VidAngel Completes Mini IPO, Raises Over $10M, Is Now Prepared To Take Legal Battle To The Supreme…


Listen. I’m no stock broker. But I DID spend 15 minutes on Investopedia so I’m feeling very qualified to advise our readers on low-risk investing. So here you go: find a sensible index fund, diversify your portfolio, buy low sell high blah blah blah. BORING. Or, hear me out, You could say “screw you, risk tolerance,” and invest a large sum of money in a company facing a lawsuit and possible injunction.

If the latter option sounds appealing, boy did you just miss your opportunity. On October 31, VidAngel wrapped up their mini IPO, which is a thing, having raised $10,159,434 from 7,556 investors. That puts the average investment at $1,344. Which, I mean, I don’t know your financial situation, but that’s not money I’m willing to bid farewell to forever unless I know it’s helping a cause I truly believe in, which is certainly the case with many of these mini IPO investors. “People and families are not going to take it this time,” says VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon. “VidAngel has become a rallying point for everyone else. They want this fight to be fought and won.”

The fight, of course, is VidAngel’s legal battle with Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, and LucasFilm. I’ve written extensively about the saga here, here, here, and here, but the tl;dr is it’s a battle over whether or not the law sides with VidAngel’s business model. “If we look at the history of edited movie companies, the public psyche perceives edited movies as unlawful,” Harmon says. “We wanted to create a historical event in America that brings attention to filtering movies, and show that it is legal, and that there is a market for it.” And that’s what this mini IPO, which will fund the fight all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary, has done.

VidAngel announced their plans to allow the public to invest in their company two weeks prior to being sued. Suspicious timing, amirite? Their plans at the time of announcement included the standard scaling growth dreams most startups have, but quickly pivoted to taking their fight all the way to the Supreme Court once the suit was filed.

VidAngel, after consulting with its legal team, determined that they would need $5,000,000 to make it to the highest court in the land without going broke. They raised that $5,000,000 in 28 hours. Then they quickly raised the additional $5,000,000, and had to turn away investors, and investments over the maximum amount allowed, $25,000(!!!)

Harmon says the sum “adds to this growing body of evidence that America is not going to settle this time around,” as do the 40,000 people who donated to VidAngel’s litigation fund, the 50,000 people who signed a petition to save filtering, and the 20,000 people who signed an additional petition.

Harmon describes waking up the morning after raising the initial $5,000,000, and feeling the weight of stewardship. “It strengthens our resolve as a team to ensure that families have this right,” he says. “VidAngel now has a responsibility to see this through to the end.”

Harmon and his team have made it very clear that customers’ investments is money they may never see again. “This is an extremely risky investment. People should expect that they could lose everything,” he says. “People are going in with their eyes wide open.” However, Harmon also states his every confidence, and the confidence of his investors, that this is a fight VidAngel will win. “I’ve put my own money and years of my life into this company, I believe, and allies believe, that ultimately justice is on our side,” Harmon says. “We’re all in this together.”



NOMATIC Travel Bag Raises $1.7M On Kickstarter

We were blown away by the support we received. It really exceeded all our expectations.


You know what I love? I love stuffing all my clothes, shoes, and toiletries in a duffle bag. I love praying that the airline won’t notice that the duffle bag is too large to fit in the airplane overhead bins. I love paying the $25 fee when the airline does notice and I’m forced to check my bag. I love arriving at my destination, unzipping my duffle bag and discovering that my shampoo leaked all over my suede ankle boots. I love that after changing out of my flying clothes, I have nowhere to put my dirty clothes except for back in my duffle bag. I love how this problem grows worse and worse as the days go by. I love the final few days of vacation when I can’t find my clean clothes through the pile of dirty. I love trying to shove everything back in my bag plus all the rad MY SISTER WENT TO CINCINNATI AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS T SHIRT t-shirts I probably got for my family members. I love the moment when I get to sit on my hotel bed and cry when I realize I’ve busted the zipper on my bag trying to fit everything. I love the entire luggage experience.

