SAN FRANCISCO—frog, the global product strategy and design firm, today announced that Ethan Imboden has joined the company as Vice President, Head of Venture Design. Beginning in early 2014, frog’s newly created Venture Design practice will extend the company’s diverse portfolio of product strategy and design services to startup companies. The practice will also explore design partnerships with venture capital firms, incubators, accelerators, and other collaborators in the startup sector.
Imboden brings more than 20 years of experience guiding product innovation and entrepreneurial ventures, most recently as founder of Jimmyjane, a design-centric brand that is credited with redefining the sexual wellbeing industry through its award-winning designs and unprecedented mainstream reach. During his time as CEO of Jimmyjane, Imboden led all aspects of the company’s growth, from initial concept to consumer’s hands, including team building, venture financing, brand and product development, sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, and sales. He later served as Chief Creative Officer, and today remains Chairman of Jimmyjane, aiding in the company’s governance, and providing guidance on brand, product and market strategy. Prior to Jimmyjane, Imboden worked at frog, where he served as lead designer in the company’s San Francisco studio from 2000 – 2002.
“Ethan’s design, technical, and entrepreneurial expertise makes him the perfect fit to lead Venture Design,” notes Andy Zimmerman, president of frog. “This strategic initiative will not only leverage our diverse talent pool and capabilities to serve startup companies, it will serve as a bridge between our major corporate and nonprofit relationships and the startup ecosystem.”
“For startups, design isn’t just desirable, it’s foundational,” states Imboden. “frog’s expertise, experience, and global reach enable us to accelerate and de-risk development at a moment when time, cash, and learning all need to be optimized—and everything is at stake. Partnering with entrepreneurs in these formative stages enables us to collaborate deeply, and to have a disproportionate and ongoing positive impact on the growth of their companies.”
Prior to frog and Jimmyjane, Imboden worked with Arnell Group, ECCO Design, Astro Studios, and other firms to develop brands and products for a diverse range of clients including Ford, Colgate, Motorola, Herman Miller, and Nike. Before entering the world of design, he worked as an engineer on the development of DNA sequencers and other automated lab instrumentation for the Human Genome Project at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and a master’s degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute.