Press Release: Offbeatr.com Adult-Only Crowdfunding Site Raises Over $60,000 for Projects
Los Angeles, California - Offbeatr.com, the only crowdfunding website dedicated to sex and adult related projects, celebrated it’s 5 month anniversary by raising over $60,000 for its project creators. Thanks to Offbeatr’s unique voting phase, whereby only projects who receive a minimum number of votes can go on to raise money, projects have had an 80% success rate compared to 40% on other popular crowdfunding sites.
Since launch in August 2012 Offbeatr has:
- Raised over $60,000 in contributions ranging from $5 to $2000 for 5 projects
- Raised over $10,000 in one day for the project Fantasy Sex Game: Furoticon Online, which went on to raise $39,000 in total exceeding its goal of $25,000
- 600 financial supporters who pledged on average of $100 each
- Received over 4000 votes for over 70 projects. Projects like Bipartisan Slash (political porn comic), Venus Rising (World of Warcraft with sex), Needle Play Video (BDSM educational video), Football Parody (gay parody film), and the Grace Alley Mural Project (erotic mural painted in San Francisco)
- An 80% success rate for projects who met their vote goal
- Received over 200 project pitches including ideas like Virtual Reality Porn Glasses, Sexy Hipster Girls, and Oppan Gangbang Style (porn parody of Oppa Gangnam Style)
- Over 4000 registered users and over 1,000,000 page views
“What’s been amazing is seeing how passionate people are about supporting projects they care about even if they happen to be adult,” said Offbeatr.com and ExtraLunchMoney.com CEO, Ben Tao. “Supporters care just as much about bringing Furoticon online as the people who wait hours in line to get an iPhone 5.”
A big part of the success of Offbeatr has come from the hard work and perseverance from its project creators.
“We work hard to bring a quality product to our customers, and that’s made more difficult by printing companies who refuse to print adult material. Our campaign centered around bringing our card game to an online format for a reason — online, people will be able to play with friends around the world! “ Said Seppel. “Sex is a part of most adults’ lives, and the celebration of sex through images is just as natural as that through text — but 50 Shades of Grey is in your local library; Furoticon (TM) will be difficult to get into your local gaming store.”
“Our goal when we created Offbeatr was to give project creators a chance to make their adult projects into a reality through crowdfunding,” said Tao. “We’re thrilled we’ve been able to follow through.”
To pitch a project idea or explore projects visit: http://offbeatr.com/
Offbeatr.com, a non-equity based crowdfunding platform for sex and adult related creative projects. In addition to offering rewards in exchange for support, project creators can sell digital content to raise money for their projects.
About Extra Lunch Money:
Extra Lunch Money is the company behind extralunchmoney.com, a social marketplace for models to market and sell custom and pre-made digital content, and offbeatr.com, a platform to allow people to crowdfund adult creative projects. Extra Lunch Money is dedicated to creating innovative and safe platforms to allow people to explore sexuality in positive ways.
The Offbeatr.com Interview that Was Too Sexy to Publish
Since our launch we’ve been fortunate enough to have been approach by several news organizations and blogs who were interested in interviewing for us for their publications (view the press we’ve received). A smaller tech blog contacted us and asked us to if we’d be interested in being featured on their site. We thought, sure, why not? We’re a startup, they’re a blog that covers startups.
The interview itself is a generic questionnaire of 27 questions they have you fill out. Not only are there 27 questions, but they require you to answer a minimum of 300 characters for each answer. It took a long time to answer all the questions, but we figured since these guys approached us we would put in the time.
After sending them our answers we heard back from them:
We extremely apologize for the inconvenience caused but unfortunately we won’t be able to feature your start-up “Offbeatr.com” as it is related to porn material and as per our policy we don’t promote any adult content on our blog.
To which we can only scratch our ends and wonder “wtf?” How did they not know we were adult related? Most everyone has called us “Kickstarter for Porn”. It’s not like we tricked them.
Rather than let this interview go to waste, we are featuring it below. While we don’t appreciate them wasting our time thanks are in order. Thanks to them we are able to share this with you.
Since their interviews are formulaic we will be able to present you with a version which most likely would have appeared on their website.
———— INTERVIEW BELOW ————
Today, we [startups.co] have interviewed Mr. ‘Ben Tao’; Founder of the US (Los Angeles – California)-based start-up ‘Extra Lunch Money’ about his company.
