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Alumnus Paul Scanlan Is Transforming the Film Industry at His Startup Legion M

Mar. 30, 2023
Category: Career

University of Wisconsin–Madison alumnus Paul Scanlan ’93 is transforming the Hollywood model at his startup Legion M, the first fan-owned media company. As cofounder and CEO of Legion M since its inception in March 2016, the company has grown into a community of more than 150,000 members with a slate of projects featuring names like Anne Hathaway, Nicolas Cage, Jason Sudeikis, Simon Pegg, William Shatner, Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, and more.

With more than $17 million raised from 40,000 investors, Legion M gives fans a seat at the table and a stake in the outcome, as they reshape Hollywood. Most companies view investors simply as a source of capital; for Legion M, they are the foundation of their business. As a shareholder at the company, investors can help:

Fill theaters opening night
Find the next big idea or talent
Make decisions by harnessing the “wisdom of the crowd”
Increase the chance of creating a hit
Negotiate better terms contractually
Reduce downside risk

Recently, the company is turning the film financing model on its head by equity crowdfunding their You Can Call Me Bill documentary, which premiered at SXSW on March 16, 2023. The film is a documentary of the life of actor William Shatner. With nearly $815,000 raised from fans, those who invested in the project will own a share of any profits the film earns and recoup their funds before Shatner or Legion M receive compensation, unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The company is using this as a case study to change how films are financed, as a prototype for future projects with higher budgets and the success of putting audience investors at the front of the line.

Now with the new round of funding, an expanding slate of original projects in-development, and stakes in four films currently in post-production, Legion M is establishing the foundation of a business model with the potential to change the entertainment industry forever.

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