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Hum-an Stories: Q&A with VP of Design Krista McDonald

Written by Hum Capital

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This interview is part of Hum-an Stories, a Q&A series with Hum Capital leadership and employees providing a look under the hood at what drives Hum and its funding platform, the Intelligent Capital Market.

Krista McDonald has been at Hum a little over a year leading product design and UX. In essence, she’s the design architect behind our product, the Intelligent Capital Market. At Hum, you’ll find Krista working with every team within the larger organization – marketing, engineering, sales – you name it.

In this Q&A Krista shares why she decided to join Hum, why she enjoys working for startups and high-growth companies, and what sets Hum’s product apart from other funding platforms.

Q: Why did you decide to join Hum and what excites you most about what Hum is building?

I was looking for an opportunity to work with a company that was creating a product where design could step in from the beginning to make really great user-centered decisions. I spoke with [Hum CEO] Blair about his vision for the product, and I felt like it was something I could really get behind and champion. Having experience in pitching startups to investors, I definitely empathize with our user base and was excited to make that experience significantly better.

Q: For a lot of your career, you’ve worked at startups and high-growth companies. What is it about the startup culture and environment that you enjoy?

While I love working for startups and high-growth companies, I’m very picky about which ones I work for. Startup cultures vary quite a bit as you’re working with a much smaller group of people. In my current and past experiences, I really enjoy getting the opportunity to establish what design means in these smaller organizations and help lay the foundation to help the company grow. I can see how other design-centered startups create better products and have more success and that’s something I like to champion and be a part of.

Q: As VP of Design, you help lead the design and user experience of Hum’s product, the Intelligent Capital Market. What do you think stands out about the ICM and how is it unique compared to other funding platforms?

What is really cool about the ICM is that we are developing technology that seeks to understand businesses in ways that traditional investment firms and other funding platforms aren’t doing. It takes years for a person to understand every industry and product vertical out there today, and people are biased! But our technology can really improve the process of evaluating private companies . It’s really gratifying to hear our users talk about the frustration of fundraising melting away when they see how we can analyze their business data effectively and help them in much less time than traditional funding methods. Other funding platforms tend to be one-size-fits-all or offer services to a small subset of industries. The ICM is agnostic to all that. We’re currently working on transforming our user experience to catch up with our technology and really showcase to companies and investors the value of our platform. 

Q: It’s hard to believe we’re now in Q4. What would you like Hum’s biggest accomplishment to be known as at the end of this year?

We have done a lot to standardize the way that investors can evaluate a company that’s looking for funding. Investors are used to getting data in varying methods, formats, and many times with inconsistencies. We’ve streamlined all of that by connecting directly to a company’s system of record. The data that gets output is dependable and standardized. This saves investors (and companies) so much time going back and forth with requesting data, and then many times reformatting the data they received.

Q: Now for a fun question. What’s your favorite activity to do outside of work?

My mind is always going, so I enjoy things that require all my focus. I’ve never been a sporty person, but for the past two years I’ve been obsessed with learning how to play tennis. I like how technical it is and really forces you to put your brain in Zen mode.