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“Left of Center” Strategy Hits with Bull’s-Eye: GYK Antler Kicks Off 2022 with 50% Growth, 45% Talent Influx, New ECD

Integrated Marketing Company Builds on President Pam Hamlin’s Strategic Approach as it Names Mike Sullivan Executive Creative Director

January 12, 2022 – GYK Antler (GYK) President Pam Hamlin today announced that the integrated marketing company has achieved 50% growth in revenue and a 45% increase in staff headcount over the past two years. Today’s announcement underscores how Hamlin’s “left of center” strategy has continued to lead to record growth for the business since she was named President at the end of 2019.

“I joined GYK Antler because its unique DNA of entrepreneurship, independence and innovation would serve as the perfect foundation for the creative growth engine we wanted to build for our people and partners,” said Hamlin. “We’re not interested in doing things the same way they’ve always been done, taking cues from larger players in our market or sitting squarely in the center of other midsized agencies. GYK operates a bit ‘left of center’ — from our approach to hiring and fostering culture, to the integrated creative, strategy and media solutions we provide clients, to the way we continually refine our offerings — and this is just the beginning.”

On the heels of its best year in company history in 2020, GYK’s performance in 2021 surpassed all growth objectives, with 25% year-over-year revenue growth. In addition, 40 new hires were brought on board to help service 11 new accounts, with the company winning assignments with brands like iRobot, NERF, My Little Pony, Play-Doh, Indian Motorcycle, Green Giant, Manscaped, Bank of Clarke County and Suki Skincare.

To further fuel client and agency growth agendas and evolve and expand the company’s creative capabilities, Hamlin also announced that Mike Sullivan has been hired as Executive Creative Director. In this role, Sullivan will partner closely with Managing Director Mark Battista, bringing his entrepreneurial spirit and decades of award-winning work for leading global agencies and brands to help fuel creativity throughout GYK.

Sullivan came up in the advertising world on Madison Avenue, writing and leading creative for TBWA/Chiat Day, Deutsch NY, Publicis NY, DDB NY and Havas Worldwide. His category and client experience are vast — Reckitt Benckiser brands like Air Wick, d-CON, Rid-X and K-Y, Liberty Mutual, Heineken, Barnes & Noble, Subaru, Cadbury and more — but most importantly, his work drove results and visibility. While leading creative direction for the New York Lottery, the largest lottery in the country, Sullivan launched a Powerball game with “Yeah, that Kind of Rich,” which AICP archived for the Department of Film at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The campaign won two Silver Lions at Cannes, D&AD, NY Festivals and was voted Best of the Best by the World Lottery Association.

His team’s work on a Dawn campaign, which highlighted ducks caught in an oil spill being gently cleaned with the dish liquid was heralded by Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times as a prime example of how to effectively handle a public relations campaign. Originally slated to run for six months, the campaign is still running 20 years later. When Brawny needed to better compete with Bounty, and move from a masculine, man-cave staple to a brand that belongs in the home, Sullivan and team created a campaign to help make light of all of life’s messes, making a serious dent in market share. And for Give.org, he helped develop the “BBB Wise Giving Alliance,” a Clio Award-winning print campaign to support the nonprofit’s mission of ensuring charitable donations get to their intended causes.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to not only return to my Boston roots but to join a company that shares my appreciation for creativity and its impact on brands and businesses,” said Sullivan. “Pam and Mark’s creative energy and strategic vision underscore the opportunity and momentum at hand and I look forward to playing an important role in our continued growth by delivering the creativity, energy, passion and attitude that GYK Antler is fast becoming well-known for.”

Further demonstrating its “left of center” position in the market, GYK is part of an innovative business and operating model called York Creative Collective (YCC). Founded in 2019 by GYK CEO Travis York, YCC is a portfolio of privately-owned creative ventures working together to maximize their growth potential. From historic family-owned businesses to emerging challenger brands, GYK’s strategic and creative marketing services power growth among YCC ventures like Iron & Air, a premier motorcycle enthusiast platform; YORK Athletics Mfg., a DTC performance footwear company; Noble & Cooley, a historic premium drum manufacturer; and TorchPro, a sports media company changing the way fans and athletes interact.

