UpStart is the country’s first student run art and design driven accelerator program founded in 2018. UpStart intends to empower the diverse art and design community of RISD with the tools to transform their talents into sustainable businesses through funding and leveraging RISD’s extensive alumni network.

 
 

The Need:

RISD is home to many creative people who would are constantly looking for ways to freely express their talents, but they lack the resources and knowledge to push themselves further. At E’Ship, we wanted to offer an opportunity to embrace their talents through entrepreneurship. Prior to UpStart, E’Ship focused purely on the educational side of entrepreneurship, inviting various guests to come speak about their experience and responding to the concerns of students. With UpStart, we want to meet the executional side of entrepreneurship by getting passionate students in touch with the resources and knowledge necessary through mentorship and funding in a cohesive accelerator program that runs side-by-side with the E’Ship’s educational programming.

 

Mentorship:

Many people are often unaware of the entrepreneurial spirit of RISD. Throughout the years, a majority of RISD alumnus have been involved in entrepreneurship whether it be freelancing, running a small design studio, creating a product line, or developing a scalable tech company. With such a rich alumni network full of seasoned entrepreneurs, we found that it would be a great opportunity to reengage these alumnus with RISD through mentorship and guidance.

FUNDING:

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Timeline

January 12th

Orientation

 January 26th

Value Proposition Definition

February 16th

Design Sprint

February 23rd

Building a Business in School

March 3rd

Business Model Generation

March 16th

Branding & Marketing

April 6th

Intellectual Property Law

April 13th

Practice Pitch

April 20th

Final Pitch

Meet the 2019 Cohort!

Clean Home

Gina Zhang, ID 2019

Clean Home is a cleaning products company focused on keeping the home clean with probiotics, which bring back the good bacteria and lessens the frequency we have to clean. These days, cleaning products have the tendency to kill off almost all the bacteria, which in the long run becomes extremely harmful to our health. DIY solutions tend to be inefficient and inconvenient, making the process of cleaning your home much more difficult than it needs to be. Clean Home strives to not only help people live healthier lives, but make the experience of cleaning an enjoyable one.

Digital Nostalgia

Matthew Bejtlich, MFA GD 2021

Maria Gehring, Brown CS 2019

Digital Nostalgia’s goal is to create a data-driven tool that helps designers efficiently (and economically) incorporate upcycled materials into their design process. This is done by aggregating data on used textiles and sustainable raw materials to form micro data narratives. The data narratives, composed of both material qualities and ethnographic details, will reveal the important physical,personal, and historic nature of these objects,allowing them to be preserved temporally. Through humanized innovation and meaningful insight, the tool will enable artists to better design for the needs of the future consumer, while simultaneously encouraging a shift towards a more environmentally-conscious, circular economy.

Exposed!

Raina Wellman, GD 2019

Exposed! is a card game that focuses on health and wellness topics related to human bodies. The game aims to remove stigma from health discussions about sexuality, disease, and other bodily functions through fun and educational trivia. This card game gives people of all ages and experience levels new ways to think about and communicate about their bodies. For example, when younger children have the ability to discuss and understand their body, it can help them to have healthier relationships with their bodies as they grow older. The game can also be important in a medical context.

Viridi

Westen Johnson, ID 2019

Viridi aims to create a low-cost hydroponic system to benefit low-income communities. Hydroponic systems are incredible structures that grow plants in water. Compared to traditional farming, hydroponic farming uses 95% less water, grows food twice as fast, and can grow anywhere in the world. All these benefits come with a downside though, hydroponic systems can be extremely expensive to establish. The users who could benefit the most from quickly grown fresh greens are low-income families and Viridi wants to provide them the means to sustainably grow their own fresh food.

Mentors

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

Scott Malloy 

Senior Career Advisor,
RISD Career Center

 2020 Vision?

You can be the next upstarter! If you have an idea click the link below be a part of 2020’s Upstart cohort.