Genius Brands International Seeking to Expand Catalog of Branded Products

Genius Brand Logo

On the heels of recent successes with the distribution of both proprietary and acquired content through its Genius Distribution Network (GDN), Genius Brands International, Inc. (otcqb:GNUS) today announced it is pursuing distribution opportunities from third-party content owners to fill its growing pipeline to retailers in multiple traditional and digital distribution channels.

Genius Brands’ GDN is a vast distribution network established on the distribution of the Company’s flagship Baby Genius(R) brand of products as well as its growing portfolio of other branded content. GDN consists of major retailers, traditional national distributors and global digital distributors.

In addition to the Company’s successful track record with distributing the Baby Genius(R) brand, GDN has also established a strong foothold in traditional third-party distribution with sales of a number of DVD and game titles in 2010 and 2011.

Genius Brands is also making inroads in the direct-to-consumer arena. In 2011 the Company launched a successful Groupon promotion for selling its Baby Genius(R) DVDs and CDs. The ongoing promotion, which continues into 2012, generated approximately 30 million impressions and served to establish a new online distribution channel for the Company. In addition to Groupon, Genius Brands currently sells its products through promotions on Living Social and several other popular one-day sale websites.

To spearhead further growth in the direct-to-consumer arena, Genius Brands appointed Denise Kovac as Marketing Director in February 2012. A recognized leader in the direct response industry, Kovac launched the first direct response marketing campaign for Baby Genius(R) DVDs and CDs. The campaign coincided with the launch of a new Baby Genius(R) website created to facilitate quick fulfillment of orders generated by the TV spots for a broad collection of Baby Genius(R) DVDs, CDs, books and toys.

In the digital arena, Genius Brands has released its first two apps for iOS and will soon be announcing the Company’s expansion into additional digital platforms.

“GDN is the latest extension of a distribution network which our management team has been known for since the 1990s. We are excited to be building upon the Genius Distribution Network and invite other brands to tap into our expertise and success on the retail front,” said CEO Klaus Moeller.

Top 10 Social Networking Websites April 2012

Top 10 Visited Social-Networking Websites & Forums, April 2012

Rank Website U.S. Market Share of Visits
1 Facebook 63.0%
2 YouTube 20.3%
3 Twitter 1.73%
4 Yahoo! Answers 0.97%
5 Pinterest 0.92%
6 Linkedin 0.77%
7 Tagged 0.63%
8 Google+ 0.58%
9 MySpace 0.41%
10 Yelp 0.36%

Facebook Announces Acquisition of Instagram

Facebook Acquires Popular Mobile App Instagram

Facebook announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Instagram, a fun, popular photo-sharing app for mobile devices. The total consideration for San Francisco-based Instagram is approximately $1 billion in a combination of cash and shares of Facebook. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close later this quarter.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, posted about the transaction on his Timeline:

I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.”

Zuckerberg goes on to say in the Facebook Official Statement:

“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests. We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook. That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.”

“We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.”

“These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.”

“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.  We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.”

About Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

Startup Opportunity, Win a Chance to Pitch Your Idea

The Onswipe CEO and new Author Jason Baptiste is giving away a chapter from his fantastic new book The Ultralight Startup: Launching a Business Without Clout or Capital and an opportunity of a lifetime for one entrepreneur to meet four of the best venture capitalists today to pitch their idea.  The venture capitalists include Andy Weissman, Partner at Union Square Ventures, Alex Finkelstein, Partner at Spark Capital, Brad Feld, Parter at Foundry Group, and David Tisch, Managing Director of Techstars NYC and Angel Investor. To enter, go here and fill out some simple information about your startup. The winner will be selected by April 20th, 2012.

The following is an excerpt from Onswipe CEO Jason L. Baptiste’s new book The Ultralight Startup: Launching a Business Without Clout or Capital.

If you pay attention to the headlines about startups getting millions of dollars of funding from investors, venture capitalists, or partnerships, you might think the fund-raising process happens overnight. It all sounds so easy: Some entrepreneur with a thousand dollars in his pocket creates a great PowerPoint investor presentation, secures a few meetings with important people, and bam! A handshake, some signatures, and the deal is done.

The reality is a little trickier. Fund-raising is a process, and although the right pitch might come in handy, in this chapter I’ll discuss the practical start-to-finish way to think about fund-raising that will get you the money you want in the end.

The Real Purpose Of Raising Money And Why it Might not Make Sense For You

More often than not, entrepreneurs raise money at the wrong time and it destroys their startup. This is an understandable mistake, because the press, the outside world, even your peers put a lot of emphasis on raising money.

If you pitch investors too soon, they may get the wrong notion about your business and decide to pass. Although they have the option of coming back to you at a later date, that is highly unlikely. But even if another opportunity does come along later on, they’ll always remember you as the one they passed on the first time around.

There is no one reason why an investor passes, What matters is whether they pass on you based on a full picture of what your company really does. But on the off chance that a startup is able to raise money at the wrong time, it will certainly have a negative impact on fund-raising at a later date.

When is the right time to Fund-raise?

There are seven questions you should ask yourself when deciding if you are ready to fund-raise:

  1. Do you have a technical cofounder? If you have a technical cofounder or someone who is focused on product, you are far more likely to raise money. Product drives the growth of a company; having a product-driven founder can generate growth.
  2. Do you have a demo? If you have a working demo, then you are much more likely to raise money since you can show an investor what your company does. Onswipe was able to fund-raise because we could show investors firsthand exactly what we do. Show, don’t tell.
  3. Do you have any customers? Companies with customers are more likely to raise venture capital than those without. If you don’t have customers yet, you should make this a priority, as it shows proof of traction in the market. It’s not about the amount of traction, but the proof it shows in your model.
  4. Are you ready to bring more people on board? You need to be ready to manage other people and expand your team. If you are not ready for this, then you are not ready to raise venture capital. Venture capital lets you do one thing in the beginning: Hire more manpower.
  5. Have you rid yourself of other obligations? If you are not 100 percent committed to your startup you should hold off on raising money. Many entrepreneurs try to fund-raise while still at their current job. Though it’s good to begin a startup before you quit your job, it takes a whole lot more time and effort to raise money.
  6. Is your business large enough? Most companies are not large enough to be backed by venture capital. To raise venture capital, companies should be in multibillion-dollar markets or have the potential to make revenues of more than one hundred million dollars a year.
  7. Are you able to devote the majority of your time to fund-raising? Fund-raising is a time-consuming process that will completely slow down all other fast-moving aspects of your company. Be prepared to put business development, product development, and any marketing you may be doing on hold, or at least slow them down for a while. Put together a strategy for keeping operations going while fund-raising. I suggest spending 50 percent of your time on fund-raising and 50 percent on continued operations and product development. One founder should still be moving product development forward.