Working with LaunchBox in 2010
LaunchBox's 2010 portfolio companies demo'd their products this past Tuesday to a crowd of startup enthusiasts and potential investors who braved the icy weather to hear what the seven teams had been up to for twelve weeks. Even the governor showed up, at least via conference call. Despite the weather and a few absences, the teams did a great job presenting their companies to the world, and I was encouraged to hear one VC remark how positive the Durham startup scene is with a healthy mix of entrepreneurs, local universities, and investors.
Viget partners with LaunchBox to provide free service hours to their portfolio companies. This past fall, Viget teamed up with FiscalPie, CityPockets, SpringMetrics, and HealtheMe. Our work with these four companies basically fell into two buckets: user experience enhancements to increase user adoption, and visual design to address branding and identity.
Fiscal Pie offers a solution that leverages social networks to assist in financial planning. FiscalPie asked Viget to help define their value proposition and display the value of their app online. After a few brainstorming sessions, we built out high-fidelity wireframes focused on capturing users' attention, encouraging them to try out the app, and then getting them to take enough action in the initial visit to come back to the site a second time.
We took a similar approach to HealtheMe, an online weight loss program. HealtheMe asked us to take a look at their current user sign-up flow with the goal of increasing adoption. After some initial research, we produced an optimized flow that communicated enough of the application at each step to keep a user engaged and moving from the homepage, to customizing a weight loss plan, to payment.
CityPockets seeks to differentiate itself in the group discount/coupon industry by offering a customer loyalty solution for vendors. When CityPockets first spoke with us, their focus was on increasing customer adoption with an attractive and user friendly design. Like FiscalPie and HealtheMe, we tweaked how users move through the app from sign up, syncing with sites like Groupon and Living Social, and displaying the users coupon list in an intuitive manner. Lastly, Spring Metrics, a web analytics app that greatly simplifies analytics integration and testing, asked us to design intuitive page layouts that would simplify the display of complex analytical data.
Once we had addressed user engagement, we turned to branding and identity, and applied extensive visual styling to both FiscalPie and CityPockets. This took the form of homepage and secondary page compositions, as well as comprehensive style guides, all designed in Photoshop. The visual aesthetic for these sites had to be contemporary and professional, particularly as investors and partners were weighing the sites' merits. Lastly, we took a fresh look at their current logos and offered alternatives, incorporating their key messaging and desired tone.
Working with the LaunchBox 2010 portfolio companies has been rewarding and fun -- it's remarkable to see how the businesses evolved over the course of twelve weeks and we wish them every success in the future. We look forward to continuing our relationship with all four firms, LaunchBox, and the upcoming 2011 class.