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Gold medalists find firm here a branding champ

Rochester Business Journal
July 4, 2014

From living out of his car eight years ago to running a company that caters to gold medal Olympians, Justin Basch has found a way to achieve his own goals.

Basch, 28, started Basch Solutions LLC in 2008. Its future hinged on an email.

The recipient was wrestler Cael Sanderson, the only person to go undefeated through college, winning the national title each year. He went on to win Olympic gold.

“I emailed him and I was very honest with him. I said, ‘Cael, I’m a big fan of yours, and your Web presence, for lack of a better word, is terrible,’” Basch said. “It doesn’t do you justice—you’re one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.’ I wanted to make sure he knew I wasn’t flattering him; I was being honest.”

Sanderson took Basch up on his offer of a stronger online presence, giving the company its first major athlete deal in early 2009.

Since then the company has grown 30 to 40 percent each year and employs 20 to 30 developers around the world. Basch oversees the team of developers.

While the company works with a wide variety of businesses, athletes have become a major focus. Six of a dozen athlete clients are expected to vie for gold medals in 2016.

Clients include Carli Lloyd, two-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the U.S. women’s soccer team; Jordan Burroughs, 2012 Olympic gold medal wrestler; and David Tyree, retired New York Giants wide receiver.

The company specializes in custom websites, hosting and digital IT, and social media strategy. It works in tandem with a sister company Basch co-founded with Michael Farin and Kevin Resendes.

Based in Boston, EndLayer LLC is a managed hosting provider that supports the higher-performance needs of clients. Websites of clients such as professional athletes often require frequent daily backups to accommodate more traffic, which EndLayer is able to provide. The company was formed in April 2013.

Owning a company would have seemed nearly impossible to Basch a decade ago. In 2004 he dropped out of Monroe Community College without a plan. He wound up hurting relationships with family and friends, he said, harboring uncertainty about what he wanted to do and running out of money.

Two years later, Basch realized he was living only for himself. At his lowest point, Basch said, he found connection to God. He credits it as the reason he got back on his feet.

“I was in a bad place,” he said. “Ever since then I’ve been fighting off my back. I’ve never realized how much more it means when you have a back story like that.”

The company has clients in 22 cities. Roughly half of them are based in Rochester. Developers are working around the clock worldwide, from the U.S. to Poland and Dubai.

“We have clients ranging from some of the largest athletes and brands to some local companies,” Basch said. “I have someone like Carli Lloyd —she’s at the peak of her career right now—she’s already won two gold medals, (and) she’s going for her third (and) a World Cup next year. There’s times when she needs something and can’t wait a couple of days.”

Marissa Waller, CEO and founder of BeauTeaBar Inc. in Huntington, Long Island, has been a client of Basch Solutions for roughly three years. The online beauty boutique sells non-toxic beauty products such as bath teas and makeup.

“I first connected with Justin through social media,” she said. “I was really impressed with the design of the sites that he was putting together, so when it became time to create my own site I knew we had to work together.

“I remain a client after all of these years because Justin and his entire team are as meticulous and determined as I am, and I can’t imagine doing business with anyone else.”

Companies generally are aware of the importance of a brand. But for some athletes, branding can be an afterthought, Basch said.

“Athletes get screwed over by everybody,” he said. “People take advantage of them, their family abuses them for money, sports agents take advantage of them. All of these people are taking advantage of athletes in so many ways that some of these athletes just aren’t branded (and) are (not) taking care of themselves.”

In the age of social media, fans are paramount and often the determinant of longevity and career status, Basch said.

“If you’re looking to get an endorsement deal, one of the biggest things that I’ve learned is, while you have to be good, what really differentiates you is what kind of fan base can you market to,” he said. “(With) somebody like Carli (Lloyd) it’s so fun with her because the more successful they are, the better. But on top of that, the more fans they have, the better.”

Lloyd became a client of the firm in 2012.

“Basch Solutions is passionate, dedicated and willing to serve your personal needs,” she said.  “I was excited about becoming a client because I wanted my website to speak to my personality and it does just that.” 

She added: “My website has allowed my fans to stay up to date with my career through photos, news articles, built-in camp registration/merchandise section and live chats. Fans want to interact and see what is going on with my career, so having a personalized website that has been designed for me has helped me continue to grow my brand.”

For Greece-based asphalt coating seal company Manel Sealers Inc., a strong website offers the chance to visually showcase its service.

“As I have come to know Justin, I have noticed he takes his work very seriously and is sincere with what he promises to achieve with your website,” said Jessica Manel, vice president of Manel Sealers and a client of Basch Solutions. “He treats the customer as if they are his only customer.”

Now at the helm of a growing enterprise, Basch continues to reflect on his journey.

“I did have that chip on my shoulder,” Basch said. “I wanted to prove myself. There (are) good people in the world and there (were) business owners that saw my potential.”

7/4/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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