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Tech City: Phundee site finds cash for arts projects

PUBLISHED: 13:29 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:47 05 November 2014

Ashon Spooner

Ashon Spooner

Archant

Arts and entertainment projects can access a new world of funding thanks to a Tech City website combining crowdfunding and social networking.

From its headquarters at the Google Campus in Bonhill Street, the site supports eight key areas of the arts: film, music, dance, art, literature, games, photography and fashion.

It offers both rewards and equity-based crowdfunding and campaign consultation.

Phundee is the brainchild of former Newington Green native Ashon Spooner and business partner Colin McGregor.

Ex-film student Ashon, 29, said: “Phundee was really inspired by my university experience. You think at that time it is going to be the last educational step you go through until you go into the industry.

“I remember sitting down in my first class, my lecturer walked in and said, ‘99 per cent of you won’t make your first film’ – which I found motivating and shocking.”

When they met working as actors and dancers for Disney, Ashon and Colin recognised a gap in the market for the Phundee business model.

Ashon said: “When we talked about it in 2009 the resources weren’t there and nobody had really heard of crowdfunding.

“But now the industry has really grown: in a market that is worth $350billion, the arts crowdfunding industry will be worth $72bn in the next 10 years.”

He explained projects entered into the site are verified by the Phundee team through rigorous security measures to ensure they are viable, authentic and that people’s money is going somewhere trustworthy.

Another advantage to the model is the social networking aspect, where people donating are already interested in a project before it is finished.

Ashon said: “It’s democratic. People can fund you based on whether your project is good, and if they do fund you it’s a project they want to see.

“One of the most amazing things about the industry is that it provides you with a market before the project is even made.

“Studios have to make films and then promote them but here you are including the audience and telling the story first. They get an immediate buy-in which is invaluable.”

The website profits on commission made after funding targets are hit and it then connects people with experts in their field who can help take their project to the next level.

These ambassadors are there to mentor campaigners and connect them to industry insiders who could be of value to the project.

One of them, actor and producer Jimmy Akingbola of Holby City fame, sees the synergy between his own project, TriForce Productions, and Phundee.

Jimmy said: “Social Media is king, which explains how I got involved with Phundee via Twitter. I was very impressed and pleased to see that they were a crowd funding social networking platform dedicated to entertainment and arts projects and businesses.”

He continued: “It made complete sense to connect with Phundee as our TriForce mission is to bring the industry to the talent, help move careers forward and support talent through our numerous events.”

Jimmy added: “Being an ambassador for Phundee means a lot to me because I love giving back and care deeply about how artists navigate the industry. This is why I set up my company and working with Phundee enables me to help so many more artists and companies make their dreams a reality.”

Phundee hopes to expand internationally, with teams offering bespoke campaigning advice as well as workshops and seminars.

Right now, Ashon said he enjoys working in Tech City: “Everyone is so supportive and willing to share experiences and contacts to help propel your business forward. People aren’t afraid even if you are in competing areas - there is definitely a sense of camaraderie.”

To find out more, visit phundee.com


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