Zoop, a crowdfunding platform designed to fund comics and other pop culture projects that also offers a suite of support services for campaigns, launched June 7. The company is a privately funded startup cofounded by Jordan Plosky, a digital entrepreneur and founder of ComicBlitz, a digital comics subscription service, and Eric Moss, former senior director of licensing, business development and digital at IDW Publishing.
The platform is starting with a campaign to crowdfund Slow City Blues, an action and humor driven comics series by Samuel Haine, Shawn Moll, John Livesay, David Baron, and Thomas Mauer. Slow City Blues has raised more than $8,000 ($25,000 goal) so far. Also launching on Zoop are several campaigns that also feature veteran comics professionals, among them Scarlett Couture by Des Taylor, the story of a fashionista who doubles as a covert agent; and, Resolution. an epic sci-fi tale by veteran comics writer Ron Marz, cowriter Andy Lanning, and artist Rick Leonardi.
The Zoop platform will offer the usual crowdfunding services—users can set goals to raise specific amounts while offering rewards to donors—but the service separates itself from platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo by offering an “a la carte” selection of support services to help users from the start. A Zoop campaign can offer its users services that range from “no frills”—the user initiates and handles all fundraising and delivery functions themselves—or, for a percentage fee, they can select from a list of Zoop services that include pledge management, marketing, fulfillment (rewards and the final product), warehousing, or production and printing services. Zoop has organized a number of third party vendors to provide support services. Like Kickstarter, Zoop campaigns are all or nothing, and must reach a specific financial goal by a specific date (30 day deadline) in order to receive the funds.
The fee for a Zoop crowdfunding campaign starts at 5% of a successful financial goal for the basic service and can range upward to 25% of its goal depending on the number of support services chosen by the user. Zoop is also offering incentives for retailers (the retailer reward tier gets the donor multiple copies of the final book). Plosky said Zoop also plans to add an e-commerce function (consumers that miss a donation period will be able buy the book or other “backlist” campaign projects direct from Zoop), in a move that essentially turns Zoop into a hybrid crowdfunding platform that can function as a publisher, distributor, and retailer.
Plosky, who is CEO, said Zoop offers a turn-key crowdfunding service that makes organizing and fulfilling a campaign easy. Plosky said “crowdfunding is shaking up the comics industry. We looked at the market to figure out what we’d like to see on the user side.” He added: “the other crowdfunding platforms are great but if you’re a user you have to figure out how to do it. It can take months of preparation to launch a crowdfunding campaign. We have vendors in marketing and management and we can offer a suite of services that will make crowdfunding easier and free up the time needed from creators.”
Plosky said he believes Zoop “can increase the amount of product creators can deliver.” And, he said, Zoop can help resolve issues around the “nondelivery” of crowdfunding products, an issue at times when crowdfunding creators don’t, or simply can’t, deliver on promises.
Plosky is the founder of ComicBlitz, a digital comics subscription service offering access to titles from a number of indie publishers which launched in 2015, and which was sold to Cinedigm, an entertainment platform, in 2018. Moss, who is COO, was formerly with IDW and was also project manager for the record breaking Kickstarter campaign that raised $1.5 million to fund actor Keanu Reeves' forthcoming graphic novel series, BRZRKR. Also part of the Zoop team is Camilla Zhang, former comics outreach lead at Kickstarter, who will serve as an advisor.
“Comics are the fastest growing crowdfunding category today, and COVID’s impact on the industry highlighted the need for a new solution for creators,” Plosky said. “Zoop was created to solve these and more pain points by bringing crowdfunding, e-commerce, production, fulfillment, and distribution together under a single, simple platform.”
Correction: An incorrect date for the start of the Resolution campaign was posted in an earlier version of this story. It launched in June.