Whether you’re building, backing, or accelerating the next big thing, you need a website that helps tell your story — why you exist, what you do, and why it matters. Rather than create another one of “those” websites, you can build something different that positions your company as the option, not just another option.  

Here’s how we’ve been building websites that differentiate their company’s from the competition:

A purpose-driven Content Experience to support an important mission.

True North Venture Partners is quite literally trying to save the world. Unlike a traditional venture firm, they invest solely in environmentally clean, sustainable, innovative technologies. They support established companies, work with governments and large institutions, and hunt for people with the next disruptive idea. They have four areas of focus:

  1. Abundant and safe water
  2. Low carbon energy infrastructure (solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal)
  3. Advanced fuels and chemicals (decrease greenhouse gas emissions for industrial, transportation and agriculture sectors)
  4. Waste harvesting

To build a reputation worthy of their portfolio, they needed a new website that not only highlighted but embodied the quality of the technologies and people of the firm.

A humble approach to design creates something beautiful.

To represent True North, we built a Content Experience focused on furthering their mission. The result is a clean and simple design that mirrors their message and answers what they do and why they do it. Specific highlights include:

  • Hover activated elements throughout the homepage and secondary pages to surprise the user without distracting from the content
  • Complex frontend development to activate user-control animations on the site
  • Content strategy and copy direction to better communicate their unique value proposition

 

A new player looking to make a splash.

Annoula Ventures is a privately-held investment firm in the Chicagoland area. They concentrate their investments in the real estate, hospitality, insurance, and early-stage technology industries. As a new firm, they needed a website to establish their presence in the space, highlight their unique approach, and feature prominent investments.

A sleek approach leaves a sound impression. 

Building the site from scratch presented an opportunity to make a unique first impression and showcase Annoula’s growing portfolio. We wanted to create a “digital business card” to substantiate the presence of the firm online. With simple imagery and direct language, we let the portfolio and media snippets speak for themselves. This approach resulted in a clean, sophisticated site, leaving potential partners feeling validated and giving Annoula room to evolve the site as they grow.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Finessed the language to directly communicate the firm’s philosophy
  • Created an easy-to-update CMS to allow for simple updates to featured, newsworthy content
  • Designed a custom carousel with a time slider to cycle through featured investments

TechNexus is aligning relationships with funding strategies to engage enterprises, accelerate startup growth, and drive collaboration. They create opportunities to multiply business growth and increase innovation among their members.Clique came onboard to redesign their existing site, focusing on a seamless user experience and content strategy. We repositioned their messaging to speak to target audiences and better tell their story, avoiding overused industry jargon and creating a voice of authenticity. The reimagined design coupled with the new messaging were implemented to elevate the TechNexus brand.

Technexus homepage

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Created messaging strategy across pages
    • Copywriting
    • Content curation
  • Designed microsite template for flexibility & scalability
  • Dynamic elements incorporated throughout
  • Created new color palatte to modernize brand

As members of TechNexus, we were honored to be able to tell their story.


The Chicago Venture Summit is an exclusive event where some of the most influential investors come to meet the best venture-backed startups in the Midwest. The event features curated networking to give both startups and VCs the opportunity to engage and connect.Having built the Chicago Venture Summit event website two previous years, we were thrilled to be able to do it again. We created an experience that does more than just advertise the event, but also speaks to the target audiences and generates the desired leads with strategic CTAs (i.e. “Request an Invite” and “Apply to Present”).

 Chicago Venture Summit website 2017

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Created a 2.5D Parallax video for an engaging landing impression on the homepage
  • Updated the logo
  • Refreshed overall branding to be more Chicago-focused
    • Applied new branding to all marketing materials (including PDF invites , flyers, etc.)
  • Utilized custom animations to add a dynamic element

Third time’s the charm (…or at least some of our best work yet!)


Freshwater Advisors, a Chicago-based venture development firm and innovation consultancy, connects corporations to entrepreneurial ecosystems. By scouting budding technologies and evaluating new ventures for investment and partnership opportunities,

Freshwater helps match promising start-ups with corporations looking to innovate. Since the company’s founding in 2013, they have grown immensely, working with over 20 major corporations, 16 of which are Fortune 500 companies.

Freshwater Advisors came to Clique to develop a custom platform to better support this growth. Our widespread presence in the Chicago startup community gave us unparalleled insights to best serve Freshwater’s needs. We built a modern, engaging platform that provides corporations with hand-selected startup portfolios, market insights, and tracking tools to help them effectively scout and interact with innovative startup companies.

