Santa Monica, California-based online video startup Cogo has a slightly different take on crowdfunding than your average Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. Cogo doesn’t want to spend weeks collecting money for things that will ship many months later. Instead, it’s focused on the here and now. Cogo is monetizing free-to-watch live streams by appealing to super fans that want to buy expensive merchandise to support their favorite band, comedian or charity.
Cogo launched as Laffster and initially focused on the comedy scene, booking gigs with artists like Zach Galifianakis and Patton Oswald. “We were obsessed with comedy,” said Cogo CEO Daniel Altmann. But after organizing around 100 live streamed events, Altmann and his team realized that the same technology would also work for a number of other events. That’s why the company announced its rebranding Tuesday, and is now getting ready to take on other live events as well.
Of course, the focus on live is risky. Live events are over quickly, and getting a sizeable audience to tune in and open their wallets can be challenging. Altmann tried to put a positive spin on this during our conversation a few days ago. “If you show up to a live streaming event, you are a really devoted fan,” he said, adding that 15 percent of the people who have tuned in to a past event have spent money on some kind of perk, to the tune of $90 per average transaction.