‘Extra Lunch Money’ is the company behind extralunchmoney.com, a social marketplace for models to market and sell custom and pre-made adult digital content, and offbeatr.com, a platform to allow people to crowdfund adult creative projects.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Tao’ regarding his start-up company ‘Extra Lunch Money’;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Extra Lunch Money. Extra Lunch Money is the company behind extralunchmoney.com, a social marketplace for models to market and sell custom and pre-made adult digital content, and offbeatr.com, a platform to allow people to crowdfund adult creative projects. Our company is dedicated to creating innovative and safe platforms to allow people to explore sexuality.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
We officially launched our first website, extralunchmoney.com (the social adult marketplace) in April of 2011. Then in August of 2012 we launched offbeatr.com (crowdfunding for adult projects). We’ve been self funded / bootstrapped ever since the beginning. Right now we’re focused on continuing the growth of extralunchmoney.com and getting the word out to people about offbeatr.com.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Offbeatr’s business model is very similar to many of the other crowdfunding platforms that currently exist in that if a project reaches its funding goal then we take a percentage of the total money raised. Part of that money covers our credit card transaction costs and the rest helps us continue to grow and improve the site.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Eric, my co-founder, and I met many years ago at a young professionals networking event. Back then we both discovered we had an interest in entrepreneurship. We kept in touch and it wasn’t until a few years later that we teamed up and started working on different projects which ultimately lead up to us creating Offbeatr. Eric handles much of operations and technology portion of the company whereas I handle more of the marketing, business development, and product management.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Offbeatr is one of the only websites dedicated for helping people raise money for creative projects of an adult nature. The more “mainstream” crowdfunding players in the space prohibit such projects. Not only did we want to create a platform that gave people who want to work on adult projects a way to raise money, but was also wanted to innovate in the space as well. To that end we do two things differently than other platforms. First, Offbeatr projects all undergo a public voting period before being allowed to accept funding from supporters. Only after a project receives enough votes will it be allowed to start collecting payments.
Second, Offbeatr projects have two ways to raise money. The first way is through the selling of rewards similar to other crowdfunding sites. The second way which is unique to Offbeatr is through the selling of digital products. Project Creators can upload digital content they own like movies, ebooks, and photos, and supporters can purchase this content and download it immediately. Even if a project doesn’t reach its funding goal sales from digital products are paid out to the creator.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We just launched in August of 2012. Prior to launching we made an announcement of the platform in February of 2012. From that announcement we had over 2500 people signed up to be notified when we launched. After launch we’ve been growing steadily both in gaining new users and as well getting new project ideas pitched to us daily.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
There are many mainstream crowdfunding platforms that exist. The best known ones of course being Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. However, we wouldn’t classify ourselves as a competitor to those sites since Offbeatr is really focused around adult creative projects. So far we’ve been lucky as there aren’t any competitors that focus on the adult aspect of crowdfunding. That’s not to say there won’t be competitors who will come in later. We expect there will be copycats, but we’ll differentiate ourselves from them by focusing on quality projects and continuing to find ways to make project creators successful when they run a project on our site.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges of launching Offbeatr was knowing if it was even going to be possible to do crowdfunding for the adult industry. The main reason for the doubt was figuring out how to handle payment processing. Because we were an “adult” site that immediately disqualified us from using popular payment services like Paypal or Amazon. Even popular “hip” services like Stripe wouldn’t work with us either. This meant we had to come up with other ways to accept payment. The process took close to 8 months, but we searched high and low for payment processors that not only would process for adult, but also understood the crowdfunding business model. It was discouraging each time we got rejected, but we persevered and tried any lead we could get which finally worked out for us in the end.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
There are a few things. The first is payment processing for adult is not as straight forward as regular payment processing. Because adult is considered “high risk” (meaning there are higher cases of fraud and chargeback) most payment services will not allow you to use their services. The second thing is 2257 compliance. 2257 compliance is something all adult website are legally supposed to display on their website which states that any models or people depicted in images or videos on the site comply with US law that they are over the age of 18.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Not only do we work hard (which we think is a basic requirement for any startup), but we also work smart. The “smart” part to us is prioritizing and working on the things that will push the business forwards. There is always something to do, but the challenge is to figure out what things are worth doing first which will have the greatest impact. Since we are bootstrapping this business that means even more to us since we don’t have the luxury of solving problems by throwing money at it. Instead we have to be creative.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We joke around that if we’re able to be successful in the adult industry that we will attempt something we have yet to see in startups… the porn to mainstream tech startup cross over. So in addition to crowdfunding adult projects we’d end up crowdfunding independent music. We would be the Sasha Grey of the tech world.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
Like a lot of people, we assumed the porn / adult industry was a gold mine. That if you did an adult type of website you were going to make money hand over fist. However, after more careful observation, we discovered while that might have been the case a few years ago the current climate is the opposite. Many adult companies are not doing that well due to piracy and the proliferation of free porn. Because revenues are dwindling we saw many companies hold back from investing in innovation or taking bigger risks. Since we were outsiders to the industry we thought we could experiment and do things differently without the baggage of what had worked in the past. So we decided to give it a shot.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
It’s important to get things out and in use as soon as possible. Spending months internally designing and working on a product is very different than actually having real users using it. The benefit of having people using a site earlier on is that you can observe and learn very quickly what’s working and what isn’t and take steps to fix and improve.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
The biggest problem will be coming up with ways to help ensure more successful projects. In a perfect world we would like to see 100% success rates with the projects that go through our system. It’s still too early to tell or know how we can improve our success percentage, but there’s no doubt there will always be room for improvement. The problem will mostly magnify as well as we get more projects into the system.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
There are two groups we consider customers: project creators and supporters. The benefit of Offbeatr for the project creator is we give them a legitimate way to raise money for a project they care about. Not only do we give them a way to raise the money, but we give them tools to help manage the process along the way.
