By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
“I’m an entrepreneur with five other ideas I wanted to chase down,” Seymour native Jonathan Sexton told us in explaining the changes that he initiated in his life at the start of 2013.
The Co-Founder of Artist Growth stepped down from daily operations of the Nashville-based company at the end of last year so that he could spend more time in Knoxville with his son and fiancée. Sexton explained that he was tired of the weekly trips to Music City, and he knew that he could pursue his latest start-up from here.
Like his first venture, his second one sits in his sweet spot – the world of musicians.
“There’s a shorter runway in the music space,” Sexton says as he describes Bandposters, the new start-up with an appropriate name. The company, which launched on September 27, creates simple, but innovative promotional solutions.
Sexton explained that artists or musical group planning a 50-city tour must have signs, posters, banners and other printed materials for each location. Instead of having to worry about this logistical challenge, the group or single artist turns to Bandposters to handle everything.
“It used to take hours or days to do what our new company can do in minutes or even seconds,” Sexton explained, adding that the secret sauce Bandposters’ distributed printing and scheduling system.
“We put it in the queue, say when it needs to go, and our system takes it from there,” he explained.
The company is not limited to any geographic area, although Sexton says, “I’m keeping it as lean as possible.” That means he’s using trusted contractors across the country for the start-up.
“Coming out of Artist Growth, I wanted to position myself to add value to as many ideas as possible,” he says. While his focus thus far has been around music, he’s not ruling out other sectors for Bandposters, particularly with the upcoming year of political campaigns. After all, is there a difference in posters needed for a concert and a political event?
And, like any serial entrepreneur, Sexton already has a third start-up in some stage of development. He gave us a brief glimpse with the teaser that it’s a software music instrument manufacturing idea.
Four years ago, this entrepreneur was a school teacher. Today, he’s started two companies, working on a third, and vetting ideas for others.
“When I find the big one, I’ll know how to get there,” Sexton feels. His belief is enabled in part by the fact that he and his partner already raised $2 million for Artist Growth.
“Knowing where to go to get it (funding) takes the pressure off raising money,” he says.
“I’m having so much fun doing it,” he says.
“I’ve seen a lot of things across the state,” he says. “There’s no reason we can’t do any of it here.”
With his statewide knowledge and work thus far, Sexton’s return to his home area should be an asset for the region. So, too, will be his upbeat attitude.
“I had the courage to jump ship and go for it,” he says. We expect that he is regularly imparting that attitude to other aspiring entrepreneurs.