February 9, 2017
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,
Since its inception 10 years ago, MINIMAL has always been about taking risks and betting on disruptive design to make meaningful impact. Over the years, we have invested in and helped many startups make their dreams tangible, as well as connect them to a network of top manufacturers and resources. The most rewarding of those have gone on to create social impact and save many lives. We’ve always been passionate about strategic design having the ability to transform early stage companies. Now we are excited to take it a step further.
While we will continue to provide world-class design consulting services to our clients, we are thrilled to announce MNML Ventures. The focus as will be providing early stage companies and entrepreneurs with disruptive design, brand strategy, engineering and manufacturing coupled with creative capital.
With this, we are excited that Wilson Fong has joined the team as Partner in MNML Ventures.
Wilson will also focus on driving growth and revenues at MINIMAL Inc. as VP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development. A serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive, Wilson spent the last seven years as the former VP of Partnerships and Business Development at Chicago-based Threadless. During his tenure, he grew Threadless’ revenues and brand awareness by inking multi-million dollar deals with companies such as Disney, Adobe, Google, Dell, Gap, Xbox, Dreamworks, Sony, Viacom, Wacom and many more.
With Wilson Fong’s deal-making strengths coupled with MINIMAL’s award-winning design talents, adding another “Wilson” to the team signals an exciting future as we step into our 10th year.
Founder + CEO, MINIMAL
Q + A WITH WILSON FONG
MINIMAL sat down with Wilson to learn more about his diverse background and future goals.
MINIMAL: Your journey thus far is fascinating. As the founder of several of your own businesses, how do you feel your entrepreneurial background has led you to MINIMAL?
WF: It’s certainly been a passion-led roller coaster ride! I’ve always gravitated to businesses and ideas with strong elements of supporting independent artists and businesses within art, design and technology sectors. MINIMAL is a natural fit since it’s a platform of designers, engineers, and makers.
MINIMAL: Where are the opportunities to make an impact at MINIMAL and what gets you most excited to come to work each day?
WF: My current focus is to work with equity based and special projects at MINIMAL Inc. and launching MNML Ventures. MINIMAL’s core design consultancy business keeps us connected with market trends and is excellent discipline for the team. With MNML Ventures, Scott and I are very excited at the opportunity of working with entrepreneurs and startups. We want to leverage MINIMAL’s expertise, experiences and connections in product design & development, branding, UI/UX, and manufacturing coupled with creative capital to help accelerate their ideas to actual products.
MINIMAL: You and Scott Wilson coming together to create a complementary partnership with MNML Ventures feels like a perfect fit. Share with us how you and Scott met, and what do you think is the connector that brought the two of you together?
WF: Scott and I have known each other for years. Ed Boyd, Head of Design at Dell, introduced us at the Consumer Electronic Show 2010 when I was there launching the Dell x Threadless partnership. Launching a fund that helps entrepreneurs build better products and brands makes sense with our backgrounds and experiences. Besides capital investment, one of MNML Ventures' hypotheses is that MINIMAL's product development methodologies, experiences and network is the unique value proposition that startups need in elevating brand, design, as well as getting profitable products to market more effectively.
MINIMAL: How important is the culture of a creative organization and how do you think MINIMAL’s culture is unique?
WF: Building and nurturing the right culture is a very important part of any successful group. The open-minded culture at MINIMAL sets the tone for the amazing quality of work that comes out of the studio. The team consists of thoughtful creative designers and engineers that know how to have fun and keep positive while maintaining their “game face” to produce excellence.
MINIMAL: Last, tell us a fun fact that people might not know about you?
WF: My wife and I met in a nightclub in Ibiza, Spain. After completing Law School in England, I moved to Ibiza to work with the promoters at Manumission and run the largest nightclub in Europe during the mid 90’s. Great way to spend 4 years after law school!
Photos by Nico Gibson