I was honored and thrilled to be part of pitch festival* at iBridge 2015 in Berlin, where we could select the best startup ideas from young entrepreneurs from Iran. I was not only a juror, I moderated some of sessions and also was involved in evaluation of some of great ideas of my fellow Iranian startups.
As I started to evaluate some of great ideas, I had to realize that there were plenty space for the improvement in term of design. And when I talk about design, I don’t talk about pretty screens or beautiful product, I talk more about relevance and about the user experience.
Today, among all startups based in Silicon Valley, the distinguishing factor of Silicon Valley’s brightest companies is their design. Instagram for instance simplified the cacophony of social media into single, beautiful images. Pinterest is another example, where it turned links for fashion and recipes into shareable, lust-worthy cards. In a recent study regarding the impact of design on success rate of startups, they find out that 27 startups co-founded by designers and 13 creative agencies were acquired in the last 4 years by companies like Google, Facebook, Adobe, LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Yahoo.
Why are VC’s and giant technology companies like Google are suddenly so interested in design? Why Google paid $3.2 billion to purchase Nest Labs? And why many VC’s hiring designers as partner? It is very simple. A designer can bring a viewpoint of not just aesthetics, but economics and usage.
And why you should care as an entrepreneur for design? Just because design has become a “game changer” and this in not only in Silicon Valley. All statistics show that startups co-founded by designers have created billions of dollars of value and are raising billions of dollars in capital, and since the VC firms increasingly see the importance of design, it is more likely that they invest in your start up, because of great user experience.
My advice for startups in Iran: Start with design, rather than just end with it.
*Disclaimer: Due sanction we did not offer any mentorship or any similar coaching activities. We only gave feedback to their ideas without any follow-ups after the event.