In 2017 Digital Arts Media Network was launched incorporating a new funding platform which is a hybrid of an Accelerator and Incubator; coined a Public Accelerator-Incubator (PAI) by business management consultancy firm, AJENE WATSON, LLC.
The developers of the PAI and amongst the Digital Arts Media Network co-founders, Ajene Watson (investor and business management development consultant), Ruben Porras (Techstars Alum), and Robert Menendez (Venture Capital manager and co-founder of multiple tech startups) have collectively worked with dozens of companies over the years. Their experience spans everything from startups, to development stage microcaps companies, to larger established businesses; offering an array of services. It was the unique experiences from each of them that led to the creation of the PAI model and eventually the launch of Digital Arts Media Network as the first company to implement the PAI.
Technically, they are a startup with a business model that focuses on assisting private startups, angel investors and the microcap community. The company and its advisory team, have expertise in blockchain ventures and have assisted with the completion and marketing of Token Generating Events with plans to expand the team to develop that space for additional compliant blockchain technology companies.
The portfolio is in its infancy but has some high quality names and consists of:
- Vezt, Inc. (Music Royalty Sharing App). Vezt is the first company to leverage Angels+ (the primary service of the PAI model).
- Fundanna.com (Crowd Funding portal). Fundanna focuses on providing crowd funding solutions solely to the cannabis markets.
- OpenVision Labs (formally OpenVision Networks). OVL is a communications solutions product and service provider focused on streaming media services.·
- truCrowd, Inc. (Owner operator of FINRA Member Reg. CF portal, truCrowd.com). truCrowd provides crowd funding solutions to the general market.
Additionally, the Company is in the process of onboarding four additional companies with formal announcements to come in future filings.
Hello investors, and welcome to today’s interview with Ajene Watson (AW), Chairman & CEO of Digital Arts Media Network, Inc., which trades on the OTC under the ticker symbol “DATI”.
PSI: Hello Ajene, thank you for taking the time and letting us ask you a few questions about your business so that our readers have a better understanding of exactly what your company does.
AW: It’s my pleasure. Thank you for speaking with me.
PSI: So what services can you provide for business?
AW: The Angels+ (“Angels Plus”) is our marquee product. The platform allows startup companies who are pitching their story to Angel’s, a sweetener to close any of the investors that say, “I love what you are doing but I don’t want to tie my money up that long.” Our research has uncovered that Angel investors average one deal every 18 months. So our Angels+ allows the Angel investor liquidity through DATI’s equity. Access to a liquid market is provided within 24 months. What Angels like best is that the DATI portfolio continues to grow as high-valued, high-tech startups are added. This could translate into a nice value of confidence on the equity kicker they’ve received. We also invest in client-companies through our Invest+ program, and act as consultants having expertise in the area of business development, marketing, compliance, crowdfunding, Token Generating Event (TGE) – a/k/a ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) – and various investment tools such as Reg. D’s and Reg. A’s.
PSI: There are other Incubators and Accelerators out there, what makes DATI different?
AW: Other Incubators and Accelerators focus on the company development through mentorship but we are focused on finding seasoned managers with a team ready to commercialize their product and take it to the next level. The ideal candidate has already done a couple rounds of fundraising. We open startups to a whole new realm of investors who are interested in a quicker pace of capital formation and are dying to get their hands on high-tech startups in the early stages of development where the potential is just starting to unfold. We follow smart money like a Robert Sigler, Jonathan Teo or Howard Marks, and investors really like the fact that they can begin accessing liquidity within 24 months without giving up any equity in their private investment. With Digital Arts Media Network, everyone can get a piece of the PAI (pie).
PSI: So who are you targeting and how are you marketing yourselves?
AW: Our target client is always the startup but the incentive to utilize our service comes from 3 distinct channels. The first channel is the startup looking to get to the next level. We are an enhancement to Incubators and Accelerators and therefore the ideal stepping stone for most of their high-tech startup projects. So many of our new leads can come directly from those startups in search of capital assistance and/or accelerators looking to more effectively graduate their startups into the next phase of growth. The second channel comes from Angel Investors and smart money looking to diversify their investment and mitigate risk. The equity kicker that is created to diversify and mitigate investment risk, is essentially asset backed by the portfolio of companies that DATI engages. By the Angel Investor introducing us to the startup, the Angel Investor gets access to early liquidity and diversification through our portfolio. The third channel is from disenfranchised investors that love the risk reward of startups but simply do not have access. Normally, their first chance to invest in an “Uber” type company, is after Uber goes public; which by then, Uber would be uber expensive.
