Web service provides everything digital

Wilton resident Max Fanwick is moving full steam ahead with Explorator Media LLC, a Web service company he founded two years ago while enrolled in college.

Explorator Media, which can be found at ExploratorMedia.com, is “unique,” Fanwick said.

Unlike most independent Web services, which specialize in one field or another, Fanwick’s company offers a comprehensive digital suite to clients, for businesses and startup ventures looking to tackle Web development, e-commerce, search engine optimization, social media, and graphic design, all in one fell swoop.

“A lot of other services are not bringing in contractors,” Fanwick said. “You’re hiring someone to do a very specific task. It might just be your Web development, or your graphic design. That causes a lot of problems.”

The problems Fanwick referred to are the type that emerge when communication fails.

“You’re going to end up with your graphic designer sending a file to your Web developer, which isn’t right,” Fanwick explained. “You’re going to end up with your Web developer building a website that’s not search engine-friendly.”

Explorator Media, while it began as a one-man operation, now does business with a part-time team of contractors Fanwick has worked with before and the quality of whose services he is familiar with.

“By creating this scaled-down agency approach where we have all these in-house contractors, it allows us to prevent these problems, and to work more efficiently, which in turn allows for a more competitive price,” Fanwick said.

According to Fanwick, Explorator Media’s pricing is hyper-competitive. “Oftentimes I hear prospective clients say that they’re getting quotes for two, three, even four times what I’m charging,” he said, “and we’re getting it done.”

“I’ve never gotten complaints about the quality of the service,” Fanwick added.

But convenience, coordination and competition are not the only advantages Fanwick sees when measuring his company against others.

“What we’ve also gotten very good at is the interpretation and the understanding of the businesses and their analytics,” Fanwick said, explaining that Explorator Media successfully identifies the proper markets for certain businesses and can even use the data to find new markets within which a given business may be projected to thrive.

That said, Fanwick added that understanding his clients goes beyond numbers. “You have to understand the product to understand the buyer, and if you don’t understand the buyer, you can’t sell.”

There have been cases where Explorator Media accepted equity stakes in lieu of payment, especially in startup scenarios that make up-front payment more or less impossible.

“I love the prospect of taking equity,” Fanwick said. “It’s a lot of fun for me. When you take equity, to a degree it allows you to have a little more influence in the company.”

Whether Explorator Media owns equity or not, however, Fanwick said, “it’s as much about building my business as it is about building theirs.”

With stakes in several ventures, having founded and now owning his own company, as well as planning to launch another soon, the 21-year-old Fanwick is an entrepreneur, and for that he was honored at the first-ever Milli Awards, created this year by WestFair Communications, publisher of Fairfield County Business Journal and Westchester County Business Journal, to recognize exceptional millennials living or working in Westchester and Fairfield counties.

Fanwick was awarded in the category of “Millipreneur” for his entrepreneurialism. The youngest honoree, he started Explorator Media at the age of 19 while studying political science at Franklin Pierce University.

“When I was in college, it was pretty difficult, for two reasons,” he said. “I only had so much time, being captain of the track team during my sophomore and junior years, and I was taking a pretty big course load trying to graduate early.”

Fanwick graduated in three years so he could better pursue his company’s future. “I said to myself, ‘By graduating early, I’m going to allow myself to really scale up the business.’”

But being a young man in a business world so deeply founded on experience and the trust thereof is a hurdle, and to that Fanwick is no stranger.

“A lot of people look at me and they can tell I’m younger,” he said, “and that can be a challenge in and of itself. Very, very often, I’m the youngest person in the room at a business meeting. When you have to get someone who owns a business to trust you, it’s hard when you’re young.”

Fanwick started freelancing as a Web developer while a student at Wilton High School.

Except for one middle school course on basic Web design, he is self-taught, learning HTML code and design principles on his own and gaining business acumen along the way.

Several advertisements designed by Fanwick for New Canaan custom home builder Olson Development LLC have been printed in New England Home Magazine.

Explorator Media clients include Vanilla Star Jeans, Dunn Books, AfterPill, and Legal Network International.

“At any given time, we’re juggling 20 to 25 clients,” said Fanwick, “and it’s increasing.”

In the coming weeks, Explorator Media will co-launch, with a Norwalk therapist, a site builder specifically for therapeutic practices, soon to be located at HelpingSites.com. Explorator Media has a 50% equity stake in its owner’s latest venture.

Information: ExploratorMedia.com (in beta).

Max Fanwick at his home office in Wilton. — Hayden Turek photo