Coco Bonvecchio & the Entrepreneurs

The following interviews, conducted by Coco Bonvecchio, seek to understand:

  • If these creative entrepreneurs sought capital in starting their organization
  • What ways they may have done so, if applicable
  • What advice they have for aspiring creative entrepreneurs. 

This interview process is part of SMU Meadows’ class Creative Entrepreneurship and Attracting Capital.

First: PlayFore Games LLC, Founder and Creator, Brandon Fernandez BrandonF

https://www.playforegames.com

Have you sought funding for your organization?

Yeah, I took a personal loan from my parents actually, of $25,000 to manufacture my first purchase order.

In what ways have you sought funding for your organization? If you have not, how were you able to grow without outside capital?

Using traditional financing no. I did apply to several loans but, obviously, they were denied by Wells Fargo just because there were only pre-sales and pre-revenue.

Would you consider reaching out to your parents, inside or outside capital?

I am pretty sure its inside capital. I had a business plan and they believed in it was strictly for manufacturing. It was pretty straight forward you know, like here’s what my inventory is going to cost and here’s how much I need.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

That’s a good question. To be honest, most of the financing I’ve done and capital I’ve used has been, even from my last inventory purchase, I got a personal note from a friend that I paid back within two months. I’d say raising funding from people close to me has proved the most successful. I know this isn’t the best answer you are looking for, but that’s where the belief comes in you know. My boy, who loves the project, believes in me, so he leant me the money and I paid him back before the maturity of the promissory note.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs, regarding raising funds?

I think it’s very important to be genuine and tell your story. I think a lot of people who start in the startup world, in whatever industry in may be, I believe you have to sell yourself more than the company. When someone is investing in your company, they are investing in you. Number 2: it’s kind of a given, but use technology to the best of your abilities and recognize that it’s an awesome resource. I’ve been using Amazon and it’s obviously not a traditional market place, but it gives me access to anyone across the country. Number 3: I think the whole ‘winging it’ concept is not valuable. Especially young people, like myself, have been told ‘just fake it till you make it’ but it’s not necessarily the case. Just be pre-emptive in your decision-making and have a business trend that is inarguably possible to learn from.

Second: Quinones Productions LLC, Director and Producer, Nicco Quinones NiccoQ

https://www.quinonesproductions.com/home

Have you sought funding for your organization?

Thus far, we haven’t sought outside funding for QP.

In what ways have you sought funding for your organization? If you have not, how were you able to grow without outside capital?

When starting our company, we relied heavily on our freelance experience, spent less than $10,000 of our personal savings on gear, and aimed to do all of our spec work with the business’ earnings rather than with our personal savings.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

Keeping things tight in the way we have has put a lot more pressure on me as the head of the company and led to far less money being put towards my personal salary. Having said that, I think the strategy of putting our business earnings into our efforts on spec-, not risking personal savings on our spec work-, has allowed us to grow at a much faster rate than would normally be possible.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs, regarding raising funds?

Don’t fake it, till you make it. Get your boots on the ground in the field you’re launching a business in so that the risks you take with your money are educated and calculated ones. 2. Don’t just jump into fundraising. Tweak the creative project or business idea until it feels bigger than yourself. That way, you can love it enough to take risks on its behalf. 3. Consider the audience. If you find that pursuing friends and family isn’t affecting the bottom line, look at folks that might be further outside of your comfort zone, but easier to get on the same page with what you’re trying to do.

Third: Yacht Club LLC, Co-Founder, Jake Ladehoff JakeL

http://yachtclubfilms.com

Have you sought funding for your organization?

We sought minor funding in the form of loans twice.

In what ways have you sought funding for your organization? If you have not, how were you able to grow without outside capital?

When starting our company, we reached out to friends and family to loan us money to buy a cinema camera package, which allowed us to offer something as a young company. Then 4 years after starting the company, we secured a small business loan from our bank to purchase a server for our office.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

In our experience, the small business loan was more effective because the interest payment was lower, and we didn’t have to risk losing friends/family relationships.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs, regarding raising funds?

Most of all, believe in yourself, but make a plan. Reach out to similar companies or individuals in your line of work to help get a realistic idea of returns on investment. Don’t go into debt if you don’t have to.

 

 

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