CHARLOTTE … Bill Whitley and Patrick Thean formed MindBlazer just three years ago, and the two serial entrepreneurs have shown a flexibility and agility to modify what their company does to respond to a rapidly changing marketplace.

That adaptability has paid off for the company, which provides live and on-demand webcasting strategies and other streaming interactive media solutions to help Fortune 1000 clients meet sales, marketing and training needs.

Last month, MindBlazer was named a Rising Star in Deloitte & Touche’s annual N.C. Technology Fast 50. The Rising Star program honors the state’s fastest-growing technology companies, based on revenue growth over a three-year period.

Whitley and Thean were looking for new partners after selling their first firms when they were introduced by a mutual friend. They got to know each other over a three-month period and decided to form MindBlazer as an e-learning, knowledge exchange company.

“But we couldn’t see how our business model could make money,” says Thean, 38. “So we decided instead to help corporations get their message out electronically and leverage the Internet to do that. We became an electronic communication company.”

Executing a plan
The partners also came to realize that clients were pretty good about developing strategies, but needed help implementing them. To respond to that need, MindBlazer has developed several new products, such as the E-Communications Road Map, a webcast news magazine and the conference extender.

The company also offers services for branding and positioning, product launches, customer and partner education and investor relations. But about 70 to 80 percent of its projects are sales oriented, Thean says.

“We listen closely to our clients to hear what their problems are and how we can best solve them,” he says. “When a service or product becomes proven, we add it to our line of offerings. The Road Map is our best tool.”

The E-Communications Road Map identifies clients’ target audiences and recommends specific ways it can use the Internet to reach them. It also identifies what the message should be.

“The Internet is changing, and we’re beginning to see narrow casting … the more focused you are with your communications, the more effective you are,” Thean says. “You want to reach a specific group of people with the potential to buy your product, not just mass numbers. Then you need to match your message with your audience.”

Five-step method
MindBlazer does more than tell clients what they should do — the firm also puts it into action. Thean says the company uses a five-step methodology, starting with conducting research on the target audience and developing the right concept to attract them.

The third step is a one-day design session that the company calls its Content Conceptualization Boot Camp. They work with the clients for the first part of the day, then take a break while the MindBlazer team writes the script. They then act it out for the client, edit it, and by the end of the day, the client signs off on it.

“We come in like commandos,” Thean says. “We take no prisoners. We open the can, connect and let the creative juices out.”

MindBlazer then produces the piece and delivers the final product to the client. The company has a staff of 16 full-time employees, plus about 10 freelancers, to call upon during the entire process.

Breaking even
Clients include Intel, Compaq, KPMG Consulting, Franklin Covey and Yahoo, with which it has a partnership that helps it get business. “They’re like the TV set, and we determine the programs,” Thean says.

Since MindBlazer was formed, it has raised about $5 million from Frontier Capital, Piedmont Venture Partners and angel investors, including former Bank of America Chief Executive Hugh McColl, who also sites on the board. Thean says the firm has just about reached the break-even point.

Despite the slowing economy, he remains optimistic that the company’s revenue growth will continue.

“People are hesitant to spend money unless they understand how the product or service will help them meet their business goals and can see the return on investment,” he says. “So it helps us focus on what we’re really selling and how we can meet clients’ needs.”