Daniel Burka, who co-founded mobile incubator Milk, has joined Google Ventures as a design partner.
In a tweet earlier this morning, Burka noted that this is another chance for him to work with his Milk co-founder Kevin Rose. Before Milk, Burka was a designer at Digg and a co-founder at Pownce (Rose co-founded both).
Google acquired the Milk team in March, and a few months later Rose joined Google Ventures as an investment partner. According to Burka’s new bio on the Google Ventures site, after the acquisition he led the mobile experience team for Google+.
Design partners are part of the Google Ventures design studio, which works with portfolio companies on product design and user research. A Google Ventures spokesperson told me that the firm has held more than 50 design sessions with its companies this year. The firm also announced a designer in residence program in October, where it enlists designers to work with its startups for a few months.
I’m scheduled to talk to Rose in a few minutes, so I’ll be updating this post with his comments.
Update: When I asked about what brought Burka over to Google Ventures, Rose said it made sense, especially given the pair’s history together, and Burka’s experience co-founding Silverorange, a web agency that “does nothing but work with various different startups.”
Rose added that Google Ventures has realized — “just as everyone has realized” — that design plays a big role in a startup’s success. At the same time, different startups have different design needs, and so the firm’s design partners have different strengths. Burka is “a really amazing product designer” and visual designer, he said, while other partners are good at research and running focus groups.
I also asked if anyone has taken over Burka’s role at Google+. Rose said he doesn’t know, but added, “Obviously, it wasn’t just Daniel — they’ve got a whole team of designers over there.”
Google Ventures is the financially motivated venture capital arm of Google Inc., founded in 2009. Google Ventures invests in startups in industries including consumer Internet, software, hardware, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and others. They aim to invest about $100 million a year, with deal sizes ranging from seed to late-stage investments of tens of millions of dollars, depending on the stage of the opportunity and the company’s need for capital. Google Ventures currently invests in the U.S. and has offices in...
Daniel Burka was the creative director at Digg and is one of three founders of Pownce. He is also one of the founders of the Canadian company Silverorange, where he worked on various projects including branding and user interface design for Mozilla. At Digg, Daniel worked with Kevin Rose to evolve concepts into a cohesive user experience. Enabling the vibrant user community to participate on the site is a constant challenge as it grows and changes. Daniel also designs the...