your attention lately? What should our readers make sure they don’t miss?



JP: Heh, when it comes to music, my tastes stopped developing like 20 years ago, so I’m the wrong guy to ask, unless you want my thoughts on Green Day, Rancid, NoFX, Bad Religion, etc!  

I’m a big AEW fan.  If you’re into wrestling, check them out.  If you’re NOT into wrestling, NOW is the time to check it out!  It’s better than it’s ever been!  

Also, doing re-watches of Castle and Brooklyn 99 on Hulu right now with my daughter :-) Both good for very different reasons.



CBY: Oh, yeah - I remember Castle well! Jordan, thanks for filling us in on these exciting developments over at Zoop. The platform provides readers with an awesome comic-centric avenue for accessing amazing material directly from creators, and we look forward to seeing where things go next! If you have any links you’d like to share here to the fundraising offering or other social media, this is the place:



JP: republic.com/zoop is the place to go to own a piece of Zoop!  To support the campaigns we’re running for creators, please visit www.zoop.gg.  We’re also on social media everywhere at @wearezoop, so find us on twitter, facebook, Instagram at that handle.

Thanks, Andrew!

40 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page