What began as a hobby quickly became a second job for Dan and Eric as they launched their digital media startup to see if other sportsmen and women would enjoy seeing videos and photos of themselves hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors.
“We wanted to test the potential of creating vignettes for clients in the US and Japan,” said Dan, who works for Larimer County Government. Eric, retired from serving the US Navy in Japan, also wanted to show that Asian country had more to offer than bullet trains, Tokyo and sushi. “I visit my buds there every year and want people to know that Japan is 70% mountainous – great for hunting.”
To get their startup off the ground, Dan and Eric visited their local bank which referred them to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) for a loan in 2018. “This financing helped us cover travel expenses and promotional merchandise,” recalled Eric.
“We needed a marketing piece to show to potential partners and sponsors,” added Dan, “and wouldn’t have been able to create our video trailer otherwise.” Dan and Eric also took advantage of CEF’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS) consultant team to develop a growth plan.
Now with a foothold in the US and Japanese media markets, Dan and Eric are eying expansion into Europe where a diverse viewership of sportsmen and women is growing, especially in France. “Eventually, we want to take our show to all of Europe where the rural areas support hunting and fishing,” remarked Dan. To manage this growth, the digital duo plan to add two more employees in the next two years.
“CEF gave our idea legitimacy,” Eric concluded. “We had a very positive experience and got a really good vetting and sounding board for our business model,” said Dan. “I know we’ll be back for more funding from CEF.”
The Veteran Access Loan Opportunity Resource (VALOR) loan program is dedicated to helping veteran entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses in Colorado. The program is made possible through a $2.2 million investment by Bank of America with additional support from the Xcel Energy Foundation.
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