Hi, I'm Stef Lewandowski

My surname is pronounced Lev un dos key. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @stef and on Linkedin. And I have a recent CV you can read too.

I'm an early stage venture builder. I use design and code to explore new venture opportunities, create digital businesses and solve real problems for people.

I've run an award-winning design agency, co-founded several tech businesses that have raised significant venture investment, set up and run startup studios, instigated cultural and creative events, projects and organisations, and along the way made hundreds of prototypes.

Now I consult as a venture builder. The process usually involves someone with an innovation or venturing responsibility in a company spotting a space where a new business could be made. In partnership with a consultancy or venture studio, I bring together a diverse group of designers, product people, marketers and entrepreneurs. We define a set of constraints within which to search for a viable business model, and then together, we'll test out multiple ideas using prototyping, customer interviews, desk-based research, and all the way up to fully-formed digital products.

I'm currently reaching the end of my most recent venture building project and available for new opportunities.

For the last few years I've been working with my wife Emily Quinton on a positive learning community for creative people, Makelight. She's built a social media audience of 500,000 people and we have a userbase of 100,000 across a range of courses and digital tools like Year of Colour.

Makelight started a side project that I worked on while at my previous startup studio. I was the technical cofounder of Makeshift for two years. It was a digital product company building a series of useful web/mobile/tech products aimed at 'giving a leg up to the little guy'. We repeatedly built early stage digital business ideas by trying out many small prototypes. In those two years we developed twelve early stage ideas, whittled them down and ended up with Attending, Hire My Friend, Wrangler and Linkydink, which spawned the rather wonderful Product Hunt. I sadly can't claim any credit for that, but we made a nod to it in another product I built, Unicorn Hunt, a London-focused jobs board which sold to Tiny (Owners of Dribbble) in 2017.

Prior to Makeshift, I co-founded Aframe, a cloud-based video production platform, as the technical founder, helped grow the company from two to over thirty staff, saw it through $10m of private investment and on to expansion in North America.

For many years I spent my spare time (not something I have so much of after kids!) attending and organising hack days, where I made collaborated on a long list of hacks including a crypographic quilt, a laser-cut "data necklace" made from personal data and a Shakespearean e-commerce store called YeBay. That spirit of experimentation and play is something that I maintain in my work today.

Further back, I undertook a Clore Leadership Fellowship, sponsored by the Cultural Leadership Programme, having previously been more-or-less simultaneously involved in a boutique web agency, 3form, a record label Type (currently offline), a creative industries membership organisation, and a number of experimental startup projects and festivals.

Along the way I've been lucky enough to be part of some great teams and won a handful of awards for our work.

I volunteer as a governor at Heber School, a community primary in South London. I maintain a close link with the University of Birmingham and I am on the industrial advisory board of the School of Computer Science and I am a member of Court, one of the University's governing bodies. I'm involved in a project to encourage children into technology through robotics, Distribute The Future. I'm also a venture partner with Ignite and I mentor and speak on their accelerator programme.

I’m a father of four young kids and enjoy spending my spare time writing, drawing monsters, making mixes, spending far too much time on Twitter and generally keeping up to date with the latest trends and thinking about “what’s next?”.