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About GYK Antler
GYK Antler is a creative growth engine fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit. Established in 1975, this integrated marketing company of creative entrepreneurs believes creativity is the ultimate business advantage. To deliver on this belief, GYK Antler unleashes an integrated team of strategy, creative and media to create ownable, actionable and enduring ideas that ignite brands and fuel business growth. GYK Antler is proud to represent both emerging and established brands, including Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, New Hampshire Travel & Tourism, Sallie Mae, Hasbro, YORK Athletics, Dunkin’, Ken’s Foods, New Hampshire State Lottery, NERF, iRobot, ESPN and Sweet Baby Ray’s. A fiercely independent company, GYK Antler is headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, with an office in downtown Boston.

About York Creative Collective
York Creative Collective (YCC) is a portfolio of privately-owned creative ventures working together to maximize their growth potential. YCC believes creativity is the ultimate brand and business advantage — it challenges ways of thinking, fuels big ideas, opens the door to new business opportunities and propels an entrepreneurial spirit. Ventures that are part of YCC are given access to a comprehensive suite of resources to help them grow and thrive, while they prioritize and focus on what drives their business forward. This is why YCC has put marketing services at the center of its creative ecosystem to drive growth. Whether they need strategic counsel, business operations support or supplementary capital through its partnership with York IE, ventures can create efficiencies through YCC’s shared services offering.

NBC10: YORK Athletics Releases Sneaker Inspired by GYK Antler’s “Blank Canvas” Design Contest

Magic can happen when our creative ventures come together in service of creativity and community. Earlier this year, GYK Antler and YORK Athletics Mfg. partnered on the Blank Canvas sneaker design contest, created to provide local high schoolers in underserved communities with education and access to creative career paths. The students’ designs were fantastic – and now, one of those designs has inspired a limited-edition sneaker: The Frank by Jean Dario.

Jean Dario, a Junior from Haiti, used YORK’s Henry Mid Canvas to paint a beautiful landscape of his homeland featuring its national flower, the Hibiscus. The team at GYK provided him with materials and mentorship along the way. Then YORK used photo technology to translate the painted canvas effect onto the cage of the Frank. From 11/30 through 12/12, 100% of profit from sales of The Frank by Jean Dario & the Henry Mid Canvas will fund a scholarship for Jean Dario’s continued education.

NBC 10 Boston spent an afternoon with the team and Jean Dario to capture JD’s live reaction when he got to hold his sneaker for the first time and learn about the scholarship he will receive from the profits of the shoe. Check out the feature here.

Travis York Featured on The American Field (AF) Fireside Podcast Discussing YORK Athletics Mfg.

In addition to being the co-founder and CEO of YCC, Travis York is also a co-founder of creative venture York Athletics. Travis was featured on the American Field (AF) Fireside Podcast. 

In the interview, Travis discusses:

  • The origin of York Athletics as the third-generation family business and how each generation of the business has evolved with the current time and needs in the marketplace.
  • Learning curves when building the business.
  • YORK’s philosophies for making products and what makes them different in the marketplace.
  • The qualities of YORK’s products that make them truly timeless, minimalist, and authentic to their brand and goals. 
  • How YORK shifted during the pandemic and the challenges doing so.

Check out the interview in video form here, or on Spotify

YCC Spotlight: Greg Segel, YORK Athletics Mfg.

Greg is a passionate e-commerce leader with over seven years of expertise in growth marketing. Greg began his career as the third member of ’47’s e-commerce team, taking the site from dwindling profits to $27 million in just a few short years. With a keen eye for product and trends, Greg has experience with multiple professional sports leagues and has collaborated with top-tier talent and partners, including Carhartt, Supreme, 686 and Diamond Supply Co. In 2021, Greg joined YORK Athletics as the VP of E-Commerce to lead its next chapter of growth.

