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Section II — a Start Up Streaming Network is the HBO for Lesbians.

Look­ing for a job is very com­pet­i­tive. If you are only apply­ing to jobs online you will encounter sub­stan­tial com­pe­ti­tion. At our objec­tive is to make it as easy as pos­si­ble to find a job at a great com­pa­ny and with the least amount of competition.

At we have estab­lished our mis­sion of Find­ing the Great Com­pa­nies First. In keep­ing with our mis­sion we have cre­at­ed this inter­view series with some of the newest star­tups in the New York City mar­ket area.   We encour­age you to learn about some of the newest com­pa­nies and think about what might be a good fit for you.

What is the name and loca­tion of your com­pa­ny and who are the founders? 

Sec­tion II is based in Brook­lyn, New York. There are core team mem­bers in San Fran­cis­co and Los Ange­les as well.

Allie Esslinger is the Founder, and she has a team of very tal­ent­ed devel­op­ers, pro­duc­ers, and sales staff work­ing with her to get the plat­form launched officially.

How did the idea for your start-up come about? 

I grew up in Alaba­ma in the 80’s and 90s, where I didn’t have a lot of access to the world around me– I was in col­lege before I ever saw a les­bian char­ac­ter on TV. It took a long time to under­stand myself in the con­text of the world, but there’s no rea­son that should be the case for any­one anymore.

Of the key peo­ple involved what is everyone’s expe­ri­ence and background? 

We pri­mar­i­ly come from a film back­ground, both on the film­mak­ing side and the marketing/distribution aspects. We have pro­duc­ers from film and the­ater; an entre­pre­neur who cre­at­ed an app for grips and gaffers to use on set. Our cura­to­r­i­al direc­tor comes from the fine art world and edi­to­r­i­al crit­i­cism, but a lot of us devel­oped from a PA into the pro­duc­ers and devel­op­ment careers that we have today.

How do you see your com­pa­ny cre­at­ing val­ue or dis­rupt­ing an exist­ing market? 

Peo­ple will tell you that it’s not hard to raise mon­ey to make a movie—that dis­tri­b­u­tion is what’s bro­ken. But the truth is, it’s still real­ly dif­fi­cult to prove sup­ply and demand for niche con­tent. If there’s not a bil­lion dol­lar exit, it’s hard to get a cer­tain type of investor excit­ed. Or if it’s not a fea­ture film with a celebrity—but Sec­tion II is more con­cerned with the audi­ences. We know there’s a sup­ply-demand gap for con­tem­po­rary LBTQ con­tent, and as we build the plat­form, as we license con­tent and acquire films out of fes­ti­vals, we’re aggre­gat­ing audi­ences from across gen­res and for­mats so that cre­ators can point to us and show the demand as they’re fundrais­ing for their next projects.

For all the talk about our “uni­corn demo­graph­ic” (dou­ble income, no unplanned preg­nan­cies) there are still more actu­al uni­corns on TV than queer women. This is the most high­ly edu­cat­ed group of women in the US with over $300,000,000,000 in dis­pos­able income annually—it’s only inevitable that some­one cap­tures the mar­ket, and con­tent as cus­tomer acqui­si­tion is the best strat­e­gy for build­ing an audience.

When was the busi­ness found­ed and how are you being funded? 

We were found­ed in Fall 2013 and launched our beta site in May 2014 with the world’s largest col­lec­tion of fea­tures, shorts, and series.

If so by whom are you cur­rent­ly fund­ed by?

We’ve boot­strapped the com­pa­ny to this point—a con­tent accel­er­a­tor pro­vid­ed us with $18,000 in seed fund­ing, and our crowd fund­ing cam­paign allowed us to build the plat­form that will put out the Spot­light Series, our first sub­scrip­tion package.

What is the cur­rent size of your busi­ness, num­ber of employees? 

Allie is a full-time founder, and the rest of the team com­mits indi­vid­u­al­ly between 20–60% of their work effort to Sec­tion II.

If you are seek­ing fur­ther fund­ing, how much and for what pur­pose will the new funds be applied? 

Our angel round is $300,000, which will allow us to ful­ly launch our sub­scrip­tion pack­age, the Sec­tion II Spot­light Series and inte­grate ad rev­enue into the platform.

We also have a film fund for con­tent cre­ation which is an ongo­ing fundrais­ing effort and has sup­port­ed our first web series, out next Spring, along with some mar­ket­ing con­tent we’ve pro­duced for part­ner plat­forms and magazines.

What is the prod­uct and or ser­vice you are providing? 

Sec­tion II acquires, cre­ates, and show­cas­es LBTQ fea­tures, shorts, and series.

It is a stream­ing net­work con­nect­ing Les­bian, Bisex­u­al, Trans­gen­der, and Ques­tion­ing sto­ries and audi­ences, sort of like “HBO for Lesbians”.

Explain how you are seek­ing entry into your marketplace. 

We have been able to part­ner with edi­to­r­i­al sites in our mar­ket to reach con­sumers via press and advertising.

We attend fes­ti­vals, where we meet con­tent cre­ators eager for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to mon­e­tize their work and fans who pro­vide feed­back on our site, our cat­a­logue, and our prod­uct initiatives.

What seems to be the biggest strength of the team so far? 

We’ve been able to talk direct­ly with almost 400 con­tent cre­ators and tell them our vision and get them on board with what we’re doing. Sec­tion II gets called a pas­sion project some­times by investors who don’t see the big­ger pic­ture, but we don’t find that as offen­sive as we used to—this is a team full of vision and dri­ve, and that comes through every time we pitch for a new cre­ator to join our network.

What was your great­est “Ah-Ha” moment to date? 

We’re a con­tent start-up, which is a dan­ger­ous phrase in the fundrais­ing world. But we are a team with a “The Show Must Go On” men­tal­i­ty. We’ve kept the course and have made it work long enough that we’ve been able to attract investors and ser­vice part­ners that get what we’re doing and real­ize that #Bet­ter­Rep­re­sen­ta­tion is impor­tant for every­one, not just LBTQ women.

What was the fun­ni­est thing that has happened? 

Our first piece of orig­i­nal con­tent was JULIE GOLDMAN: LADY GENTLEMAN, an hour long com­e­dy spe­cial. That was hilarious!

It’s not always easy to laugh when you’re sub­let­ting your apart­ment so that your team can stay onboard, but we’ve had some tru­ly great moments: our first Sun­dance, call­ing the mar­ti­ni shot on our first web series, cut­ting our first check to a filmmaker.

If you can only do one thing in your indus­try what would that be?

Sec­tion II will grow to be a glob­al brand built on a mul­ti-plat­form mar­ket­place. While we’re focus­ing on LBTQ con­tent now, what we’ve learned about our audi­ence here in the US makes expan­sion into the South­ern hemi­sphere a log­i­cal step, as well as female-focused con­tent and LGBT ini­tia­tives across the spectrum.

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