Ivan Vasilev

Scentbird

2018 — 20

New York, USA

YC-backed fragrance subscription startup with over 300K subscribers

Director of Digital Product Design

The Russian Design Cup

2017 — 18

Moscow, Russia

An open annual competition for experienced and aspiring designers organized by Mail.Ru Group.

Jury

The Russian Design Cup contest attracted 1467 participants in 2017. Along with four other distinguished design managers, we provided feedback and rated hundreds of submitted works in four rounds.

Alfa-Bank

2012 — 18

Moscow, Russia

15M+ retail and 400K+ corporate customers

Head of design

Studio+Molinos

2001 — 12

Saint Petersburg, Russia

My design studio was acquired by Molinos ad. agency in 2010

Founder, Head of design

By 2009 my studio had nine employees and became a well-known web production in St Petersburg. In early 2010, I negotiated with Molinos ad. agency, and my studio merged into their structure, becoming its web production department.

Soft5

1998 — 01

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Soft5 LAN center automation software

Co-founder

Story

2018 — the US-based startups

In early 2018 I was granted O-1 Visa (individuals with exceptional ability) and moved to New York City to join Scentbird, an online fragrance subscription service with over 300K active subscribers (Y-Combinator alumni, $27 mln. raised in 2018). For the next two years, I led the product team and focused on user retention. I improved information architecture and built an ML-based fragrance recommender.

2012 — Head of design at Alfa-bank

Alfa-bank invited me to join them in 2012. During the next intense six years, I participated in one of the most impressive and scaled digital transformations in Russian fintech. Alfa-Bank is one of Russia’s biggest non-government commercial banks, with 15 mln retail and 400,000 corporate customers.

In 2012 people were using mostly branches instead of online. I launched a nationwide advertising campaign to address that issue. The campaign was a massive success as we saw an increase in our mobile and online banking usage by early 2013. It was a significant contribution to online banking revenue and savings on branches.

I've built a design department from zero to 30+ product designers and UI engineers. By 2016 my team was recognized as one of the Top-5 design departments (according to continuous research by Mail.Ru in 2017 and 2018). Our retail and corporate apps and online banking were permanently recognized as the best in their respective classes according to various fintech ratings and a growing user base.

My success as a design manager was based on my approach to design processes — I’ve kickstarted a design system development that eventually was adopted by the whole organization. Developing a design system in code was revolutionary at that time. My team was the first in the banking industry to develop such a codebase and scale it on an industrial-grade level. This development helped us to increase time to market, directly impacting the revenue from digital channels. Design systems are now widely adopted in major companies, following our example.

Early days

As a teenager, I was in love with computers and gaming, which led my classmate and me to create an app for computer gaming clubs in 1998. By 1999, I sold more than 100+ copies. Our small venture grew into a Soft5 company with two developers and five salesmen by 2001 and exists to this day, with over 1250 active customers in 12 countries. I left Soft5 to focus on web design and development and founded my design studio. By 2009 it had nine employees and became a well-known web production in St Petersburg. In early 2010, I negotiated with Molinos ad. agency, and my studio merged into their structure, becoming its web production department. The first major public success was a website for Sobaka.Ru, one of the most popular lifestyle magazines in St. Petersburg. It was awarded in 2012 as one of the three best websites in the Mass Media category.

Noticeable projects

Besides my primary jobs, I always had some design-related projects.

As of now, I am working on my own startup, a designer training platform.