Renowned investment group selects Madison digital art start-up to program

QuHarrison Terry (left) and Ryan Cowdrey left UW-Madison to pursue 23VIVI through gener8r.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Nationally renowned start-up accelerator gener8r announced its 2016 program participants Wednesday, which included Madison-based start-up 23VIVI.

23VIVI, which was founded by three former UW-Madison students, is an online marketplace that offers digital artists the opportunity to use cryptographic certificates of authenticity in order to protect both the intellectual property of the creator and the interest of buyers, according to the company overview.

“What we do is we give [artists] tools to empower their creative mind,” said CEO QuHarrison Terry, a former computer science major.

Terry founded 23VIVI in October of last year. According to Terry, the inspiration for the company came after jotting branding ideas down in his notebook and sharing them with Director of Content Ryan Cowdrey and Director of Research & Development Conley Potter, the company’s co-founders.

In its first month as a company, 23VIVI made more than $1,500 in revenue and sold 45 editions of digital art, according to the company’s overview.

“The digital art market, it isn’t established yet, but it’s growing,” Cowdrey said, “and it’s the biggest opportunity.”

One of the company’s most notable clients is Peter Vu, a New York-based digital artist whose work can be found in video games like “Call of Duty” and in Disney’s “Frozen.”

23VIVI has a global clientele as well. For example, the company provides service for Australian artist BK, an abstract painter whose work reflects his experiences with a neurological condition called synesthesia.

According to the three founders, the decision to leave school and pursue 23VIVI full-time came after realizing the company’s true potential.

“School has a lot of valuable lessons to learn,” said Potter, “but you can’t always get the hands on knowledge that we’re getting right now.”

According to gener8r’s press release, 23VIVI and the four other companies selected to the program will receive a “$20,000 cash investment for 5-6% equity [as well as] $70,000 [in] additional investments... in the form of an uncapped convertible note.”

With the help of gener8r’s investment, the founders of 23VIVI say they hope to continue to not only expand their client reach, but also to inspire UW-Madison students to pursue their business and artistic ideas.

“There are [students] at UW-Madison that have great ideas just like the ones that come out of MIT, Harvard, Yale and Stanford but they just didn’t take the chance,” said Terry. “So if the stars align and things are working out for you and your momentum is good… take that chance and start your next venture.”

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