Kim Kardashian must have hated it because the big news this week was the crowd funding of the return of Veronica Mars. In 4 hours 24 minutes 33,000 people set a Kickstarter record by pledging 2.1 million dollars to make a movie Warner Brothers was unwilling to fund itself. The original TV show starred Kristen Bell as a high school detective investigating a murder and the identity of the person who drugged and raped her at a party.
But behind the fan "Mars" phenomenon, lies another larger one with huge implications. Given a chance, people want to spend their money from the heart. They want to put their money where their passion is -- something I called Passion Capital when I was the President of FasterCures. Those 33,000 people were willing to give their money away to force a major movie studio to do something the studio didn't want to do. In medical research this has been going on for a while but is only just now scaling. I saw it every day in the philanthropy of people touched by diseases affecting their family and friends. These passionate capitalists started using their capital clout to change the future. One group, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, has been a leader for years in funding for profit companies to do what the company otherwise could not or would not do -- fund research into a rare disease.
With the advent of crowd funding under the JOBS Act, the "Venus" motive can grow into something even more transformative. I am sure Warner Bros. promised to make the movie if the crowd raised the funds because they never thought it would happen. Similarly, in medical research you hear every day that if a company isn't funded it must be because it isn't valuable. If it were valuable VC's would already have funded it. Therefore who needs the crowd to fund the companies VC's won't? Get the tautology? It's a very "Mars" perspective to think that if you haven't done it it isn't worth doing. (See my last blog post about Steve Rattner's criticism of crowd funding.)
The "Venus" crowd is coming to Earth and they're ready to buy "Mars". People who are passionate about health and their communities (the Venus crowd) are going to invest in new companies they care about (the "Mars" world). They want to help direct the future and to own a piece of it. They won't listen to "experts" telling them the best has already happened or that new ideas aren't worth pursuing because they might fail. They will want to see for themselves what they can do. In fact, over and above the benefits the Veronica Mars funders get... (DVD's, a Tee shirt or for 10,000 dollars a speaking role in the movie)... the Veronica Mars crowd ought to get a share of the movie's gross just as a producer would. When Warner Bros. writes that check it might remind them that they don't know everything and the best has not already happened. As we say at poliwogg The Best Is Yet to Fund.
Venus is aligning with Mars. Now, on Earth, if only the SEC would do its job and publish the regulations we could join the planetary party.