Comic Con connection is serious business for startup

Surge in geek culture turns entrepreneurs into action figures hunting for revenue

Ian Griggs, left, with co-founder Wayne Goldblatt. Hazarai is aiming at a $1.1 billion 'geekonomics' marketplace.-(AARON HOUSTON)

With that, Hazarai For All Fankind was born.

Griggis, the CEO and a self-confessed geek, believes the culture — defined by avid interest in comic books, action figures and video games — lacks a centralized online destination where users can buy and sell merchandise, or simply share common passions.

Griggs said comic book conventions are great, but frequent attendance is expensive and time consuming.

“Once you leave, where do you get your next fix?” asked Griggs, a lifelong comic book collector who plans attending the New York City Comic Con, which begins Oct. 10. “You don’t want to spend a ton of money traveling, city to city.”

Hazarai seeks to fill this void in “geekonomics” through a website where members can upload stores and sell merchandise to fans seeking to augment their collections with rare finds.

Items can range from a 1963 “X-Men” comic selling for $2,200, to artwork of a burning Godzilla fetching $87. George Lucas admirers can buy a “Star Wars”-themed print of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” cover for $20.

“Aside from family and health, these are the things people are most passionate about,” Griggs said.

Griggs said hazarai.com also will include sharing platforms and customizable racks akin to Pinterest. Comic book mavens currently flock to Pinterest absent alternatives, Griggs said, but that site mostly targets women interested in food and fashion.

“The mechanism is there, but it’s not the ideal location,” Griggs said.

Instead, Hazarai is targeting a niche culture, mostly male, that spends about $65 billion annually on these passions, excluding box office sales. Focusing on the hardcore, Hazarai projects an estimated 1.1 million fans spend about $1,100 a year on merchandise, creating a $1.1 billion market.

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