My Business

Kelp Interactive Ltd is a games studio currently based in York. I am the co-founder, alongside my business partner Harrison Fornasier. We have been developing our business since September 2021 as part of a placement year programme at the University of York called a ‘Year in Enterprise’.

At Kelp Interactive we are currently developing a game called ‘Comical Cases’ for release later this year (2022) on Steam. It is a first person detective game for PC/Mac.

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Running my own business has been something I have been drawn to since as early as I can remember. From having a sweet shop in my living room when I was 8, to running ‘Emz Eggs’ a free range egg business when I was 14, to becoming a freelance artist and graphic designer at 18.

To then at 21, properly learning about business in my 3rd year of my Interactive Media degree through a business module taught by Heather Niven, which led me to being a finalist in the Engineers in business champion of champions competition last september, where I pitched my business plan ‘LightHouse’ a software business developing a safer walking software and hardware for vulnerable people.

And now at 22, running my own games studio and developing a game for release.

Our Game

In Comical Cases play in first person as a struggling and independent detective from London, who is challenged to solve strange and hilariously unbelievable murder cases in order to keep their detective service afloat. Prepare to search through crime scenes, the victims and their belongings to find puzzles and clues to help you solve the case; you really can’t leave any stone unturned. While also enjoying the non-seriousness that murder mysteries usually are not.

Comical Cases was the reason we decided to start Kelp Interactive, with the game being something Harrison and I both really wanted to keep developing, and with help from our department and the enterprise office it resulted in the idea of a games studio being born. Seeing how it has developed from when we first started it back in the second year as part of an assessment to now, has been really rewarding. 

Year in Enterprise & Phase One

The Year in Enterprise programme has allowed us to develop Kelp Interactive full time for 9 months. This has included having 9 coaching sessions with a business coach, we worked with Emma Cowling a leadership coach with experience in the games industry. Emma has really helped us over the past 9 months work through and overcome obstacles, and taught us so much about being a start-up.

As part of the Year in Enterprise we also get to be members of the Phase One office. Being part of Phase One has also been a great experience, with being in a shared office space with so many other startups, being able to attend all the Phase One events which have taught me alot about the different areas and aspects of developing a business.

GaMaYo 2022 - Our First Live Demo

In May we demoed our game for the first time at an indie games convention called GaMaYo in Leeds, where we were 1 of 15 games at the event.

It was a really fun experience where we got a lot of valuable feedback on our game, seeing other game developers play it and give us constructive criticism and new ideas.

We also got to try other games, getting inspiration and motivation from the range of styles, platforms and genres of game.

Last but not least we got the chance to network with many other game developers, making some great connections.

Interactive Media Showcase Sponsors 2022

On the 19th of June we sponsored the 2022 Interactive Media Showcase. As an Interactive Media student I was a committee member organising the two previous years events so it’s been a big part of my uni experience, and being able to be part of it for another year but as a sponsor was so exciting. It went really well and we got to demo our game again, do a workshop and network and catch up with our course.

Entrepreneurial York Culture Talk

On the 25th of June 2022 I presented a talk about my entrepreneurial journey, my experiences and the lessons I have learnt at the Guildhall in York. It was an amazing experience speaking on front of a hall full of other start-ups and business people, and then having the opportunity networking with them after. I met a lot of inspiring people, learning how they came to be where they are today, exchanging advice and overall creating those connections that may prove to be useful in the future. Over the past few months I have been talking at several events which has been a proud moment for me with having a fear of public speaking a couple years ago.

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