graFighters, an innovative gaming company created by Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) students, Dave Chenell G’12 and Eric Cleckner G’12, has secured a $200,000 investment from X.Million Venture Capital.

graFighters is a unique online fighting game that allows players to create their own, hand-drawn characters which are 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.

“Our biggest motivation in creating graFighters has always been to actually play the game as we envision it in our own minds,” said Chenell. “This funding will help us make our vision a reality that other players can experience.”

graFighters began two years ago as one of the original class of startups in the Syracuse Student Sandbox, part of what is now known as the Raymond von Dran Innovative and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator program. The company has earned seed funding for their idea through the accelerator program, and also took third place in the Panasci Business Plan Competition this year.

graFighters is not the only company for Chenell and Cleckner, who co-founded with iSchool Professor Anthony Rotolo last year. The “storytelling company” specializes in social media and interactive content, including animation and design. The company, which is a resident of The Technology Garden in Syracuse, provides services for clients locally and nationwide.

You can learn more about graFighters, and sign up to be an “alpha” tester at