I started my career in 1998 as an importer of video games peripherals from China and Hong Kong.
The goods took 2 to 4 weeks to produce in factory upon reception of our wire transfers.
Then they would get shipped by boat, because that is approximately ten times cheaper than to put the stuff on planes. Unfortunately, it's also one month slower to get to European shores this way.
Then you still have a few days of paperwork to get the stuff through the borders.
At this point, you only have the products in your warehouse, and your money has already been asleep for 2 months.
You still have to sell the stuff, to department stores that will commit to 60 days payment terms, and then really pay you around 120 days later.
Unit profit margins were huge and demand was in significant volumes so there was a business model there, but the company had a cash-flow problem.
It took a bank credit line on manufacturing and a so-called "factoring credit line" on store chains to make the company viable.
The price of sleeping money
In 2002, I moved to Hong Kong and traded as an exporter.
The company I worked for, Lik-Sang.com, kept growing double digit year-on-year without ever needing a bank loan. Lik-Sang was so close to Chinese factories and so fast at shipping orders out that its money never slept more than a week in average.
Pollen.VC basically offers to play the role of app store bank, letting you use your Apple and Google Play revenue before the end of the month.
Who knows, maybe that's why Hong Kong plagiarized New York's slogan: "The City That Never Sleeps".
These two experiences sure taught me the importance of cash-flow.
Or in other words: get your money fast. Emphasis on fast.
Digital money sleeps too
Fast forward to mobile today, we no longer have goods to produce in Chinese factories, containers to ship through cargo or clients paying when they see fit.
Yet, there's still a tiny hiccup in the current digital distribution landscape: all app stores and platform holders tend to pay developers only once a month.
Sometimes you even have to be a full month on the store before being eligible for next end-of-month payment.
Which makes your turn-around on cash-flow 30 days long in regular months, and something between 35 and 67 days in launch window.
The bank for game developers
Comes in Pollen.VC and its app store advance model.
Pollen.VC basically offers to play the role of app store bank, letting you use your Apple and Google Play revenue before the end of the month, then recouping it from the platforms directly.
You can access the revenue in two different ways. If you just need the money, with staff being paid late and bills piling up at the door, Pollen can advance you the cash up front, for a 5% cut.
If on the other hand your focus is on marketing your growing hit, then Pollen can forward your revenue to the advertising network of your choice and in this case you get to use the full 100% of the pie, as Pollen eats from the network side of things under this scenario.
They call it "Revenue Recycling". Most top digital advertising agencies we marketers all use are already working with Pollen, including top dog Facebook.
Everyone needs their money now!
Pollen works with companies in soft-launch, hard-launch and also "growth mode" unicorns.
You wouldn't think so when you're poor, but rich people have cash-flow problems too.
In fact, as you grow, the cash-flow access problem only grows with you, as you can end up having millions of dollars sitting on the store, exactly at the moment bigger opportunities knock at the door.
Cash-flow is not a one-time problem startups face in their infancy - it's exponential.
Pollen.VC is a registered financial institution in all major markets (as this is essentially a loaning business) and has raised its own money from some of the most prominent gaming and Fintech investors in Europe and the US - among which some of the partners in Initial Capital on a personal level - and Kevin Segalla from Tilting Point.
And besides Apple and Google Play, Pollen is also working on solutions for Advertising Revenue and Facebook Canvas Revenue recycling.