I am happy to announce our strategic alliance with York Creative Collective (YCC), which is officially launching today!
York Creative Collective (YCC) is one-part growth engine and one-part brand steward. But each part is focused on orchestrating collaborative ventures to work together to maximize their business potential.
Within YCC there is its flagship GYK Antler, a modern marketing agency that is also having a sweet new brand relaunch, Big Brick Productions and a handful of brands and businesses who believe creativity is the foundation for sustained growth.
York Athletics Mfg., Iron & Air, Explorics and Kompany39 are four of our joint ventures together between YCC and York IE, where we play governing, advisory and operationally supporting parts. We also deeply collaborate on real estate projects in Manchester, NH, and the local restaurant Shopper’s Pub + Eatery, which now serves as the local establishment we yearned for as our parent’s retirement from their sports retail store left a void in our lives.
YCC is led by a seasoned and diverse group of creative entrepreneurs with experience in launching, partnering, buying, managing and growing businesses, with a focus on brand and marketing expertise that is second to none.
Though today is YCC’s official launch this is a long-time vision of my oldest brother, Travis, coming to life.
A long history
Travis was the oldest brother of five boys so his sibling leadership set the course for the brothers. Travis and I (and our other three brothers) cut our teeth at the family business, Indian Head Athletics, played sports and were competitive fighting over our parents’ attention as we both have November birthdays only two days apart.
Our strategic alliance with YCC is very natural, as Travis and I have been in business together for years – whether formally or informally. In fact, he used to use the younger brothers as props for lemonade stands, hiding in woods unbeknownst to a would-be client!
Travis had Manchester’s premier downtown hot dog cart, Relish, with a great tagline ‘Lends Pleasure’ back in the day. I made a mean sausage with peppers and onions working the grill! He eventually sold that business to an employee (or was it stolen?), but boy oh boy was it good.
We started 1band1brand (sold to a partner), York Cigar Building (investment partners), York Fund (brothers investment vehicle now merged with York IE), YORK Athletics Mfg. (3rd generation e-commerce footwear brand) and Shopper’s Pub + Eatery (downtown Manchester’s neighborhood sports bar and grill). We also share involvement in many non-profits including Rock On Foundation, where he is board president and a co-founder and I’m an ex-officio founding board member.
I’ve been a long-time advisor to Travis and GYK Antler and Travis has been invaluable in my career in reverse.
Travis and GYK Antler were instrumental to the Dyn story. Back in 2007, when Dyn had aspiration to move from B2C to B2B, they outsourced development of a brand and marketing strategy to GYK, with Travis as the lead, as he wasn’t the managing owner of GYK at the time. The co-founders of Dyn had no one in house to execute the plan (they were engineers), so they asked if GYK knew anyone. Travis and his colleague at the time, Brady Sadler, both said, “Maybe you can get Kyle York to move back from California. He’s young, in SaaS sales, and ambitious. He’d be a great fit.” It worked out well for all involved.
GYK was a strategic marketing partner for several years helping with our brand and events strategy. They were a critical partner in our ‘Music Meets Tech’ series and helped rebrand the company from Dynamic Network Services to Dyn – Internet Performance. Delivered. They also played a key role in campaigns like ‘DNS is Sexy’ and ‘DynTini’ events. They were always there to scale down or flex up with the growth of a startup and the collaboration was super appreciated and valuable as we upleveled our brand. The work helped scale both businesses to new heights.
One thing Travis and I realized early in our collective careers, while on a joint business trip to Boston for an event, was that although we both majored in marketing, we were very different. I went to Bentley University, a business school rooted in accounting and case studies, that was more cutthroat and quantitative. It was led by technology and my major in marketing was complemented by a minor in management. Travis went to Boston University’s renowned school of communications, was a mass communications major with a concentration in advertising and focused on brand. It was a creative college and he was a creative being. We had similar degrees and skill sets but had our own unique and complementary abilities. Sure, we can cross over into each other’s turf, but the lanes are well defined.
I ended up with a sales, marketing and business career in the technology arena and Travis ended up in account strategy and creative-led positions at marketing and advertising agencies. Both led to our respective CEO roles today, but even more so rooted is that as serial entrepreneurs we later climbed our way to the tops of our own entities. It’s funny how both make up a broad and diverse family business enterprise that isn’t one company at all, but several.
Complementing one another as CEOs and founders holds true for our firms and leadership teams. YCC is a collective of creative entrepreneurs driving business growth. York IE is a hybrid advisory, investment, and growth firm focused on business scale and innovation.
We’ve co-inhabited in the R.G. Sullivan 7-20-4 Cigar Factory Building in Manchester, New Hampshire and have been squatting for months in their space as ours gets fit up. The five York brothers own the building. The YCC Boston Office is our Boston Office as we immerse ourselves in the New England startup landscape.
The teams are intertwined in supporting each other reach the next level of ambition via intense execution. We’re intersected around the YCC ventures as hands-on advisors, co-founders, board members and extensions of the leadership teams. We’re large investors who don’t just invest capital, but time, expertise, and passion. The lines are certainly blurry, but when there are common goals, no one seems to care. YCC also invests via York IE in our burgeoning early stage technology investments portfolio. Travis is an investment partner and advisor to York IE.
Rising tides lift all ships has long been our business and community mantra and we’re confident that by operating as separate but close-knit ‘proud brother companies’ our shared goals will be realized. The sky truly is the limit on the impact we can make.