Q: You spent the first seven years of your career at ’47 helping to build the Boston-based retailer into a multimillion-dollar omnichannel brand. What did you learn from that experience and how did it prepare you for your role as VP of E-Commerce at YORK?

A: When I started at ’47, the goal was simple: scale as quickly as possible. To get that done, I was tasked with just about everything you could imagine. From running email and paid media, to warehouse management and fulfillment, to buying and merchandising and everything in between. Nothing was too big or too small of a task to take on. For a kid fresh out of college with limited e-commerce experience, this was a lot to take in at once, but an experience I wouldn’t change. I learned every facet of what makes an online business successful, and even more importantly, I quickly learned what I was really good at and where I needed to improve.

With such a small team at YORK, it’s very similar to my early days at ’47. Being able to pass along my knowledge of the space to others will be extremely important for the success of the business. As we’re all able to grow and push each other to one common goal, we’ll start to see better results each and every day. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon — and one I’m excited to run with this team.

Q: ’47 and YORK Athletics are both family-owned brands. What do you find intriguing and/or beneficial about working for independent companies? 

A: Vested interest! But seriously, when it’s a family-run company, there’s a passion that funnels from the top to the bottom that’s unlike what you’d see at most privately-owned companies. The connection that’s formed among the team and ownership group is second to none. You want to succeed for each other, not for someone sitting on the 100th floor to whom you’ve never spoken. It truly pushes everyone to be the best version of themselves day in and day out.

Q: ’47 has been in business for over 50 years longer than YORK and has a much larger employee base. After six months in your new role at YORK, what’s your experience been like going from a bigger brand to a startup? 

A: When I started at ’47, the ecomm team emulated a startup. Yes, there was a “name” that backed our product, but we were still relatively unknown outside of stadium and wholesale accounts. When friends and family would ask where I worked, I’d have to direct them to the side logo on the hat before getting an “Ohhh, I know them” response. Truthfully, ’47 prepared me perfectly for this role. I’ve been able to take a lot of the same startup tactics I used at ’47 to implement within YORK. Meeting cadences, yearly/quarterly/monthly prep docs, customer roadmap strategies, etc. have all evolved to fit YORK.

Q: Boston is home to some iconic sneaker brands in the world — two of which you interned for in college, Puma and Reebok. How do you see YORK standing apart from its competitors amid a crowded space, locally and beyond?

A: YORK is an outlier, and we’re OK with that. The massive logos and global campaigns the bigger brands go for isn’t what’s true to YORK. We’re not in it for the “hype” or to be a flash in the pan. We make shoes for the everyday person. Whether you’re looking to sneak in a workout at lunch, take the kids to school or meet friends for a drink, YORK’s shoes are with you every step of the way. They perform in the gym and look stylish enough to wear out. You can’t do that with most of the bigger brands’ products.

Q: With the appetite for online shopping hitting all-time highs amid the pandemic, what are some of the e-commerce trends you’re following as we accelerate out of the turn and into 2022?

A: Loyalty & Retention Marketing: The pandemic shifted consumers to online retailers, making the space more competitive than ever. With that increase in competition, acquisition channels become flooded, causing costs to skyrocket to record highs. With that being said, it’s even more imperative to focus on retaining those within your community. Retention and loyalty need to be synonymous with one another. Loyalty doesn’t just happen after purchase or because they’ve liked a social post. Loyalty comes when a consumer feels an authentic connection with the brand. It isn’t the consumer’s responsibility to build this connection, it’s 100% the brand’s responsibility. Everything from the brand story/message, product, website, email flows, customer service, post-purchase, etc. must all be taken into consideration. If you can establish a customer journey that creates an authentic connection, then you have a customer for life — one who purchases multiple times a year, who tells their friends and family about you and becomes a walking endorsement.

Affiliate & Ambassador Relations: Again, with traditional media costs at an all-time high, it’s imperative that as a brand we have additional mediums in which we can target customers — in steps affiliate marketing. Outside of attracting traditional affiliates like shopping publications, tech partners and influencers, NIL has opened the door to collegiate athletes. Still in its infancy, it’ll be extremely interesting to see how this will shake up the industry. We’ve recently engaged with a company called Postgame to work with over 30 D1 athletes to help spread awareness of our brand, and may look to continue to do so as we head into 2022.

