Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year

Chris Kaufman 

Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer of StockX

March 11, 2022, Ypsilanti. 

-Sanjib Chowdhury, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship

EMU Center for Entrepreneurship is delighted to announce that Chris Kaufman, a strategic serial entrepreneur, is the recipient of our inaugural Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

It is amazing to see his extraordinary entrepreneurial success as a young alumnus. From a very early age, Chris was passionate about design and creativity. In 2007 he graduated with a BFA in graphic design from Eastern Michigan University. After earning his BFA in Graphic Design, he enhanced his design skills as the Interactive Design Director at Quicken Loans. He also taught Graphic Communication at Baker College and mentored many entrepreneurial and design students in Southeast Michigan.

Chris co-founded several successful venture-backed startups, including Quizzle, where he served as the Creative Director, and UpTo, where he served as the Chief Creative Officer. At present, Chris is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of StockX, a revolutionary, global e-commerce platform lauded as the world’s first “Stock Market of Things,” where he built a full-service, in-house creative agency from the ground up.  Recently StockX was valued at $3.8 billion and created over 1,500 jobs around the world, many of which are in Detroit.

For his creative design and entrepreneurial achievements, Chris received numerous recognitions and awards. He was named one of Techweek’s “100 Most Influential People in Technology in Detroit” twice.  Chris was also featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.  He earning accolades from the Webby Awards, TechCrunch, WebAward, Word of Mouth Marketing Association, and Michigan Venture Capital Association for his innovative work.

Chris is a great supporter of EMU, the Center for Entrepreneurship and our Students.  He was our distinguished speaker in November 2020, where he gave a stimulating speech to an audience of over 70 students, faculty and community members.  He also participated as a distinguished panelist for the entrepreneurship panel discussion session at the 2021 Sesi conference. 

Recently, Chris volunteered as an expert speaker for the inaugural Executive Certificate in Entrepreneurship program.  Additionally, he offered generous sponsorship for this Certificate program.

The Center for Entrepreneurship, our faculty and students are highly appreciative of all his achievements and support. A graduate student who attended one of his presentations said that, “Having seen Chris Kaufman come speak early in my MBA was a great validation of my choice to attend EMU and to trust in my own entrepreneurial abilities.  Chris was down to earth describing the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur along with real-life advice for starting your own business.” 

A business professor stated that, “As a faculty, I sincerely appreciate the encouragement Chris offers and the critical investment that he has put in and continue to make to support his alma mater.” 

As the Director of the Center, I personally am struck by the rare combination of his exceptional talent driven entrepreneurial success and his humility. We are truly fortunate to have an advisor and supporter like Chris.  We are all rooting for his continued success.



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