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Archive | 1:11 pm

Formula One, NASCAR and NHRA Get the Green Flag to Join the Crowdfunding Race and Fund All Types of Racing-Related and Team Projects 

12 Aug

First Gear Project’s new auto racing crowdfunding site has built a community that encourages new innovations and fosters projects that can now be supported directly by  the public, friends, family, and sponsors

By Robert Hoskins

Portland, Oregon – In motorsports, funding is often the critical bridge between opportunity and execution. First Gear Project, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to the automotive & motorsports industries, will help build that bridge by establishing a platform to connect opportunity and funding.

First Gear Project Crowdfunding Sites for NASCAR, Formula One and NHRA Projects

First Gear Project Crowdfunding Sites for NASCAR, Formula One, NHRA and Other MotorSports Racing Projects

The motor sports crowdfunding site, which recently expanded from a successful beta phase to being open to the public, has been built to facilitate programs across the spectrum of the industry, from karting to drag racing, from the development of new aftermarket products to the creation of inspiring documentaries. First Gear Project will build a community, encourage new innovations and foster projects as the open marketplace of motorsports ideas meets with the support of the public, friends, family, and sponsors to turn dreams into realties.

With a financial base built on upon the 20 year success of Vital Enterprises, an Oregon technology firm with revenues approaching $40 million, First Gear Project has been spearheaded by racing driver Guy Cosmo and his wife Louisa.

“The opportunity to partner Vital Enterprises’ vast array of engineering capabilities with Guy Cosmo’s racing and Motorsport industry experience was a great opportunity,” said Ryan Hoppes, President, Vital Enterprises.  “Being able to bring a new method of financing to influence further creativity, ability to self advocate, as well as provide personal connections between fan and driver within the Motorsport’s realm will be exciting to witness.  We are thrilled to be a part of this shift.”

First Gear Project will give participants the opportunity to influence the future by making tangible contributions to a favorite driver or team, or convert a compelling new concept into a publicly available product with a built-in brand awareness and support system.

“This is a project of a lifetime for me, because being in the sport for so many years I’ve seen first hand how critical funding is,” said Cosmo. “We have designed First Gear Project to not only be an opportunity for someone to transform their vision into a marketable reality but it is also a chance for backers to witness the impact of their support. It’s a place for our whole community to actually participate by building programs or supporting them. We are trying to change the industry, and we and our investors believe that this is the best way to do exactly that.”

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Investors Provide $1 Million Investment to Shore Up Seed&Spark, a Crowdfunding Platform that Funds and Distributes Independent Films

12 Aug

The investment in documentary and narrative films gives a huge boost to women due to the fact that within the entrepreneurship film space, 58% of all films successfully funded on Seed&Spark are led or co-led by women

By Robert Hoskins

Los Angeles, CaliforniaSeed&Spark closed an important round of $1 million in seed venture capital to expand its operations. In addition to the cash infusion, two seasoned film and entertainment executives will join the crowdfunding platform’s board of directors.  Julie Parker Benello (co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures and Gamechanger Films) and producer and Veritas Prep founder Chad Troutwine (Oscar-winning UndefeatedFreakonomicsPrint the Legend) will join the board later this month.

Seed&Spark is building a truly independent filmmaking community where filmmakers and audiences come together for crowd-funding, production, and streaming distribution

Seed&Spark is building a truly independent filmmaking community where filmmakers and audiences come together for crowd-funding, production, and streaming distribution

Earlier this year, Parker Benello, along with Chicken & Egg Pictures co-founder Wendy Ettinger, launched Gamechanger films with Dan Cogan and Geralyn Dreyfous of Impact Partners to “shift the gender disparity in the film marketplace.” Parker Benello’s commitment to women in film both in documentaries and narrative films now extends to entrepreneurship in the film space. 58% of film projects successfully funded on Seed&Spark are led or co-led by women, a statistic Seed&Spark founder and CEO Emily Best attributes to the fact that women are so marginalized in the film industry they’re willing to take a risk on newer platforms. “It could also be that our company leadership is almost entirely women.”

Says Parker Benello, “I am excited to join Seed & Spark as an advisor, given the company’s interest in promoting women directors, both documentary and narrative, on their innovative crowdfunding and streaming platform. I look forward to working with the team to help build out the company while furthering the work of many filmmakers supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures and invested in by Gamechanger Films.”

“We are honored to add two incredibly experienced film producers to our board who are deeply invested in the social impact of the films they make,” says Seed&Spark founder and CEO Emily Best. “What’s more exciting is that we have been able to communicate our company’s mission as an impact investment. We are deeply committed to building tools to give access to a greater diversity of creators—tools we believe can help creators make a sustainable living from their craft.”

“We’re not taking the approach of building this company with money. We wanted to engage the community and grow organically only on the strength of what the community finds valuable about what we’re offering. It means we’ve been able to get a long way with a tiny fraction of the money our competitors have raised. It also means that more of our resources can get poured back into the community because we don’t have so much to pay back,” says Best. “We also hope that we can demonstrate to filmmakers that the strength of this community is more powerful than money. And we can build a sustainable business this way – together!”

Says Troutwine, who most recently produced Print the Legend, which was nabbed by Netflix Originals at SXSW, “There is an exciting new frontier in distribution, one that can more greatly benefit both creators and audiences. Seed&Spark’s founding team of filmmakers understands they’re working for the audience.”

The lead in this round is the Wadsworth Family investment fund Manitou Ventures. Other investors include producer and philanthropist Abigail Disney, Catapult Film Fun co-founder Lisa Kleiner-Chanoff, Emmy-winning producer and Spacestation Founder Matthew Mills, Mitro founder Vijay Pandurangan, and angel investor Deborah Meijer among others.

Having just announced a distribution partnership with American Express, Seed&Spark plans to pursue more distribution partnerships, “to put truly independent content in front of the widest possible audiences and make sure the creators benefit,” says Best.

Seed&Spark is a truly independent film community where filmmakers and audiences join forces to fund, promote and watch the best new independent films. As a selective crowdfunding platform and curated streaming service, Seed&Spark is an online destination for engaged audiences to get involved in exceptional projects at all stages. Seed&Spark’s film specific crowdfunding tool – the “WishList” – allows supporters to buy or loan specific items to a production. Every time an audience member supports a project, they earn rewards points called “Sparks” which they can spend to watch films on the streaming platform. Supporting films gives audiences greater access to watch them.

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