Funding an Adult Project? Ben Tao of Offbeatr is The Go-To Guy

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from www.techcrunch.com – Whether you’re into nude Canadian elk-dancing or Honda tailpipe sniffing, our sexual peccadilloes are all unique. That’s why there’s Offbeatr. Described as a “kickstarter for porn,” the site allows you to support super SEXXXY porn projects that could include a movie on Japanese squid porn or an up-close look at MILF clog-dancing and shape-note singing.

Ben Tao and Eric Lai founded the site. Tao was a product manager for Yellowpages.com and Lai worked for Boeing. They founded another startup called ExtraLunchMoney.com which was a sales system for HOTTT amateur content. They also run a podcast where they interview porn folks.

Finding funding was hard. “We’ve bootstrapped the business from personal savings and have been making money since we launched. As you can imagine seed and angel funding for adult businesses, even if you are doing innovative things, isn’t easy to come by. So we knew from day one we had to make money in order to survive. That being said we still like to try the ‘mainstream’ tech ways of getting money. I think we’re on our 3rd rejection from Y Combinator and even have been rejected by every Los Angeles startup incubator (and there’s like a billion of them!),” said Tao. Finally, they started working with the LA Startup Club.

The boys are relatively alone in their efforts to build crowdfunding for PR()N.

“The big thing is there are no serious players in the space for adult crowdfunding. The big guys like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo don’t allow adult projects and honestly never will. Not only are their communities not suitable for adults, but they can’t because of their payment processing,” said Tao.

Fundable projects include paying for a redesign of Cherry.tv and some kind of cross-cultural SEXXXchange between Japan and the rest of the world. If I had my druthers, they’d support my personal HOTTT FANTASY and offer a full XXX remake of Spies Like Us with Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase (and I don’t mean body doubles, I want them in their full flabby glory) completely nude all the time.

Tao is essentially trying to keep porn alive. The site is fairly handsome and they’ve just launched so there’s no telling if this idea will take off, but good on these lads for trying.

from www.betabeat.com – When we first heard about Offbeatr (NSFW) back in February, the Kickstarter for porn prompted us to ask ourselves: What other fast-growth startups could benefit from a porn-y clone? Quite a few already had one, as the commenters noted.

Well today, Offbeatr, the delightfully open-minded brainchild of cofounders Ben Tao and Eric Lai, finally launched, billing itself as non-equity based platform to fund “sex and adult related creative projects.”

Judging by the early offerings, that means anything from a cultural exchange program to introduce popular porn Japanese stars to American audiences–the donor rewards are remarkably more interactive–to the more domestic Mormonboyz.com, a gay porn site that will feature “hot young missionaries and their higher ranking priesthood leaders.” That staff-picked project is raising funds to produce a documentary called “Got Mormon Milk?” for the HUMP! amateur porn festival this fall.

Nor is the site entirely male-oriented. Another project seeks to finance a redesign for Cherry.tv, an online network of “juicy talk for women” to help them get comfortable with their inner kink. There’s also the minority-and-female-owned Double D Erotica.

Projects can raise money the Kickstarter route, offering rewards to donors only if they meet their funding goal, or by selling digital wares like movies, ebooks and photos.

Offbeatr is the product of Extra Lunch Money, a Los Angeles-based startup that sold amateur porn. Difficulty finding funding for their company–and three rejections from Y Combinator in a row–helped them recognize the difficulty in raising capital to back anything XXX-rated.

Crowdfunding may be a crowded market, but Offbeatr stands alone, like that cordoned-off aisle in your neighborhood video store. There’s no chance the practically mainstream Kickstarter or the up-and-coming Indiegogo are going to open up their door to the untoward.

To add some oversight to that inclusiveness, all projects have to subject themselves to a public voting period before they can accept funds. Democracy, ladies and gentlepervs.

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