Sunday, August 27, 2006

From Zero To Twenty Millions In Four Years

Founder Mike Fitzsimmons Story

Those coveting the latest fashions worn by the casts of Desperate Housewives or General Hospital need look no further than Delivery Agent Inc. Founder Mike Fitzsimmons saw a need for an easy way to sell products seen on TV, sports shows and films, so he built a business to do just that. Now, four years after its 2002 inception, sales are projected to reach $19.3 million for 2006.

Essentially, Delivery Agent enables TV show production crews like wardrobe and set designers to catalog the products used in shows. Delivery Agent then makes contact with the vendors of said products and provides the e-commerce platform to sell them through each show's official website. When viewers desire Martha Stewart's crocheted poncho or a particular Swarovski crystal ring worn by Teri Hatcher's Desperate Housewives character, the show, the vendor and Delivery Agent all profit. The company hopes to make it even easier for viewers to find on-screen fashions with the recent launch of its consumer brand, SeenOn.

Getting his foot into the entertainment universe, says Fitzsimmons, 32, was possible largely because he brought on team member Kim Marder, now chief marketing officer, who had an entertainment industry background and serious connections. Creating an advisory board full of entertainment industry veterans helped open even more doors. "We're sort of a slow-growth, high-growth story," says Fitzsimmons. "For the first three years, we got to $1 million in revenue on three full-time employees and six [contract workers]. The challenge in that phase was sticking with it--there were so many temptations to quit." The company secured a round of financing last year and has since grown the business to 44 employees.

Continuously adding to its already high-profile roster of 70 properties such as Will & Grace, The View and even Monday Night Football, Delivery Agent's big challenge now is training employees quickly enough to handle the growth. Says Fitzsimmons, "You need to find people who are self-sufficient and can hit the ground running."

Ever up for a challenge, Fitzsimmons and his crew are looking for even more growth and revenue opportunities. "We take a balanced, score card approach to how we set strategy and measure ourselves," he says. With plans to increase awareness of SeenOn shopping and roll out applications for the mobile market to allow consumers to purchase from their cell phones, Fitzsimmons sees a stellar future for Delivery Agent. Good thing--he's used to life among the stars.