Vanguard Ideation – Interview with the Co-founder

Andrew Curtis, co-founder of Vanguard Ideation, is a local entrepreneur and lead organizer for the FXBG Design group.

We spent some time with Andrew Curtis last week, who is the co-founder of Vanguard Ideation. Andrew is a local entrepreneur and lead organizer for FXBG Design.

When did you decide to pursue design?

I started designing in high school. I found that I loved fine art, drawing, even publisher. I liked being around creative people.

After weighing the options, I chose to go to design school at George Mason University. My sophomore year, I took my first typography class, and discovered that I could apply art to the professional realm.

 Did you always plan to start a business?

I always knew I wanted to be part of a design firm, and after doing production design with AIGA GMU, I knew that’s the atmosphere I wanted to be a part of when I graduated. However, I hadn’t always planned to start my own agency.

What was the catalyst to found Vanguard Ideation?

My mentor, Joe Corbett – previously at Lanyap Creative – encouraged Luis Cavero and I to start our own firm. We were tired of close-minded jobs in the corporate setting, and wanted to be able to work in multimedia. In October 2013 Luis became my business partner and we started Vanguard Ideation.

What is the mission of your agency? Who do you really want to help?

We strive to be holistic in our approach to design. We determine the problems, and create a sense of unity throughout the visual brand. Consistency is our goal! We want clients that care about their business, and that are ready to elevate their visual identity.

How do you want to help the startup community?

We’ve built many relationships in this community. We want to give people with great ideas the opportunity to excel and succeed with their product. We hope to bring support, investing in their mission and goals in a long-term relationship. Our relationships aren’t one-way, but an exchange of ideas.

What do you like about being a “Creative Director”?

I have the opportunity to help convey the right standards to let a product or idea grow. I love identifying the problems and giving a brand direction – bringing consistency to all platforms.

What services does Vanguard Ideation offer?

Branding, social media design/ strategy, visual design, print, web, user experience, illustration, brand development and execution

Where do you envision your agency going?

We would like to have a strong team of under ten people. We want to grow in a well-rounded way, from smaller development to bigger design projects.

How have you benefited from #SWFXG?

Building relationships with people like Adrian, founder of Sprelly, and Kathy, founder of Kickshaws Downtown Market, have been huge. We were able to build their social and design presence, bringing consistency across media. My business partner, Luis, was even able to explore and build a game: kittyklimber.com.








Startup Weekend Sponsor– SimVentions

simv_logo

SimVentions is a privately Voted Virginia Business “Best Places to Work” for 2014, is located right here in Fredericksburg- Specializing in the establishment of innovative products and solutions centered on the Company’s key theme of Image, Create, Explore and Discover.
Founded in 2000, SimVentions supports our local economy by providing high-quality component-based solutions that revolve around these six core disciplines:
• Systems Engineering
• Software Engineering
• Modeling and Simulation (M&S)
• Security Engineering
• Professional Education (ProEd) Training
• Program Management
SimVentions is a privately held, profitable corporation which attracts and rewards top quality staff. Their purpose and vision set the pace and environment that make it a great place to work in Fredericksburg. They play an integral part in the local economy as well as the community as a whole by offering an environment of innovation and collaboration.
Company purpose is to honor, please and glorify God by focusing on relationships and inspiring creative opportunities for employees and customers. Last year they were also blessed to be recognized by the Governor’s office for their “Commitment to Hiring Veterans”.
It is an honor and blessing to have SimVentions support and sponsor Fredericksburg Startup Weekend.








September 2014 Startup Weekend: Cody Wilmer

On September 26-28 of 2014, Startup Weekend Fredericksburg is hosting its third annual event. Whether you have an idea you want to work on, get some input on, or build a team around, or you want to help someone else build their idea, you’ll want be there.

If you’re on the fence about meeting other people who, like you, want to be a part of something new and explore, Cody Wilmer, the team leader of Fitz Kitz from the inaugural Startup Weekend Fredericksburg, gives some of the best advice:

“If you’re trying to decide whether to attend, really, there’s no reason not to. It’s fun and motivating even if you don’t have a project that you do yourself.  Go Friday night and hear all the pitches – something is bound to be interesting to you. Hop on that team and just see how far it can go. I really think you’ll be amazed. Also, free food for all three days pays for itself!”

To hear from more Startup Weekend Fredericksburg “veterans” and to get on the mailing list to hear about pre-weekend “boot camps” that cover things like what to expect over the weekend, best practices for pitching an idea, advance preparation recommendations, etc., sign-up for our newsletter. We promise not to bombard you with spam and we look forward to having you participate in the third Startup Weekend Fredericksburg this fall – September 26-28.








September 2014 Startup Weekend: Bill Blevins

On September 26-28 of 2014, Startup Weekend Fredericksburg is hosting its third annual event. Whether you have an idea you want to work on, get some input on, or build a team around, or you want to help someone else build their idea, you’ll want be there.