Beyond these 3 distinct channels of Startups, Angel Investors, and Disenfranchised Investors we are using social media to market directly with startups and are building an organic following. We have a small team of business development reps that have introduced our Angels+ platform to startups, Angel Investor groups, and smart money social networks. Our goal is to build an awareness of our unique niche in being able to accelerate funding to a startup. As our client list grows over the following year, we expect to be in a position where we can aggressively target the disenfranchised investor with a full marketing campaign that includes print ads, videos, commercials, banners, click-thrus, meetups, event installations, shareholder meetings etc.
PSI: At the moment, what is your biggest challenge so far?
AW: Type Casting
AW: People look at the name of our model – Public Accelerator-Incubator – and simply assume we offer basic mentorship type programs. Most don’t even know the difference between an accelerator and an incubator – and therefore, certainly cannot see what makes us different nor what gives us our unique competitive advantage.
PSI: OK, that is a good segue to my next my next thought. I want to go back to the what makes DATI different from your competitors, what gives Digital Arts Media Network the “edge” in this business space?
AW: Well, our big competitive advantage is that we are not competitors – ‘per se’ – in the Accelerator or Incubator market. We are a compliment; which again is why ‘type casting’ is our biggest challenge.
We accelerate capital formation by offering liquidity to angel investors. We don’t pretend to have the ability nor want to compete with a Techstars type accelerator in curating sexy startups. We simply want to help them, get more money in the door for their startups, faster. Thus, we have the ability to potentially be fed from hundreds of accelerators and incubators around the world.
PSI: Why would a startup want to work with you guys?
AW: Raising money and developing a business isn’t an easy task. Startups need all of the ammunition they can get to push an investor over the edge to place their money in a deal that may take up to 10 years to mature… if ever. We essentially offer a re-insurance type product that says to an investor… “you can comfortably invest in this private startup without worries of being stuck in it forever. AND, we give you this luxury at no additional cost.” Armed with that capability, startups can better raise the money they need much faster and elicit the assistance they really require. Most startups and development stage companies want and need that type of tool. We give them that.
Think about it… How many other startups have insurance policies backing a private investment into their company with a diversified portfolio?
Also, just by the nature of being a public company, we inadvertently provide startups with marketing, promotion and very good visibility. So it’s a win win for the Angel and the startup Company.
PSI: How do you see your industry progressing in the next few years given the evolution in how money can be raised – crypto currencies as an example?
AW: We will have more startups fighting for capital resources with fewer accelerators able to accommodate that growth. This is mostly due to the dwindling size of the investment pool caused by the liquidity challenges vs. volume of deals. There could be some stagnation in the traditional and fundamental approach to raising capital, especially if the cryptocurrency market finds its legs with regulators and can comfortably offer alternatives to conventional funding. Current market participants will have to pivot to keep up. We’re already on the ground floor of this evolution and, this may be the only real place where we become potential competitors. Reason being, is that we understand the crypto space fairly well and most certainly understand the microcap space. This means we’re already comfortable with being regulated and can better anticipate where regulation may head. So effectively merging the two worlds for us, I believe, will be quick and seamless; and we’re already doing it.
PSI: A lot of our readers, including ourselves, love cryptocurrency and hope for a monster 2018. Could you tell our readers more about your short term goals?
AW: Short-term: to build an equity portfolio of viable startups consisting of at least 12 solid opportunities for 2018, using Angels+, our new crowdfunding services – co-venture with truCrowd, and ICO/TGE. Current focus is to leverage Angels+, Crowdfunding and ICO/TGE to expedite capital formation and substantially grow the company’s cashflows and equity holdings.
PSI: A dozen companies is quite impressive, can you tell us how you plan on achieving these goals?
AW: Simple… we offer Regulatory Advisory, Strategic Advisory, Technology and Development, Public Relations and Marketing, and Expedited Capital Formation. We provide end-to-end services; which is something that just about every startup needs… whether it’s a blockchain company or a traditional tech startup.
PSI: Ajene, thank you again for taking the time to answer all these questions. Last, can you tell us why our readers would invest in your company?
AW: Actually, I am not a liberty to speak to investment advice. What your readers should know however, is that our company’s structure was designed in such a way that specifically protects and supports microcap investors. We have a mandatory floor, which kills toxicity and minimizes derivative accounting – which is an eyesore on the financials. We have a small debt load, and, our dilution rate can be clearly identified and defined. Most important, through our stock, disenfranchised investors have the opportunity to participate in the future Snapchats and Ubers of the world, at ground levels, as our basket of private and public equity holdings are comprised of high-valued tech startups that may demonstrate the probability of unicorn type valuations. There is real opportunity in the PAI business model.
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