Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) graduate students Dave Chenell G’12 and Eric Cleckner G’12 have spent the past two years developing graFighters, a unique online fighting game, and their hard work is finally paying off. Recently, the iSchool students have been featured in The Post-Standard, The Kickstarter Blog, Beta Beat, and now on the leading technology website, TechCrunch.

The TechCrunch article features a graFighters demo video and describes some of Chenell and Cleckner’s setbacks, noting the duo’s failure to raise money on Kickstarter. Fortunately, X.Million Venture Capital saw something special in graFighters.

“Last fall, founders Eric Cleckner and Dave Chenell tried to raise $20K on Kickstarter for the graFighters, but barely raised $3K,” the article stated. “Luckily for them, a German investor poking around Kickstarter for projects stumbled across the project and called Chenell to invest. The pair ended up raising a $200K round, 10x their original Kickstarter ask.”

graFighters is a unique online fighting game that allows players to create their own, hand-drawn characters, which are then uploaded to the site using a computer or mobile device. Players watch as their sketches transform into animated fighters, competing against friends and other players in battle. The game is unique in that players don’t control the fighting. The winner of each fight is determined by an algorithm that analyzes the properties of each drawing.

The game will open to the public in September, but you can learn more about graFighters, and sign up to be beta tester at