As fans of hit TV series, comics, games and films, there’s always been a sense of belonging to a franchise. But being emotionally invested in an entertainment universe, there is a now a way for some fans to also obtain a measure of ownership of their beloved IPs thanks to Skybound Entertainment.
The entertainment company who is behind global award-winning ventures The Walking Dead, Invincible, Impact Winter, and more announced a public investment opportunity in January. Since its initial offering, the company has already raised more than USD15.5 million on investment platform Republic in a quiet period.
Skybound Entertainment’s move is significant beyond from just a business standpoint. It also serves as a game changer for the entertainment industry. After all, it isn’t everyday fans or investors have had this type of access to major Hollywood franchises on the ground floor. With billions of generational fans in the comic book space and over 150 IPs, Skybound’s Reg A+ offering is particularly attractive to retail investors at large.
To find out more Skybound Entertainment’s public investment offering, we sat down with Skybound CEO David Alpert to discuss more about the company’s recent growth and its unique business strategy that allows fans to be part of the biggest entertainment franchises outside of corporate Hollywood.
What inspired Skybound Entertainment to adopt this fan-driven business model?
I have worked with creators and my co-founder and creator Robert Kirkman for a long time. We formed Skybound Entertainment in 2010 because we recognized entertainment could be done better to everyone’s benefit – including fans. Historically, studios have dictated how entertainment was enjoyed, cutting out creators and fans in the process. We felt this resulted in a sub-optimatal experience for all and limited the ways in which fans could truly engage with IP.
The Skybound model gives creators more ownership of their IP and creates a holistic 360 fan experience across multiple platforms. In turn, fans can enjoy their favorite IP in a comic book, a TV series, a video game, and so much more. This generates deep ties between IP, the creator, and fans. It’s a win-win-win.
The company has an impressive portfolio of comic book IPs but Skybound has also stretched its interest into video games. Are there plans to diversity further?
While comics and video games remain a core business, we believe that by mastering narrative we can create cross-media opportunities for most of our IP. Comic books can become a video game, or a TV show can become a podcast, unlocking endless opportunities. Last year we built our own proprietary animation studio, which is currently hard-at-work on Seasons 2 and 3 of our Amazon Prime TV series Invincible.
We’ve continued to invest in our Audio arm with Impact Winter, just one of a growing slate of audio originals, exclusively available on Audible. We also have a robust Table Top division of card games, board games and more, which appeals to a whole other audience and is a nostalgic way of connection and bringing people together. Most recently, we produced the Dracula movie Renfield, based on an original idea by Robert Kirkman. Wherever our creators want to go, we’ll do our best to support them.
The money raised through funding, will it be used to drive Skybound’s current IPs or to diversify the company’s interests further?
We are so appreciative of the fans and investors that have helped us raise nearly USD15 million and counting! We have already put some of the money to expand existing IP, and plan to put it toward supporting cross-media expansion with new IP, creators, and teams.
For now fans who invest in the company do not get financial returns or dividends, less of course it goes public. Will these plans change if the company continues to do well?
We expect our investors to enjoy a great return through a potential future exit – a trade sale, a public offering, or even a stock re-purchase program. Of course, we cannot guarantee outcomes, as all private investments carry risk. For the foreseeable future, we continue to be in growth mode as we aim to create even greater asset value for all our stake holders.
There are plans for the company to offer exclusive perks and experiences based on investable tiers. Has Skybound Entertainment already lined up what those perks and experiences are?
Yes, we have a variety of perks like a limited-edition foil poster, a Skybound universe beer stein, the chance to attend a VIP Skybound party at San Diego Comic-Con, and even create a new character for the Skybound universe. You can see more in the sidebar of our deal page.
Who in your opinion is this investment opportunity perfect for?
Never have everyday individuals had the chance to invest early on in an entertainment company like ours. This investment is perfect for anyone who loves the world of comic books, video games, and great entertainment. We think of it as a way to give back to our millions of fans that have supported our 150+ owned IP over the last several years. This investment also appeals to a sophisticated investor who appreciates the appeal of cross-media entertainment and recognizes Skybound’s model paves the way for long term profitability and success.
At launch, the offering raised more than USD15.5 million, how did it feel about this result?
We were stunned and absolutely humbled to see the immediate reception of our offering. Republic even noted it was one of their most successful offering launches they’d had on the platform.
Do you feel this fan-based investment formula can be replicated for other film markets across the globe?
Absolutely. The great thing about Reg A+ offerings is nearly anyone from around the world can invest in a private company or early-stage project. Skybound has global hit IP that spans Europe, Latin America, and Asia and our investor makeup reflects that.
Do you foresee more entertainment companies going through this route, and in a way transform the entertainment industry?
I think so. It is how most filmmakers, producers, and creators get their start to begin with. Even Spike Lee has raised money from the crowd to support projects. If you already have an audience that knows and loves your work, and you’ve established a level of trust with them, I think it’s a natural extension for a filmmaker or franchise to invite its fans to become even more deeply involved.