In our world, an influencer affiliate is different than an ambassador. An affiliate is strictly paid for performance. Yes, they may like your product, but they’re more often than not motivated by how much they stand to make. Ambassadors, on the other hand, are motivated by the connection they’ve established with the brand. At YORK, we have an extensive list of ambassadors who love our product and we’re now making it an even bigger point of emphasis to work side-by-side on amplifying both parties.

Bundles/Subscription Services: I’ve also been looking more closely at bundles and subscription services — both of which have been on the rise. These models present a unique opportunity to increase customer lifetime value and average order value. Heading into 2022, YORK will look to test either one or both to some degree.

Q: What are your ambitions for the company over the next few years and how do you see YCC playing a role in achieving those goals? 

A: To challenge mainstream brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma by providing an alternative to athletic shoes that are only catered to performance athletes who like big logos and product hype. To me, YORK is the industry’s best-kept secret and it’s mine and the rest of the team’s job to spread the word. Once we get a pair on you, we know you’ll be hooked.

YCC is going to be huge for us in achieving these goals. With such a small team, we’ll need to rely on the variety of services YCC can provide. Creative production, videography, branding, etc. are all going to be pivotal as we continue into the next phase of YORK Athletics. Outside of the services YCC can provide, to me, what separates YCC from most is the leadership team that’s in place. Being able to leverage their past experiences and industry knowledge is something you can’t put a price on. The YORK team is lucky to have a direct line of communication with them, and it’s one we’ll certainly be taking advantage of to succeed.

YCC Spotlight: Luke Garro, Noble & Cooley

Luke Garro is the General Manager of Noble & Cooley, a family-owned premium drum manufacturer specializing in handcrafted snare drums and drum kits for some of the world’s leading professional drummers. Garro joined the 160-year-old company in October 2020 to chart the course for the brand’s next chapter of growth. As a professional drummer for over three decades, he brings a complementary set of skills, passion and experience to his role at Noble & Cooley. Luke has played the drums for bands such as Fastbreak and In My Eyes, and for the past 19 years has been the drummer for alternative rock band Piebald, touring internationally. A true creative entrepreneur, Garro began his 20-year business and marketing career by co-founding a company called Street Attack, which was a pioneer in guerilla, grassroots, experiential and social marketing just as social platforms came on the scene. The company later rebranded as Antler and was acquired by GYK Marketing in 2013 to become integrated marketing company GYK Antler. As EVP, Content Director, Garro played a significant role in helping to build GYK Antler’s social and content production capabilities, leading modern marketing initiatives for both established and emerging CPG and lifestyle brands, and fueling company growth through new business efforts.

Q: In your first year serving as GM of Noble & Cooley, what has been your biggest priority and what has made you most proud? 

A: The biggest priority out of the gate was to learn as much as I could about the business as quickly as possible. Thirteen months later and I’m still learning 😊. Noble & Cooley has been around for over 165 years, so there’s certainly a lot to wrap my arms around, but within the first two months, I was able to immediately grasp the key functions of the business and plug myself in to provide the best support — from production to sales and marketing through to accounting and labor/resource management. One aspect that’s made me the proudest is how quickly we’ve revamped our sales efforts. With a few months, we enlisted and empowered two amazing sales guys — one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. In a rather quick time frame, we’ve signed on several new dealers and have seen immediate increases in our overall sales volume.

Q: Are there any new initiatives that have launched recently or are in the pipeline that you’re particularly excited about? 

A: The biggest new initiative for us is updating our factory footprint and key pieces of equipment. To keep our prices competitive, we want to create any efficiencies we can in our production process and abilities. Through extensive discussions, we concluded that updating a factory footprint would be one of the most impactful moves to make. Because the company has been around for so long, the current footprint was an outcome of several decades of business evolution, which doesn’t make complete sense for our current offering. We have different production processes happening on three different floors as well as different buildings, so we’ll be bringing it all together to a single floor — adjacent to where our steam bending area and showroom are — to become more efficient. That move will really bring the whole operation together in a tighter perimeter to allow us to all work in closer proximity and minimize physically moving materials (and ourselves!) around the factory.

