TitletownTech startups navigate challenges of pandemic

Posted at 12:54 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 19:24:18-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) -- Inside TitletownTech, local startups are navigating through the pandemic's many challenges.

Leaders of the space said smaller, startup companies may a different set of obstacles to overcome than those of more established businesses. Startups generally have smaller amounts of cash in reserve, and they have to introduce a product that others may not know about as much.

“It’s a race between when the market opens back up and when you run out of cash," TitletownTech managing director Craig Dickman said. “You’ve got to find new ways to introduce that product, you’ve got to find new ways to outreach into the market place.”

Dickman said startups also have some advantages. They are smaller, and may be able to adapt quicker. Several companies at TitletownTech have been able to pivot, return to the space, and work to grow their businesses.

“Everyone really had to stop and think about the resources they had, how they were going to use them," Dickman said “By nature they’re adaptable. By nature they’re willing to approach problems and find new ways to solve it.”

One such example is Demiplane. The company is a matchmaking service for tabletop gamers. They launched during the pandemic, and the founders say the user base doubled two months in a row.

“We clearly saw an uptick in the amount of users that were showing interest in our solution but also in online gaming," Co-founder Travis Frederick said.

While the user base has grown, there have been challenges with growing the business. Sharing their story has been harder because tabletop gaming conventions have been canceled.

“The impact of COVID has been really interesting," co-founder Peter Romenesko said. "Our objective is to find ways to connect people to play tabletop role playing games around the United States. At the same time, we come here (TitletownTech) once every two weeks. That’s when we meet on site, the rest of our team is at home. So we’re not here as often.”

Still, they've been able to grow. Momentum at Demiplane is building, and there's optimism both at the company at at TitletownTech.

“I think it really shows some of the best that can take place here in the Northeast Wisconsin marketplace,” Dickman said.