Today, we’re excited to announce Designer Founder Guild (“DFG”) — a group of exceptional founders who are committed to helping more designers build and scale tech companies. We’re inviting designers from diverse levels of experience and company stages to participate including Evan Sharp, co-founder of Pinterest, and Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb. All members of DFG believe in giving back and sharing knowledge to help the next generation of designer founders succeed.
“I wish something like this existed when I was starting Airbnb.”
—Joe Gebbia, Designer Co-founder of Airbnb
Artists and creatives have been forming groups to support one another for hundreds of years, from trade guilds in the 14th century to the impressionists in the late 1800s, but there hasn’t been many dedicated to designer founders in the tech field. There are few resources that support the unique challenges that designer founders face and we want to change that by forming DFG. Through events and knowledge guides, we plan to distill best practices to share with the broader design community.
“There’s no playbook on how to scale design and Designer Fund is in a unique position to share this knowledge.” —Evan Sharp, Designer Co-founder of Pinterest
Our first DFG knowledge guide is a list of recommended investors who’ve backed companies co-founded by designers because it’s hard to know which investors understand and value design at the early stages. For example, many investors initially rejected Airbnb and didn’t foresee how the company’s differentiated user experience would ultimately expand the travel market. By publishing this list, we hope to save time and speed up the fundraising process for entrepreneurial designers.
“Our design process percolates throughout the company—it’s how we approach everything from the products, to the culture, to our board meetings.” — Gabrielle Guthrie, Co-founder of Moxxly
As the first design focused seed fund, we see a need to increase access to capital, education, and community to support founders as they apply design to all aspects of their businesses. For example, one of the challenges designers face as they become founders is being able to both design a great product, and design an organization that builds great products. We plan to release more resources that help designers build companies in a smarter way and avoid common mistakes. If you’re interested in learning more about DFG and accessing knowledge guides, subscribe here for updates.