business: video production
founders: Jon Efraimson, 32; Hayden Scott, 32
year started: 1996
location: Vail, Colorado
1997 revenues: $600,000
1998 revenues: $750,000
start-up costs: $50,000 cash; $240,000 equipment lease
sources: Scott's father-in-law; medical foundation
Talk about using your head. Jon Efraimson and Hayden Scott couldn't find a bank that would go near them. Nobody, it seemed, wanted to give two young guys the money needed to buy some very expensive video equipment to run a kind of business not usually talked about on Wall Street. They knew they had something on their side, though--contacts.
As employees of another video production company, they were already doing pieces for the famed Steadman Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation in Vail, Colorado. When the foundation began looking for its own video production chief to handle day-to-day production of videos and programs about knee surgery and the like, Efraimson and Scott cut a deal: They would provide the foundation with the daily work equivalent of one full-time employee in exchange for use of the foundation's $200,000 equipment. They also brought to the effort their own stuff, including a $40,000 camera obtained through a lease guaranteed by a supplier they used at their previous job.
"Our association with the foundation gave us instant credibility," Efraimson says.
In addition to serving the foundation, the company also produces videos of local skiing and mountain biking races, plus promotional pieces for numerous resorts. Next up: a drive to produce more TV programming for Fox Sports and others. Says Efraimson, "A lot of things are falling into place."