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Next Up Columbus 2022: Donte Cook

Donte Cook
Donte Cook

Photo courtesy of Donte Cook

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Donte Cook
Age: 30
Profession: Founder of Inner City Studios
Neighborhood: South Columbus
Education: Graduate of Brookhaven High School
Community Involvement: The CBus Final Pitch Competition – Judge, JuneteenthOhio 2022 Volunteer Coordinator
Quote: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today!” – Malcolm X
Connect: Instagram | Facebook

Give us a snapshot of your path: My name is Donte’ Cook, founder of Inner City Studios, an indie gaming company producing mobile games from the urban perspectives. I’m born and raised on the North Linden area. A graduate of Brookhaven High School class of 2010. I began my journey in app startups back in 2013 where I launched my first app, Pocket Meter. Now, nine years later I’m still at it, recently launching my second app (which is a game called “Curbball”). I’m truly passionate & driven by my love for my community and creating positive impact in those underserved communities.

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
My family is my motivation & God is my source. It’s just that simple for me.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
George Zarebski, Coach Tim Brown

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I enjoy a nice massage, gym & hanging with friends.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Flavor 91 Bistro, Upper Cup, Community Grounds, Two Dollar Radio & Clown Cone ice cream.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
Growing up I always wanted to be either a professional basketball player or entrepreneur.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
Book – Rich Dad Poor Dad
Podcasts – Million Dollaz Worth of Game, Earn Your Leisure

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
To be honored as a future leader here in my hometown has always been a dream of mines. I’m truly blessed and grateful for this opportunity.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
I would simply say its creativity with a lot of diversity.


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2022 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Spectrum for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2022” »

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