Q+A: Martin Lenclos

Long time DUMBO resident Martin Lenclos is a creative visionary with a broad-based background spanning start-up branding and fundraising, product development, business strategy, design leadership, and investment deck design.

Over the past fifteen years, he has founded three innovative start-ups, driven exponential revenue growth for multiple business and played key role in raising tens of millions in funding for dozens of start-ups. Recognized as a creative pioneer who balances innovative ideation with visual storytelling, business analytics and practical execution, Martin has become a trusted advisor and mentor to numerous entrepreneurs. To increase their chances to raise capital, he translates their visions into action, helps them develop their brands and builds their strategic presentations. We sat down with Martin to learn more about his journey. 

'I've been working with innovative communication technologies for the last 15 years.'

Martin Lenclos

Preparing pitch decks, huh? That's an interesting niche you've found in this start-up world. How did you end up working in this space?

I was working on my last start-up at the Digital Future Lab, the NYU/Poly DUMBO incubator {which we profiled on our website here}. It's an incubator member-startup CEO who had seen my investor deck that recommended me to the organizers of a NY accelerator program looking for someone to mentor their founders on design.

I've been working with innovative communication technologies for the last 15 years, making digital experiences, virtual platforms and new media ventures. When I wanted to take a break from entrepreneurship, offering my design and strategic skills to innovators and start-up founders was a natural evolution.

Tell us more about your story. How did you end up in DUMBO?

I'm originally from Paris. My parents were designers and teachers passionate in the rhetoric of color on a global scale. Growing up, I spent my summers traveling the world with them as they studied color within the context of culture, and how that combination was expressed and drew populations to specific color schemes. They first brought me to New York when I was 10. I was fascinated by the scale of things. It shook me up and made a big impression. I came back in 1999 with a six month scholarship to Cooper Union's School of Art and it's during that time I discovered my entrepreneurial spirit.

Years after and three media art start-ups later, I chose to settle in DUMBO. I had been coming to DUMBO before moving here for Almondine's bread and pastries—ha, I wasn't going to leave this tradition behind—but I mean it when I say it, Almondine's chef, Hervé, is a true artisanal pastry artist who has maintained an incredible quality in his products over the last decade since I've known the bakery. Now, DUMBO is where I both live and work. The yellowish grays of Washington, Front and Jay Streets remind me of Paris, and I love how palpable the creative vibe is here—It offers a cultural mix that's totally in line with my needs.

What makes you successful at this kind of work? 

I'm adept at helping start-up founders, especially those working on new, first-to-market technologies. They often need significant support to be able to both conceptualize ideas or products for themselves, and then to express them to investors. Through overarching creative direction, I help to craft unique storytelling that elevates the visionary's concept. I offer a strong background in branding and design, Bring a history of new product innovation, and a talent for getting to the heart of each company’s unique value proposition. I have an extensive experience with multimedia and visual arts with years both challenging graphic design norms with my own design and digital art projects. I have worked for a wide range of businesses, media companies like Condé Nast, cultural institutions like PS1 MoMA, and consumer product companies such as Pepsi.

How does it feel watching a company flourish before you?

I've been lucky that a large amount of these start-ups I've worked with have succeeded in their fundraising and that feels so rewarding. I feel that I'm there to help in the personal development of the company and its founders. I've seen founders go through so much, some who have made it and others whose company didn't take off. Beautiful stories happen as much through successes as failures. When you see someone rebounce post-mortem, it feels great. Perhaps it is one of the things I like the most about living here —stories often don't end at a fail.

What’s a favorite project or two that you have worked on?

Early on, I was fortunate to work with Joe Landolina, a Crain's 40 Under 40, and CEO & Co-Founder of Cresilon. Joe invented a product that literally saves lives — a gel that stops bleeding in seconds. I was with him during the first years of his medical device start-up as he and his co-founder were raising money for the development and manufacturing of the invention and speaking at renown international conferences like TED, at the U.N., and at the White House.

Have you got any exciting projects around the bend? 

I'm working for a start-up creating a very innovative new commodity to back stable-coins and cryptocurrencies that is both digital and physical.

If I am one of these companies how can I go about contacting you to discuss working with me?

You can find more at www.martinlenclos.com or schedule a chat at https://calendly.com/martinlenclos.

What is your favorite place in DUMBO?

The DUMBO Beach has been my favorite spot since I first visited DUMBO in 2005. DUMBO Beach was not nearly as developed back then — you had to sit on a pile of rocks — yet, it was so peaceful and always had great views of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and Downtown Manhattan.