Freshwater Advisors

TO DO THAT, WE:

  • Customized design and UX of platform
  • Incorporated all target data to be recorded and tracked
    • Proposed table structures & layout to accommodate
  • Built custom forms
    • Easy accessibility on backend for updates/edits
  • Created custom iconography

Custom build projects are some of our favorites—this one was no exception!


DV Trading is one of the world’s largest consumers and providers of global market liquidity. They are committed to their values of adapting, innovating, and evolving, which has led to their success over the past decade. True to these values, they recently became a fully autonomous trading firm, and are growing incrementally as a result.To accompany their move to autonomy and to better facilitate their growth, DV Trading approached Clique in need of a digital refresh. First, we created a splash page to highlight the success of the company and the recent naming of their CEO, Jared Vegosen, to the Crains Chicago 2016 40 under 40 list. We then executed the strategic design and full build-out of a modern, engaging website to elevate DV Trading’s brand and attract talent & investors.DV Trading

TO DO THAT, WE:

  • Integrated with Workable for managing job applications
    • Incorporated open source project link for gamified recruitment feature
  • Created custom timeline
  • Designed 10+ pages
  • Configured design to display on 4 URLs
  • Used custom photography

See how our designs match their innovative approach.


BPOC came to Clique a few days after launching their new website with a problem: a hacker had injected links to illicit pages into their site and on top of that, they were not happy with the overall experience that the new design created but were unsure how to fix it. We first cleaned the site of the injected junk and upgraded the security to prevent this type of attack from ever happening again. Then we addressed their concerns around User Experience by not starting fresh but instead, leveraging what they already had to learn what worked well and what did not. Combining a comprehensive UX audit and usability study, we were able to target specific items in the current build to refocus the overall brand identity and to also make the site easier to use.blog_bpocOur usability study uncovered the need to make the site easier to scan as one user put it:

“Font size is killer, I feel like nothing stands out.”

To address that, we established context and visual hierarchy throughout. The study showed us users had a hard time finding portfolio companies that were relevant to them.

“I have to go to a fund page and hope that they have them labeled by sector and hope the fund I am looking at has it. Nothing in fund 4, I’ll try fund 3,”

With this in mind we condensed them onto one page with filters for organization and ease of accessibility. Users had a hard time finding specific employees or positions on the team page saying:

“This is kinda jacked, you want the top guy to be visible first,” and after finding the CEO by mousing over several different pictures, “Ah there he is, Kenneth. So egalitarian of him to be in the mix.”

With those insights we re-ordered team members into a logical sequence by rank, and removed the hover state that hid the names and titles of the BPOC employees.

To further improve BPOC’s user experience, we have installed click and mouse tracking and will be conducting another usability study in the coming months. This is an excellent example of our expertise in user experience and our ability to constantly improve an existing website. If you would like to further improve you website, please get in touch.


Energy efficiency is a hot topic these days, as it fuels everything we do on a daily basis, whether that’s driving to work, charging your phone or simply showering with lights on. Energy Foundry are game-changing leaders and funders in the venture capital space and two-time Clique Studios clients!They invest in early stage energy, clean-tech and security startups with transformational technologies. Energy Foundry’s results driven growth comes from investing and targeting innovative companies in the industry in addition to simplifying sustainable energy use.

THE NEW ENERGY FOUNDRY SITE

Energy Foundry

Energy Foundry needed a  a clean and easily navigable website for potential portfolio companies to find exactly what they’re looking for and even apply for consideration.

To accomplish this, Clique built a unique responsive website with a “dark and powerful” yet aspirational look. Custom animations highlight each of the tools they provide portfolio companies, while the high contrast demonstrates Energy Foundry’s unique positioning in the energy space.


Pritzker Group comprises three professional investment teams: middle-market acquisitions, technology venture capital and asset management. The Pritzkers’ history and the firm’s success give their companies access to an unparalleled network of advisors, strategic partners and customers.pritzker_700pxPritzker Group’s focus on their partners and companies rather than themselves resulted in a design heavy and entrepreneur-focused site that truly puts their companies first. The clear message of the website is that the main focus on the Pritzker Group is helping entrepreneurs build and grow great businesses. Whether it’s a technology start up funded by their Venture Capital group or a manufacturing company acquired by the Private Capital team, the successes of The Pritzker Group companies will be highlighted and celebrated on the new website for years to come.Clique identified strategies for content and navigation, executed custom videography and photography, crafted solutions to gather testimonials and assets from Pritzker Group companies and team members, and built a responsive website based on UX best practices.