Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Celebrate Austin Entrepreneurship Project" - DadLabs

Does Changing Smelly Diapers Spur Entrepreneurship?

It Did for Clay Nichols, Brad Powell and Troy Lanier.

After becoming new fathers they quit their teaching careers and became the entrepreneurs behind DadLabs - and they have never looked back.

America is seeing a fundamental shift in the role of men in parenting. While many in the media and academia have observed this trend, no company has emerged to meet the needs of these "New" fathers, the modern dads. Enter DadLabs, Inc., a start-up company, based in Austin, Texas, dedicated to providing creative media content and information products to serve this new generation of "Super Dads."

DadLabs is an information and entertainment company that fosters the father/child relationship through media, instructional and retail products. The mission of the company is to strengthen families and benefit children by empowering today's fathers. The company provides resources to expecting, new and veteran fathers that will launch them into a more active and creative role in the lives of their children.

DadLabs speaks to the corporate executive and the delivery driver with a voice that is authentic and genuinely male (AKA- often irreverent!!! oh yeah!!!) with wisdom and self-deprecating humor of experience. The products and services offered are honest, informative, sometimes off-color, but always dedicated to the spirit of fatherhood. DadLabs speaks guy and presents information through guy-colored lenses.

Founded in 2004 DadLabs aims to be the voice of the new fatherhood. The company was founded on the core value that parents must be the primary movers in the lives of their children and fathers must play a leading role in this journey. The team at DadLabs is committed to assisting the busy father by providing him with accessible and digestible information and parenting ideas. DadLabs will not only inform and entertain fathers, but will also foster creative father/child activities through retail products.

The trio bring more than 30 years of teaching and hands on fatherhood experience, as well as professional film making and writing experience. Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols are accomplished authors and were named to the Austin Chronicle Best of 2005 for their book "Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling off Your Shorts." The company's first DVD, "DueDads: The Man's Survival Guide to Pregnancy" recently won a 27th annual Bronze Telly Award.

All three founders have been long time teachers at Austin's St. Stephen's School and combined have seven small children.

Daddy Clay answered a few questions for the Some Assembly Required Blog:

1. You were school teachers for years before becoming entrepreneurs.... What drew you to launch your own business? A number of factors led to me giving up a perfectly good steady gig to attempt to squeeze a living from web video. First and foremost, I wanted to write more. I have an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas, and my ambition has always been to be a writer. DadLabs has given me a great platform for my creativity. In addition to feeling little restricted creatively, I was also feeling a little hemmed in professionally working in schools. You can see the the road ahead, what the opportunities and limitations are. I don’t really feel those kind of limitations any more.

2. What it is like launching a Web based media related business from Austin? Would there be advantages to being in the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles or somewhere else? Austin is a really good place to launch a tech company -- although we’re also media/entertainment which is less of an ideal match. The great thing about Austin is that there are lots of fellow entrepreneurs in tech, lots of startups, practitioners, colleagues -- a solid community. There is also a small but significant pool of institutional and angel investors that understand the opportunities and that has been significant for us. The question of other places is moot for me. Our roots are here as a family. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Love Austin.

3. What will 2009 bring for the company? 2009 will see the release of our first book “DadLabs Guide to Fatherhood” and with it significant national mainstream media exposure. Explosive growth in audience and attention from major CPG companies. Also, profitability!

If you are a dad, and you have not checked out DadLabs....get on with it. You will laugh and learn all at the same time. DadLabs is yet another example of what makes the entrepreneurial spirit in Austin absolutely awesome.

Have A Great Day.


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