Justin Blanchard of Whisper Labs
Meet Justin Blanchard, founder of Whisper Labs
, a marketing website developer.
What is Whisper Labs?
Whisper Labs is a hybrid agency and product consultancy. On one side of things, we do paid work for clients creating marketing websites. We also consult on products going to market for startups and established companies looking to develop new products.
How did you come up with the idea?
I formerly worked at an agency for about two years. I was a designer and front-end developer – what’s called an interactive developer. I consulted on their operational strategy in terms of trends and business in general.
One of the big things I saw were products that I thought were going to start replacing a lot of the stuff agencies were doing. When I left, the intent was to develop products, and the easiest way to do that from my stand point was to basically to take my knowledge through consulting and web work to look for other opportunities.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
Overall, I don’t know if it was necessarily a big surprise, but it definitely take a long time to get things off the ground. I think that’s the biggest thing; getting all the pieces right and creating an overall model. We’re still working on that as a young company.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
Right now we have a village we’re working with to rebrand and update their website. We’re in the project phases of that and working on developing the site out. On the other side of things, we’re also working with startups or consulting other startups on where they’re at from a strategy perspective, all the way to developing things out. With the other startup that we have partial equity in, we’re working with them to move their goals forward.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
From the agency side, we always say the advantage to doing business in Ohio is the cost of business. The agencies I’ve seen be successful have good price points. You can get the same great thinking with price savings.
From a startup perspective, I would say the same thing. The cost of living for people who have families is more conducive to creating a startup.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We have a startup that came out of Whisper Labs called Givt. In the early stages, we worked with the local investment group, Rocket Ventures
, which is partially funded through the Ohio Third Frontier
program. Also locally, we sponsor an event called Startup Toledo
. Every month, a bunch of people interested in startups get together and talk about things that are going on and how to build the Toledo area startups.
What inspires you?
I’m really motivated by helping other people.
You can build a really great team internally, and it’s nice to see other people succeeding around you. A lot of my inspiration comes from that, just wanting to find businesses that are unique opportunities that can really attach to a bigger purpose of helping people get to the next level on things.
What founders do you admire and why?
I'm meeting this month with Cary Chessick, co-founder and former CEO of Restaurants.com. Cary's new company called Positivity coaches companies on how to encourage happiness at work.
Another one is Richard Sheridan of Menlo Innovations in Detroit for the same reasons. I just like founders that are trying to build a culture within their company that really focuses on the people and making them happy in life.
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me is whatever the next thing is! I say this in the best possible way, but more of the same, hopefully. Helping companies succeed, finding good opportunities, working hard and making it happen.
Interview by Joe Baur