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Linking Arts, Technology and Entrepreneurship: CalArts Presents its First Shark-Tank-Style Pitch Competition

Linking Arts, Technology and Entrepreneurship: CalArts Presents its First Shark-Tank-Style Pitch Competition

CalArts students create work on the leading-edge of arts and technology. Photo: Rafael Hernandez. Courtesy of CalArts. Click here for high res photo.

Bringing the creative edge to start-ups, CalArts students spin out plans for new companies.

Valencia, CA, April 18—Dubbed “Silicon Suburb,” the Santa Clarita Valley has become a player in the tech industry. With startups, incubators, and tech consultant firms revitalizing the local economy, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), will present its first Shark-Tank like pitch competition on May 2nd on its campus in Santa Clarita. Bringing their start-up know-how to the renowned school of the arts, local tech industry leaders will judge student proposals developed in the class “Creative Entrepreneurship.”

The class is co-taught by Ajay Kapur, Associate Dean of Research and Development in Digital Arts, and Saurabh Suri, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner of CerraCap Ventures. “It’s a very interesting challenge—we’re teaching students who are at the top in their field creatively, and showing them how to combine their artistic skills with entrepreneurship to not just get a job, but to become job creators,” said Kapur who is also a founder of three Santa Clarita-based start-ups.

Where traditionally arts programs have prepared students to be individual creators, this new class teaches artists how to spin off creative ideas into their own companies. In the accelerated 14-week class, young artist/entrepreneurs are mentored in the “life cycle” of creating a start-up: developing thoughts into ideas, transforming ideas into working concepts, and bringing those concepts to fruition as an investment-worthy plan for a new company.

The top two students in the pitch event will have the opportunity to be further mentored for future venture capital competitions. Judges for the event include Tania Mulry, founder and CEO of Steamwork, a business growth studio based in Santa Clarita, Alan Lewis, co-founder of the Aeon Family of Funds, Holly Schroeder, President and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, and Erick Arndt, founder of StartupSCV.

From its inception, CalArts has been associated with technological innovation. In the 1970s, CalArts was renowned for its prescient experiments with electronic and computer-generated music. Currently, CalArts’ Digital Arts Minor teaches students to build, engineer and design innovative custom systems and broaden their understanding of how technology can be used in the arts and beyond. The Music Technology curriculum is unique in the world, engaging students in custom software design, circuit design for human-computer interfacing, and the use of robotic mechanical systems and artificial intelligence in musical and artistic practice. The Institute’s School of Film/Video, with its renowned animation programs, is a global leader in computer graphics and advanced digital media technologies.

And coming soon: all are invited to CalArts campus to experience CalArts Expo on May 9—featuring future-directed arts and technology projects from across the Institute. Click here for more info.