The HIVE (Hybrid Incubator for Visionary Entrepreneurs), delivered in partnership by the Office of the Provost and Career Services, is designed to give CalArts students and alumni access to business and design thinking skills, while allowing them to work on an innovative business, product, or enterprise idea.


The Advisory Committee is designed to provide sound and holistic feedback to organizers of the HIVE program. External members are made up of CalArts Board of Trustee members, alumni, and prominent entrepreneurs while internal committee members include faculty and career advisors within various programs at CalArts.

The 2017 HIVE Advisory Committee included: 

Amy Amsterdam, Co-Chair
Amy was a Brand Strategist at the Woo, a creative agency in Culver City, and recently, she was the Director of Projects for the startup, Plus Foundry/Plus Ventures. Prior to that, Amy was the Director of Innovation for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. In that role, she oversaw innovateLA, the Blackstone LaunchPad in Southern California and Los Angeles Innovation Week. The Mission of innovateLA is to promote Los Angeles County as a leading global center for innovation and entrepreneurship rooted in boundless creativity and diversity. Previously, she was the Director of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Council on Innovation and Industry (LAMCII) from its inception in early 2012. Amy earned a degree in production management from CalArts.

Eric Ayzenberg
For over 20 years, Eric has been a key player in shaping the direction of brand storytelling in social, digital and influencer marketing, creating innovative media communication solutions for some of the biggest names in the video game, consumer software, toy, theatrical and consumer electronic industries.

He began his career in New York, mastering his craft with stints at ABC, NBC and R/GA. In 1987, he moved to Los Angeles to join Chiat/Day as an art director. In 1993, he founded Ayzenberg Group with the vision of building an agency operating on the cutting edge of web-based technology. As a pioneer in creating strategy and advertising for interactive entertainment companies, Eric led the way in Internet-based innovation for his agency and his clients. Over the course of the past two decades, Ayzenberg Group has grown to be one of the largest independent advertising agencies on the West Coast.

Since then, Eric has continued to build a fully connected agency, integrating decades of deep creative brand management expertise with the growing importance of influence marketing media. With the 2011 launch of ION, the Influencer Orchestration Network, Ayzenberg Group now also offers the power of a proprietary tech stack with discovery tools and fully managed service for every social media platform.

Eric Darnell
Eric is chief creative officer and co-founder of Baobab Studios, the leading VR animation studio. The company’s interactive animated film, Invasion!, starring Ethan Hawke, launched to substantial critical acclaim, right out of the gate.  Baobab Studios garnered laurels from film festivals globally, from Tribeca Film Festival to Cannes. The film is a top ranking download on major VR players including Oculus, Samsung, Within, Hulu and others.

Eric’s career spans 25 years as a computer animation director, screenwriter, story artist, film director, and executive producer. He was the director and screenwriter on all four films in the Madagascar franchise, which together have grossed more than $2.5 billion at the box office. He was also executive producer on The Penguins of Madagascar. Previously, Eric directed DreamWorks Animation’s very first animated feature film, Antz, which features the voices of Woody Allen, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, and Sharon Stone. Eric earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in experimental animation from CalArts.

Adam Draper
Adam is the founder and managing director of Boost VC.  Adam is a two-time entrepreneur and a fourth generation venture capitalist.

In 2009, the same year that Adam graduated from UCLA, he founded Xpert Financial, a secondary market for private securities. After settling millions of dollars in private security transactions and becoming a registered broker dealer, he left Xpert Financial in late 2012 and began angel investing, where he backed such startups as Coinbase, Plangrid and Earnest. Currently his portfolio of investments is valued at more than $1.5 billion.

Adam then partnered with Brayton Williams to change the face of global startup mentorship. The focus of Boost VC on future technology development stems from Draper’s dream to create an Iron Man suit.

Bill Haney
Bill co-founded Blu Homes, Inc. in 2007 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. Mr. Haney is an inventor and entrepreneur.  He started his first company as a college freshman, designing and building air pollution control systems for power plants. Since then he has started or helped start more than a dozen technology companies, with a strong focus on addressing environmental issues.  Mr. Haney was co-founder of Infante Sano, Inc. and served as its President.

He helped start the national environmental advisory board for Blu Homes federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency  and serves, or has served on boards for Harvard, MIT, state and federal governments, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, the NRDC and a number of private companies. Mr. Haney holds a BA from Harvard (1984), and was a Kennedy School Fellow from 1997 to 2001.

Justin Hogan
Award Winning Producer, Line Producer, Screenwriter, Teacher and Researcher Justin Hogan is currently, Head of Production Services and Faculty at California Institute of the Arts. An accomplished producer with films in over 500 festivals worldwide including; Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca, Justin has worked on films with distribution in all formats and on projects from dramas, with academy award winning actors, to comedies, LBGTQ favorites, and global documentaries. Justin also worked as a Literary Manager and UPM on commercials, TV, music videos. He runs the behind the scenes in Business Affairs at KGB Films, a company at Paramount Studios and a consulting company for independent filmmakers, and is the Co-Chair of the CalArts Commission for Sustainability.

Tracy McWilliams
Tracy is the Founding Partner of Heritage Capital Ventures. In her role at Heritage she has reviewed and invested in early stage companies. She has been an active, strategic investor for more than 25 years; working with companies in industries as diverse as consumer products, fintech and biotech. She began her career in investment banking financing debt for government agencies. She established private placement finance programs for local agencies and non-profit 501(c)3 organizations and has served as an advisor to government and companies. She has led successful capital raises for businesses and governments with structured debt financings and equity participation. She has worked directly with entrepreneurs helping to craft and direct their businesses and has financed her own creative endeavors in the manufacturing arena.

