John Everett, founder of Apollidon, is the living definition of “watch for a void in the marketplace, and seize upon it as an opportunity.” Everett launched Apollidon in 2008 as a one man operation and has since grown the firm to 21 employees. In addition, Apollidon was honored as a GrowFL Company to Watch in 2013.
"My background is in strategy, planning, banking systems and large IT projects," Everett said. "I started in a boutique strategy company helping savings and loan banks understand how to operate in a competitive environment after they were deregulated. I worked internally with Bank of America consulting with its systems group and also led the worldwide help desk for Ericsson. So my background is more in strategy, not entrepreneurship."
That all changed when Everett left Ericsson and the cold Swedish winters for the warm Florida climate. "When I moved back to Florida, I was working with the University of Florida tech transfer group writing business plans for its tech spin outs," Everett explained. "One day, the forensics professor was musing over the fact that he had no time to market his program. I told him that I would create a marketing company to market his program since I had expertise in marketing. The University of Florida has since expanded into many programs and Apollidon has as well. What started as postcard marketing quickly grew into highly-complicated digital marketing so now my team largely consists of technical experts and engineers."
Apollidon is a full service education marketing firm that specializes in targeted outreach for online educational programs, especially for pre-eminent, or top-tier, universities. In less than 10 years, the company already markets six of the world’s largest master’s degrees in their respective fields. "What differentiates us is that we specialize in STEM and healthcare masters degrees which is a great growing area where practitioners have to constantly refresh their training," Everett said. "All our competitors will market competing programs at competing universities. We are exclusive and only market one university's program. That has become more and more of a competitive advantage."
Everett's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to follow your passion and validate your market before launching. "The first thing is to find something you're really excited about that will get you up in the morning," he said. "Don’t do it for the money. That comes later. Find something that is a passion for you. Second, you have to do a lot of homework to determine if there is really a market for the product or service, to determine how to find that market and to determine how to market your product or service to them."