Comic Conventions, fondly known as ComiCons or simply Cons, by attendees, are conventions geared toward the fans, or fandoms, of comics, movies, sci-fi, video games, superheroes or just pop culture in general. Covering the interests of multi-genre entertainment fanatics, the events are growing and attracting a much wider audience than ever before.
As they grow and begin to pop up all over the country, including cities like Lansing, it’s getting harder to find information on all the events.
The fan-founded business, Con Codex wants to change that. As the founders attended various Cons, they decided there should be one central location where fans can find everything they need to pursue their pop culture passions.
Where the Idea Came From
After Chad and Jordan attended Dragon Con, they heard about multiple Cons they had missed out on even though they’d been searching the internet for information on more that they could attend. They started asking, “Why can’t we get this information in one place?”
So, they called up some of their friends who were also interested in Cons and started discussing what they could do to simplify the process but also help new members get involved in the Con community.
The Problem Being Solved
Con Codex wants to help both ComiCon goers and organizers make the most of their experience. From finding Cons in their area to knowing what to do once they are there, Con Codex wants to give them the complete experience.
“The information is out there,” says Jordan, “But it’s hard to collect. Especially for those new to the community.”
Not only is it a one-stop shop for all the Cons taking place, but with their Achievement System, con-goers have an idea of what to expect what they arrive and they have goals to complete. It gives them a purpose instead of just wandering around. “I would have been a lot more comfortable at my first one if I’d been given the opportunity to interact with everyone,” says Jordan.
The site also gives organizers the chance to interact with potential attendees, offer promos and see what their audience is interested in. It will also bring attention to the smaller Cons that don’t get as much promotion as their larger counterparts.
“We’re also hoping to give vendors and artists a way to advertise to the community.”
The group is excited to introduce something that hasn’t really been done. They like being able to work with everyone involved in the Con (the attendees and the organizers). “Bringing the community together is exciting,” says Jennifer. “They are all so spread out, and it gives them the opportunity to come together.”
The new opportunity also worries them though, and they wonder if they will be able to handle it when it starts to grow.
Con Codex wants to work with anyone interested in conventions, whether they’ve been or not. “Anyone connected to the convention scene.”
Their biggest challenge so far has been finding a good developer for their site and finding the money related to that search. “It’s really intricate work that we need. We need someone that knows what they’re doing, and be able to pay them,” says Jennifer.
It’s also tough to know what everyone wants from a website, they add. But to figure this out, they are releasing a customer survey.
The team has been pleasantly surprised to see how excited everyone else is about their idea. “After each pitch everyone has been just as excited as we are, and just as passionate.”
They’ve also realized how many people actually go to Cons and how large the community actually is. But at the same time, they’ve seen how unconnected they all are.
Through a variety of programs such as MSU’s Pathways to Entrepreneurship and Sparty Pitch they’ve received the help and funding needed to get things moving. But, as they grow they are seeking additional outlets including the Hatching, a Kickstarter and hopefully South by Southwest.
While they are starting with Michigan, they would love to see their database cover the country. “It would be awesome if people across the country knew we existed and we could help them.” They hope to eventually become the center of the Con community.
Jordan’s advice to new entrepreneurs is to never underestimate an idea. “At first we just chewed on it,” says Jordan, “We didn’t think we’d be able to do it.” But they put it out there and got funding.
Be patient, they add. It takes time but don’t give up and don’t lose momentum.