We've all wrestled with it : you've got a great idea. Do you go back to school to get the business saavy or the designer know-how? If the future of start-ups has anything to say, we might just be able to have our cake and eat it too. The Designer Fund is a new Silicon Valley investment fund that plans to focus on companies that are led by Web and product designers instead of the traditional engineer-founded enterprises. The goal? To create more compelling user experiences. The fund is backed by 500 Startups, an incubator for nascent tech companies that trades seed funding and mentoring for a stake in the venture.
Technology Review has a nice write-up on the endeavor, and quotes Enrique Allen, the coordinator of the new fund, below:
"In the startup world, designers are often brought in after the engineers have built everything," says [Allen], "They might even be limited to specific tasks like logo design. Yet a company founded or at least cofounded by a designer will have more than a nicer-looking website, he says: "A designer-founder can bring user-focused insight to everything from interfaces and user experience to information architecture to branding. We think that the world would be a better place were more designer-founders building products that rapidly grow to large scale." He points to Flickr, Tumblr, and YouTube as examples of successful companies founded by designers.
He goes on to argue the value of emotional experiences in business to keep consumers coming back, and believes design is the key to bringing it all together. There's no dismissing of the need for engineering or business-sense here, it's simply about bringing design to the front end of biz-dev, and hopefully crafting a more engaging future for all. You can read more about it here.
Emilie Baltz believes believes food to be the most revealing part of culture and works in multiple mediums, both commercially and artistically, to explore that notion in the most robust way possible. Trained in Film Studies, Photography and Industrial Design, she borrows omnivorously from multiple mediums in order to deliver joyful experiences for consumers. The outputs of this practice are personal and professional, functional and fantastical. Her goal is to provoke delicious new perspectives on the world through social, formal and industrial processes.