Sep 23, 2020
Tags: Energy, Agriculture, Waste, Mobility, Tech Entrepreneurship,
A Conversation With Factor[e] Ventures’ Industrial Design Lead Jordan Westerberg
The original article can be found on the Autodesk website.
Author: Paul Sohi
Freelance designers: it’s probably safe to say you start to feel the pressure when you’re juggling a few projects at once, right? Well, imagine just for a moment that instead of a freelancer, you’re an in-house designer for a venture building company, and you’re responsible for supporting multiple startups in multiple countries at once—each with vastly different design needs. Well, Jordan Westerberg does just that.
Westerberg is the Industrial Design Lead at Factor[e] Ventures, a social impact venture firm that is dedicated to supporting the people and ideas that turn challenges in energy, agriculture, mobility, and waste into de-carbonized solutions for emerging and frontier markets.
Factor[e] Ventures works across the globe to bring disruptive innovation to the world’s fastest-growing markets. They serve as a conduit between philanthropic and commercial investors who are like-minded in their pursuit of sustainable development through market-driven forces. So, you know, no big deal or anything.
Believe it or not, Westerberg started his college career studying agriculture and was on an early path to entering his family business as a farmer until he found himself unengaged with the program. “[Agriculture] wasn’t catching my attention much, Westerberg says. “I took a few placement tests and scored decently high in engineering and architecture, so I switched out of the agriculture curriculum and ended up getting accepted into the industrial design program after completing the intensive design core program.” As Jordan tells us, it was a pretty standard industrial design college experience: countless cups of coffee, epoxy-covered fingers, and endless hours spent on the computer using CAD.
From there, Westerberg went on to work for a product design firm in St. Louis. “A lot of the time I was working on things like consumer electronic products—work for companies like JBL, designing products that were going to be sold in Best Buy,” he says. “The projects were far cry from what we do at Factor[e] Ventures where we are working on solving real-world problems for the people who could benefit the most from good design and engineering.”
Westerberg has now been with Factor[e] Ventures for nearly two years. During that time, he has worked with seven different companies and several foundations to help them bring their ideas to reality. Westerberg was first introduced to Fusion 360 when he started his journey at Factor[e] Ventures. The Autodesk Foundation provided him access to a plethora of Autodesk software and training to help him execute a project he was working on at the time.
“This might be a swear word, but I used SolidWorks throughout school and early on in my professional career at the first design firm I worked at,” Westerberg admits. “I probably had six or seven years of SolidWorks experience, but once I joined the Factor[e] Ventures team, I hopped on the Fusion 360 train. Literally within a week, I was converted completely. It was an easy transition.”
“Now I can’t imagine going back to SolidWorks because, with Fusion 360, everything I need is in one place,” he continues. “All the workspaces that Fusion 360 provides plays into my role at Factor[e] Ventures when it comes to working with so many different portfolio companies at once. Having everything in one space and on the cloud is super handy in terms of collaboration.”
Westerberg’s core role at Factor[e] Ventures is product design and development, and his work can manifest as ideation sketching and concept generation, DFM CAD, rapid prototyping, sourcing and manufacturing consulting, product/system visualization rendering, generative design, finite element analysis (FEA)—and the list goes on. And as Westerberg tells us, Fusion 360 makes taking so many different tasks under his belt manageable.
The broadness of Westerberg’s role, the breadth of companies that Factor[e] Ventures provides support to, and the variety of tasks he needs to execute are why Fusion 360 was the no brainer tool choice for him. “My role covers a lot. I always say it’s very similar to a consulting role because I essentially have to become a quasi expert in all of these new, groundbreaking, emerging technologies that are in the process of raising money. I work with startups that are still working towards developing their product or service and finding their footing in their respective markets.”
When asked what he wants to do in the future, Westerberg’s response was pretty simple: “keep working on things that matter.” We couldn’t agree more.
Read more interviews related to Autodesk software including Fusion 360 on the Fusion 360 Blog.