A conversation with 1Sharpe Ventures

Wunderdogs recently launched the incredibly exciting case study of our work with construction and real estate investment giant,1Sharpe Capital. 1Sharpe is a full spectrum institutional management firm that partners with top-tier entrepreneurs, operators, and lenders to invest across the capital stack of real estate, structured finance, and technology. Approaching a business milestone, the 1Sharpe team approached Wunderdogs in search of partners to rebuild 1Sharpe’s core website and create a digital platform for their new endeavor: an early stage prop-tech fund, 1Sharpe Ventures. 

Since then, we managed to catch up with Ginny Miller, Principal of 1Sharpe Ventures, to discuss their quest for new founders and entrepreneurs, commitment to the environment, and their strategic goals around their new website.

Why do you believe it is important to measure the environmental and social impacts of your investments?

I believe more and more successful businesses will be triple bottom line businesses, which take into account “people and planet” in addition to profit. Regulatory shifts will continue to reward businesses that prioritize our environment and communities and will punish those that don’t. The smartest talent increasingly wants to work for impactful businesses, and that talent pool is getting more intelligent on how to assess real impact vs. greenwashing. And investors will see high-return opportunities in businesses solving long-term, massive problems that address unsustainable trends in our climate, societal wealth gap, and community infrastructure. We believe measuring “impact” still has a long way to go, and plan to learn from and leverage the hard work being done by other exceptional groups (vs. recreating the wheel), but I believe we cannot afford not to try.

How does 1Sharpe Ventures plan to influence real estate, finance, insurance, and construction to become more human-centered?

Real estate and construction are among the last major pillars of our economy to remain relatively offline. As we saw other sectors of the economy move online, we saw a consistent shift in consumer purchasing and decision power. Consider the media industry – streaming enables us as consumers to tailor our experiences, demand customization, and expect on-demand everything. Same for e-commerce, and we see banking and financial services trending in that direction. Real estate is among the least human-centered industries despite having, arguably, the largest impact on humans. Where we live, work, and play is often built around the ideologies of a few single actors basing decisions off of relationships, gut, and potentially an outdated excel spreadsheet. We envision a world in which consumers have more choice, access, and flexibility in how they interact with the built world, in turn pressuring real estate owners and stakeholders to deploy strategies for meeting those needs through the use of data, automation, and digital transformation. We believe the most successful real estate organizations will take a Netflix approach – adjusting their models to focus on what people want, need, and demand, then building businesses that can more intelligently design, build, and manage buildings for a rapidly evolving consumer base.

What exceptional traits are you looking for in entrepreneurs?

We don’t believe being an entrepreneur has a one-size-fits-all quality to it; and in fact, taking too much of a pattern-based approach creates the risk of excluding diverse backgrounds, personalities, and experiences from entering the entrepreneurial world. One consistent factor, however, is that starting and scaling a venture-backed business is extremely hard. Traits that indicate an edge that will enable a given entrepreneur to run through walls are what we seek – whether an unwavering commitment to solving a massive problem or a hunger to build and run a highly impactful business for the next 20 years of their lives. Additionally, businesses are just groups of people organized around a north star; we love entrepreneurs that have a gravitational attribute with hiring and retaining talent. We want to invest in people who inspire, motivate, and empower other exceptional people. 

How will the new website help you find and connect with exceptional founders?

Early-stage venture capital is a funny business, in which you are (hopefully) building a relationship with founders and LPs that extends far beyond capital. Like dating, finding a fit is critical and challenging, and we believe that brand and digital presence can be one proxy for representing who we are. We hope this will be an iterative project, as we evolve, but love having one first step towards shedding light on the way we see the world. Everything from color to font to words can have a huge impact in communicating ethos and strategy, and we want to be thoughtful in the same way we would expect our portfolio companies to be thoughtful around that side of their business. 

What is 1Sharpe’s main goal that you hope to achieve through your new digital channel? 

We hope our website can demystify who we are and why we started the fund to build relationships based on a mutual understanding. We hope it can also help us build a brand over time that is clear and consistent with how we invest.

We are just getting started, and having some semblance of our story online can help introduce a more open and informed conversation with our partners and entrepreneurs from the start! We also think brand is critical, and doing the hard work upfront to ask: “in 10 years, what would we want our logo or name to evoke” is important, with a digital presence as step one to building that ethos.

View the full 1Sharpe Capital and 1Sharpe Ventures case here.


How do vision and mission statements impact a company's long-term direction?

Effective vision and mission statements should ideally constitute important tools in formulating a company’s strategy. They should largely remain unchanged through the years, though a significant pivot may bring about new vision and mission statements. Together, they work to define the focus of the business and how it impacts the world. 

