LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, November 28, 2018. Walking into the twenty-fourth floor Century City law firm owned by Brandon Blake, founder of ideaPledge.com, instantly transports you to movies like “The Firm” or “Swimming With Sharks”, where A-listers and Oscar winners come to sort out entertainment industry business.
Mr. Blake established himself in Hollywood 18 years ago, when he started the law firm of BLAKE & WANG P.A. with a fellow law school alumnus. Nothing is more important to a feature film or television series than financing, so Mr. Blake also began a securities law practice, becoming an expert on the ins-and-outs of securities laws regulation and what it takes to raise venture capital for media projects.
Looking out on the Los Angeles Country Club from his conference room window, I can’t help but be impressed by Mr. Blake’s enthusiasm for a subject that doesn’t always elicit excitement… the world of securities law compliance. But then again, there is nothing ordinary about Mr. Blake, or his tech startup ideaPledge.com.
Question: So what’s so exciting about securities compliance?
Mr. Blake: Thanks for coming by today. Having worked for a long time with film and television producers, I learned early on that investor financing is really important, even to big studio projects. Every producer has to get out there and establish at least a portion of the budget in equity. That means pitching projects to private investors. A lot of people don’t realize that even the big studio films require a component of equity financing. Steven Mnuchin, now the United State Treasury Secretary, cold-called Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to raise money for “The Lego Batman Movie.” So, this is not an “independent film” thing. And of course every industry is the same, from high tech startups to brick-and-mortar businesses, capital raising is key.
Question: How does ideaPledge.com help entrepreneurs raise money?
Mr. Blake: Raising money is hard work, and there is no shortcut to getting out there and meeting potential investors, whether that be in person or through social media, email, phone campaigns, or the like. But a huge barrier to entry are securities compliance costs. That’s the cost of getting an attorney like me to put together your PPM, business plan, securities offering, and then file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A lot of producers can’t even get their project seen because of the burden of the compliance costs associated with raising money.
Question: You talk a lot about fairness, but not everyone can be a film producer or an entrepreneur.
Mr. Blake [laughing]: Why not? That’s exactly my point. Everyone can launch their dream project when you eliminate the barrier to entry. That’s exactly what ideaPledge.com does for users. With no upfront costs, anyone with a good idea can approach investors and get the same opportunity to fund their dream project as a major Hollywood producer. It’s that simple.
Question: So how does it work?
Mr. Blake: Anyone can sign up as a Creator on ideaPledge.com. It takes about 10 minutes. Once the user is registered a really easy to use app allows you to create a professional looking business plan page for your project. You can upload photos, videos, bios, whatever you want. Drop downs allow you to choose your industry, investor percentages and how much of your company to share with investors. Then with a single click your project goes live.
Question: What about costs?
Mr. Blake: That was the most important thing to me. No upfront costs of any kind. Not to use it, not to post your business plan, and no limit on the number of investors either. When the offering closes there is a flat 10% compliance fee which covers everything from escrow costs, transaction fees, legal, securities filings, bank transfers, everything.
Question: Does ideaPledge.com have a pool of investors ready to invest in new projects?
Mr. Blake: This is a really important point. The fact is, no crowdfunding site brings the investors or donors to you. There are a lot of sites that promise “Angel Investors” or to introduce your project to a pool of early stage investors. But in the end it’s the sweat equity of the entrepreneur that brings in the investors. It’s just like donation crowdfunding. The entrepreneur is going to have to put in work to bring investors to a project. ideaPledge.com is a tool that let’s entrepreneurs stop planning to raise money and start reaching out to investors.
“ideaPledge.com is a tool that let’s entrepreneurs stop planning to raise money and start reaching out to investors”
Question: So how should Creators use ideaPledge.com?
Mr. Blake: ideaPledge.com is an incredible tool to get past the hurdle of securities compliance. ideaPledge.com can replace the PPM, business plan, and securities offering, and let entrepreneurs start reaching out to investors about projects. It puts everyone in the same position of a high powered Hollywood producer, with all the resources you need to make your dreams come true. But lets face it, if Steven Mnuchin has to sit at his desk cold-calling people in his Rolodex, everyone else probably has to do it too. But now there’s no excuse why you can’t get out there and make your project happen.
- Interview Courtesy of Film & TV Quarterly
ideaPledge.com is a private equity crowdinvesting and social media app allowing entrepreneurs to launch investor funding campaigns for film, television, media and high-tech projects, replacing PPMs, business plans, and securities offerings with a free, easy to use app for smartphones and desktop.
BLAKE & WANG P.A. is a professional corporation and is not associated with or affiliated with ideaPledge, LLC. ideaPledge, LLC does not provide legal or professional services and BLAKE & WANG P.A. does not endorse or represent ideaPledge, LLC. The foregoing is not an endorsement of the ideaPledge, LLC services or a guarantee, warranty or prediction as to the success or suitability of the site for any particular project. As with any legal matter, please do not make a decision about complex matters without consulting an experienced entertainment attorney first.