Winners Announced for MICA Up/Start Venture Competition

TNP Studios

MICA is pleased to announce the winners of the Up/Start Venture Competition, the college's first pitch and start-up contest for students, graduates and alumni who are launching or growing businesses. A panel of judges awarded four teams up to $100,000 total in investment funding. In addition, audience members selected their favorite venture for a $5,000 People's Choice Award.

MICA Up/Start Venture Competition winners

TNP Studios, founded by Jay Jackson '16 (MPS in the Business of Art + Design), Micah Payne, Terrence Carpenter and Jack Rous, received $30,000 in investment funding. TNP Studios, LLC is a media company focused on talk shows that focus primarily on film, gaming and politics. It provides on-demand programming that aims to entertain as well as inform its audience through engaging and meaningful discussion.

MODERNature, founded by Julie Buisson '15 (MBA/MA in Design Leadership) and Mark Verdecia, received $30,000 in investment funding. MODERNature is a company that specializes in the development of sustainable growing methods for use in cities. They use a mix of human centered design and biomimicry to create technologically-driven agricultural solutions that are truly ecologically minded.

Two Bolts Studios, founded by Sam Acuff '15 (General Fine Arts BFA) and Brendan Choi '16 (Interdisciplinary Sculpture BFA), received $25,000 in investment funding. Two Bolts Studios is a small fabricating shop that focuses on handmade furniture the incorporates reclaimed materials and industrial design. They want to make handcrafted furniture more accessible and bring work back to artisans and aspiring craftsmen.

Joint Youth Movement, founded by Juansebastian Serrano '16 (General Fine Arts BFA), Renz Balagtas '14 (Painting BFA) and Sam Rietenbach '16 (General Fine Arts BFA), received $15,000 in investment funding. The Joint Youth Movement's (JYM's) mission is to positively impact cultural and creative exchange in Baltimore City by uniting and promoting emerging artists and creatives in a professional and fair (equal access) manner, and in a socially conscious way. Their vision is to establish themselves as the curator and retail location of choice for the emerging artists and clients in Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic region.

Pi, founded by Jordan Bradley '16 (Interactive Arts BFA), received $5,000 in investment funding as the People's Choice Award winner. Pi is an entirely new kind of visual day planning app for creative people. It helps users set manageable plans for the day, without sacrificing health and wellness.

An initiative guided by award-winning business owner and serial entrepreneur Monyka Berrocosa, judges for the competition included: Thibault Manekin, co-founder of Seawall Development; Tracey Halverson '98, president and chief visionary officer, Fastspot; James D. Wright, co-trustee, Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation; Michelle Mayer, managing director at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group; Michael Binko, founder/CEO of Startup Maryland; Demian Costa, managing partner, Sagamore Ventures; Arlene Thayer, executive vice president and COO, AAAMP at Katz Abosch; Dianna Toruella Gaines, managing partner and founder, Tu Casa Development Group LLC; and Kevin Apperson, chief information officer, Maxim Healthcare Services.

MICA was awarded a three-year, $600,000 grant from the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation to launch the development of the college-wide entrepreneurship initiative that will capitalize on the unique talents of the college's students and recent graduates.