PSYCH.

It’s the worst, right? The thought of packing and unpacking is enough to keep one from ever leaving their house. But wait, before you cancel your cruise, watch this:

I KNOW, RIGHT? It’s the bag that will solve every single last one of your problems, travel related and beyond. Which is probably why over 9,000 backers raised $1.7 million for NOMATIC’s Kickstarter campaign. “We were blown away by the support we received. It really exceeded all our expectations,” says NOMATIC cofounder Jon Richards.

“I’ve always wanted a bag that does all of this,” Richards says. And if anyone needs a good bag, it’s Richards, who does quite a bit of travelling. He and his cofounder Jacob Durham have, like all of us, felt the travel struggle. Unlike the rest of us, however, Richards and Durham did something to relieve the packing pain point.

“What we’ve been doing is taking the best ideas out there and put them all together in the most functional product we possibly can,” says Richards. “We took every feature and function that could add value and put it into one product.” Dang right, they did.

The NOMATIC team will use the $1.7 million to manufacture thousands of bags, many of which will ship to backers in February. Bags are available for presale on Indiegogo for $179. Indigogo backers not only get a bag at a $21 discount, but they also get one free add-on, such as the toiletry bag or vacuum bag.

“I think people like to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. By contributing early on, they feel like they’re part of the company,” Richards says. “We’re really excited to be able to give so many people a great deal on a great bag.”


AF-based Four Foods Group Raises $35M In Funding

We do something unique in the restaurant business by bringing a platform of tools and years of business operations and financial experience that enable our restauranteur partners to grow rapidly, while mitigating the usual pitfalls associated with meaningful expansion.


$35,000,000 is a lot of funding. In the food industry, $35,000,000 is an unheard of amount of funding. Until now.

American Fork-based Four Foods Group, a restaurant concept incubator and accelerator company has raised $18 million from Opus Bank, $12 million from Red Bridge Capital, and more than $7 million from other private capital providers.

“Four Foods Group is unlike anything anyone else has seen,” says CEO Andrew Smith. He’s right. The Four Foods Group model is revolutionary in that it makes franchise owners partners in a business. Each partner receives equity, instead of the traditional profit sharing or bonus programs most other restaurants offer. “I wanted the people in my restaurants to feel the way I do,” says Smith. He explains the feeling of waking up in the morning realizing the success of a business rides on the actions of its owner. The quality of a restaurant is better when those running it have some skin in the game.

And that’s why your turkey artichoke panini is delicious no matter the Kneaders in which you order it. How tragic is it when your favorite restaurant becomes a chain and you visit the second or third or 59th location and the food is not very good and the tables are dirty? There are few things more tragic. Kneaders has avoided this saddest of restaurant fates thanks to Smith and the Four Foods Group.

Gary and Colleen Worthington opened the first Kneaders in 1997. The restaurant quickly grew a cult-like following, because it’s freaking delicious. The Worthingtons had built four locations and were working on their fifth when Smith approached them and negotiated exclusivity. Smith quickly turned a small chain of mom and pop shops into a regional powerhouse. Of the 52 Kneaders locations, Smith owns 43 with partners. These partners are people Smith considers like-minded and those interested in being owners, not amateurs. “Our model of having owners in the store provides better stores,” Smith says.

The next step for Four Foods Group is expanding their model to more brands. In fact, the contract will their first new brand is expected to close soon. “I know the model is going to work,” Smith says. And I agree. Because not only does Four Food Groups help partners own their business, it also helps them buy land, build stores, and set up operations. “We do something unique in the restaurant business by bringing a platform of tools and years of business operations and financial experience that enable our restauranteur partners to grow rapidly, while mitigating the usual pitfalls associated with meaningful expansion,” says Smith.

The $35 million will fuel FFG’s ability to help quality brands grow and thrive in Utah and beyond.