TopatoCo, the pioneering merchandising company for independent artists, has just launched TopatoGO, their own crowdfunding platform. Their first project – a plush of Topato Potato, the company mascot – is already funded. Their second project will be a third print volume of the webcomic Back by KC Green and Anthony Clark.
The move comes in the wake of Kickstarter’s announcement of their move to a platform built on blockchain, a transition that has puzzled and angered many creators, and left many looking for other options for crowdfunding.
TopatoGO will offer “streamlined access to project planning assistance, campaign management, fundraising abilities, and shipping services — all under one roof.”
They’re definitely well positioned for the move: their sister company Make That Thing! launched in 2013 as one of the first companies designed to help creators manage Kickstarter campaigns and fulfillment. Make That Thing helped more than 30 campaigns raise more than $3.5 million but merged with TopatoCo in 2020 in preparation for this one stop shop.
TopatoCo was founded in 2004 by cartoonist Jeffrey Rowland (WIGU and Overcompensating) and quickly established itself among webcartoonists as a place to help with merchandising, sales and other business functions.
TopatoGO services include:
- Campaign consultation, including goal calculation and budgeting
- Backer/Customer service
- Backers’ choices of payment options
- Lower cumulative fees for creators
- Ability for creators to offer “add-on” items post-campaign
- Global shipping services at negotiated lower rates
“We’ve been doing this long enough that we figure it’s time to cut out the middleman and make it easier on everyone involved by doing it all ourselves,” said Rowland in a statement. “Over the years we’ve shipped hundreds of thousands of things and we’re pretty good at it. We have great people working every day and two warehouses, several dozen computers, a van, and a forklift. We have so many rolls of those “fragile” stickers. By shifting our crowdfunding and fulfillment totally in-house, it will allow us to make better deals for creators, streamline our internal processes, invest more into our community, and help the environment by not using blockchain for some reason.”
With many creators uneasy about Kickstarter’s future, several crowdfunding alternatives are rapidly emerging, such as Zoop. TopatoGO’s track record with webcartoonists, and other digital creators makes it a strong option, and Twitter was enthused.
“Real talk, TopatoCo is Good People I’d trust with my business if I did’t already have something cookin’ myself. They have tons of experience, are comics old-schoolers and long-haulers, and here cuz they love this. YOUR KICKSTARTER REPLACEMENT HAS ARRIVED,” tweeted Iron Circus publisher Spike Trotman.
According to the PR, TopatoGO will consider submissions for future campaigns.