Q: Your first company, Antler, was a pioneer in digital and social media marketing — what’s the role social plays in connecting with drum enthusiasts? 

A: Social media is THE way to connect with drum enthusiasts. Drummers are all about showing what they’re playing, the activities they’re involved in, checking out and supporting other drummers and most importantly, learning about the new gear available to them. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “food porn” as it relates to social media. Well, “drum porn” may just be its biggest rival. A simple, nice, beautiful close-up shot of a drum is often the content that performs the best on social channels. 

Another important way we use these communication channels is for customer service. We have a lot of customers who prefer to directly message us there versus using a form on our website because of the personal nature of social channels. In addition, mobilizing our artists and fans on social media is often the best marketing for us. Genuine endorsements and getting third parties to create their own content using our drums often goes further than our own efforts.

Q: As someone who founded and ran their own ad agency for 12 years, how have the lessons you learned as an entrepreneur translated to your role at N&C as General Manager? 

A: I’ve surely learned a few lessons with my 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience. Here are my top four: 

  1. Be nimble. With such a small team, we all wear a lot of hats and need to shift gears quickly. We constantly need to be active and achieve things, so minimizing unnecessary meetings and removing layers of management/approval is key. 
  2. Be OK with change. The world is constantly changing — from trends to technologies — so we can’t get so stuck in our ways where we’re unable to adapt. 
  3. Have a big picture plan but be willing to act quickly when opportunities come your way. We have our vision pretty locked down, but every week something new comes up that we need to quickly act on. 
  4. Treat people as amazingly as possible. Whether they’re employees, customers or dealers, the people we interact with are our biggest assets. Without them we wouldn’t be a business, and developing relationships for the long haul builds an easier flow of day-to-day business because everybody is constantly building an innate understanding of who we are and how we work together.

Q: What has the experience been like to work in a role that’s perfectly blended with your personal passion of music/drumming? 

A: Working your passion in with your profession is always a blessing. For me, I don’t think it could be any more perfect. I’ve been playing professionally for over 25 years and it’s been amazing that after this long, I finally get to leverage all my experiences, knowledge and contacts I’ve made over the years. Not to mention, I can try out new drums all the time and I even get to play drums at work.

Working your passion in with your profession is always a blessing. For me, I don’t think it could be any more perfect. I’ve been playing professionally for over 25 years and it’s been amazing that after this long, I finally get to leverage all my experiences, knowledge and contacts I’ve made over the years. Not to mention, I can try out new drums all the time and I even get to play drums at work.

Q: What are your aspirations for the brand over the next few years?

A: We have the mission to make Noble & Cooley the largest and most respected boutique drum company in the world. The word “boutique” is key here. While we want to get our drums in the hands of as many drummers as possible, we still want to remain small enough to ensure we don’t lose any of the handcrafted and personal touches that make us who we are. Those elements are such key aspects of why people like our drums and the company to begin with, so we need to continue manufacturing that way.

Q: How do you see York Creative Collective playing a role in achieving those objectives?

A: YCC is helpful to a business like ours because it allows us to scale up services we can’t have in-house very quickly and efficiently. We can’t have designers, copywriters, videographers and advertising managers on our full-time staff, but we can have access to them through YCC, which gives us a nice competitive advantage over our contemporaries. Nowadays, businesses of every size need a lot of diverse skill sets to compete, and bringing all those skill sets in-house is often cost prohibitive. Through YCC, we can get all the skills we need from a top-notch set of talent, which is something we simply couldn’t do on our own.

