Chapter 1

What is Venture Design anyways?

Next: Principles in the absence of process →

In the begining

The year is 2015. Star Wars is back, Uptown Funk is everywhere, and no one can agree on the colour of The Dress. Oh, and Founders Factory was founded (well, incorporated at least). Started by Brent, Henry and George because they thought accelerators and incubators at the time were a bit naff, they set the lofty goal of creating and scaling 210 startups over 5 years. Why 210? Well according to Brent:

“210 seemed like a good number”


So we needed to figure out a way to create a new business from scratch every single month like clockwork for the next 5 years.

What could go wrong?

What went wrong

Creativity knows no bounds, or at least that’s what they said. Turns out unbounded creativity isn’t all that. In the beginning our process was as follows:

  1. Hire a product manager, engineer and designer
  2. Let them have at a sector for 6 months
  3. ???
  4. We’re still not quite sure

Our reasoning of “process kills creativity” seemed intuitive, though it was fundamentally flawed.

With constraints, you dedicate your mental energy to acting more resourcefully. When challenged, you figure out new ways to be better. The most successful creative people know that constraints don’t limit their efforts– in fact, they give their minds the impetus to leap higher. We needed some railings.

Enter Concepting Venture Design

At the time there wasn’t some handbook or guide to follow for venture building: it was –and still is– a relatively new discipline. So how would we go from blank sheet to a viable business plan in just a few weeks? That’s what we set out to figure out. We called it “concepting”, though now we call it venture designing.

How do we define Venture Design?

Venture Design is the process of identifying and forming new business opportunities using human-centred design principles. Rather than leaving a startup to be created by chance, venture design allows businesses to be created on demand.

Sounds great. So how does it work?

Principles in the absence of process →