Mumbai-based crowdfunding platform Catapooolt is launching in Hong Kong this week as an official partner of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF).

The first Indian crowdfunding platform to list international projects, the new venture has a unique business model that aims to keep bringing funders back with three tiers of rewards.

In addition to rewards from project owners, the platform will offer its own rewards through more than 100 brand partners and has developed a loyalty points system.

Focused on three areas - movies, music and other performing arts - the platform has tapped a pool of industry heavyweights to act as advisors including HKIFFS executive director Roger Garcia, Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal, Rotterdam programmer Rada Sesic and crowdfunding expert Dan Marom.

“You can’t just replicate Kickstarter in India. The US and Europe have a more defined culture for supporting creative artists and indie filmmakers, while India is more value conscious,” said Catapooolt managing director Satish Kataria.

Catapooolt associate director Yogesh Karikurve added that the platform is also reaching out to Asians living overseas: “Asians in the US and Europe have a strong nostalgia for Asia - they want a slice of the market but don’t know how to get involved.”

Kataria and Karikurve, who have previously worked in fund management and film distribution and marketing respectively, are meeting with HAF participants this week to select around 15 projects to seek financing through the platform. They will also present three seed funding awards totaling $3,000 at the close of HAF.  

Deepti D’Cunha, consultant for the Rome film festival and India’s Film Bazaar, is also working with Catapooolt.

A beta version of the platform is launching at HAF this week, while the final version will launch by April 15. Among the first Indian projects to seek financing on Catapooolt are Cut Throat, to be directed by Sarthak Dasgupta (The Great Indian Butterfly); a documentary about Indian sports, and music album Ek Nayi Umeed, initiated by Indian NGOs.