The vision statement is a representation of your company’s view of a better world. The mission statement reflects how it sets about to achieve this vision. They work together to create internal alignment and help with strategic decision making. When planning for the future, developing new products, or experimenting with new strategies, teams can perform a quick check against the vision and mission statements to ensure that these initiatives are aligned with the essence of the brand. 

In short, the vision and mission statements are powerful tools which can and should impact decisions across the organizations, making them important factors in a company’s long-term direction.

How does brand strategy influence the overall success of a business?

Your brand strategy reflects how your brand sees the world and its role within it. It is the framework that, ideally, should guide all your communications (both external and internal) and audience touchpoints, i.e. each interaction an audience member has with your business. 

Having standardized communication across all channels and touchpoints makes business processes smoother and positively influences your client relationships, ensuring you develop strong, long-term connections with your customers. It also simplifies strategic decision-making and aligns your team. All these factors are vital to the success of a business.

How do messaging frameworks help communicate your brand message effectively?

Messaging frameworks are structured guides that outline the core messages, value propositions, and differentiators of a brand. They ensure consistency across all communications, from marketing materials and social media posts to customer service interactions. By defining key messages that resonate with the brand's target audiences, messaging frameworks help ensure that a brand’s communications are clear and memorable. 

They also help organizations stay aligned internally and ensure that each member, regardless of their role, understands what the brand’s key message is and how to communicate it effectively. This internal alignment is crucial for presenting a unified brand image to the outside world.

What specific elements contribute to a brand's verbal identity?

A brand’s verbal identity should align your team on how your brand communicates and how this communication changes depending on the situation. It defines a specific and recognizable language through which your brand can deliver its message to your audience or audiences.

Typically, a verbal identity includes some, or all, of the following elements:

Brand personality: This captures the human traits or characteristics that your brand embodies, such as being adventurous, sophisticated, or reliable, which help shape how your brand is perceived.

Brand voice: The brand voice reflects how your brand reflects its personality across all communication channels.

Brand tone: While the brand voice remains consistent, the brand tone can change depending on the context of the message and the audience being addressed, ranging from formal and professional to informal and friendly.

Messaging frameworks: These are strategic tools that outline the key messages your brand intends to communicate to its different target audiences, ensuring that all messaging is aligned with your brand's mission, vision, and value propositions.

Messaging examples: These provide specific examples of how your brand's messaging might be applied in various scenarios.

Style and grammar guidelines: These outline your preferred spelling, grammar, and style, ensuring that your communication is consistent across the board. 

What are some key considerations when developing a tone of voice for a brand?

The first and most important consideration is the brand’s personality. While businesses are functional, they still communicate with people – and people primarily connect with stories and personas. Your brand’s personality will define a set of human characteristics which reflect how it sees itself in the world. By giving your brand these human attributes, you are making it both distinctive and easier to identify with. The tone of voice should reflect your brand’s personality.

It’s also important to consider your target market and your audience’s expectations. While having a distinctive tone of voice is important for memorability, there is such a thing as being too different. If all brands in your segment adopt a serious, professional tone, and you would like to be fun and playful, there is certainly space for that, but consider very carefully why you are doing it.


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How do brand guidelines ensure consistency in visual identity across different platforms?

Brand guidelines are a key tool for maintaining a consistent visual presentation across various platforms. These guidelines typically outline the main use cases where the brand's visual identity will appear and provide comprehensive rules and standards.

The guidelines include detailed instructions on how to use the brand’s assets, such as logos, color palettes, typography, and imagery. This ensures that anyone using these assets, whether they're designers, marketers, or external partners, can apply them correctly and consistently. 

It’s crucial that the entire team is familiar with these guidelines. It’s important to get team buy-in on the visual identity and ensure that the guidelines are easily accessible. When the whole team understands and follows the guidelines, the brand's visual identity remains unified across all touchpoints, enhancing brand recognition and trust.

How does visual identity differ across industries, and how can a brand ensure it stands out while remaining authentic?

Visual identity varies significantly across industries, shaped by both the industry norms and the unique aspects of each brand. Understanding where your brand stands in the competitive market is essential when crafting a visual identity that both stands out and remains authentic.

Industries have distinct visual trends that are often expected by consumers. For instance, financial services brands typically adopt a reserved, traditional look with a color palette dominated by blues and greys. In contrast, skincare brands often go for a lighter, more colorful approach with pastels. Being aware of these industry-specific trends is important because it helps to decide how much your brand should differentiate itself from these norms. This differentiation should be based on your audience's expectations and your brand's unique value propositions.

For example, a financial services brand that emphasizes its use of innovative technologies might choose a more digital-oriented visual language. Similarly, a skincare brand that focuses on scientific innovation might benefit from a more science-based visual language.