Bill Blevins, co-founder of PlantsMap (which is the company that came in first place at the January 2014 Startup Weekend Fredericksburg event) learned the importance of having the right pitch on Friday night. It influenced his ability to get validation for having a great idea, and helped him recruit the perfect team.

“I gave the pitch about the idea – in 60-seconds – and ran out of time to make the ask for the type of people I felt were vital – frankly, programmers and coders. When I sat down at the table to meet the people who had signed up for PlantsMap, I found people with experience in advertising, legal, marketing, business development, social media, writing, customer service, contracts and web development. Every single person was really experienced in their field and I couldn’t have hand-picked a more well-rounded team.”

Bill shares more about his Startup Weekend experience in this video.

To hear from more Startup Weekend Fredericksburg “veterans” and to get on the mailing list to hear about pre-weekend “boot camps” that cover things like what to expect over the weekend, best practices for pitching an idea, advance preparation recommendations, etc., sign-up for our newsletter. We promise not to bombard you with spam and we look forward to having you participate in the third Startup Weekend Fredericksburg this fall – September 26-28.








September 2014 Startup Weekend: Whit Kemmey

On September 26-28 of 2014, Startup Weekend Fredericksburg is hosting its third annual event. Whether you have an idea you want to work on, get some input on, or build a team around, or you want to help someone else build their idea, you’ll want be there.

Whit Kemmey, a programmer who has worked as a federal employee for over ten years, said:

“Meeting members of our ‘tribe’ right here in Fredericksburg was incredible. Who knew that there were so many people with really unique ideas just itching to pitch those ideas and recruit a team to bring those ideas to fruition? I’d read a lot about other Startup Weekends around the country and couldn’t believe that Fredericksburg was going to host one. I’ve now participated in two of them – both in Fredericksburg – one time as a team member and the second time as a coach. At the first event, I met a marketing/biz dev person who has since become a co-founder with me. When I stop to think about it, I am reminded how much “thanks” the local startup community – and me personally – owes to the Startup Weekend organizers and the others who made this happen.”

Interesting to note, Whit participated on a team at Startup Weekend Fredericksburg that came in second place. Subsequently, he and two other members of that team co-founded a company based on an entirely different idea and that company, Muster Me, won a Fredericksburg business plan competition with a cash prize of $10,000. He also quit his job with the federal government and has launched a startup with two other Startup Weekend Fredericksburg attendees. Truly, the connections made at Startup Weekends have the potential to bring huge value long after the weekend has passed.

To hear from more Startup Weekend Fredericksburg “veterans” and to get on the mailing list to hear about pre-weekend “boot camps” that cover things like what to expect over the weekend, best practices for pitching an idea, advance preparation recommendations, etc., sign-up for our newsletter. We promise not to bombard you with spam and we look forward to having you participate in the third Startup Weekend Fredericksburg this fall – September 26-28.








September 2014 Startup Weekend: Win Harrington

Some came with a well thought out plan. Some came with an idea on the back of a cocktail napkin. Still others came in search of a business resource – like a marketing expert or a front-end programmer.  All came out of curiosity and the desire to see if there was another path they could take—a path that didn’t include their current job (and, in some cases, current schooling).  After participating in Startup Weekend Fredericksburg, most everyone walked away more than satisfied.

On September 26-28 of 2014, Startup Weekend Fredericksburg is hosting its third annual event.  Whether you have an idea you want to work on, get some input on, or build a team around, or you want to help someone else build their idea, you’ll want be there.

Win Harrington is a Fredericksburg native who has been programming for government defense contractors for two decades. Win was tired of the commute on I-95 and recognized his quality of life was framed by his windshield as he made the daily trek to and from Northern Virginia. Wanting to connect with people in the area who were pursuing entrepreneurial dreams and visions, Win signed up for the first Startup Weekend in June 2012.  Here’s his experience:

“Frankly, I had never heard of Startup Weekend. I only went because one of the organizers encouraged me to attend and I went with no expectations. By Saturday night, I’d joined a team with a really interesting idea and was coding non-stop.  It was exhausting and exhilarating – exhilarating to be in a great big room packed with people who wanted to meet other people that were also sick of the commute and ready to try something else. I couldn’t believe that in one weekend, nine teams formed and actually built businesses! The best part was on Sunday when the teams pitched their businesses and ideas to real VCs – people who have looked at hundreds and hundreds of deals and gave their honest opinion of the ideas that were pitched.  It wasn’t crazy reality TV like ‘Shark Tank’ – it was honest to goodness business world feedback. And some of the teams actually went on to form LLCs and started generating revenue! Amazing! Oh, and I had no idea that all the meals were going to be included, too – they took care of every little detail the whole weekend.”

To hear from more Startup Weekend Fredericksburg “veterans” and to get on the mailing list to hear about pre-weekend “boot camps” that cover things like what to expect over the weekend, best practices for pitching an idea, advance preparation recommendations, etc., sign-up for our newsletter. We promise not to bombard you with spam and we look forward to having you participate in the third Startup Weekend Fredericksburg this fall – September 26-28.