Chinese marketing group to acquire Yves Béhar’s design firm fuseproject

Yves Behar

For over a decade designer Yves Béhar and his firm fuseproject have been developing innovative gadgets, services and branding for both startups and big tech companies alike. Now the firm is in the process of selling a 75 percent stake to Chinese marketing firm BlueFocus, for a reported $46.7 million in cash.

The Financial Times reported the deal, and Fastcodesign interviewed Béhar over email to discuss the partnership. Béhar tells Fastcodesign:

We still have the freedom to run fuse the way it should be run, with the means to grow on a global scale. Nothing is changing in the way I run fuse.

I just finished reading an in-depth cover article on Béhar last night from Entrepreneur magazine. The article looks at Béhar’s unique strategy of using a venture-capital-inspired model to work with startups. The company and Béhar often times act as an investor or even a co-founder in some cases for young promising startups, like Jawbone, connected lock company August and smart gardening system Edyn.

Jawbone UP, Photo by Gigaom

Jawbone UP, Photo by Gigaom

Béhar tells Entrepreneur Magazine that 25 early-stage startups pitch their firm every week and they work with three or four a year. He’s been at the forefront of the need for technology companies to embrace design since the 1990’s.

In 2014, tech companies are adopting design like never before. Apple has been doing this for decades and more recently large Internet companies have begun to invest much more heavily in design practices and designer employees. Venture capitalists are hiring design partners (like Kleiner’s John Maeda) and designers are founding companies with an emphasis on using design thinking to develop products.

Gigaom hosts an annual experience design conference called Roadmap, which we will be holding this year on November 18 and 19 in San Francisco. Yves Béhar and John Maeda will be speaking at the event. Tickets will go on-sale next week, as well as a list of speakers and themes for 2014. Stay tuned!

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