FilmHedge Profile

FilmHedge logo.

FilmHedge is a lending marketplace for TV and film producers looking for more accessible financing. 

Founder(s): Jon Gosier, Mickey Vetter

Industry: Tech

Founded in: 2020

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Interview With Jon Gosier

Describe your product or service:

“Lending marketplace for TV and film producers.”

Describe your company values and mission:

“Our mission is to make film/TV finance more efficient, transparent, and accessible.”

How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.

“$2 million pre-seed, $5 million seed, and $50 million of debt financing.”

How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!

“In 2018 FilmHedge’s founder, Jon Gosier, had exited from a tech startup. Having spent several years in tech, he decided to get back into Film/TV by financing projects, something he had brief exposure to as an early employee of director Tyler Perry back in 2006. However, he was warned by several people: ‘The quickest way to make a million dollars is to start with a billion and start investing in film.’ I wanted to know why an industry that earns hundreds of billions per year was so feared by investors. 

In my research, I began to discover lots of aspects of media finance that were problematic. From where funding comes from, to how deals are structured, to how investors make and lose money. I set out to fix those problems with FilmHedge.”

How did you come up with your startup’s name? Did you have other names you considered?

“Film investing is sort of viewed as a zero-sum thing. Either you make off like a bandit with millions of dollars returned, or you lose everything. When I was an individual film financier, and now with FilmHedge, we discovered a way to lower the risk profile of media finance by using debt. As a lender, FilmHedge and our investors offer financing that is ‘hedged’ against corporate assets that producers and production companies often have (like agreements with studios, distributors, and streamers).”

Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

“Not many people in my family are entrepreneurs, so I’m not sure where I got it from. I like to think it was from my grandfather who raised generations of my family on a 90-acre farm in the deep south. That’s definitely a type of entrepreneurship and certainly takes grit, tenacity, ingenuity, and being smart with money … all lessons that weren’t lost on me as a kid.”

Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?

“There were many. There were a lot of funders and investors who passed even though I’ve successfully scaled and sold tech companies prior to this. But one thing I’ve learned is every ‘no’ is a blessing because often those individuals are too dim and short-sighted to see the vision and, thus, wouldn’t be good to work with anyways.”

Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?

“We solve very specific problems around financing TV, Film, and other media — so the media and entertainment vertical, and we’re also a fintech — so financial services as well.”

What’s your marketing strategy?

“Everyone in Hollywood is always looking for money for their projects, so in that regard, marketing is easy. However, our real customers are the Hedge Funds, Family Offices, Private Equity firms, Investment Banks etc., who either have backed media projects in the past (to mixed results) or who have always been curious but don’t know where to start.”

How did you acquire your first 100 customers?

“Every film or TV show is comprised of a cast and crew that are in the hundreds. So, technically, by funding our first movie.”

What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?

“For us, the primary metric we track is originations, which for us just means lending opportunities/loan applicants. 

We’ve seen really strong growth over the past two years. Originally we were only originating like two or three lending opportunities per quarter. Now we’re easily seeing 10 a month to the tune of $30 million per month, or $360 million in annual lending opportunities. This is great for us and even better for our capital partners. We earn yield for them by lending and sharing in the profits with them.”

What’s your favorite startup book and podcast?

“Book? An old classic, ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ by Eric Raymond.”

What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?

“A DJ named Black Coffee.”

Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?

“I use Google Sheets like an insane person. I’ve added all sorts of plugins and add-ons that make it almost unrecognizable.”

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?

“That after years of doing, I can’t stop myself from wanting to do it again. I’m an insatiable problem solver.”

What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?

“When faced with a series of challenges, nothing else matters until you pick one and solve that first. Then the next. Then the next. Don’t get overwhelmed when it seems like too much. Every big task before you is just made up of a thousand smaller tasks.”

Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?

“For me, it’s voraciously reading. Books, news, social media, text messages, legal briefs … I read at least three hours every day because sometimes the smallest bit of information can come in handy when you least expect it.”

What was your first job and what did it teach you?

“It wasn’t a job, but I used to draw comic book characters and sell them at school to other kids who couldn’t draw. It taught me that people will buy pretty much anything.”

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