If it’s possible to stay too long at the incubator, Dan Schepleng doesn’t want to find out.
When Schepleng started Kapowza, he had a single desk in the ETC. The team has since grown to five people, and it since moved into one of the offices that line the outside walls.
Over three years, the Highlandtown incubator provided the creative and marketing agency with room to grow.
“I didn’t want to stay here any longer than we needed to. ETC’s been really great to us,” adding that the company “met a lot of friends here, and a lot of clients here.” The ETC itself has been among those clients for brand work, as well as startups in the space.
And now, Schepleng said, “It’s time.”
At the end of July, the company is taking space in a new office in Natty Boh Tower.
“We weren’t desperately looking, but this space became available and was really hard to turn down,” he said. Along with being “very comfortable” for five people, there’s likely room for a few more. Plus, there’s space to have meetings.
But along with amenities, Schepleng said the move signifies that the agency has entered a new phase. While it’s not a product company like the startups that are its neighbors at ETC, Schepleng said it had a time when it was in startup mode. That’s not true anymore, as it’s become an agency and is growing revenue.
“I view us as a small business at this point,” he said.
Kapowza is also getting some recognition for work on TV commercials. The agency recently took home a statue from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Emmy Award for a commercial titled “Blue Box,” which it created for Northrop Realty, a Long & Foster Company. Aired during the Super Bowl in the area, the Maryland-filmed commercial uses an inside joke to show a couple’s path through key milestones. Being a spot for a real estate company, these include buying a home.
“I love projects where there’s a consistent template in an industry for something and we can come in and do something totally different from the consistent template,” he said.
— Kapowza (@KapowzaCo) June 24, 2018
For Schepleng, another measure of the company’s progress is the amount of things he’s involved in.
“So many wonderful things happen that I have no part in and it’s really a gift,” he said.
As ETC President Deb Tillett has said, seeing a company move out to a larger space is the kind of growth the incubator wants to create. So as Kapowza moves out, perhaps another firm that started with one or two founders will grow to the point where they need the office that’s the first one visible when you first exit the stairs up to the third floor.
Whether the pink paint stays is another question.
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