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Founders

Company

Splink Media

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Vaughan Taylor

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
I earned my Master's in Entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida. Locally, I have been made aware of programs such as Ann Arbor SPARK, TechTown and Momentum. I have heard great things about them, but we haven't gotten directly involved with any so far.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
The first Splink Media sponsorship transaction was between soul singer Mayer Hawthorne and the locally based shop called the Cupcake Station. At that stage we were testing the model and getting case studies so we actually reached out to both parties to make it happen. We knew that Mayer Hawthorne was playing a show at a venue very close to the Cupcake Station, so we approached the parties about doing an after  show meet and greet at the Cupcake Station. It actually worked out pretty well. The campaign boosted the Cupcake Station's social media following by almost 70 percent. We also learned a lot as well.

Where did you find your first employee?
Paul Howe is our lead developer and Splink Media's first employee. My brother actually referred me to Paul. Paul had just finished doing some freelance work for his entertainment company "Emergence Media" and was a close friend to one of my brother's partners. It just so happened that we shared many of the same interest and goals, so I
chose Paul to be our lead developer.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We don't have any interns but would love to get some involved.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
We are self-funded. We will be looking for outside investments very soon.

It's often said that Metro Detroit and Michigan need to reinvent their economies to be competitive. Are we making those changes, and if so are we making enough of them or doing it fast enough?
Michigan and Metro Detroit saw most of its economic growth during an era when industrial assets were most valued. Most successful economies in the U.S. today are built on ideas and information, but I would caution Metro Detroiters from completely abandoning many of the industrial assets and talents that still exists in Michigan.

Everything can not be done on the internet and there are still needs for physical manufacturing, warehousing, industrial knowledge and actual land. This is something that Michigan has an abundance of and out of towners are often blown away by the low costs that it takes to own such assets.

I guess that was a long way of saying that I believe that the biggest winners in Michigan will be the people who figure out some sort of hybrid economic system. Ones that are built around information and technology but also utilizes the low costs and easy access to the industrial assets that already exist in the area.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
I am seeing a growing community of young entrepreneurs in Metro Detroit. I don't think that there is one easy answer, but success will lead to growth. If some of these young start-ups can take off and gain some notoriety, then potentially a tipping point will take place and young entrepreneurs will see that Detroit is actually a good location to start a business. We have support, initiatives, space, and low costs here. People just don't know about it. Success will bring attention, and others will follow, hopefully. So I would suggests that our leaders need to get behind a few promising starts-ups to ensure their success.


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