This is the about story as told by Founder Tyler Bryden.
After my first year at Fanshawe for Interactive Media Design & Production and several years of freelance work through my network, I started my own business, SixFive Interactive. I applied to the Propel Summer Incubator, Western University’s Campus-Linked Accelerator’s 1st ever cohort, which is a pretty big deal in the mid-sized market of London, Ontario. I didn’t really know how a business worked. I thought I was just going to build sites. I put together a business plan. They said no.
The rejection put a fire in my belly and I said ‘next year I will be in the Propel Program’. That summer I found myself in another fantastic grant program who were a bit more forgiving with my business plan. Much love to the team down there at the Small Business Centre and the Summer Company Program for giving me my start.
That entire year I worked. I went to every networking event in the city, I learned how to sell, and I learned how to design, build and deploy sites all by myself. As the demand increased, I teamed up with my good friend and talented designer Alex Brucki. When Propel’s applications opened for the second year, this time we were ready. He designed the slides, I wrote everything and we dropped a pitch that was actually good. This time they said yes.
Damn. They gave us $15,000 as a grant, a beautiful office right on Western Campus in the summer, and a ton of intimate presentations and workshops with some really successful people.
This time, Alex and I worked. The first day there Alex was taking pictures of one of our cohort’s company’s products. We got to meet even more amazing people. We got to collaborate. We built a portfolio. We hired a development team. We made money. And for the first time in years, I looked around in the group of people we were in, and I felt at home.
Lessons: Try again. Mentors are so important. Business is hard. Grants are nice. We need more support for young entrepreneurs. Work hard and people notice. Entrepreneurs are unique. If you feel at home you are in the right place.
When I started my business in 2015, I didn’t know much about business. In 2016, I realized I still have a lot to learn. But, man, am I proud of what we accomplished. We don’t run SixFive Interactive like a normal business and I don’t think we ever will.
I think that is why we have had some success. We got traction. We got our permanent home at Innovation Works with a full studio. People are asking us for work every day. Even though we have a long way to go, we know the work we put in during 2016 will continue to pay back in dividends. And I am thankful that in those moments when we could have taken the easy route, we didn’t.
Lessons: Your network is your net worth. You can be successful. Take risks. All businesses are chaotic. Focus on the big rocks. Successful people are still just people. Be yourself. Tough times are temporary.
SixFive Interactive’s spot on DayTime London for RogersTV.
Today, we have found a home at Innovation Works and we can’t be happier. We have a full production space. We have a tight, talented team of seven. We are creating original content for ourselves and awesome content for our customers. We continue to build up our online platform, with the goal to quickly connect brands and companies to talented, vetted, creators and marketers for a situation that everyone wins.
Our mantra from the start has always been Let’s Succeed Together. We will honour that as we grow.