Helping our portfolio companies with design has always been central to our hands-on philosophy. Startups know that design is critical to their success, but often don’t have a team in-house to get them over the design hurdles they face. The right kind of help at this point can make a huge impact on how a company delivers great products.

Over the past three years we’ve built a full-time Design Studio focused on helping companies build better products. Today we’re happy to announce a new designer in residence program to further this goal.

Through the designer in residence program, we match extraordinary designers with startups and give them space to work together for several months. We’re excited to be starting off this program with two remarkable designers:

Caroline O’Connor joins us from the Stanford where she spent three years helping students, entrepreneurs, and executives apply a design-based approach to product development. She’s written about design for the Harvard Business Review and Forbes.

Brian Yeung is an expert in multi-touch interaction, gestural interfaces, and game design. He helped define the interaction model for the Xbox Kinect and has designed award-winning interfaces on the Sifteo platform.

Our designers in residence won’t spend much time “in residence.” They’ll be out in the trenches, working alongside startup teams in product design sprints. In fact, we already put Brian to work — he spent his first three weeks with startups, designing and prototyping products.

With our newly expanded team, we’re looking forward to helping even more startups tackle product design challenges.