YCC Spotlight: Bryan Goodwin, TorchPro

Bryan Goodwin is the Co-Founder, President and CRO of TorchPro, a sports media company changing the way world-class athletes and fans interact, digitally, creating more authentic and deeper relationships between athletes and fans. He joined the company in January 2021 to lead its next chapter of growth. A seasoned early-stage startup executive, Bryan was the first employee at FlipKey.com (acquired by Tripadvisor) and a founding executive at Drizly.com (acquired for $1.1 billion by Uber). He has invested in and or advised more than 25 startups, including Breezeway.io, YORK Athletics Mfg., Confirm.io (acquired by Facebook), Willie’s Superbrew, Mayflower, EverybodyFights ROCK, and Mezcal Rosaluna.

Q: You have an established track record of helping to accelerate sales and revenue generation for internet marketplace companies as the first employee at FlipKey.com and later as a founding executive at Drizly.com. What is it about these types of companies that you find most intriguing?

A: I’ve always been drawn to early-stage startups. I love starting at the beginning, being part of the journey and seeing where it ends up. These companies also had a vision that I believed in and I was given the opportunity to help shape the course of their trajectories. Getting in at the early phases of a company allows you to be part of the testing, learning and growing, and help to define the products and services.

I’m also drawn to a challenge and tend to thrive a bit in chaos. As companies scale, much of the work becomes about process and optimization, but in the early days, there’s no playbook — it needs to be written. Rarely, the finished product is exactly how you saw it playing out at the start, which is part of the fun.

Lastly, to join a company at this stage, you must believe in and trust the people. It’s important to envision yourself working with founders and early employees through the good and the bad, because both are inevitable. It’s easy to get along when everything is working — but when shit gets hard, that’s when the true colors come out!

Q: You were a key player in two major acquisitions — FlipKey.com by Tripadvisor and Drizly.com by Uber. As someone who was instrumental in developing the original vision and growth strategy for the acquired companies, what did you find to be the greatest challenge, and the greatest lesson, going through the sale process?

A: The greatest challenge through both the sales process and business, in general, is always the people.

Once you establish the prioritization of what the company needs to continue toward the vision, the imperative next step is to find the right people to make that vision a reality. Being aware of your weaknesses and finding teammates who have strengths in those areas to accomplish goals is a must. Talent and A-players matter, but trust and clarity of competencies and roles also matter because without them, winning is very hard.

From an acquisition/exit standpoint, it’s a matter of finding the right partners (investors and acquiring company) that align with the mission and vision of the company. Early-stage companies are agile, innovative and can move very quickly. Finding other companies that align with your mission, vision and values, and can see a future where 1+1=3, is the ultimate goal.

The greatest lesson is to stick with it, stay the course and be consistent. Times will require slight variations of the course, and that’s normal, but the North Star should remain the same and it’s critical to continue to march toward it through all the ups and downs. Don’t let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. Be persistent and consistent with pursuit of the mission. Play the long game.

Q: You’re a few months into your new role at TorchPro. What was it that drew you to the company (and did your experience playing D1 ice hockey at Bentley play a role)?

A: The same thing that drew me to FlipKey and Drizly — the vision of the company and the people behind it. Without those two things, it’s impossible for me to really get on-board.

More than anything, it was through my early interactions with Matt Fornataro and Joe Pavelski where I immediately felt I could trust them. I believed in their vision, was confident I could add value and very importantly, I knew I could have fun along the way. Similarly, when I met Danny, Noah and their company, Morning Blitz, I was certain the combination of what is now TorchPro and Morning Blitz was an interesting entry point into an evolving sports media landscape. We clarified the vision a bit and it was clear this was the right “next” opportunity for me.

The fact that Kompany39 (the predecessor to the TorchPro brand) got its start in hockey certainly didn’t hurt and was a selling point, but if the vision wasn’t bigger than just hockey, I don’t think I would have joined. “Inspiring Greatness” and changing the way athletes, fans and brands interact digitally is bigger than a single sport. Part of the attraction to the business of TorchPro is that the vision is so much broader than just the sport of hockey. What TorchPro is doing can transcend the boundaries of just hockey, as athletes and fans of any sport can benefit from our platform.

Q: What are your key focus areas for the TorchPro platform for 2021?

