When he isn't throwing himself full force into his duties on the Board of Directors, Neil is hatching some remarkably creative videos through his own company, Sketchology Studios.
So… a group of us were sitting together at the startGNV BarCamp 2022 afterparty dinner, and I explained that my company, Sketchology Studios, creates animated videos to help businesses engage their audiences. The same question came up that many others have asked, “That’s cool… How did you get into that?”
I first decided to create animated videos when working as a nonprofit executive, where I wrote grants. I was on page 27 of a grant for poverty alleviation, when I realized that without an emotional component, it was simply words on a page. A connection needed to be visually drawn between the need, the success recipients would experience after receiving support, and our ability to implement the program. We created a short, animated explainer video, using off-the-shelf software (Doodly) and hand-drawn images by my wife.
The video was a hit! As you will see later on, we have come a long way in the last 3 years. Nonetheless, our first video showed the potential for storytelling that manifests in our later work.
This video set the stage for our first year. First, we stayed focused on Dallas nonprofits, due to my extensive network. Second, all of the videos were homegrown, without animation production partners. Third, our close relationship with the video sponsor (AdvancedNet Labs CEO, Keith Thode) served as a model for many of our business relationships.
As we began to grow, we met prospects through LinkedIn Lead Generation. One of these, Bright Hope, is a U.S. based nonprofit that aims to alleviate poverty and fund churches in Africa. During this project, we assembled our first team of domestic illustrators and animators.
Keith Thode with AdvanceNet Labs introduced us to The Institute for Coordinated Community Response, a provider of high-quality domestic violence response training. We created a video for first responder training, “The Impact of Trauma on Victims of Domestic Violence.” This 8 minute animation represents our first global production, with numerous domestic and international resources adding illustration, animation, and voiceover. Using a large network of external resources allows us to quickly scale up to handle larger opportunities.
In June of 2021, we packed up and moved our family to Gainesville, mainly to be close to family. Living and working in Gainesville, I have found a palpable excitement about startups that is infectious.
I became a resident of the Innovation Hub, after a chance meeting with Walt Adams (EVI Holding CEO) who strongly recommended I apply. I learned about startGNV at the Hub, and knew that I wanted to be involved.
As I met with biotech leaders, I began to see an exciting path for Sketchology. We started to sharpen our focus on creating animations for the biotech industry. Our reason for doing this was both pragmatic and personal. Pragmatically, the community is filled with biotech. Personally, having had Type 1 Diabetes since childhood, biotech has literally extended my life by decades due to the advancements in care.
In order to attract biotech companies, we created a new video that speaks directly to them. The video below is sleek and spectacular by design in order to capture attention. Capturing attention is critical for biotech companies seeking funding for their world-changing innovations.
The best advice I could give new startups in Gainesville is to find a focus that is both practical and personal.
As you can see from this blog and our work, storytelling is very important to me. In late June, I will begin to interview people for my new podcast, Innovation Origin Stories. We are seeking innovative leaders to share their journeys.
I look forward to an exciting 2nd half of 2022 with Sketchology Studios and with startGNV. To close, I am including a snippet from our latest video being done for a biotech company, Inspira Therapeutics.