Thoroughness, however, is not enough to forgo external funding. INDIE is being created according to the principles of Lean Startup. This means a clear vision, a consistent strategy, a realistic business plan, and above all, a thorough business creation philosophy, based on a talented, agile and lean structure. Thoroughness, however, is not enough to forgo external funding.
INDIE foresees possible means and sources of financing, to be activated separate or jointly, depending on the stages of the project development. These stages, described here-under in a sequence that can be adjusted depending on the project evolution are inspired on start-up success stories and include classic and innovative capitalization methods.
INDIE Press Agency [Correspondente] has already been created to fill the gaps opened by the reduction of the teams in the newsrooms of mainstream media in Brazil, guaranteeing access to original, exclusive, high quality content produced by Brazilian journalists. This is an opportunity for press to guarantee readers and viewers a critical and genuinely Brazilian view of the major world events, while limiting the costs of personnel management.
During phase 1 of the project, which lasted approximately one and half year, the founding team already self-financed 30 K€ at this stage, for design, publishing, brand protection in France and Brazil, web sites, in addition to travel costs for initial meetings with potential customers of the agency, in Brazil. These costs will integrate the initial capital of the start-up. Additional 150 K€ are estimated necessary for the Agency launch, until it reaches its full production potential:
> Founding team 10 K€, for finalization of creation of the company and administrative costs
> Investor or business angel: 110 K€, against a share in capital to be negotiated, for financing the construction of the technical platform, and purchase of equipment for video production
> Subsidies or free loans: 30 K€, to purchase of equipments
There are two priorities here : [A] the financing of the branding, which will reflect brand guidelines; and [B] the construction of the digital publisher, i.e., of its base technological infrastructure, including the responsive website [front and back end], mobile applications for smartphones and tablets adapted to operational systems IOS and Android, devices for communication and remuneration of PARTNERS, the independent start-ups that will provide content. Branding will be made visible to the public through targeted internet campaigns, coordinated by the central technical and marketing team. Tech infrastructure will be mostly developped by internal team, which will allow to maintain and constantly adapt features.
This stage of fund raising will be carried out in Europe, through a mix of equity increase (entry or confirmation – after stage 1 – of a reference investor, and/or equity crowdfunding) and other external financing (tech development/subsidized loan...). The fact that the agency shall already be operating actively at this stage, providing a first and convincing “proof of concept”, shall strengthen the team’s credibility and create a favourable context for both types of financing request. At some point, it would make sense to integrate a brazilian investor, motivated by the project’s rentability but also sensibilized to its social impact in today’s Brazil context.
> Value to be collected: 1.2 M€
> For up to 35% of the equity
> EV at this stage: 3.0 M€
BUILD UP OF THE SUBSCRIBER BASE
INDIE will enter the design and development phase. In parallel to this phase, the company will look to attract subscribers, who will feed the first of the three pillars of sustainability for the project : PAYWALL & SUBSCRIPTIONS.
For this, INDIE will organize a crowdfunding in Brazil, the biggest national collective funding platform. Based on the presentation of its editorial line, its vision and strategy, its PARTNERS and its design, INDIE will start selling subscriptions at promotional cost, so as to bring in a first base of subscribers. The objective of this phase is not to obtain funding, but to generate loyalty amongst its first audience, that will in turn bring future funding; it will stimulate the audience’s interest, drive the brand; and promote the publisher amongst its two audiences – the reader and the partner start-ups.
The crowdfunding target will be to sell 30.000 subscriptions for a 1 year period, at R$1 [equivalent to 0.25€] per month or R$10 [2.50€] in one payment – a minimum total value of R$ 300.000. In exchange, the subscribers will have access to freemium content [free + premium] from the very first day that INDIE’s publication opens to the public, and for the subsequent 12 months. At the end of this period, the subscription fee will go back to its normal value, presumably R$ 9.90 per month.
INDIE NEWS AND INDIE DATA
With the financing of its technological infrastructure ensured, and the first step of brand visibility reached, INDIE will already exist as a publisher in the eyes of Brazilian public opinion.
To guarantee the editing and curation of the content, and supply topics not covered by PARTNERS, especially in Brasilia and abroad, INDIE will strengthen its own team of journalists, INDIE NEWS, that will work in its “Brazil” and “World” newsrooms, based in São Paulo and Paris respectively. INDIE NEWS will allow INDIE AGENCY to commercialize INDIE and PARTNERS’ content via SYNDICATION, the second of the three pillars of project funding.
Initial staffing of TEAM INDIE creation will be financed, in parallel of stages 2 and 3, by the revenues generated by the Agency and subscriptions take-off. Further steps shall be financed through additional funding of existing investors, or a new investor who would bring data analysis skills to the table, becoming a preferential partner for the third pilar supporting the project : INDIE DATA, the big data branch, for content production and B2B consulting.
> Value to be collected: 450 K€
> For up to 7% of the equity
> EV at this stage: 5.0 to 6.0 M€
INDIE IS BEING CREATED ACCORDING TO THE PRINCIPLES OF LEAN STARTUP. THIS MEANS A CLEAR VISION, A CONSISTENT STRATEGY, A REALISTIC BUSINESS PLAN, AND ABOVE ALL, A THOROUGH BUSINESS CREATION PHILOSOPHY, BASED ON A TALENTED, AGILE AND LEAN STRUCTURE.