Creating a brand for a NYC-based urban tech venture fund

December 12, 2019
Wunderdogs

Over one million people globally move to urban areas weekly. Urban share of the world population is expected to grow from 3.9 billion in 2015 to 6.4 billion by 2050. This rapid growth of urbanization is putting tension on transportation, infrastructure, water, energy, as well as impacting health. As a result, a new segment referred to as Urban Tech has emerged in the marketplace. At the forefront of urban tech movement, NYC-based Urban Us is the leading early stage investor for startups re-imagining cities. Urban Us was looking to create a strong venture capital brand for their company.

In addition to seed investing, UU works with pre-seed companies through URBAN-X accelerator, in partnership with BMW. UU’s vast networking platform connects founders with over 2000 investors and advisors focused on the intersection of startups and cities. UU activities focus on bold young players in sectors like real estate, public safety, transport, logistics, water, energy, waste, air quality, construction, connectivity and local government.

Thus, for a company used to support bold new ideas, Wunderdogs have designed a bold new identity and website. UU team prioritizes helping founders succeed over all else while providing a wide array of services, critical to early-stage founders. As Urban Us was gaining momentum, it faced multiple opportunities for growth as a brand and a business. With all exciting advancements and big plans ahead, Urban Us was on the cusp of meaningful strategic growth.

Challenge

The chief challenge for UU in their growth stage was to achieve clarity of brand standards, messaging, tone of voice and UU values. Our design challenge was to create a strong venture capital brand and narrative that would help Urban Us refine their complex umbrella of services.

Urban Us was looking to stress that, in solving city problems, shareholder interest and public benefits do not need to be at odds. UU sought to elevate founders’ experience; they improve a daunting process of obtaining funding, advice and clients and help founders gain a foothold in urban tech space.

Our solution

Wunderdogs worked closely with Urban Us team – Shaun Abrahamson, Stonley Baptiste and Liz Sisson to define a strong venture capital brand for UU. UU hacks urban tech solutions at an early stage of development: they are trustworthy, founder-friendly, transparent, creative and unconventional. We challenged ourselves to create an identity that would be both bold, clean and seamless, engaging, approachable and urban.

We took inspiration in the cities: a bright combination of blue highlights supported by neutrals and knockout graphite. Downtown glass, midtown gloss and subway darkness. Modern, technological and minimalist. The modern color scope is juxtaposed with a classic yet playful typography. Geometric Circe font gives the seamless palette a whimsical twist. While being simple in its basic form, Circe becomes more intricate with its decorative characters and features; it’s perfect for both text setting in small point sizes and display purposes, from a magazine headline to a billboard.

Furthermore, we implemented this delicate balance of sleekness and playfulness in the UU logotype; the logo consists of two connected letters ‘U’, one embedded in another. A semi-circular classic arch shape turned upside-down creates an energetic and memorable signage. It creates an identity that straddles austere, classic and contemporary.

In addition, we’ve created a series of custom city map patterns and backgrounds. UU growth mindset inevitably leads them to conquer new cities, inside and outside of the United States. As new offices open after their NYC flagship, every location should provide with a unique and authentic feel. Each office, each team member can choose a favorite city for their business card, personalized stationery, office interior, and merchandise.

Conclusion

Our graphic approach extends to company’s stationery and merchandise, like transport cards, city passes, umbrellas, commuter bags, travel maps. It also extends way beyond their brand, turning the city into an urban playground with unique navigation design.

In conclusion, this flexible kit provides a visual language that allows Urban Us create a memorable identity and a strong venture capital brand in the middle of a nascent urban tech space. It also supports UU in displaying the immediate values of their brand to the community: focus on cities and founders, trust and a fruitful combination of public benefits and financial outcomes.

Portfolio view: Brand strategy, brand identity and website for Urban Us

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