Report – Beyond Survival: Growing your Business and Making Money
This session explored some of the industry’s success stories, as business leaders and investors discuss how they have taken their companies through the tricky growth stage to develop the strategies and raise the investment in today’s difficult marketplace
- It pays to plan for the future
- Look for the best compromise between financing and retaining rights
- Listen to professionals and be open minded
Co-founder and CEO of Gigglebug Entertainment Anttu Harlin, who is based in Helsinki, produces games and animation that is focused on creating positive content for kids. However, Anttu also wants to capture the idea of asking some of the more difficult questions about money: money enables better content, something that both company and entrepreneur requires equally.
Some companies, such as Steve Carle’s Edge Investments, look to invest exclusively in creative businesses – companies that create or distribute content. He said that creative industries “are appallingly overlooked” for investment, and that his company brings an expertise and counselling to creative companies to secure media rights as well as children’s and family IP rights.
Asking a different question and thinking about change as an opportunity is something to consider. For example, Oli Hyatt, who is the Owner/Chair of Blue- Zoo Animation UK, recently announced their involvement with a Chinese investor. Whilst he was already a successful animator beforehand, he explained to the panel and audience that they did things ‘our way’ and didn’t listen to people saying you can’t enter children’s market.
Oli stressed the need for funding to be ambitious. Melanie Stokes, the Co-founder and MD of Kindle Entertainment, explains that until roughly two years ago, programmes needed first-look deals, and it might be necessary to find a partner to go on that bigger journey with you. She suggested that it’s an idea to look for a business partner who wanted to work with the company not just one production – partners can give knowledge and vision to grow the company.
So what’s the main strategy? Is it all about how to make money, have money and raise money? Steve maintained that it’s not just about doing the deal, but it’s also about building the relationship and producing a solid business plan. Ask yourself how will the business grow and what the financial forecast might be.
Jean-Phillipe Randisi, Chief Executive Officer for Zodiak Kids, reiterated that this does take patience and dedication and sometimes a bit of luck. One of the first objectives is to break even, then you want to know how it can have a life outside of commissioning platforms.
The last bit of advice was ecology-related – think of it like the seasons. In Winter, there may be little happening but this an important time for development. In Spring, it’s tempting to go fast but patience is important, don’t go for the money! Summer arrives and you can begin to reap the benefits from hard work (but don’t launch too soon, build the demand). Finally, coming into the Autumn – think about how to keep your IP alive and the fan community interested. Time to expand and broaden your range, before the cycle starts again!
Co-founder & CEO
Chief Executive Officer
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Co-founder & CEO