Two local toy consultants have put together a plan to develop and market a new line of action figures based not on sports stars or the latest movie, but the world’s greatest heroes in folklore. It’s called The Hero Project, a new generation of action figures based on traditional heroes. Their first figure is based on the Indian hero Rama.
The idea was developed by Go Go Dynamo, a subdivision of Dynamo Development Labs Partners of Pawtucket. “These are so many heroes in the world that really don’t get much attention. Kids don’t even know about them anymore,” said Wayne A. Losey, a partner with the company. He and Tucker Johnson were both experienced designers at Hasbro Inc. and have teamed up on several ventures.
In addition to Rama, the two have hinted at creating the Egyptian god Ra, and American folklore hero John Henry might be next in the series, among others. “We wanted to get the word out in appreciation of these great stories,” said Losey, “and nobody owns them.”
But funding such projects in the early stages is difficult to accomplish. That’s why the company first turned to “crowd funding” Web site Kickstarter.com of New York, in order to judge the public’s interest in the product and attract financial “backers.”
Crowd funding has gained popularity over the last four years. Individuals network and pool their resources, usually by the Internet, to support efforts by other people. It is also used to fund a company by selling small amounts of presale items to many backers.
The company determines how much they need to raise and how long to accept backing, either 30 or 60 days. Each backer – any member of the general public – submits a monetary amount and in turn pre-purchases the product, or a special exclusive gift created specifically for paying backers. It is not a donation nor is it a piece of the company.
Its one fault is that it’s an all-or-nothing venture. If the company achieves its total, the pledges are immediately charged to the backer’s credit cards and the money is used to finance the endeavor. If you fall short, no one is charged and the matter is closed. Funded projects are charged a 5 percent fee for use of the service; those that are unsuccessful are not.
“We have completely operational prototypes – the next stop is manufacturing,” Losey said. “The best thing about Kickstarter is that eventually it’s a way to do presales,” he said.