PopCultivator Comics

PopCultivator Comics

Early Stage

A fan-powered comic book studio led by a team of pros with over $150MM in sales

A fan-powered comic book studio led by a team of pros with over $150MM in sales


Raised to Date: Raised: $96,988

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Security Type

Equity - Preferred



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RegCF    Open SEC Filing

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Year Founded



Media, Entertainment & Publishing

Tech Sector


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Capital Intensity



Chicago, Illinois

Business Type


PopCultivator Comics, with a pre-money valuation of $3.52 million, is raising crowdfunding on Wefunder. It is a task force of pop culture professionals, including artists, writers, publishers, and editors. The company creates original comic book characters and develops them into successful products, series, and toys. Josh Blaylock and Stuart Bernstein founded PopCultivator Comics in March 2020. The proceeds of the current crowdfunding round, with a minimum target of $50,000 and a maximum target of $749,999, will be used for content acquisition, content creation, marketing, and management. PopCultivator Comics has worked with Marvel, Scholastic, Hasbro, and more, and has worked with over 100 properties, including Ninja Turtles and Muppets.

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Financials as of: 12/01/2020
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Anyone who’s been to a movie theater in the last two decades will know that nerd culture has exploded since the turn of the century. Billion dollar franchises like Star Wars, The Matrix and Lord of the Rings have led the way to two decades of progressively more speculative films. As of the 43 films that had earned more than a billion dollars by 2019, more than half were science fiction, fantasy, and superhero films. Marvel’s and—to a lesser extent—DC’s films are some of Hollywood’s top earners, while old-school genres like rom-coms have faded into box office obscurity. In television, too, sci-fi and fantasy content dominates — HBO’s Game of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead are cultural touchstones. 

And these franchises are cash cows, especially the comics-based ones. Marvel was worth a market value of $4.24 billion when it was purchased by Disney in 2009. Thanks to its successful cinematic universe, its net worth is $13 billion. Quite apart from film and television, comic books and graphic novels have seen their profit margins rise as well. Sales in the U.S. and Canada in 2019 hit $1.21 billion, its highest level ever. These highly visual print media are not just being consumed by old-school superhero fans, either. Market reports indicate that the overwhelming majority of comics and graphic novels being sold are not superhero stories. These traditional comic leaders have been surpassed by youth-focused content and “manga.” Indeed, many non-superhero comics have been adopted into film and television franchises, including The Walking Dead and The Umbrella Academy.

In a media landscape dominated by speculative fiction franchises, PopCultivator Comics plans to make its mark on the world of modern storytelling. Staffed by former associates and partners of comic giants like Marvel, DC, and Hasbro, PopCultivator plans to independently create new stories that can emerge into a market that is hungry for them. The team is composed of industry veterans that are focused on developing new digital and print comic characters that can be franchised and turned into other forms of media — generating revenue from multiple verticals, such as merchandising and games.

PopCultivator’s current WeFunder raise has been rated a Neutral Deal by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Next Section: Price


PopCultivator’s current seed raise has a $3.52 million valuation cap. The franchise obviously doesn’t have any established properties as of yet. However, considering its strong leadership team and its readiness to move forward with content production, this valuation is quite low. Thus, it results in a strong price rating from KingsCrowd.

Next Section: Market


Comics and graphic novels are a growing market — or at least, were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic — with North American sales reaching $1.21 billion in 2019. The impact of the pandemic on the market has been significant, but surprisingly small, with youth content in particular holding up quite well and even expanding on previous levels. While this market size is not inconsiderable, PopCultivator’s ultimate aim is to reach beyond the comic and graphic novel market. PopCultivator hopes that if one of its characters can reach even a tiny fraction of the popularity of Spider-man or the Walking Dead, it can expand into television and film and start making significant money. These markets are considerably more massive. The global television broadcasting market sits at $305.30 billion and is growing, and the U.S. film market reached $101 billion last year.

While these are massive markets, they are also massively competitive, and utterly dominated by key players. In particular, comic gatekeepers Marvel and DC have a stranglehold on PopCultivator’s industry that will pose a significant challenge for the startup. Even should PopCultivator manage to gain a foothold in the comics market, though, their obtainable market size will be relatively small unless they come up with a wildly successful franchise that leads to larger markets. As a result, PopCultivator’s market score is below average.

Next Section: Team


PopCultivator’s team is a strong one. The startup is staffed by industry veterans with pre-established relationships with competitors that may strengthen its position in the market. The team is fairly expansive for a startup, with most of them working “pro bono” during its fundraising phase.

