Gostartis: The Challenges and Hopes of a Potential Quebec-based Patreon
Rather unknown up to now, the new Gostartis Média platform could very well be poised to become a key actor in the cultural sector, namely with video and podcast creators who appreciate subscription-based crowdfunding. To establish its credibility with creators and cohabitate with, or compete against, other platforms, Gostartis Média will need to rise to significant challenges. Here is an analysis of a young start-up in the field of cultural entrepreneurship whose ideas are full of promise.
Last August 8, a new player discretely entered Quebec’s crowdfunding market. Gostartis Média is a platform that is devoted entirely to artistic projects. By targeting its sector of activity, the company thereby fills not one but two spaces left vacant by national generalist platforms: the culture space and the subscription-based crowdfunding space propelled by Patreon.
But that’s not all… The platform’s ambition is to become a cultural broadcaster that actively produces content (blogs, vlogs and podcasts) that is inspired in part by the work of the artists who subscribe to its services. For its cofounder, Dominique Galarneau, the ‘media’ component represents only one aspect of the extensive showcase that he wants to create for Quebec artists. Building on his philanthropic experience (for the benefit of the Canadian Cancer Society and the Fondation Charles-Bruneau), he seeks to add an ‘events’ component to his platform and is currently at work designing an online shop.
In some way, Gostartis wants to become an active intermediary in the cultural sector by multiplying the opportunities to produce and showcase artistic creation, which includes crowdfunding. It’s a bold and pertinent strategy knowing that communication and innovation are excellent vectors that can be used to differentiate oneself from other crowdfunding platforms.
However, will that be enough to guarantee the success of the campaigns that benefit from the platform’s support? In other words, what is the secret of the platforms that boast the highest number of successful campaigns? To get a clearer picture, we closely reviewed the results of a study conducted by Canadian professor and researcher Douglas Cumming. At the core of this study lies the following question: Does the success of crowdfunding campaigns depend on a more efficient filtering and coaching of projects?
Gostartis’s main challenges: validate, coach and advise
At first view, the primary challenge facing Gostartis has to do with obtaining visibility to make sure that its projects and contents are distributed on the web and social media. Even though that would seem to go without saying, Cumming’s study nevertheless reveals that the due diligence process—which consists of reviewing the project promoter’s case file (verifying his accomplishments, establishing his project’s feasibility, auditing his performance on social media, etc.)—is a step that crowdfunding platforms should indeed prioritize seeing as it is reported to have a positive impact on its clients’ success rates.
To arrive at this conclusion, the York University researcher analyzed data collected from 51 Canadian platforms active between 2013 and 2015 jointly with the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada.
The initial intuition was that platforms that strictly control the quality of candidacies more successfully avoid fraud, mitigate the asymmetrical transmission of information between entrepreneurs and potential contributors and thus increase the number of successful projects hosted by their site. This hypothesis is clearly validated by Cumming, who also reviews due diligence application factors such as the number of employees, the sector of activity, the level of traffic, etc.). Cumming also emphasizes that coaching and strategic advice services increase projects’ chances of success.
In light of the foregoing, for as long as Gostartis fulfils its primary mission, i.e., to draw attention on its artists while maximizing their chances for success, it will need to filter potential projects and—even though it does not always rhyme with profitability—focus on project quality and transparency instead of on the number of projects. Also, investments will be need to be made with project promoters, which obviously represents this start-up’s strength.
Gostartis Média: a new space for film and webseries creators?
Questioned on his coaching strategies within the category of the most highly remunerated creators (i.e., those who are best positioned to take advantage of Patreon’s subscription-based funding), who develop videos, podcasts and games, Dominique demonstrates that he is ready to intervene at different levels.
Video: A capsule of Kurzgesagt, a German channel that distributes animated educational videos and that is among the most active creators on Patreon
Let’s take the example of a web capsule project that did not benefit from the expected funding. How will Gostartis take charge of it?
We’ll start by evaluating the project to understand why funding was refused. For example, if the funding focuses on web-based content and that is not obvious in the script, we will suggest to the creator that he rework his texts to better adapt them to the targeted channel. Once the changes have been made, we will propose holding a crowdfunding campaign before applying for funding once again.”
He goes on to add this: “We will do our best to support the creator throughout the process. Otherwise, the next step consists of matching the creator with one of our professionals who will be able to meet his more specific needs.” Indeed, providing strategic coaching is also a way of guiding the customer toward other resources who are more qualified. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that a platform’s success depends in part on the existence of a network of key partners.
For the time being, Gostartis Média hosts only three campaigns but could host as many as ten by the end of the month. Given the platform’s young age and especially given all the time that Dominique spends coaching (an average of three encounters per artist), this low volume of activity should not be a cause for concern in the short term. However, he will need to make his site more attractive to creators if his goal is to have it gain in credibility and visibility.
Produce, distribute and celebrate!
Dominique is well aware of this and that is why he is contemplating the possibility of using his platform to distribute films, documentaries or webseries that would be accessible to subscribers exclusively. Better yet, he will be presenting a mobile film festival showcasing exclusive short and punchy productions that will take flight on mobile devices. The event is scheduled for spring 2019.
For the love of cultural entrepreneurship
Although we placed emphasis on its subscription-based crowdfunding model, allow us to point out that Gostartis Média also offers flexible project-based funding by virtue of which the artist keeps what he raises regardless of whether or not the objective was reached. What counts for the platform is offering as many tools as possible to develop entrepreneurship among Quebec creators.
According to Dominique, although the expression instills fear in artists and their entourage, artistic autonomy is—and will remain—the heart and soul of Gostartis Média.