Vivian Rosenthal ’90

Tech Entrepenuer 

Vivian Rosenthal is a marketing whiz with a master’s degree in architecture. She founded Tronic Studio with a classmate from Columbia and spent 10 years creating edgy, large-scale interactive installations, CGI (computer generated imagery) and live action short films, web virals and animated ads for a host of clients including Yahoo, Target, Sharp and HP.
Vivian founded Tronic with Jesse Seppi, a friend and fellow graduate of Columbia University’s School of Architecture, where they attended graduate school. Coincidentally, the dean at the time was former GCS parent Bernard Tschumi, and Vivian credits his requirement of ‘paperless studios’ with playing a major role in her interest in digital arts.

As part of the Alumni/ae Speaker Series, Vivian spoke with Upper School students. The students were curious as Vivian explained the vision for her studio as “the collaboration of space, technology, perception, and humanity all culminating in experience.”  But they were captivated by the images when she showed them the range of computer generated animation she produced—the work of grafitti artists coming to life, origami forms mobilized, and marbles rolling playfully with a mission. Students asked questions about everything from specific computer programs to the creative process, demonstrating a particular interest in the varying technologies and techniques involved in the work Vivian showed them that afternoon. Later she commented, “I’m so surprised and pleased by the sophistication of their questions!”

After the presentation, Vivian was able to catch up with her former science teacher, Mr. Divéki, to whom she confessed that all of her work is based in math and physics. She thanked him and added, “Schools and teachers really shape you. I wasn’t aware of it then, but looking back it’s true.”


Recently, Vivian has become interested in augmented reality technology-- exploring ways to integrate outside elements (photos, graphics, etc.) into personal video and photos. Her latest venture is Snaps, a mobile app, which allows users to “snap a photo” and add virtually anything – from branded content, images of athletes, celebrities and musicians, or a range of fun icons – to their photos and share them using social media. Snaps was recently featured as one of the top 24 US start-ups in the Wall Street Journal’s Startup of the Year series. Snaps won the startup mobile category at Ad:Tech NY 2012.

Vivian was named one of Creativity Magazine’s top 50 global creatives of 2010 and has spoken at numerous conferences on the intersection of advertising and technology, including the CaT conference by Ad Age, TEDx, Ad Tech, IDEAS: The Innovation + Design Series, and Stylus Innovation Forum. She won the Microsoft Storytelling Award for the U.S. in the brand category and was selected as one of five women CEOs for the L’Oreal Next Awards, honoring women in technology--an industry not known for women at the top.
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for over 700 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.