PopCultivator’s co-founder and Chief Creative and Executive Officer is Josh Blaylock, founder of Devil’s Due Comics. Blaylock has spent the last two decades focused on indie comic publishing. However, he also has experience in the mainstream comic market, partly responsible for bolstering the G.I. Joe comic series in the early 2000s. 

Mike Horn serves as the company’s Chief Business Development Officer. Horn has decades of experience in product management, specializing in toys and collectibles. His experience in licensing and IP management will put the company in good stead if PopCultivator’s dogged independence results in a successful breakout property. Horn has fingers in several startup pies at the moment, potentially limiting his involvement with PopCultivator, but has yet to lead any properties to a successful exit. 

Stuart Bernstein is PopCultivator’s Chief Operating Officer. He brings twelve years of experience assisting startups and limited involvement in larger companies. While his experience with startups may prove useful, he has no discernible experience with PopCultivator’s target market.

PopCultivator has six more team members in less management-oriented roles, but all of them do have some level of experience in the comics industry. Noteworthy names include Jose Garibaldi as the Director of All Ages Content — who was illustrator for the popular Captain Underpants series — as well as Mark Powers — who partnered with fantasy fiction giant Jim Butcher to create the comic book version of bestselling series The Dresden Files.

Overall, PopCultivator’s team brings significant industry experience and knowledge — though the lack of strong entrepreneurial history may be slightly concerning for potential investors. Balancing these factors together, the company’s team score is above average.

Next Section: Differentiators


While PopCultivator has the advantage of a thriving market with plenty of room for growth, it is absolutely swamped with market competitors and has little to help it stand out from the crowd. It does have a number of titles in its production pipeline, which it intends to bring to market after this raise. The company intends to focus on diverse audiences with diverse storytelling — time will tell if this strategy proves successful. There’s no real way to predict the success of a new character or story franchise, and it’s unclear if the differentiation of focusing on diverse audiences will be enough. Therefore, PopCultivator’s differentiators score is very low.

Next Section: Performance


As with many early-stage startups, PopCultivator is pre-revenue and thus has little in the way of performance it can judge. However, the company also has no previous characters or story franchises that it has brought to market. This lack of product performance provides little insight into the company’s operations or public reception. The company will need at least one of its properties to become a smash hit — probably within the next few months — in order to put itself on the map. Due to the lack of data (either for revenue or products), PopCultivator’s performance score is its lowest across all five metrics.

Next Section: Other

Bearish Outlook

While it is true that comics have exploded over the past couple of decades, it also remains true that the biggest names in comics are old hats and old franchises. It’s difficult for something new to compete with the likeness of Spider-man or Wonder Woman. Name recognition is a huge asset in media production — by creating all-new characters, PopCultivator will be starting from scratch. Even with a team attuned to pop culture trends, finding a smash hit is basically a luck of the draw, which even the PopCultivator team admits on their raise page. If none of the various franchises the team produces in the months following the raise gain traction in a market admittedly-blunted by the COVID-19 pandemic, PopCultivator’s products could be relegated to comic store shelves and return modest profits at best. The company needs a big winner, and while the market is growing, it remains to be seen how much room there is for new names.

Next Section: Bullish Outlook

Bullish Outlook

While the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely dealt a blow to many industries, it’s still a better time than ever to be creating graphic novels and comic books. As befits a startup centered around creativity, PopCultivator has brought on board a number of creative minds, and only one idea needs to really take off. If a few of their franchises meet with modest success, and the industry bounces back following the recession, PopCultivator is set to slowly build up its customer base over the next several years, focusing on the portions of the market not yet claimed by industry giants.

Next Section: Executive Summary

Executive Summary

PopCultivator is a collection of independent comic creatives, with experience at industry giants. The startup plans to introduce a flood of new characters into the comic and graphic novel market, with emphasis on diversity and the most-growing area of the market: youth media. The team hopes that at least one of its properties catches on among audiences and gains enough traction to secure deals with other markets and earn millions through merchandising and deal-making.

The company’s chosen market is a difficult one, full of powerful and established competitors. In order to stand out, PopCultivator needs a successful title to take off and propel it into good standing with audiences. While the team is well-connected to the comics industry overall and holds many potential titles in the pipeline ready for production, there are no guarantees that its early plans will result in success. For these reasons, the KingsCrowd investment team gave PopCultivator a Neutral rating.

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com.

Analysis written by Benjamin Potts.

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PopCultivator Comics on Wefunder
Platform: Wefunder
Security Type: Equity - Preferred
Valuation: $3,520,000
Price per Share: $0.75

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