By Ryan Weeks on 4th March 2014
Marc Hayward is the man behind the first TV channel dedicated to crowdfunding. Launched in January of this year, CrowdBox TV opens a new avenue of promotion to crowdfunding projects from across the globe. Having now aired two stellar episodes, AltFinanceNews caught up with Marc to discuss the TV phenomenon…
Tell me a bit about your background…
“From the starting line of TV production I progressed through the various different stages through to Director and then into senior management – working across different genres such as news, drama and live premiership football. Working through Production into senior management I was responsible for the output of 7 live interactive TV channels. At 29 years old I was responsible for broadcasting over 1000 hours of live TV a week across the Sky and Freeview platform. I decided to focus on starting my own TV concept ideas. With various ideas and failed attempts to secure funding though the traditional methods, I knew I would have to look into new areas for funding. I knew I had the drive, talent and vision to make something work but lacked the capital and funding and the right opportunity.
To be honest, I got pretty down about it. I remember impatiently one night hitting the keys on my laptop typing entrepreneur opportunity London. That was when I came across a job opportunity that would later change everything. That was when I met Karen Darby. After gaining an insight into the crowdfunding industry and having the pleasure of working with the team at CrowdMission, I later developed an idea that would and could connect all the Crowdfudning platforms and projects from around the globe and provide a multi digital platform to showcase projects and connect investors (The Crowd) with entrepreneurs.”
What is the long-term plan for CrowdBox?
“From the start I have always looked at CrowdBox like MTV. When music videos started becoming more commercial and mainstream somebody had the simple but bright idea to showcase all these in one place, and then rolled out the concept globally. This is similar to what CrowdBox is doing with pitch videos. MTV now broadcasts in 166 countries in 33 different languages. Who's to say with the current rapid growth rate of crowdfunding that that couldn't happen with CrowdBox? As MTV has Base and Dance channels, we will have Technology and Arts. As MTV has R&B and Hip Hop, we will have sections dedicated to the community and raising film finance. The opportunity is endless. CrowdBox has recently been given the green light – just 1 month since launching – to set sail for America. What’s after that? Asia would be nice. We also have a big announcement that we will unveil in April/May this year. My lips are sealed for now.”
How do entrepreneurs fully benefit from having their pitch video on CrowdBox?
“Launching a crowdfunding project is all about reach. Of course you must have a fantastic idea – something that appeals to people. Something that will change somebody's life. If the idea or product is right and you can reach the masses then you have more chance of reaching your goal. At CrowdBox we are all about extending peoples reach and connecting investors and entrepreneurs. One day we will have a global network with which we can connect a global audience to one individual project. We want to make dreams come true.”
Impressive that you have Stella English from the apprentice on board…
“Stella is a very proactive member of the team who really gets involved. She is tremendously talented in all areas of development and broadcast journalism. She never fails to amaze with her ideas and I'm very lucky to have her as part of my team.”
How do you select featured projects? Can any project apply – what are the criteria?
“Anybody can upload and send us their pitch video. We also offer marketing and PR services which support pitches. We have certain production guidelines that prospective campaigns need to stick to, but as we build the channel we will be able to accept more and more content.”
Talk to me a little about the importance of crowdfunding in general, specifically for start-ups?
“Crowdfunding is very important for start up businesses. It helps finance their dreams and get them into production. It doesn’t matter what line of business you’re in – from the community development social entrepreneur through to the next Mark Zuckerberg. Crowdfunding plays an increasingly important role in helping businesses access the finance they need to grow and contribute to the economy.”
AltFi is returning to Amsterdam for its second annual Summit in the city. The inaugural event last year was a roaring success, with key figures from across Continental Europe's alternative finance and digital banking sectors highlighted. These included Jeroen Broekema, managing director of Funding Circle Netherlands, and Mieke van Engelen, head of innovative partnerships at ABN AMRO's standalone lending platform, New10.