Jun. 21st, 2012

Weird is Good. Also: Profitable.

Too often, genius goes unnoticed. Like, for instance, this tastefully patriotic glove + koozie. Or bagel dogs (why have we not discussed these oeuvres de genius, people? they’re gigantic pigs-in-gigantic-blankets!)

Or, say, the simple-yet-brilliant idea of storing nuclear waste inside glass – because glass’ half-life is longer, and it keeps radiation safely contained. Or using nanotechnology to design stain-resistant couches – a hyperactive juice lover’s dream come true.

These are just some of the convention-shattering ideas that Palo Alto venture capitalistas (and Mortar client) Firelake has helped bring to market. (Not the bagel dogs – we wish.) Firelake prides themselves on being able to spot genius where others can’t. That’s how they turn backyard projects into breakthrough companies.

Firelake isn’t like other VCs. They’re small. They co-invest with large firms, staying nimble while gaining access to a greater pool of resources. But above all, they favor outrageous ideas. The weirder it sounds, the more they like it.

So we knew we had to give them a website that wasn’t like the others. We latched on to the insight that genius is everywhere, but Firelake’s mission is to recognize it and cultivate it. Eschewing a traditional format, we grouped images and words patchwork-style to create a rich and interactive grid. The content in each box is swapped in and out as new clients and new stories arrive.

The site has a strongly tactile feel, and works particularly well on the iPad. In a world where most VC sites look like this and this, Firelake’s sticks out in the best of ways. We dare you to find another homepage with a raw piece of salmon on it (and no, sites like this one don’t count).


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