Michigan Business Challenge Spotlight – Gaudium

Shannon Beeman
February 13, 2016

The Zell Lurie Institute’s campus wide business plan competition, the Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), wraps up in seven days.  Each day leading up to the MBC Finals, we will feature one of the Semi-Finalist teams competing for cash prizes totaling $85,000.

MBC Semi-Finalist 

Gaudium – David Cai (BS ’16), Amanda Li (MAcc ’16), Kevin Jeon (BS ’16), Ni Yan, Andrew Yang

How did you come up with your team name? 

Gaudium is the Latin word for “happiness.” As an entertainment studio, our job is to make our fans and customers happy!

Tell us briefly about your business concept.

Our team formulated the idea for the mobile game Armor Blitz after analyzing a growing cultural influx of Japanese games. We wanted to be at the forefront of this trend, and create a product that really embodied a fusion of Japanese art and western gameplay.

What makes your idea so unique?

Our idea of a game based around anime style tank-girl characters has never been done before in America! Japanese culture has developed a phenomenon of anthropomorphizing everything from household items to warships. We decided to try out our own spin of it, and deploy it locally in English.

How has the MBC experience helped transform your business strategy?

The MBC has opened doors for us that we never even knew existed. The mentorship from Zell Lurie professionals and people that we’ve been connected with have been invaluable so far. We’ve come to understand the value of presentation, and the multitude of questions that can be thrown at us.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of the implementation of this idea?

Gaudium plans on continuing to develop more and more titles to grow our studio. We are currently a small team of five, but we want to keep expanding and bringing in new talent. Eventually, we wish to become the largest games studio in Michigan!

What has been your biggest learning from this experience?

We have discovered how fickle investors can actually be. Our own research and experiences have led us to understand that the modern games industry has almost no investors within Michigan. We plan on changing that by releasing an explosive product as proof of potential.

If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?

If we win, we keep doing what we’ve been doing for the past year – building the game, and engaging with fans.

Final thoughts?

Thank you to everyone at Zell Lurie for this amazing opportunity. We didn’t think an anime mobile card game would be a good fit for MBC, but we went for it anyways. Definitely no regrets!

Michigan Business Challenge Zell Lurie Institute University of Michigan Ross

Attend the Michigan Business Challenge Showcase and Finals on February 19 to learn more about these innovative startups. Cheer for your favorite student team during the MBC Finals at 3p.m., mingle with local entrepreneurs during the MBC Showcase at 5p.m., and stay to congratulate the winners at 6p.m.!