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Making a business out of a dream

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By Emilie Lewis

Brandyn Chambers graduated this May with a bachelor’s degree in finance and business administration. Like many Columbia College grads, he plans on sticking around Columbia for a while. But Brandyn isn’t looking for a part-time job or taking time off. As the CFO of animation studio Flydra, he’s networking and building his business, which can already claim his alma mater as a client.

Chambers met Flydra co-founder Jabril Mack in middle school. “We were making cartoons at a young age and always imagined making a business of making animations,” he said. And now Mack and a few fellow University of Southern California graduates have worked with Chambers to make Flydra more than just a dream.

Of course, Chambers’ second-place finish and “Audience Choice” award at the 2016 Business Pitch Competition at ‘Trep Week didn’t hurt things either.

With winnings of $4,000, Chambers turned around and put the money back into the studio.

“Right now we are using the money to invest into our own intellectual property. We have bought technology to further enhance our animations and also expand our studio as a whole,” Chambers said.

For one so green, Chambers didn’t show any sign of his youth during his ‘Trep Week presentation.

Director of the Fishman Center for Entrepreneurship Raja Bhattacharya said it was Chambers’ story that grabbed the audience and potential investors.

“Brandyn told his story,” Bhattacharya said. “His presentation was packed with animation and very visual. He laid out his value proposition very clearly and showed the future potential of Flydra. He also showed that the animated content market is growing, an important indicator for any startup.”

Though Chambers initially chose Columbia College for the basketball team, it became apparent that he had a gift for entrepreneurship.

“Brandyn fully embraces the entrepreneurial spirit. He is energetic, passionate about what he does, has very good social skills, likes to take calculated risks and can identify future opportunities clearly,” Bhattacharya said.

Though that spirit is seen in Chambers’ second job title of “Chief Fun Officer,” his clear-minded passion for business is very apparent when asked about the future of Flydra.

“When it comes to planning, we ultimately have phases that we go through,” Chambers said of the studio’s five-year plan. “The last phase is ‘Phase 5.’ Right now we are in Phase 2 because we are still acquiring clients and building up our network. In five years we are hoping to be in Phase 3-4, which would be having an established network of constant clientele and acquiring ‘anchor clients.’”

And Columbia College might just be one of those anchor clients.

Impressed with the passion and vision Chambers and his co-workers displayed, the Marketing department hired Flydra before Chambers had even graduated.

As for the future of Flydra, Chambers only had one thing to say: “Keep updated with us or you might miss out on some exciting things!”

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