Buying shares of font sales

Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 662
edited December 2021 in Type Business
Is it possible to invest in font production of other foundries/designers and get a percentage of any and all sales?

Comments

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,246
    I am not aware of anyone doing this, but half jokingly suggested it a couple of times. My idea was to sell shares in specific fonts, and investors would receive a dividend from sales akin to a royalty payment.
  • Rob BarbaRob Barba Posts: 59
    edited December 2021
    I am not aware of anyone doing this, but half jokingly suggested it a couple of times. My idea was to sell shares in specific fonts, and investors would receive a dividend from sales akin to a royalty payment.
    Naaah, that's amateur hour.  You gotta offer NFTs and crypto for your fonts.  Obviously, it's high-tech computer stuff, so it'll make you rich in an instant!
    (/s obviously.)

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,142
    Are there publicly traded font companies? You could be a stockholder.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,389
    edited December 2021
    Monotype used to be publicly traded, prior to 2019.
  • Why would the foundry prefer your money now instead of more money later? As you know, font design costs are usually in time of a few individuals, and there are limits on what can be done with money invested. A well functioning foundry is probably above that limit, but beginners are most likely below — aim at them.
  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 199
    edited December 2021
    @Alex Visi, I'm not sure if your question was rhetorical or not, but I can imagine reasons why a foundry would be interested in the certainty of upfront payment vs. the uncertainty of long-term font sales.

    For example, the foundry might want immediate capital to promote a new release or build infrastructure (e.g., an updated website) — which in turn would increase the likelihood of long-term success.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,807
    I wouldn’t do it, due to the hassle of handling the “paperwork” involved in paying royalties.
  • I've thought about it too.  Sometimes people submit fonts to us that just aren't right for our library but that would probably be successful elsewhere.  I think it makes a lot of sense, actually. 

    That said, I think the deal would need to be with the designers, rather than the foundry.  So, a cut of the designers' cut.  There are talented designers out there who can't afford to quit their day job, and who have a good idea.  Most foundries don't do that great a job of financially supporting those designers.  Fonts are a gamble and if an experienced investor said they were willing to contribute some money to development (especially if it would only be repaid should the font make enough, rather than a personal loan) I think that might mean a lot to a designer.  
  • I'm planning on doing exactly this once the platform at font.community is finished. This platform is a complex thing to develop so is taking time. 
    https://font.community/whitepaper.pdf

  • For example, the foundry might want immediate capital to promote a new release or build infrastructure (e.g., an updated website) — which in turn would increase the likelihood of long-term success.
    That’s what I meant, mature foundries are most likely able to cover all of that with their own money.

    PS Not rhetorical, I’m curious what is the reasoning and whether it makes sense :) 
  • @Alex Visi I agree most mature foundries wouldn't need it. That's why I say the deal would probably need to be with a designer.  

    @Nick Shinn Good point.  If you aren't already doing royalty reports then starting to do them is a next level thing.  I'm so used to it at this point that I didn't think of that.  But it could be a barrier for exactly the kind of designer I'm thinking of. In that situation would you be comfortable with the investor receiving the funds, taking their cut, and sending your portion on to you (with, say, less than a week turn around)?  I'm imagining you'd still get the reports and could make sure that you got the correct amount.
  • I would be open/interested in investing in specific typefaces in such a manner, if it would help a designer get something to market.

    But I am not convinced I have the time to come up with the infrastructure to support it. (And in terms of the actual process and systems part, I lack the know-how as well.)
  • @Thomas Phinney I admit I've not thought about this at great length... I don't think there'd need to be a whole lot of infrastructure.  You'd need a smart lawyer who could write a simple but tight contract, you'd need a plan for benchmarks, and you'd possibly need to be able to do a little light bookkeeping once the fonts are released.  Royalties are such a foundational component of creative product sales that I'm pretty sure an investor could slot in right next to the creatives and go mostly unnoticed.
  • Um, not something I'd think is a good plan....but I'm not specifically business minded...as is usually the case with artists lol.
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