A: The key focus is on the athletes. We want to prove the athlete model is not only sustainable but also that it can work. Another key focus is to continue showing the value TorchPro brings to these athletes by connecting them with brands, engaging their fans in a new way and helping them authentically share their stories to build their digital brand and benefit them in the future.

We’ve proven brands are interested in connecting when athletes are on-board, and we know consumers love the interaction and types of content our athletes provide, so the big focus for us is showing athletes the value in what we can bring to them.

Q: What are your aspirations for the company over the next few years?

A: The aspirations are the same as day one — Inspire Greatness and change the way athletes, fans and brands interact, digitally. Whether that’s encouraging the next generation of athletes to be even better than they were before, inspiring the average consumer to better themselves and feel more connected to the games and players they love or empowering athletes to share their stories and grow their brands.

We also want to empower athletes who historically have less opportunity. A good example is women’s hockey. We’re committed to giving these women the chance to share their stories more effectively, grow their voices and empower the next generation. Every athlete has their own brand — while they may not be LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady or Serena Williams, they all have an audience and more reach than they may realize. Our mission is to connect athletes of all sports to their fans and brand partners in a new way.

Q: How do you see York Creative Collective playing a role in achieving those objectives?

A: First off, York Creative Collective has already been an invaluable asset to our team at TorchPro by providing services and resources that are extremely valuable but often difficult to find, hire for and prioritize at an early stage. The design work, creative, strategy, performance marketing and even production has been heavily influenced by the YCC team, with GYK Antler’s creative services at the core of the ecosystem. As we move forward, being part of YCC will only help TorchPro continue to improve and deliver a better experience to anyone interacting with us and our athletes.

On top of the services, it’s an incredible benefit to have access to the experiences of the senior leadership team at YCC. Experience isn’t something that can be taught, so having this group of individual leaders as a resource to leverage for growth advice, to use as a sounding board for ideas and feedback and to access for overall guidance is unbelievable. With this type of support system behind you, it’s impossible to feel like you can’t succeed.

Partnering with YCC has already been an amazing experience and we’re looking forward to continuing the work in the future.

York Creative Collective Featured in Business Insider

YCC’s innovative business and operating model was built around the belief that creativity is the ultimate brand and business advantage. Learn how YCC and 11 other “advertising upstarts” are challenging the ad giants and traditional holding companies in this Business Insider article featuring Founder and CEO Travis York.

Pam Hamlin Discusses “Capital-C Creativity” in Muse by Clio

We believe creativity is the ultimate business advantage. Our President, Pam Hamlin, shares her thoughts with Muse by Clio on the difference between “Capital-C Creativity” and “Little-C Creativity” and why this combination creates a competitive advantage. She dives into what makes these two types of creativity unique, shares examples of companies and ideas that have perfectly embodied Capital-C Creativity, and provides insights into how brands can foster both types of creativity for sustained success. 

GYK’s Continued Momentum Featured in Little Black Book

A collective is only as strong as the engine powering it – which is why we’re so proud to have GYK Antler’s marketing services at the center of our creative ecosystem to drive growth. Take a look at this feature in Little Black Book breaking down GYK’s exciting growth amid all the challenges of the past year and what it’s doing to keep the momentum going. The article dives into their pre-pandemic initiatives, how those initiatives set them up for their most successful year yet, why new business pitch approaches are shifting, how being headquartered in New Hampshire influences them as a business, their plans for a future of hybrid working and more.

Kompany39 Rebrands as Sports Media Company “TorchCo”

March 16, 2021 / TorchCo, a sports media company, today announced the launch of a new digital platform, TorchPro.com, that provides fans and young athletes unprecedented access to elite figures in the sports world. TorchCo, rebranded from Kompany39, is also announcing the acquisition of NYC-based daily sports newsletter startup Morning Blitz.

The newly formed company further announced the strategic addition of Drizly veteran and go-to-market executive Bryan Goodwin as a co-founder of the new entity and the company’s President & CRO to lead this next phase of growth. The company is backed by the teams from York Creative Collective and York IE, as well as other prominent angel investors, raising a total of $1.5M USD to date.

