Breaking into the animation business is challenging. You have to compete against absolute giants and decades-old monopolies. Overcoming the industry gatekeeping is a challenge. It helps, though, if you formerly worked for Titans in the industry. Meet Pencilish, the animation company that hopes to do things differently.
Tom Bancroft is the CEO of Pencilish and a former animator for Disney who worked for the company during its renaissance. Bancroft had worked on films like Mulan, The Lion King, and Aladdin. Other members of the board have worked for Disney, Warner Brothers, and Sony. This team’s impressive resume packs a serious punch!
How do they plan to stand out? Their business model. In a release, the company said, “The difference between Pencilish and the aforementioned studios is that Pencilish gives part ownership to creators, when most studios don’t. In combination with this and investors sharing ownership in the company, Pencilish sets itself up for a unique and successful future.” The company is currently on its second round of investment fundraising on the crowdfunding investment site StartEngine. Their previous campaign in 2020 garnered an impressive $2 million. The investment ranked Pencilish as one of its highest momentum startups, according to one report. Their second phase fund raising campaign earned over $100k in just over 48 hours and at the time of this writing, had raised $249,522.
The second round of investing will allow them to produce new series’ to join their growing line up. , Pencilish has gone into production on three series so far, releasing Bjorn the Last Unicorn Episode 1, Mind Over Murphy Episode 1 and JuJu Brain Episode 1, which was released on July 22.
“Thanks to the support of over 4500 investors from our first raise, we were able to have an amazing start with $2.2 Million seed investment,” said Bancroft .”With this StartEngine second offering, Pencilish Studios will be able to grow and move into Phase 2 development and new series. Our first year saw huge growth in our following and new productions! Our investors ‘get’ that this is the first time that fans and investors can join Disney animation vets in creating new animation intellectual properties that they can own a part of. This is the second step in Pencilish Studios’ animation revolution.”
They’ve released a few short episodes on their YouTube channel and so far they are pretty good! “Mind Over Murphy” is our favorite so far. The concept is fresh yet familiar and the humor is on point. It alludes to adult situations without being crass. It’s not a cartoon aimed at children yet I wouldn’t mind watching it with my son. You can watch it here: