Projects / Design for Startups | Spring 2020

Design for Startups is a unique program in which student designers join early-stage company teams to work on a specific design problem.

Through this initiative, we have developed and tested a new model for connecting the art and design university with early-to-mid stage companies through accelerators and VC-backed portfolios.

Spring 2020
Over the course of 12 weeks, nine student designers will work directly with the technical and business leads of nine BC companies to explore and develop a new methodology for connecting design to Internet startups. Student designers will consider existing design gaps, perform user interface/usability studies, and develop design strategies for the companies in residence. 

Spring 2020 company-student partnerships are:

Appreciation Engine (AE) helps major brands deliver unforgettable customer experiences through high-trust two-way data relationships. Brands use AE’s real-time customer insights (CDP) and access management (CIAM) to hyper-personalized recommendations, contests, campaigns and offers to their customers’ tastes. And customers retain control over their data with AE’s built-in data rights management solutions. It’s a win-win way to work with data insights.

Janani Ramesh is currently a fourth-year interaction design student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Through her practice, Janani has an increasing passion for interaction design, human-centred design, user-interface design, graphics and illustration. Having lived in India, the Netherlands and China before arriving in Vancouver, Canada, Janani puts a lot of care and effort into understanding multicultural contexts and takes pride in incorporating her cultural background in her design practice.

Aquanow is a trading and technology firm that develops solutions to competitively source and deliver liquidity across markets. Our continuous investment into infrastructure, research & development provide a durable competitive advantage for firms operating in both digital asset and traditional financial markets.

Sanaz Tasougi Azar hails from Iran. Her interest in interaction design, specifically interactive service design, was born as she was writing a secondary research paper on sustainability and ecotourism in Iran at the University of British Columbia. She is currently completing her second bachelor’s degree in Interaction Design at Emily Carr University. She received her first bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, after which she worked as an office administrator and a manager. Currently, she runs her own book gallery in Tehran. Sanaz is also immersed in the arts. She holds a certificate in photography and was featured in a group exhibition in Behzad Gallery in Tehran, one of the top galleries in the country. In addition, Sanaz has a background in Persian miniature painting and Persian ballet dance. Her love of classical music and Iranian traditional music manifests in her ability to play piano and Setar, an Iranian traditional instrument. An avid traveller, Sanaz loves interacting with people from different cultures and learn about their lifestyle.

Biba makes mobile apps that use the power of screens to get kids and families off the couch and back outside on the playground! Recently named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2019, Biba combines parental engagement with screen technology to encourage kids to reach their recommended amount of 60 minutes of physical activity per day–in a fun way! And as a side benefit, all of Biba’s gameplay data gets used to help playground owners learn more about how their sites are used, which empowers them to make better decisions that positively impact the playgrounds that communities rely on. Smart play for smarter playgrounds.

Bonnie Wong is a communication designer who finds passion in branding and storytelling. Through her friendliness, she hopes to increase diversity and inclusivity in design by not singling out anyone’s narrative. Bonnie also finds herself working in a variety of mediums such as silkscreening and photography. Her approach to design is often minimal and compelling.

CheckingIn is a free and private app to help you develop self-awareness, practice mindfulness, and manage stress and anxiety by quickly tuning in to your ENERGY and EMOTIONS.

Bronwyn Proctor is a Vancouver based user experience designer, currently attending Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She likes working with complex or fragmented systems and organizing them to be more accessible and beautiful. Having also worked in photojournalism, Bronwyn has always loved trying to understand people. She believes in order to design intuitive, accessible tools and services, there needs to be a deep understanding of people’s needs. She strives to reflect this belief in her work, and keep empathy at the core of her process.

CTO.AI is the shared command line for DevOps automation. It is designed for high growth engineering teams to reduce the complexity of DevOps tasks and free up cycles so teams can focus on core development. It is DevOps as a Service, where we provide solutions across the DevOps lifecycle to help streamline development and enhance the developer experience through a shared command line.

Nikoo Farvardin is currently enrolled in the Master of Design program (Interaction) at Emily Carr after completing her bachelor’s of industrial design. Astounding five years working in startups has empowered her to gain a more realistic understanding of the startup environment, how to work with interdisciplinary teams, and also how to use design as a creative problem-solving tool. Nikoo is thirsty to learn and discover more and more about what can make the world a better place to live in.

