These 8 startups are finalists in MICA’s 2018 venture competition

UP/Start companies will get mentorship, and pitch to the community in April. Check out this year's lineup.

Jay Jackson pitches TNP Studios at Up/Start 2016.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

MICA’s Up/Start competition is returning for 2018, as the arts college looks to help the entrepreneurs who are emerging from its programs.
The competition will award a total of $100,000 in seed funding to student startups in the classes of 2017 and 2018 through an ongoing grant from the Philip E. and Carol R. Ratcliffe Foundation.
After a “Pop Up and Pitch” event held at MICA’s campus on February 2, eight finalists were selected for this year’s competition. The entrepreneurs are paired with a mentor from the tech community to help with business plans and pitch prep. Then, a final pitch event will be held on April 4.

The three-year-old competition is one sign of MICA’s increasing embrace of entrepreneurship training for its students, in addition to formal arts education. Finalist teams selected this year also show new ideas for integrating tech into the arts.
Here are this year’s finalists:

    • The Longform: A subscription-based media provider covering video games and comics.  The cofounders are interactive arts students J.S. Gleason, Nick Clinkscales and Ash Turner.
    • Chameleon Gallery: A virtual gallery displaying artwork using blockchain and cryptocurrency. It was founded by students Yi-An Pang and Haoran Chang.
    • Boba Studios: A video game studio that seeks to balance the production of major studios with the handmade feel of indie games. It was founded by Ashley Guchhait, Donald Boose, Kyrstin Cooksey and T.J. Martin.
    • Social ButterflyChristina Hyrkas created a line of party products designed to take the social anxiety out of gatherings.
    • Rising Action StudioAshley Eberhart is helping nonprofits and other orgs spread the word about social impact movements.
    • VellPapelBrent Aguilar and Jennifer Smith are making furniture out of cardboard, designed for short-term living situations. It reduces environmental impact as well as cost.
    • Fairman StudiosJennifer Fairman is creating medical illustrations that can be licensed by the health sciences industry through a new website.
    • Pokdo Studio: A multimedia company offering VR, photography, A/V and graphic design services. It was founded by Paul Lai and Claire Cho.


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