Accel is a venture capital firm that’s been helping bring some of the world’s biggest, everyday life-changing businesses to market since 1983. After their Series A investment in no-code development platform Webflow, the VCs wanted to move their own site to the platform to showcase its capabilities. We were also asked to help rebrand the firm and create a new visual identity that better reflected Accel’s founder-first ethos.
The existing site felt very corporate — a little too polished for the firm’s “lunchbox” mentality; what the group is really about is investing in relationships with innovative entrepreneurs and working together to build strong companies, not just fund them. So, we captured their humble, boots-on-the-ground, long-term relationship-oriented approach to investing with a brand that positioned them as human-centered through and through, with a warm, experience-laden, can-do attitude. Our goal from both a design and content strategy standpoint was to humanize the partners and highlight their relationships with founders.
Be bold (and humble)
A stark, geometric grid sets up the framework of our storytelling. The colors are rich, vibrant, and varied; our identity incorporates each of Accel’s partner company’s colors where the businesses are mentioned. The homepage layout also heavily promotes Accel’s founders over the firm itself, letting the Accel brand be “quiet” while founders speak and their companies’ logos scroll over the top of the screen. The result is not only a true representation of the VC’s down-to-earth values, but the design itself stands out in a category that has largely devolved into a kind of bland, distant corporateness.
Connect the dots
From a technology standpoint, the site is deceptively simple with a whole lot going on under the hood. Our research found that entrepreneurs mainly use VC sites to learn about the people they’ll be working with, and see what they believe in and who they’ve partnered with in the past. Our main challenge became building robust search functionality that mapped and indexed individual content elements — 400+ investments, 100+ partners and dozens of blog and news articles — creating interwoven data pathways so users could search in all kind of ways.
Now, users can search for partners by name, location, area of focus, or specialization, etc., or for a company by name, by industry, by founder, etc. Each partner profile page was also built to display the companies that team member has invested in or worked with, plus company profiles, blog posts they wrote, and blog posts about the companies. Form followed function here, with the site architecture created with that curious founder in mind: a fast-moving entrepreneur with a need to quickly surpass the emotional draw of brand to get to deep insights around how a specific VC partner might empower their rocket ship toward profitability and growth.