We’ve been at this digital thing for 20+ years (12+ as a studio). We’ve seen many things come, and a lot of those things go.
The benefit of that long view — we have a clear view of what kinds of companies and technologies create real, positive, and sustained impact on people’s lives. Those are the companies we want to help.
The nature of digital product design too often has been defined as a rush for clicks, for impressions, for attention, with novelty driving bubbles. The power and potential of technology to change businesses and people’s lives for the better gets obscured by the rush for digital dopamine and quick hits.
While the power of screens and feeds to change social interactions is clearly true, at the end of the day, most of us still exist in the real world, with real world problems.
Earning a livelihood. Building a home. Getting from one place to another. Caring for health. Caring for family. Building wealth. Finding a purpose.
We are entering a new phase of technologies that will almost certainly transform how we live and work (machine learning / AI) and some that may, depending on what problems they are applied to (blockchain, “metaverse”).
We want to partner with companies solving real world problems, to make their solutions more useful, more approachable, and more delightful.
Our studio is built to help companies. Here are some of the opportunities that excite us.
Managing health is an intensely personal journey, and one where most people are looking for expert care and real solutions. The challenge of health is that expert attention is a precious commodity and everyone’s journey, from the physiological to the psychological, is personal and varied.
Digital technology can be an incredible change agent across the whole healthcare journey — and with incredible economic impact in a system as screwed up as the U.S.
At scale, data and machine learning can help triage and focus interventions and outcomes. Mobile experiences and notification-driven experiences can help drive adherence to care plans. And tele-health solutions can make care accessible to people and scale the capabilities of providers, beyond the hospital.
We’ve had the opportunity to work with some great, established companies like HSS and start-ups like Evvy, Elektra, Laguna, and Brightline to develop personalized healthcare solutions that use technology to empower both care providers and patients. We’d like to do more of this work.
In many ways, our built and lived environments have not been given the care they deserve. In the U.S., the period stretching back to post-war has in many ways seen a series of environmental and social stresses deeply tied to sprawl and suburbanization.
The demographic and geographic shifts in our working lives has changed the pattern somewhat — in ways good and bad. A recentering of urban living and a desire for walkable cities. Technology enabling different approaches to work and to mobility. But still, challenges about at the local and global level — whether we talk about the rent being too damn high, homelessness, or climate change. Each of which ties to our systems of space and our approach to building, to working, and to living together.
We’ve been able to work with companies that impact our experience in built environments and hope to continue to do so. Petra helps to underground electrical grids in a hope to create more resilient and less wildfire-prone utility systems. OpenSpace enables construction projects to create “Google street view” style histories of building developments and enables more efficient remote management of projects. WeWork has changed the way we approach work, locally and as global citizens. Intersection has changed the way we move in public and private spaces.
We would love to expand our ability to work with people who positively influence our built and lived environment, and we are actively seeking those partnerships.
We love moving in cities and we believe in travel. Digital experiences — whether it’s Lyft and Uber or Expedia and Airbnb — have made our mobility experiences fundamentally different from a pre-Internet, pre-mobile world.
We’ve had some opportunities to work broadly across mobility — whether it’s helping TBC empower SMB car servicing shops and dealerships, or travel experience platforms like Fora and Context Travel. But we would love to push further across the future of mobility and travel, to think about how technology and data can help us move about and experience the world that balances rich and joyful experiences with equitable access and environmentally sustainable impact.
We don’t approach finance as a game to be won or an opportunity for arbitrage, to make fortunes on the margins. We see digital technology having the possibility to drive abundance, to enrich lives, and to push for greater equity in how money works in our lives.
We are proud to have supported Tap Tap Send’s expansion of their remittances services across multiple geographies and cultural contexts. We valued our working relationship with TD Ameritrade to incubate Nutshell, a platform to help expecting parents navigate state and federal parental leave benefits. Our work in finance has involved helping Stripe create a more flexible, composable UI kit for a broader variety of e-commerce platforms, DeFi companies like UMA and Aera broaden access to financial instruments beyond traditional banks, and making it simpler for entrepreneurs to build companies via platforms like LTSE Equity and Preferred Return.
We would love to turn our attention to more projects driving financial inclusion and equity and helping make wealth creation and building accessible to more people.
At the end of the day, we see the lens of “solving real world problems” to be a useful focus for our studio, and we’re looking for companies who think the same way. We’d love to be your design partner.