Startup Institute | 2015

Startup Institute | 2015

Startup Institute is not just another school. It’s not an incubator, and it’s not a one-off skills class.

It is an experience.

It is a challenge, and a process. And although it isn’t easy, it is transformative.

It begins as immersion learning with a cohort of strangers—it ends as a network of mentors, entrepreneurs, practitioners and peers that you take with you for the rest of your career.

We do this because we know that successfully scaling the human element in an innovative environment is the single biggest challenge for any company.

We do this because we know that there are potential rockstars hiding in plain sight, shackled by their unfulfilling jobs, and willing to work incredibly hard for a chance to make a real dent in the world.

We do this because we know that the best talent is found at the intersection of community, skills and mindset. Not simply in depth of technical ability.

But above all else, we do this because we genuinely want the world to be a more accessible and rich place in which to live, and we know that our partner companies, and the aspiring world-changers and innovators that constitute our incredible students and alumni, are the agents of that brighter tomorrow.

 

As the Chief Marketing & Product Officer at Startup Institute, I helped the founders and Board take a scrappy, mission-driven startup, birthed from Techstars Boston (and, later, backed by Silicon Valley Bank), and turn it into a real business, without losing sight of the strong sense of purpose and egalitarian spirit that had drawn so many amazing students, instructors, and staff to its humble single-room space, in its earliest days.

For the sake of simplicity, my role can be thought of as being two-fold:

In my marketing capacity, I lead us in a complete overhaul of the brand ID and the creation of all-new collateral for our classrooms, as well as the creation of new marketing and advertorial strategies and executions, in five cities, across the globe. This included building a marketing team (largely staffed by SI alumni, I am proud to say) responsible for performance, social and content marketing, while simultaneously crafting a new aesthetic and voice for the brand. The new brand ID was unveiled through the launch of our “Transitions” campaign across digital and OOH channels.

In my “product” role, I was responsible for the digital extensions of our curriculum, and the end-to-end customer experience / service design. I built a product team, and built a new website that radically changed the experience for users at all points in the funnel. We worked with our admissions staff and city directors to overhaul the service design for students and teachers alike, created a maturity model, and embarked on an incremental effort to create new tools and processes necessary to bring that vision to life.

Startup Institute is not just another school. It's not an incubator, and it's not a one-off skills class. It is an experience.

Startup Institute is not just another school. It’s not an incubator, and it’s not a one-off skills class.
It is an experience.

A few pages of Startup Institute's Brand Elements guide. The original brand drab, and duotone--after spending hours interviewing alumni, I knew that we needed to infuse a sense of energy and vibrancy into the aesthetic proportional to the love and exuberance that our students expressed when describing their experiences at SI.

A few pages of Startup Institute’s Brand Elements guide. The original brand drab, and duotone–after spending hours interviewing alumni, I knew that we needed to infuse a sense of energy and vibrancy into the aesthetic proportional to the love and exuberance that our students expressed when describing their experiences at SI.

An in-situ mock-up of the MBTA (Boston) media buy for our Transitions campaign, which ran in five cities (Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin, London) in January-February of 2015.

An in-situ mock-up of the MBTA (Boston) media buy for our Transitions campaign, which ran in five cities (Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin, London) in January-February of 2015.

One of the OOH posters from our Boston-specific transit ads. Each city had ads featuring native alum from prior cohorts.

One of the OOH posters from our Boston-specific transit ads. Each city had ads featuring native alum from prior cohorts.