Introducing the Advisory Council, and the Next Step for Bora

One of the hardest things to find as an entrepreneur is the right partner to help share and grow your vision.

In 2010, I met Bora while pursuing my MFA degree at the ArtCenter College of Design. During the first year of our graduate studies, I was confronted with the challenge of running a fast-growing business, and began to see the challenge of working alone. I remember arriving on campus at 4am in order to work on verynice projects up until 10am. Then, from 10am to 6pm, I would work on my school work, attend class, and collaborate with my fellow MFA candidates. Somewhere along the way, Bora, who had the cubicle next to me at ArtCenter, shared with me her dreams as a designer. She believed strongly in creating opportunities for designers to engage in mission-driven work in order to help communities in need. After hearing about her vision, it was immediately obvious that she shared the same dream as verynice. After working together on numerous pro-bono projects, I asked Bora (over a bowl of spaghetti) to join the verynice family as Managing Partner. Upon graduating, we got our first office space at the HUB in Downtown Los Angeles, and with our full time efforts focusing on growing verynice, we were able to grow from 100 volunteers and one full-time staff member, to a business with multiple offices, over 10 staff members, and over 400 volunteers. Our partnership was an incredible and exciting journey, and today I could not be more excited to help share with you all the next chapter for verynice.

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As of August, Bora and I have worked together to create a plan that has allowed her to smoothly transition out of her role as Managing Partner into a new role as a Founding Member of verynice's incredible new Advisory Council. The Council includes a panel of experts from diverse industries who are all incredibly important in bringing verynice to the level it is today. These members include Steve Kukla, Jeff Manos, Seri McClendon, Alexi Robichaux, Kristin Romaine, Terry Stone, and Petrula Vrontikis. Each of these individuals have provided incredible support to me as a young entrepreneur, have had my back, and have inspired me throughout my career. While Bora will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of verynice, I feel comfortable knowing that her voice will live on within verynice in this exciting new capacity. Stay tuned for more information about our new Advisory Council as well as a lot more exciting things to come. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following timeline which highlights that past 10 years of service, highlighting the many accomplishments Bora has made possible for verynice:

2005:

  • Matthew's first pro-bono engagement takes place in Sunnyvale, CA.

2006:

  • 100% pro-bono work for UCLA student groups

2007:

  • Matthew takes on his first paid design project that was referred by a pro-bono client

  • Daytime Moon Creations becomes the first official pro-bono client of a verynice design studio.

2008:

  • Soft-launch of a verynice design studio

2009:

  • Public launch of a verynice design studio

  • Featured on Daily Bruin and Cargo Collective

  • First volunteer of a verynice design studio joins the team

2010:

  • a verynice design studio is featured in the UCLA Design Media Arts undergraduate gallery show, prompting more volunteers and partners

  • Decks for Parks project launches as the first internal initiative of verynice

  • MTV Savage County, verynice's first major project, launches

2011:

  • Give-Half Model is established

  • Matthew + Bora’s first pro-bono collaboration via Homeboy Industries

  • verynice's network reaches 100 volunteers

  • verynice reaches $250k in donated pro-bono services

2012:

  • Bora joins as a partner and a verynice design studio re-brands itself as verynice.co

  • Matthew gives a talk at TEDxCMU

  • verynice establishes its Entrepreneur in Residence program

  • First office space acquired at Impact HUB Los Angeles

  • First agreement for pro-bono projects established

  • verynice is featured on Forbes and GOOD

  • verynice's network reaches 250 volunteers

2013:

  • verynice reaches $1MM in donated pro-bono services

  • verynice hires its first staff member: Kate Manos

  • Featured on Forbes, Huffington Post, Art Directors Club

  • verynice is awarded the Golden Root Award from Taproot, and received recognition from Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti

  • verynice launches a partnership with the Unicef Innovation Unit to scale up its volunteer program via project U-Report.

  • verynice beats Borat for "very nice" in the google search rankings and is subsequently featured on MTV for this momentous occasion

  • verynice's network reaches 300 volunteers

2014:

  • Launch of NY office at CSI

  • Printed edition of "How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free" is published

  • First volunteer fellow deployed to Uganda in support of UNICEF Uganda Country Office

  • Partnership with Ashoka’s Catapult providing design mentorship curriculum for youth ventures begins

  • Launch of Models of Impact, a research project and platform that documents impact models and revenue models in use today

  • Partnership with City of LA for Civic Fellowship Program

  • Jake Dunagan joins as Director of Design Futures and launches ATX satellite

  • verynice team grows to a dedicated staff of over 10 across all three offices

  • Wider range of services offered under the umbrella of Design, Strategy and Foresight.

  • Partnership with Google for Billion Acts of Peace

  • Matthew gives a talk at TEDxJNJ

  • verynice LA moves to a new office space

  • verynice reaches $3MM in donated pro-bono services

  • verynice's network reaches 350 volunteers

2015:

  • Reginald, a new pro-bono invoicing platform by verynice, launches

  • verynice is invited to the United Nations to serve as a delegate for the Media for Social Impact Summit

  • verynice's network reaches 400 volunteers

  • Matt, Jake and Bora participate as speakers at World Future Society

  • verynice is profiled in the Fall 2015 issue of HOW Magazine

  • Launch of Advisory Council