Defind is a platform disrupting the architecture industry. Finding the right architect is overwhelming; clients often don’t know where to start. On the flip side, architects don’t have well-established marketing channels and are often primarily focused on their current projects, not on what comes next. That’s why an architect and a Forbes 30 Under 30 serial entrepreneur joined forces to create Defind. Defind gives architects the tools and insights to grow their business and effortlessly find the perfect clients. By seamlessly connecting clients and architects, there’s more time for outstanding design: creating homes, workplaces and communities that benefit us all.

Cassandra Grdovic is a third-year interaction design student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She has a background in political science, where her citizen-focused studies have given her a unique perspective to consider diverse user groups and data compliance. Cassandra has worked with the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr on projects focusing on fragility fractures, shifting the culture of long-term care, as well as looking at how design can uncover, support and enhance the abilities of people with dementia. In 2019, she was a juror for the Vancouver UX Awards.

Klue provides a lens for enterprises into their competitor’s world, continuously updating and connecting dots to help them win more business. It is a new way for product marketers, competitive intel and sales enablement teams to capture, manage and curate intel from the web and across the company, and communicate insights through platforms their teams already use. Klue was founded in 2015 by industry veterans Jason Smith, former President of Vision Critical, and Sarathy Naicker, former Chief Technologist at Sophos/Active State.

Sanya Arora is a communication designer based in Vancouver, Canada. Having grown up in a prescribed educational system, she constantly battles those qualities by pushing her boundaries and exploring different, innovative opportunities in her design practice. She is passionate about design’s power to inform and influence people to take actions, and how it can provide individuals with tools to make the change for the better. Sanya is interested in incorporating diverse perspectives in her practice, collaborating with multiple stakeholders, creating community-driven projects, and designing with people rather than for people.

Marine Learning Systems provides software to support the full breadth of training and assessment in safety-critical industries, from effective knowledge transfer to live skills assessment. Our solutions support cultures of safety in operations, helping to protect personnel and capital assets from accidents. Our vision is a world where all workers and the companies they work for continually improve their safety, productivity and engagement through state-of-the-art targeted, effective and measurable training.

Amy Salvador is a 4th-year Interaction Design student interested in studying social interactions through user research and iterative practices. She enjoys using interaction design methods to create engaging interfaces and clear communication, ultimately developing complex interactions into the desired user experience. Previously she has worked on projects dealing with sustainability in textiles, online package service design, and speculative futures. In the future, she would like to pursue a career working on designing social interventions in my community, as well as a higher education on speculative futures. Outside of school, she enjoys swimming, being outdoors, and cooking with friends.

TalentMarketplace is a curated talent pool of project professionals (project managers, coordinators, and business analysts) available for hire. After encountering the challenges that hiring project professionals face every day in $1B+ project environments, TalentMarketplace was founded as an alternative to traditional hiring practices. TalentMarketplace place is not an agency – it is a software platform that provides a direct connection between project management talent that is seeking employment and employers that are looking to hire. TalentMarketplace utilizes machine learning algorithms to automatically generate matches between candidates and employers. This direct, transparent hiring process increases the speed to hire and decreases costs. Typical job boards take too long for both candidates and employers and do not have any filtering mechanisms. Candidates usually receive a response on about 3% of applications sent on job boards whereas on TalentMarketplace, approved candidates are over 5 times as likely to receive an interview request. Recruiters, while quick, are expensive and act as a middleman between the candidate and business reducing transparency and increasing cost. By providing direct database access, TalentMarketplace is more direct, cost-effective and faster than job boards or recruiters.

Katherine Zhang is an interaction design student dedicated to creating visually pleasing designs that focus on inclusivity, meaningful impact and emotional connections. She has multiple interests and believes her diverse background and experience have taught her to look at things from many perspectives. She is always looking for fresh insights while exploring possibilities.

Part of Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship programming, this project is supported by Digital Technology Supercluster for the duration of 2020 – 2022. Funding for student salaries is provided by Innovate BC.


Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship is generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation

Our Partners