STARTUP OF THE WEEK: Sync it!
In this series, we visit Denver-metro, Boulder and Rocky Mountain region startups. Contact email@example.com to be considered.
On a warm October night, soft sounds of jazz guided those in the know to a spare, industrial complex in the Clayton neighborhood. Outside, only the music and a standalone burrito truck hinted at the glamour behind the drab. Inside Cluster Studios at Steele Street and 37th Avenue, a Halloween speakeasy in the spirit of the Roaring Twenties raged into the night.
Friday night marked the second ever Sync It! high stakes lip sync competition. Five contestants performed before an eclectic crowd for a shot at $1,000 in prizes and, of course, a few fleeting moments of ghoulish fame.
But this party was not just a party. The event started as an idea among friends for a casual lip sync competition. Rather than a one-off, the idea has blossomed into a nonprofit events production company that puts on shows with formal auditions for contestants and high-stakes prizes.
Sync It’s co-founders met during classes with Front Range Acting Studio and decided to capitalize on their collective creativity to advance their own work and the work of other artists.
But co-founder Madison Stratford said the transition from artist to business person has been challenging.
“We are all a bunch of creative people doing business, not business people doing business,” she said.
The team is still learning the ropes in terms of time management and budgeting, but she said the idealistic mentality and scrappy work ethic give them an edge in the startup community.
“I think we do have the upper edge in a lot of ways because we are all actors. As an actor, you are your own product you have to sell,” Stratford said. “Learning that … is extremely valuable and makes us a force to be reckoned with.”
The Sync It! team threw their first party in July 2016 with a budget of $500. The event was so popular, they sized up for their Halloween speakeasy, partnering with cannabis bazaar startup Cannazaar. With a $5,000 budget, they rented out Cluster Studios and brought in a DJ and go-go dancers . They also assembled a small market of artists and craftsmen.
“It’s really important to us that we feature local artists and local businesses,” Stratford said. “A Halloween party is very conducive to having a lot of local artists in one place.”
But the Sync It! team aspires to more than local events. They hope to franchise their party idea and throw Sync It! events nationwide.
Stratford acknowledged that lip syncing may not always be on trend. She said she hopes lip syncing will be a stepping stone along the way to throwing bigger and better events for artists and revelers everywhere.
Co-founders: Kellsie Moore, David Moore, Tasos Hernandez, Jeff Rood, Madison Stratford
Industry: Event planning, entertainment
First event: July 21, 2016
Funding: Events paid for through private sponsorship from TH Entertainment. Sync It! plans to start raising money soon.
Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here.