“The vision of TorchCo is a big one: to Inspire Greatness by providing a place to access information, knowledge, and inspiration for anyone looking to gain an edge in sports and life”

said Matt Fornataro, CEO, and Co-Founder, TorchCo. “Today’s announcements of the launch of the platform, growth of the team behind what we’re building, the athletes involved, and our future roadmap are all big steps forward in pursuit of that vision.” Fornataro founded Kompany39 alongside Joe Diamond and NHL all-star Joe Pavelski in 2017.

Digital Platform – TorchPro.com

TorchPro is TorchCo’s Athlete Services business that helps athletes build and grow their digital brand, tell their authentic stories, and open up new doors during and long after their playing careers are over. This includes brand-building services, content strategy, and content creation for business-savvy athletes. TorchPro.com is the platform that is the safe place where those stories are brought to life and can be accessed by fans, Inspiring Greatness in future generations through the transfer of knowledge and information from the best in the world. It also will provide an ever-growing collection of elite athletes and their stories, offering a unique place for brands to interact with these players and their engaged audiences. Join TorchPro.com today.

The platform launches with featured content from:

  • TorchCo Co-Founder and NHL All-Star Joe Pavelski (Current Dallas Star, Former SJ Shark Captain, former captain of Team USA)
  • Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins Defenseman)
  • Kacey Bellamy (Team USA, Olympic Gold Medalist)
  • Brandon Yip (Former NHLer & 2022 Chinese Olympic hopeful)
  • Mike Green (Former Washington Capital, Detroit Red Wing NHL defensemen)
  • Riley Sheahan (Buffalo Sabres forward)

TorchCo will be expanding the platform through the addition of new athletes and other sports, as well as creating and distributing more authentic content created with those players.

“We wanted to create a place for both athletes and fans to engage and fuel the next generation,” said Pavelski, co-founder, TorchCo. “Today, we’re seeing the evolution of that vision with the launch of TorchPro.com, something I would have benefited from greatly as a young athlete and well into my career. Additionally, the company can provide athletes with guidance and a safe space to understand the best way to tell and share our stories with consumers,” Pavelski added.

Morning Blitz powered by TorchCo

In addition to the platform expansion, TorchCo will now power the Morning Blitz, one of the hottest daily sports newsletters enjoyed by pro athletes, sports reporters, die-hard and casual fans alike. The newsletter, which was founded by Danny Healey and Noah Cartwright, will continue to cover the “need-to-know” information across all major sports, delivered every morning at 5:30 a.m. EST. Sign up for the newsletter at MorningBlitz.com.

“Today marks a huge step forward for the Morning Blitz as TorchCo will accelerate our ability to expand our loyal subscriber base at an increased rate,” said Healey. “Looking ahead, we are excited to share the stories of TorchPro athletes with our readers.”

Bryan Goodwin as Co-founder President & CRO

Goodwin was most recently a senior executive at Drizly, the leading on-demand alcohol marketplace in the US, which was acquired by Uber for $1.1 billion, and will be responsible for aligning the team around the company’s strategic vision and execution, as well as revenue generation.

“I’m truly energized at the opportunities in front of TorchCo to reinvent the way athletes, fans and brands interact digitally. In my 20 year career, I’ve been on the front lines as the internet has changed entire industries – from travel to beverage alcohol – and the same is happening in sports. TorchCo has the vision, foundational team, passion, and ambition to create the world’s most accessible, engaging, and largest sports media marketplace to Inspire Greatness. TorchPro Athlete Services, the TorchPro.com platform, and the Morning Blitz daily newsletter come together as the first step to building the foundation of a complete offering. We look forward to giving athletes the space to build and grow their digital brands, providing access and great content with those athletes for consumers, and offering brands of all sizes a new medium to showcase their products and reach global audiences,” said Goodwin.

Find your edge and sign up for free at TorchPro.com

Read coverage in The Boston Globe, ESPN, NHLPA, or SI