Names:Rufus Frost(l.)and Rory Strunk
Ages: Frost-33; Strunk-42
Who they are: Strunk is co-founder and CEO of Aura360, Portland, Maine; Frost is co-founder and chief operating officer. Aura360 brings together brand marketers with sports and entertainment properties. Clients include: Jeep, extreme-sports filmmaker Teton Gravity Research, the Raid World Championship, Elite Adventure Team and SickClips.com.
Where they're from: Strunk began his career in broadcast journalism, with stints as a news photographer and an associate producer for an NBC affiliate in Portland. He founded cable TV network Resort Sports Network in 1985. In 2000, he sold a majority stake to investor group led by private equity firm Advent International; he still sits on RSN's board. He formed Aura360 in 2003 with partner Frost, who describes his background as "100% in sports marketing." He built his career at Advantage International, purchased by Interpublic Group of Cos. in 1997, and merged into Octagon.
%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% What they've done: Currently general manager of an NBC Saturday afternoon series tentatively titled "The Jeep Adventures Action Sports Series," slated to air in early 2004. They're actively developing content and seeking sponsors. For the September 2003 debut of "High Life," a ski-and-snowboard film by Aura360 client Teton Gravity Research, Aura360 brokered sponsorships with marketers including Sony and North Face, and developed a program of entertainment events nationwide.
What's next: "Emerging action-and-adventure sports are still a brand play, in contrast to sports like the NFL, which has a million sponsors and is a mass-communication outlet. It is hard for any one company to build a brand around one of the big leagues."
Stock-in-trade: "We are property builders for action-adventure sports."