Our Founding Story

How two refugees built a design studio based on friendship and shared values.

Est. 2001, Brooklyn

Hyperakt was founded in Brooklyn, NY in 2001 by two friends who met at Parsons School of Design. We, Julia Zeltser (Kharkiv, Ukraine) and Deroy Peraza (Havana, Cuba), are both refugees whose stories share common heartaches: The loss of our homelands, sudden separation from loved ones, growing up around polarized politics, and helplessly seeing our people suffer from afar.

They are also stories of hope and opportunity. Coming to the US afforded our families safety and livelihoods. Hard work and scholarships made it possible for us to pursue creative careers, and build a successful business aligned to our shared values – privileges not enjoyed by many who were born here, or by many whose paths have led them here.

A smiling woman and man stand side by side against a red wall with blue graffiti. They both wear gray sweatshirts with the word "REFUGEE" printed on them in black text. The woman has short brown hair and the man has short dark hair.
We believe everyone, regardless of their identity, should be able to safely pursue their dreams without fear. We've dedicated our careers to working with others who feel the same way.
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