That Time We Made Mentoring Start-Ups Look Remarkable

If you want to succeed, you need a mentor.

No exceptions.

Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, (wait… wasn’t he friends with Steve Jobs?). Or unless you’re massively successful like Bill Gates, (spends time with Warren Buffet), brilliant like Aristotle, (taught by Plato), a blockbuster director like J.J. Abrams, (Steven Speilberg), or a highly-paid, iconic talk show host like Oprah Winfrey, (Maya Angelou, respectively)...

Actually, scratch that.

Everyone needs a good mentor, including you.

Especially if you’re launching a tech startup in Phoenix, a region dominated by computer hardware and solar panel manufacturers rather than by software companies. In that case, you’ll need a mentor with wisdom, insight… and a special appreciation for the underdog.

Enter the Arizona Tech Council, an organization dedicated to promoting STEM in education, and helping the next generation of Arizona tech and software communities flourish.

When they decided they could help rookie software entrepreneurs by pairing them up with successful professionals, they followed the playbook of most start-ups.They went all in.

Total disruption… and with pieces moving fast, they knew exactly what they wanted to do—consolidate and promote the mentoring program as its own spinoff brand.

They had the vision, the strategy, and the know-how… all before they had a name, a logo, or a shareable tagline.

Of course, that’s right where we came in.

Dropping in on the Phoenix Tech Scene

Truth be told, we’d done some consulting and design work for the Arizona Tech Council before.

We’d loved working with them, so when their Marketing Director Laruen Witte referred us to the leadership for a brand development partnership, we jumped at the chance to help a prestigious organization share its remarkable program with the wider tech world.

With a full-day branding workshop on the calendar, the Resound team grew as giddy as a pack of Apple fans waiting days in line for the next iphone drop.

Well… almost.

From core purpose to brand values

There’s no app for discovering an authentic identity, and then building outward to a truthful, eye-catching brand expression. Rather, drawing from the source means identifying a core purpose and then seeing how that purpose manifests itself in shared values. From our branding workshop, we found that purpose, and listened as the team’s leadership articulated qualities that made us even more excited.

Thinking carefully about the program’s goal of equipping young guns with mentors and setting them up for a successful journey through the ups and downs of starting a company, the brand workshop arrived at:

  • Lifting where we live
  • Persevering where others quit
  • Doing it right

And Propelling meaningful change.

The values proved to be a mirror, helping the new team see its program’s true reflection and giving words and phrases to the positive energy, motivation, and insight that brought them there.

Our next steps would be taking these core values and pairing them with a color palette, a definitive logo, and a graceful, straightforward website… but the mentoring program found they couldn’t move on any of this until they had a name.

A name that says It all

Searching for a name that would capture the essence of an insightful, flexible, success-minded and locally-sourced mentoring program, the Resound team combined two words that captures the entrepreneurs journey:

‘Venture’ (as in venture capital, venturing into the known, and the ongoing adventure of starting a company) and, last but not least, ‘ship’ (as in ‘to ship’ something new and precious, and ‘ship’ the vessel).

But the name VentureShip means and captures more than its combined definitions.

In the spirit of anyone charting any course through unknown, perilous waters the name suggests versatility, risk, boldness, challenge, and exploration—and in light of the time-tested mentors themselves, trust, stewardship, and responsibility.

We paired this new brand name with a color palette of blues and whites, and sleek, angular shapes inspired by tech products, or even a blue prize ribbon.

Our team cut a new website, pulling on our design, font, and copywriting chops to give VentureShip a confident, visible posture… some perfect eye candy for the incredible values, traits, and characteristics we’d all uncovered in the brand workshop.

Soon, Ventureship looked, and sounded, as remarkable as the networking, mentoring, and investing it would be doing a few months later.

Eager to name, but always ready to lend a hand

Reddit, Tumblr, WordPress, Intel—It’s not every day you get to help an organization come up with a brand name that people in a region’s tech scene will instantly recognize.

While VentureShip probably won’t be sailing off to some enormous IPO, we’re satisfied to see it connecting start-up founders with experienced professionals with decades in the technology sector.

If you’re searching for a new, revamped brand name, brand strategy, and brand expression that shares your remarkable qualities with those who need to see them, we’d love to lend a hand and meet you.

Check out the articles and videos on branding on our website, or go on and give us a shout.

Maybe we’ll see you at the next TechCrunch!

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