How does competitive benchmarking influence the development of a visual identity?

Competitive benchmarking is important in developing a brand's visual identity as it provides insights into the market environment. By examining the competition, a brand can better understand its unique value proposition and strengths. This understanding is crucial in identifying what sets the brand apart from others.

With this knowledge, a brand can lean into its unique strengths when crafting its visual language. This approach ensures that the visual identity not only looks appealing but also reinforces the brand’s distinct point of view and competitive edge.

What are the key considerations when creating visual concepts for a brand?

The visual identity of a brand should quickly and clearly reflect its strategic positioning. Designers begin the process of creating visual concepts by immersing themselves in the brand’s strategy to extract key narrative themes. These themes are then translated into a visual language that employs both emotional and aesthetic elements to communicate the brand's messages. This translation is crucial as it shapes how the audience perceives and interacts with the brand.

When developing visual concepts, it's important to make sure they align with the brand's strategy and fit well within the competitive landscape: demonstrating key differentiators, but still fitting into the industry at large. The visuals should also be suitable for the mediums they will be used in. Whether for digital, print, or physical applications, the choice of medium can greatly influence how the visual concepts are designed.

How does visual identity contribute to brand recognition and trustworthiness?

Visual identity is key to boosting brand recognition and trustworthiness, especially in busy markets. When a company maintains a consistent visual brand across different platforms, it becomes easier for customers to recognize and remember it. This consistency is crucial for standing out among competitors.

Having a consistent visual identity also shows professionalism and attention to detail. These qualities make customers more likely to trust a brand. When a brand looks the same across all touchpoints, from websites to products and ads, it tells customers the brand is reliable and serious. This builds trust and makes customers more likely to pick this brand over others that may not look as professional or consistent.


What are the advantages of having a well-designed and user-friendly website for a business?

The business landscape has changed dramatically since the pandemic. Now, your digital footprint is definitely at the center of most business growth strategies. A well-designed website allows companies to connect with users in an effective manner, ensure customer loyalty, and expand business - among other benefits.

Website design is the key ingredient to digital success, alongside well-functioning SEO tools, connected backend, and user-friendly strategy. A user-friendly website for your business will:

  • Increase user engagement and conversion rates
  • Improve SEO and searchability of your business
  • Improve retention rates
  • Make your business more credible while making your brand more memorable
How does the design of a website impact its accessibility to users, including those with disabilities?

In website design, "accessibility" refers to whether a site is designed in a way that is inclusive and usable by everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. 

This may include important site characteristics such as text-to-speech functionality, video captions, alternative text tags for images, enhanced with good design practices of intuitive navigation, straightforward copy. and others. Accessibility is integral to website performance and user experience.

How can businesses ensure consistency and credibility across their website, brand, and marketing materials?

To achieve consistency and credibility across all your collateral, you need to ensure that the brand message - both verbal and visual - is compliant with your brand guidelines. This can include:

  • Using the correct tone of voice principles across all communication channels to differentiate your brand personality

  • Communicating consistent messaging and key differentiators on all platforms

  • Ensuring that key visual elements (logo, color palette, typography, imagery) on your website, marketing, and sales materials are aligned with each other

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when designing and developing a business website?

According to a 2024 web statistics report, a staggering 75% of business credibility is attributed to various web design decisions. In order to improve your website’s trustworthiness, avoid the following common design mistakes:

  • Not prioritizing accessibility: One of the biggest design mistakes out there is overlooking web accessibility principles on your website.

  • Not investing in responsive design and customization: With the majority of global traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices, lack of responsive design and customization can break a business.
  • Prioritizing aesthetics over function: Compromising user experience in favor of flashy aesthetics will dilute your brand message and user journey to the required call to action.

  • Lacking clarity in messaging and navigation: Clear navigation and messaging will reduce the friction users may experience when landing on your site as they are trying to get a clear picture of what your business is.
How does website copywriting contribute to user engagement and conversion, and what role does SEO play in this?

The goal of web copywriting is to guide your users through their web journey while providing information, engaging with and converting them into buyers. Each section of your site shapes the visitor perception about your brand and affects their buying decisions. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a practice of creating engaging and persuasive content that not only appeals to your users, but also incorporates relevant keywords and techniques to attract organic traffic to your site.

To start writing SEO-friendly copy for your site, you can:

  • Manually conduct keyword research by checking what competitors are ranking for
  • Use SEO software like SEMRush to investigate new keyword opportunities
  • Make sure to review keywords frequently as their popularity changes often and you want to keep ranking for competitive terms.

Get in touch

Inspired? We’d love to connect and explore ways to collaborate.