A Startup of Storytellers Based at ETC
Three years ago, Early Light Media set out to help companies tell their stories through powerful videos that emphasize the human experience. The startup’s founders mastered the creative and technical side of a media company, but starting a business? That wasn’t in their wheelhouse.
Thankfully, they chose to put roots down at ETC, Baltimore’s first business incubator established in the late 1990’s. The team at ETC helped Early Light Media navigate the waters of starting a company. ETC provided resources and guidance to all of the nuanced details and questions that Director Dave Larson, and two other founding partners Darren Durlach and Jody Weldon, didn’t think about.
ETC provides companies everything from office space to expert advice, and this, ETC President and Executive Director Deb Tillett says, is key to helping entrepreneurs put their heads down and focus on running a successful company. “ETC is everything an entrepreneur needs us to be and more,” she said.
Entrepreneurship in Maryland
Having a connection to ETC allowed Early Light Media to network with other entrepreneurs, and these relationships also helped the company find its way. “I started to realize the startup community in Baltimore and Maryland is really a tight-knit community,” Larson said.
ETC Assistant Director Jacqueline Albright has a similar sentiment about the startup community. “All of us in the entrepreneur space have an understanding and are driven by the fact that we want to see Baltimore and the startup scene be successful,” Albright said. “Having that common vision for our city drives how collaborative we are.”
This common vision local entrepreneurs share is driving Maryland forward as a hub for entrepreneurial activity. In the Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship, Maryland ranks third overall and second among larger population states. The ranking is based on the rate of startup company growth, the density of high-growth scale-up companies among other young companies, and the density of fast-growing companies among the business population.
“From the ground level, I look at all of these innovative companies, and it gives me such excitement for the future,” said Larson. “Companies are invested in staying in Baltimore and Maryland, and that makes me feel like we chose the right place to start our company.”
Maryland’s startup companies are also driving the economy forward. ETC reports that in 2015, current and graduate ETC companies had a $1.2 billion economic impact on the state of Maryland when multiplier effects are included. These companies also supported more than 6,000 jobs in 2015, Tillett said.
An Award for Early Light Media
Early Light Media produces videos for clients, which include Pandora and Ironmark. In addition, they create documentaries that they call “passion projects.” Check out the trailer, below, for Early Light Media’s latest passion project, Throw, which recently won a 2016 Moutainfilm Film Directors Award. A premiere event for the film is taking place at Creative Alliance on Aug. 24.
This blog post is a part of a new series of Startup features on MDBizNews. Stay tuned with posts and other startup news by following #MDStartUp on Twitter.