Founder Stories: Alex Hansen
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Investable helped Succubus restructure their $150k of debt into equity and raise an additional $350k. Investable also helped the Succubus team develop and implement Operations, Marketing, and Financial strategies for their second crowdfunding campaign. They are now profitable after successfully running a second crowdfunding campaign that raised $1.5M in one day and ended at over $2.5M in total.
The Alex Hanson Interview
Tell me about your business and how you initially engaged with investable.
We're a board game publisher called Succubus. When we first funded through Kickstarter, we thought we had enough money to do whatever we wanted but then got stuck with manufacturing bills, shipping and the development process. Neither my business partner nor I or had any experience in management or operations. We were just two artists that kind of
just weren't keeping track of what we were doing. I met Andrew from Investable at the Impact Hub and he spoke eloquently using terminology that got me interested in learning how he approached business.
We had no plan and ended up hiring two employees the week our Kickstarter was funded. I knew I didn't know what I was doing because I'm mostly an artist and what I wanted to do was just draw. I remember sitting at my computer thinking about the looming financial issues that I saw coming. And my employees weren't quite sure what to do. They would come in every day and it was almost like they were managing themselves. Ultimately, I had to lay them off. And that was sort of a wake up call and it happened in tandem with meeting Investable. I decided I had to get better at managing this company because it needed a leader.
Do you feel more equipped to lead?
I had no leadership skillset before. Working with Investable allowed me to start paying close attention to everything. I went from drawing characters and landscapes all day to working on spreadsheets and excel. It wasn't necessarily fun, but it was fulfilling in its own way.
Our business changed so much from the beginning to where it is now. We started to realize things through this whole process that we just wouldn't have even considered before. I used to meet people in my industry or just people that run businesses in general, and thought they all had it figured out but none of us do. It's like a learning process forever. I always thought I was so bad at it, but then people started coming to me for help. They saw what I was able to do with Investable’s help, and now they’re asking me for advice.
Did you feel confident talking to investors before Investable?
Definitely not. When I would have an idea that I wanted to pitch to an investor, it was coming from a place of thinking I needed a lot of money. It shifted into an approach where I knew I had something valuable to offer; like, ‘this is a really cool idea that I want you to be part of because you're going to benefit as well’. It was a complete mindset shift.
Did you have an investment thesis? How did that change or evolve?
I had no plan. But I knew that the type of game that I made was hot. And there was data to show it, and we had enough traction to prove people wanted it. Our first Kickstarter campaign was, in my opinion, almost pure luck. We didn't know anything about marketing. The thing I couldn't have done without them is craft a deal or create an investment pitch to make our game interesting to anybody. I learned about convertible notes and revenue sharing and equity and at the time I had no idea what any of it meant. I learned how to negotiate and how to identify risks and then take specific actions to address them. Through some of our meetings with manufacturers, we immediately saved tons of money. I got to the point where I knew what I wanted to do. And then I would pitch the deal the way I wanted the terms. Everything changes when you sell it in a way where you're not so wishy washy. And honestly, you can't fake it. Turns out raising money is like dating where it's not so transactional—the person has to actually like you if they’re going to invest.
Do you have a clear sense of where you're taking your company in the next few years?
I do. We were able to run a second Kickstarter campaign and our pitch was that we're going to do a second printing on Kickstarter we're going to raise 4x, and we're going to become a legitimate board game publisher. I ended up doing exactly what we said we would and we all got paid and everyone was happy.
We’re currently working on more digital content and figuring out different ways that are more stable to make consistent revenue.
Is there any other value you experienced outside of Capital Strategy and Fundraising?
When you're in the day-to-day grind, it can feel like you’re not getting anywhere. Some days feel like you don't get anything done, other days feel great. But using Investable’s systems, you'd be amazed what can actually get done. You know what's important and get crystal clear and you realize how much of your day is potentially being spent on things that aren't actually that important.
They'll get you out of your echo chamber and you'll actually meet up in a room and you'll talk about your business and your model, and you'll get perspectives from people that you would never normally get to be in a room with. They're very smart business people offering whole new perspectives.
I tend to be more introverted and shy and when I meet people. The process of growing a business and working with Investable and just the nature of having to confidently talk to people helped me break out of my shell. I felt a sense of accomplishment within myself like, ‘hey I can do this’. Getting my business to where it is today has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There's a sense of accomplishment and pride that I got through the whole thing that I think I carry with me now.