INTERVIEW: Toy crowdfunding site JumpOff

A website that allows start ups to seek funding for kids products has emerged. We talk to co-founders Peter Gasca (left) and Rhett Power (right) about how it works.
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What sets JumpOff apart from other crowd funding sites? 

Peter: According to Crowfunding.org, there were over 450 crowd funding sites in May 2012. That number has undoubtedly increased as the popularity of the industry grows. 

Popular sites like Kickstarter have as many as 5,000 active projects at any given time. All of this has made it very difficult to not only find worthy projects to follow, but also to get attention through the noise. 

While industry and region specific crowdfunding sites have begun to spring up, there was none specifically focused on kids and kid-related products. 

Also, very few, if any crowdfunding sites offer assistance once a project is funded. Raising money is only half the battle, and most inventors and first time entrepreneurs have no idea know how to prototype, source, package, purchase, inventory, distribute and market a new product. That’s where we offer a value-add, and given our experience and network in the industry, it’s what separates Jumpoff.co from other crowdfunding sites.

How can crowd funding sites like yours change the toy industry? 

Peter: The [US] toy industry is an incredible competitive industry that is dominated by a few retailers (Walmart, Target, Toys R Us) and a few manufactures (Hasbro, Mattel, Jakks Pacific, Mega Brands). Because of this, it is becoming increasingly difficult for inventors and entrepreneurs to get their great ideas to market without either getting lost or getting crushed in the fray.

Jumpoff.co offers an alternative and more attractive method to generate awareness, build a brand and a following, and more important, potentially raise all important capital to start. More promising, however, might be the secondary benefit of Jumpoff.co. Once a project is funded, it shows “proof of concept”, giving valuable credibility to an idea. The inventor can then use that credibility to gain leverage when negotiating with developers and retailers.

Rhett: We have seen over the last few years less and less choice in product at retail. This is the result of many factors from the economy (no credit for projects) to mass retail cutting selection. We believe crowdfunding and Jumpoff will change the toy industry by giving small designers and inventors an chance to get projects funded, noticed, and ultimately in the marketplace. 

Do you think more innovative toy products will come to the fore in the coming years, thanks to crowdfunding sites?

Rhett: I do believe we will see new and innovative product as a result of crowdfunding. I believe people are tired of the lack choices you have now in retail. As a father if can find better products for my kids I will shop at the at location. 

By giving inventors a place to fund their projects and get them to market, we will see really interesting product that you don't see on store shelves. That is why Jumpoff will be successful because people want something different and innovative. 

Why should companies get involved with JumpOff?

Peter: This is an incredibly exciting time to be involved with crowdfunding. The rewards-based concept has really only just started to garner attention and recognition as a valid method of promoting an idea.

I was shocked to learn that almost my entire college level class of business students had never heard of Kickstarter or Indigogo. As well, when the proverbial crowdinvesting cloud starts to settle and the SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission) determines the legislation to regulate it, we will see even more innovation and ideas coming. 

This is just the start for these industries, and we have much, much further to go.

Visit the JumpOff website here.

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