Apply for Investment and Design Support

Designer Fund Partnership is a strategic investment offer of $500K along with hiring support, expert design advice, and a community of design leaders you can call upon.

Designer Fund Partnership

We view our relationships with founders and companies as long-term partnerships, not deals. When we invest in you, we apply the best practices we’ve learned over the past decade investing and serving multi-billion dollar companies like Stripe, Gusto, Notion, Commure and Netlify.

Designer Fund Partnership is the best $500K investment and design support offer for early stage startups. We help you hire and manage exceptional design teams, provide expert product and brand design advice, accelerate your fundraising process, and connect you to our community of top designers, founders, and advisors.

Unicorn Logo Pile

How our investment works

During open application periods, you can apply for an average investment of $500K and design support. We’ll respond within 1-2 weeks with a status update if it makes sense to setup an intro meeting. We're looking for early stage companies, Pre-seed to Series A, that use design to improve health, prosperity, and sustainability for all. Our average investment is $500K for 5% but we understand that may not make sense for every company. Depending on your traction and funding to date, we can adjust our investment terms. We recommend that you apply regardless of your stage, location and fundraising timeline.

How our design support works

After we invest, we have a kickoff meeting and then are available for monthly design help tailored to what you need throughout the next 12 months. We’re not an accelerator and we don’t have a curriculum you have to follow. Rather, we focus on the following types of collaborative work sessions when you need them most:

  • Kickoff: We start with an onboarding meeting to better understand your milestones for the next year and how we can best help you accomplish them.
  • Hiring: We assess your design hiring needs, recommend curated contractors and full-time design talent, and participate in your interview process.
  • Design management: As you hire a team, we can coach them to overcome challenges while scaling high-performing design teams.
  • Design advice: We host office hours to provide feedback on your product, brand and how to use design strategically across your business.
  • Community: We connect you to design leaders and advisors in our community for specific expertise via the Designer Fund Collective private Slack workspace and invite you to members-only events and trainings.
  • Fundraising support: We help improve your pitch, develop an outreach plan, and make warm introductions to potential customers and value-add investors.

After one year of monthly design help, we’ll shift to a quarterly cadence and help with any of these areas on demand. You’ll continue to have access to the growing Designer Fund Collective community, how-to resources and professional development opportunities as we strive to keep adding value long after the seed stage.

Designer Fund Team 2023

How we add value

We help you hire and manage great design talent

With our funding, you should be able to hire design talent and take your team to the next level. We help throughout the interview process to hire the right type of designer, from a project based contractor to a full-time employee, and ensure the relationship yields results. We maintain relationships with curated freelancers, studios and designers looking for new opportunities. We promote your company to thousands of designers through our newsletter, social media and job board. As you hire a team, we can coach and mentor them with design leaders in our network who've managed high performing teams from early to growth stages at scale.

Chris Olmanson
There’s no way we would have been able to hire the designer we did without Designer Fund. Starting with sourcing, Designer Fund helped us get the word out to high-quality candidates. They sat in on portfolio presentations and then helped us close our top choice by showing continued involvement. We feel very lucky to have Designer Fund in our corner and can’t imagine a fund that can be as helpful as they’ve been hiring a designer. Chris Olmanson, Founder of Beaming Health
Max Hsieh
Landscape was a Designer Fund referral. We’d been working with Ben and Enrique for the past few years and trusted their recommendations and guidance. They're the best in the design community! Max Hsieh, CTO of Forma

We provide expert design advice when it matters

We provide office hours with our network of expert advisors to help guide you with the latest best practices for designing a world-class product and brand to grow your business. For example, you can request an in-depth review of your product end-to-end. We can also assist with strategic design projects like establishing a design system and improving your design process. We give feedback based on the unique context of your product, team, and company, instead of cookie cutter advice.

Gloria Lin
Thanks for taking time to review our MVP today. One of our team members said ‘it always amazes me what designers are able to see on a product, it's like they're all wearing 4D glasses’ which I think says it all. Gloria Lin, CEO and Co-founder of Siteline
Peter Light
At Lumen, the high art of product is making a very complex journey simple and delightful for our customers. At one point we got stuck. The product strategy session with Designer Fund was an espresso shot of insight, revealing points of confusion easily reconfigured, and  an entirely new perspective on how to design the customer journey. Peter Light, CEO and Co-founder of Lumen Energy

We level up your team with our network of design leaders

As part of our Designer Fund Partnership, you and your design team are invited to be members of Designer Fund Collective, our community of 100+ successful founders, advisors and design leaders at companies like Stripe, Airbnb, Slack, Instagram and more. You can ask specific questions, access how-to guides and make connections via our private Slack workspace. You'll also receive invitations to members-only events and trainings for your team. Our goal is for your team to learn how to use design strategically across your company from product to sales, recruiting and culture.

Effy Zhang
Over the years, Designer Fund has offered multiple programs—mentoring startup founders, assisting ICs in transitioning into management roles, and even providing a platform to discuss angel investing as a designer. With their help, I’ve grown from being a new grad to a design lead and now a founder. I’m looking forward to another decade of inspiration. Effy Zhang, CEO and Co-founder of
Kamini Iyer
The Designer Fund community has been something that has made our design team feel much larger than it actually is. I’ve had random questions that I’ll post to the community, and the number of people that engage and respond to me makes it feel less like I have to figure all of this out by myself. It feels a lot less lonely to have a wider network to tap into—being a small team of two, you need that sometimes. Kamini Iyer, Design Lead at Lumen Energy

We hone your pitch to close sales and investors

We help you navigate finding a lead VC and value-add investors by making warm introductions and sharing references. We curate lists of recommended co-investors including top-tier angels, seed funds and VC firms. We can also hone your pitch to close investors and customers through feedback sessions, improving your decks, and developing an outreach plan. We aim to be one of the most valuable investors on your cap table and earn the right to continue investing in your company from Seed stage through Series B. Unlike consultants, we’re investors and partners in your business with real skin in the game so our interests are aligned long-term.

Eugene Johnson
Designer Fund has been by our side throughout our fundraising process when others weren't. They helped improve our story, make introductions and be a reference to close new investors. Eugene Johnson, Founder of Revi
Phil Vander Broek
Designer Fund was instrumental in helping us find the right lead VC. We felt we had a leg up because of their network, insider recommendations on firms and partners who would be a good fit for us, and warm introductions. Phil Vander Broek, Co-founder of Dopt

How Designer Fund Collective works

When you partner with Designer Fund, our whole team is available to support your company. In addition, we invite you to become part of Designer Fund Collective, a community of some of the best founders, angels, advisors and design leaders in tech from companies like Asana, Dropbox, Instagram, Faire, Pinterest, Shopify, Square, and more, who will help you and your design team succeed. We also aim to match you with a design expert from our network who will provide additional support as an angel investor and/or formal advisor to your company.

Community Graphic Designer Fund Partnership Video

How our application works

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