The benefit for supporters is they get to interact with project creators in a greater capacity than just a “fan” who might consume the project creator’s content. Now they can be part of the process and feel part of something that previously the couldn’t take part in.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
We were fortunate and having some early press coverage when we announced in February that we were building and planning to launch our platform. Because of this we were able to get a lot of people to sign up to our launch email list. Fast forward a few months later when we did launch we were able to follow up with the people who initially wrote about us to cover our official launch. This greatly helped get the word out. A good thing that helps as well is that sex is inherently viral.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
We have a variety of project creators who’ve created projects so far. We have former male escorts, furry community artists, independent lesbian porn producers, and more. A lot of the project creators come from communities which would be considered more fringe than the average porn peddler you might think of. This makes sense since these smaller communities are typically not marketed to since their niche or fetish is not a big enough market for larger studios to target.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
So far a lot of it has been word of mouth when it comes to getting new project creators. A lot of these creators have been shut off from traditional means of raising money so when they hear of a way to get access to capital they are curious to check it out. Why they would give us a try is simply because we give them an opportunity to make a project they care about into a reality. In other words, as cliche as it sounds, we give them hope.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
The feedback so far has been really positive. Users like the look and feel of the website. I also like to think they like how responsive to feedback and questions they have. One thing that has helped us a lot is having a chat tool installed on every page of Offbeatr. This works great when users have questions or when we are trouble shooting bugs with users.
20. How are you going to scale?
That’s a good question. We’re not sure how large our market is. People have said that the adult market is as large as 27 billion dollars, but when you look at where they came up with that number you realize that they pulled it out of nowhere. For us it’s about finding serious project creators and encouraging them to run their project through Offbeatr. If we make them succeed they will either come back and use us again or they will tell other potential project creators. We are skeptical, however, if all these projects will add up to 27 billion dollars.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
We’re still pretty new (it’s been a little over a week since launch) so we’re not sure what we might be missing. There’s definitely things I think we could add, but without more real world usage it’d just be me guessing. I have no doubt with enough time we’ll be hearing from users what they would want added.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Technically we allow other countries outside of the US to use our platform as project creators. That being said it is still limited to countries where English is the predominant language. Before we consider moving into other international markets we want to make sure everything works well with the markets we are currently targeting. If that goes well then China here we come! (In case you didn’t know China has a strict zero porn policy)
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We think there’s a lot of potential with Offbeatr. Will we be able to fund 300 million dollars with of projects like Kickstarter? No, we don’t think so. What we do think is we will be able to attract a variety of interesting sexual projects. So while money-wise we might not see as much go through our system like Kickstarter, what do think will happen is that the project themselves will be interesting to browse through and consider supporting. This means we believe we can be a top trafficked website. How we get there is through focusing on curation and helping to make projects successful.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Right now we’re still in a lean phase of our company so this means we’re not actively seeking new employees. That being said we are always on the lookout for good people (for as we know finding good people is tough!). If someone is interested in what we are doing or wants to learn more we would encourage them to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We knew from the beginning that traditional venture capital firms would not be interested in investing in our business. The exit opportunities in adult are much more limited than mainstream companies. Because of that we’ve focused on building a site and platform that can make money relatively early on. We have to be self sufficient otherwise we’re dead. While VC’s might not be interested in us we wouldn’t mind them contacting us. They or angel investors can reach us at email@example.com.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
It’s not only important to ask questions, but to ask the right questions. A good example is getting honest feedback from users. Stop asking “what do you think” when showing to a user. Instead ask them “what is wrong?” Not only will you get honest feedback, but you’ll be able to improve.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Thanks for interviewing us. Be sure to check out either extralunchmoney.com or offbeatr.com