CritterKin™ is the brainchild of Startled Cat, Inc., a studio for immersive storytelling founded in 2010 with a goal of combining the power of storytelling with new media to create engaging, entertaining and useful products that have a positive impact on people's lives.

Jena Ball
Jena Ball

A writer, illustrator and creative director at Startled Cat, Ball is the person responsible for the initial CritterKin™ concept. Her work focuses on using new media to produce compelling narratives while building strong communities focused on innovation, creativity and collaboration.

With a background in illustration and journalism – she has written for such well known publications as Mother Earth News, Backpacker, House Beautiful and Cooking Light, and penned two syndicated columns - Jena is the creative lead responsible for the CritterKin art and stories.


Marty Keltz
Martin J. Keltz

An Emmy Award-winning producer, Keltz was the co-founder and president of Scholastic Productions, Inc. (1978-1995) and a Senior Vice-President in charge of New Media at Scholastic Inc., the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books. He led the teams that created The Magic School Bus on PBS, The Indian In the Cupboard, and The Babysitters Club feature films, home videos for Clifford The Big Red Dog, and more than 300 hours of television programming.

As a media producer in both the U.S. and Canada, he has worked with documentary filmmakers, visual effects companies, global brands, the Discovery Channel, and the Alliance Atlantis "Lifetime Channel for a series with True Entertainment on Doctors Without Borders. Early in his career, as publisher of Media & Methods magazine, he broke new ground with a publication for teachers with a focus on quality media products for use in the classroom. As a teacher he brought media into junior high school English classes to teach writing and story development.


Doug Thompson
Doug Thompson

A veteran brand strategist, Thompson brings more than 20 years of experience in market research, brand positioning, advertising, design and digital media to Startled Cat. In 1998, he formed Remedy Communications, Inc., a full service agency with clients that included Fortune500 companies like Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol), AstraZeneca, and the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Thompson is both a co-founder of Startled Cat and the founder of the Academy of Bright Ideas (AOBI) Ltd.

His interest in neuroscience and education led him to create the Brain Power Initiative - a cross-disciplinary effort led by top researchers in neuroscience, institutions and industry - with a goal of translating the findings of neuroscience into educational media/tools, with a special emphasis on childhood development.


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