By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
That’s where John Roescher and the team behind Handsome saw an opportunity. They launched Handsome, a web app and mobile design studio, in late 2011 in Austin.
“All you are is what your consumers experience,” Roescher said. “You only exist as people perceive you exist.”
Recently, Handsome joined The Brand Foundry Collective, a network of advertising, public relations and marketing agencies. Brand Foundry Ventures, a venture capital firm based in New York, created the collective to help entrepreneurs and startups with their branding and marketing efforts. It’s targeting partnerships in select regions and Handsome represents the Austin region. Other cities include San Diego, Minneapolis, Detroit and New York.
Roescher started designing websites in high school and then he joined the military. When he left, he went back to designing websites but this time high-end websites and products specially tailored for technology companies. Handsome’s customers include Silvercar, HomeAway and TrendKite.The bootstrapped startup has 16 employees in Austin and another 14 in Russia. The team grows and fluctuates depending on the project they are working on, Roescher said. They are currently hiring an experience designer, a UI/UX designer and a product manager in Austin.
The founders of Handsome include Roescher, Adam Deutsch, Brandon Termini and Alex Zub, director of development, based in Omsk, Russia.
Being based in Austin is a strategic advantage, Roescher said. The city is a booming technology hotspot, it’s also a great place to live and it makes people happy, he said. And it’s a great place to entertain clients, Roescher said.
“Everyone loves coming here,” he said.
Handsome acts as a product and design team for its customers.
Other local mobile and web design companies based in Austin include larger firms like Chaotic Moon, Mutual Mobile and smaller firms like Rocksauce Studios.
“Working with a company like ours lets our customers accelerate in meeting their goals,” Roescher said.
About two and a half years ago, TrendKite chose Handsome to take the idea they had about a new solution for smart marketing analytics and make it a real product. Handsome helped the Austin-based startup with product strategy and design and front-end development. TrendKite makes business analytics software for public relations professionals and marketers.“It was really important to have good visuals behind it,” said A.J. Bruno, TrendKite’s President. Handsome created TrendKite’s mobile and web design.
“At the time, they were relatively young and were willing to take a risk on a cash-strapped startup,” Bruno said.
“We’re very, very happy with the work they did,” he said. They designed TrendKite’s site and the first version of its application including its dashboard.
“It allowed us to brand,” Bruno said. “When we did our pitch deck it gave us a lot of credibility.”
TrendKite has raised $4.4 million in venture capital since its launch.
“A lot of their design we still use today,” he said. “More than two years later and we’re still rocking with the handsome design and application.