Tracy is passionate about entrepreneurs and businesses and the products they create for the marketplace. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in Business Finance.

Christopher Morabito
Christopher (Chris) is a graphic designer. In his current role as Design Lead at Google, he oversees the creative teams responsible for Google Assistant, Search, and Maps. Prior to Google, Chris was the Executive Creative Director at BLITZ, a Santa Monica design studio, where he led projects for Disney, Adobe, and Mattel. From 2011—2015 he was an adjunct faculty member in the Media Design program at Art Center College of Design. Chris also maintains an independent design practice serving cultural institutions such as UCLA, USC, and CalArts.

Chris received his BA in Philosophy from UCLA and his MFA in Graphic Design from CalArts. A native of Los Angeles, he now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Leighton Pierce
Leighton Pierce uses video and sound to create experiences in transformative time. He creates multi-channel site-specific installations as well as single channel works that have been exhibited in major art museums and film festivals throughout the world including the 2016-17 Kochi Muziris Biennale, The Whitney Bienniale, and many festivals including Sundance, San Francisco, New York, Tribeca, Ann Arbor, and Rotterdam. Retrospectives of his works have been presented at venues such as, The New Zealand Film Festival, Lincoln Center, The Cinémathèque française, Festival Nemo, and Pompidou Center in Paris, and at The Lisbon Biennale. Pierce has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, The Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital.

Pierce taught at the University of Iowa from 1985 where he was also head of the Program in Film and Video Production from 2001-2011. His range of classes covered all aspects of film and video making with a special emphasis on the conceptual and practical development of sound and image relationships in film, video, and installation. In 2011 Pierce moved to Pratt Institute In Brooklyn where he was Chair of the Department of FilmVideo for one year until he was tapped to be Acting Dean of the School of Art and Design for two years. In 2014 Pierce was appointed Dean of the School of Film/Video at California Institute of the Arts.

Lauren Pratt

Louise Sandhaus
Louise is a graphic designer and graphic design educator. She was previously Director of the Graphic Design Program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) where she is current faculty. Her recent book on California graphic design, Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936-1986, (2014) co-published by Metropolis Books and Thames & Hudson, has received laudatory attention from The New York Times, The Guardian (London), Eye, and Creative Review, among many other publications. The book received the Palm D’argent for best art book at FILAF (International Festival of Art Books and Films on Art).

David L. Schiff, Co-chair
David began his career in 1977 at the William Morris Agency in New York, where he was born and raised. That same year, he transferred to the agency’s Beverly Hills office, where he worked as a television agent until 1984.  After a two-year tenure at International Creative Management, David joined Creative Artists Agency.  David is also a former partner and agent at United Talent Agency.  As one of Hollywood’s top talent agents, he represented a diverse group of established and up-and-coming talent, including Kevin Bacon, Eminem, and Jeff Bridges.  He is now Chairman of MGMT.  Entertainment.

David received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts. He serves on the CalArts Board of Trustees, as well as on the Board of Trustees of the California State Summer School of the Arts and on the advisory board of Magic Leap.

Steve Turner
Steve was the Chief Creative Officer for Apple Music responsible for product development and communication. He has also been at the forefront of major developments for Apple over the last nine years, including the global launch of the iPhone and the iPad.  Steve has spearheaded groundbreaking, culturally influential projects for the past 25 years, shaping brands holistically and culturally to ensure business growth.  Combining high-level design/creativity and business understanding, he has founded multi-disciplinary creative companies, developed intellectual properties, global campaigns, interactive platforms, documentaries, brand partnerships, retail environments, products, and original content for the world’s best brands.

Steve’s distinguished career includes founding Milk, the pioneering London-based multi-disciplinary studio. This entirely new kind of company with art and commerce at its center engaged the evolving spectrum of digital and experiential initiatives, alongside design, architecture, advertising, film, and publishing. Steve also shaped Nike’s identity in Europe through Wieden+Kennedy. Having studied photography and fine art, he became creative director for MTV’s creative department where he was responsible for all advertising, design, and branding for the channel across Europe. Steve also founded and published Blow magazine.

John Underkoffler
John is founder and CEO of Oblong Industries. Oblong’s technological and design trajectories build on 15 years of foundational work at the MIT Media Lab, where John was responsible for innovations in real-time computer graphics systems, optical and electronic holography, large-scale visualization techniques, and the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room systems. He has been science advisor to many films, including Minority Report, The Hulk (A. Lee), Aeon Flux, and Iron Man.

John serves on the National Advisory Council of Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and on the Board of Directors of the E14 Fund in Cambridge, MA and of the Sequoyah School in Pasadena. He is the recipient of the 2015 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thomas E. Unterman
Thomas (Tom) is the Founding Partner of Rustic Canyon Partners, one of Southern California’s leading venture capital investment firms. Before forming Rustic Canyon in 1999, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Times Mirror Company.  Prior to that, he had been a partner in two major law firms, Morrison & Foerster and before that, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

In addition to serving on Rustic Canyon portfolio company boards, Tom is a member of the Board of the California Teachers Retirement System and a member of the California Commission on Access to Justice.  He is also a board member of ProPublica, the California Community Foundation, and Heal the Bay, and is a Life Trustee of the Board of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.