New Entertainment Startup “Kickstarts” Smart Stories About Smart Girls

By Noelle Sciarini on August 25th, 2014 / Comments

“How we read, play and tell stories is changing before our eyes,” according to Pop-Post CEO Kathleen Hiraga.

Created in June 2013, this digital entertainment company is on a mission to tell stories that remove stereotypes about female characters.

While the motto of the company is “smart girls, smart digital” and their first product features a female protagonist, Hiraga said that the stories they produce are for both girls and boys.

“It’s important for everybody; it’s helping create a conversation between girls and boys and the roles they can play in society,” Hiraga said.

The company’s first project, Samurai Bike Messengers, is a 21-page interactive ebook app about a young girl named Mona-Star and her friends that use teamwork, ingenuity and bicycles to battle the Guzzle Thug villains, intent on eliminating cycling and walking in New York City. The story is based in part on Hiraga’s time living and racing bicycles in New York several years ago, and stresses the importance of being your own superhero/heroine.

“We want young people to see that they don’t need superpowers to be heroic. Mona-Star is just a girl on a bike, but she uses what skills that she has to work with others to accomplish her goals,” Hiraga said.

Every aspect of the ebook, from the coding and design to the sound effects and voice over, was produced entirely in-house across several locations including Ann Arbor, Santa Monica, and even as far away as Italy. An EP with four original songs from the story was also produced in partnership with Jon Visger, who leads his band, Hollow & Akimbo and tours with Detroit indie band, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Hiraga spoke highly of the effort put in by all members of the Pop-Post team, and can’t wait to get started on the company’s next project: a weekly webcomic series that will dive into all the characters and the deeper Samurai Bike Messengers story. She also is thrilled to be a part of the startup scene here in Ann Arbor and Detroit after working for various entertainment companies (including MTV, Nickelodeon and VH-1) and startups in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“This is a smaller community, but it’s fast-growing, it has reach and we’ve really been able to utilize local talent with our projects,” Hiraga said.

While the company has a group of investors and an advisory board based in California, Hiraga said she was prepared for the challenge to raise capital in Michigan, outside of the life science and manufacturing space. The company  launched a Kickstarter campaign running until September 18th as a way to assist with funding the weekly webcomic series and to help gain awareness and exposure around their newly launched Samurai Bike Messengers interactive ebook app.

To learn more about Pop-Post or to donate to their Kickstarter, please visit their website at www.pop-post.com. You can find the Samurai Bike Messengers app in the Apple store, Google Play or Amazon, and the EP is available to download in iTunes.

About the Author

Noelle Sciarini

Noelle Sciarini is a recent graduate from Michigan State University. Now an Ann Arbor resident, she fills her spare time with reading, writing, and the occasional road race. Find her on Twitter: @NoelleSci.