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Starfish Accelerator

Founded by Mahyad Tousi, Reza Aslan, Alesia Weston, Nina Spensley and Sian Morson

Representation is the entertainment industry’s greatest opportunity.

Starfish is a first of its kind, creative accelerator investing in premium IP from mid-career storytellers of color. We are rooted in four core principles: radical ownership, authenticity, transparency, and community. Supported by Pop Culture Collaborative, the Doris Duke Foundation and Filmmakers Collaborative, STARFISH aims to lift up content creators on the periphery of the ‘mainstream’ industry. There is conflict within our culture due to gaps in representation in our collective story. STARFISH hopes to shift the narrative towards one of empathy and awareness. We are fiercely committed to the belief that creative success need not be born out of luck; it can and should come from sound investment.  

Inspired by the tech accelerator model, and grounded in two years of discussions with dozens of mid-career artists, executives, and innovators of color, this six-month cohort program provides awardees with substantial development funding, a strategic community, and marketing necessary to focus on launching the next big idea. By designing a non-competitive ecosystem in which these creatives can thrive, STARFISH aims to address the narrative deficit disorder that plagues our culture.  

STARFISH is unique in that it is a non-competitive ecosystem designed to benefit all who participate in it, be they creators, advisors, investors, or buyers. There are no strings attached — full ownership remains with the artists. Their pledge to pay it forward and support the cohorts that follow will help build a vibrant community to support creatives of color. 

Starfish Accelerator’s Website
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Associated Members

Mahyad Tousi


We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture