Case Study: Techstars and Startups

In 2012, Cristoforo worked as a designer and videographer in residence for the Boston chapter of the Techstars startup incubator. Given the designation “hackstar” along with peers specializing in other areas like web and mobile development, he was hired as a self-directed resource for young companies going through the incubator program. Techstars, like many incubators, offered a combination seed capital, co-working space, mentorship from entrepreneurs and investors, workshops, and the culmination in a demo day where participating companies pitch before a large group of prospective investors to kickstart and in some cases close their funding round.

In this environment, Cristoforo worked with various companies to devise and design (1) branding and logos, (2) messaging and pitch decks, (3) UI & UX for web and mobile, (4) company video overviews, ads and campaigns, and (5) packaging and print design needs.

In addition to Techstars, Cristoforo has worked in-house or freelanced for various other early-stage companies giving him experience working with teams on a variety of early stage challenges.

Video Ads

Some examples of short ads developed, shot, animated, and edited by Cristoforo.

Favecast – an app to share and discover great places with short, video recommendations

Fetchnotes – an easy note-taking app using typed conventions (now omnipresent) like # and @ for tagging and sharing on the fly.

Startup Institute – a skill bootcamp to help retrain people for in-demand startup jobs.

Branding & Logo Design

First Careport Logo

When Cristoforo met the founding team of Careport Health, they did not have a name or a logo. They were a company working to liaise between hospitals and post-acute care facilities. Through conversations with the team, it was clear that they were presenting themselves as a hub that would help transition patients from one type of care to the next. Cristoforo suggested this sounded like a sort of “airport for healthcare” and came up with the name Careport, along with a logo motif of arrows converging to create a red cross. In the initial version of the logo, this also formed the “o” in the name.

Ovuline (now Ovia Health) sought a design language to accompany the smart fertility kits that they would be shipping alongside an app and services they were developing to improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs associated with infertility and pregnancy, and help parents successfully return to work. Cristoforo developed a flat design language that leaned into the “line” of their name and pregnancy tests.

Chroma uses tags, colors, spatialization, and iconography to enable multi-faceted contact searches with a customizable UI. Building a prototype on behalf of a client with a small team, Cristoforo created communications and branding.

Chroma, the name and logo, were designed to evoke the strong use of colors to assist sorting and recall within the app’s interface. The silhouetted contact icon at the center was also designed to resemble a keyhole to suggest the latent power of your contacts.


Collaborating with Rohan Puri on the UI and UX on this beta for Chroma, the two of us were invited to speak together about our process and design thinking at the Harvard innovation lab:


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