Funko Pop! Wiki

Funko Pop! Wiki: What is Funko?

Funko Pop! blog - Funko Pop! Wiki - What is Funko - Pop Shop Guide

Funko Inc. is an American company that manufactures licensed pop culture collectibles and toys, and is best known for its licensed bobbleheads and vinyl figurines.

Everyone is a fan of something.

The story of Funko begins in 1998, when toy collector Mike Becker founded the company from his home in Snohomish, Washington, United States.

The idea for the company started after Becker failed to find an affordable piggy bank from Big Boy, the mascot of the populair American restaurant chain Big Boy Restaurants. Rather than give up on the idea, Becker licensed the rights to create his own piggy banks from a Big Boy franchise in Michigan, Detroit.

Unfortunately, the Big Boy piggy banks were unsuccessful and failed to sell. But Funko remained in business and went after the licensing rights to bobbleheads for the movie blockbuster Austin Powers. The move was successful, 80,000 units were sold and the tone was set.

In 2005, Mike Becker sold the company to entrepreneur Brian Mariotti, the current CEO of Funko. Funko’s headquarters were moved to Lynnwood, Washington, and with Mariotti as the company’s CEO, Funko significantly expanded the number of licensed products lines.

Over the years, Funko has become one of the leading makers and innovators of licensed pop culture products for a wide variety of consumers. The company’s mascot, a recurring character in the Funko franchise, is Freddy Funko.

Since its inception in 1998, Funko has created more than 13,500 different products in dozens of different toy lines. The first toy line, called Wacky Wobblers, is a line of bobbleheads depicting various licensed pop culture characters, mainly from popular movies and icons, such as Star Wars and Betty Boop.

Funko - Everyone is a Fan of Something

At San Diego Comic-Con 2010, Funko showcased a new product line called Funko Force 2.0, a mini spin-off of Funko Force. Funko revealed a preview line of DC Comics characters packed in special bubble packaging, known as “clamshells”.

Funko changes the name of the brand as well as the packaging of the product and the Funko Pop! vinyl product line was born.

The Pop! vinyl line of products was fully revealed in 2011 at the New York Toy Fair, and with big success. By 2012, the company had sold more than $20 million worth of merchandise.

Funko’s Pop! vinyl line are figures modeled in a style similar to the Japanese chibi style, typically depicting licensed characters from franchises such as DC Comics, Marvel, Disney, Star Wars and other pop culture entities.

Various other products have been released using the Pop! brand and its character stylization, such as plush toys, t-shirts, keychains and ceramic mugs.

Funko was sold to Fundamental Capital, a private equity firm, in 2013 to raise funds. In 2015, ACON Investments, LLC acquired Funko from Fundamental Capital, but would keep current staff and the head of company.

In early 2017, Funko acquired British toymaker Underground Toys, which is also its European distributor and is based in Hammersmith, London. That same year, Funko opened its new headquarters and 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) flagship store in downtown Everett, Washington.

The company opened its second storefront in November 2019, located in Hollywood, Los Angeles. It has 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of space and includes life-size statues of the popular Pop! vinyl line.

Funko has more than 1,100 licenses with different companies and creates products that appeal to both young and old. A wide range in products from music icons to video game characters and from action heroes to sport celebrities.

The large number of licenses and the extensive product range, are part of the success of Funko.