HIGHLINE is proud to announce our partnership with Emily Carr University of Art + Design, which will see some of the school’s most talented design students paired with HIGHLINE portfolio companies.
The initial pilot project involved only Vancouver-based startups, but this new national partnership will connect Emily Carr University students with HIGHLINE portfolio in Toronto as well, building on HIGHLINE’s core belief that geo-connectivity is not only possible, but a critical component of building startups that can compete on global level.
“More than ever, differentiation through design is key to a startup’s success,” says Spark CRM CEO Simeon Garratt, who participated in the pilot program. “Companies with a strong design lead tend to grow faster and create stronger brands. Having the addition of an Emily Carr student can help companies realize the true importance of design, as well as aid in the process.”
More details of the program are outlined in the press release below:
Design for Startups: National Partnership between HIGHLINE and Emily Carr University Pairs Startup Founders with Top Canadian Design Students
VANCOUVER, BC (MARCH 5, 2015) – HIGHLINE, a seed stage startup investment platform, has renewed its relationship with Emily Carr University of Art + Design to pair promising startup founders with top tier design talent.
In a Fall 2013 pilot program, five designers from the university worked directly with five startups; a successful second phase, supported by the British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC), ran in Spring 2014. Students blended design methods with Lean UX methodologies in order to quickly solve a range of defined problems. Examples include overhauling the form and function of email campaigns for Spacelist, designing the creation tool for Cognilab, and creating icons and data visualization for BitLit.
HIGHLINE is proud to support the development of emerging Canadian design talent by taking this program national and offering it to its portfolio companies in Vancouver and Toronto.
“VC-backed startups are realizing that design is not only a valuable differentiator, but also becoming a necessity in building salient products,” says Marcus Daniels, Co-Founder & CEO of HIGHLINE. “Couple this with our recent strategic partnership with Lighthouse Labs, and HIGHLINE is the first pan-Canadian investment platform to give its portfolio a unique edge in building design-driven digital products.”
This will give participating students real world experience and help them develop a valuable network for their futures.
“Design for Startups is having a major impact on how designers get plugged in to the startup ecosystem — it’s natural that Emily Carr would be driving this conversation because it is a global leader in this area,” says Kate Armstrong, Director of the Social+Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, who will give out weekly feedback and critique alongside Haig Armen, Assistant Professor in Design+Dynamic Media. “Design is a key part of product development and businesses understand that.”
About HIGHLINE: HIGHLINE invests in early stage technology companies and works closely with founders to scale their businesses, establish global connections, and secure follow-on capital. It is powered by leading global entrepreneurs and backed by premier Canadian VCs such as BDC Capital and Relay Ventures. HIGHLINE has 34 active portfolio companies and an exceptional track record that includes five multi-million dollar exits over the last three years.
About Emily Carr University: Established in 1925, and based in Vancouver, Emily Carr University of Art + Design is one of Canada’s premier post-secondary institutions, and British Columbia’s only University dedicated solely to art, design and media education and research.