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How Mangrove Serves Startups

Dive into our work with 5 visionary organizations

by mangrove team
published on April 8, 2024
A sparkler burning a sunset in the background

Startups are often helmed by trendsetters, innovators, and industry changemakers. They emerge because their teams have something new to offer—a product or service that can empower groups of people, fill vital gaps, or move industries in a new direction. But the road to starting a business is rarely straightforward, and having the right tools can make a difference. In a world where digital presence and connection are critical, tools like authentic branding and efficient websites are essential for new companies.

New organizations need a way to tell their story, establish who they are, and connect authentically with their audiences. One of the ways we aim to be a “force” for good at Mangrove is by helping changemaking organizations, many of which are startups, establish their visual identity and build an effective digital presence to achieve their goals.

The most effective brand identities are more than aesthetically pleasing designs—they are strategic tools that can convey a business’s values and create authentic connections. We’ve worked closely with startup clients to create compelling brand identities that represent their vision and empower them to stand out in crowded marketplaces.

Our team also specializes in creating dynamic digital platforms that are accessible, user-friendly, easy to manage, and capable of growing alongside a business’s evolving needs and values. We are proud to have partnered with some visionary start-ups that have gone on to do great work. Explore more of our work with these organizations below.

Transforming diabetes care: Scimar

Scimar, a pioneering Canadian biotech company, is revolutionizing approaches to preventing, detecting, and treating type 2 diabetes. Their breakthrough came with the discovery of a previously unknown hormone, hepatalin (“hepata-lin”), bridging gaps in medical understanding related to type 2 diabetes, metabolic health, and nutrient partitioning.

As Scimar geared up for the next phases of product development and clinical trials, it sought to engage with new audiences and investors through its brand design and website. With plans for expanding into new ventures and products, the team at Scimar sought a flexible brand identity that could adapt to changing circumstances.

Through collaborative efforts, we created a brand identity system that speaks to Scimar’s diverse audiences while presenting as a cohesive whole.  The Scimar brand identity strikes a balance between scientific credibility and investor appeal, with a visually appealing mark symbolizing the key biological signals of hepatalin release. Similarly, the Wellness Transformation Network’s identity reflects community-driven initiatives to combat diabetes. The mark, a variation of the Scimar logo, signifies transformation, wholeness, and connection, with vertical lines suggesting the impact of community partnerships.

With brand identities established, our focus shifted to developing an engaging WordPress site. Maintaining its website on the WordPress platform was a priority for Scimar, alongside the need for strategic content direction and brand integration. It was also important to make sure the site was designed to be accessible to the largest audience possible. Careful attention was paid to user flow, incorporating motion and graphics to convey Scimar’s message with scientific credibility and approachability. Back-end customizations ensured compliance with Level A Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, allowing the design vision to shine.

Explore our work with Scimar

Scimar Homepage

Revolutionizing retirement planning: Just Futures

Just Futures is a people of color-owned and gender diverse public benefit corporation that specializes in connecting nonprofits and their employees with retirement plans that align with their values. With a range of newly developed offerings, they sought to revamp their website to clearly articulate their identity and services. Being a startup, they prioritized a robust content management system capable of accommodating future growth. 

In collaboration with our partners Dearborn Strategies for content strategy and Flight Design for design, we developed a customized WordPress site. The website is designed for clean navigation meaning visitors can easily find the information they need and expect, and readily understand its content. Importantly, the site adheres to accessibility standards and is scalable to meet the organization’s evolving needs.

A particular highlight is the “hover” function, which provides definitions of unfamiliar terms without redirecting users to separate pages. These pop-up panes are screen reader-friendly, improving user experience and maintaining concise site content.

Explore our work with Just Futures

JustFutures Homepage

Empowering underrepresented and marginalized creators: NiftyLit 

Established in 2022, NiftyLit, is a literary magazine, community, and publishing company prioritizing writers and artists. The publication showcases short-form literary works across fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and flash genres. Since its beginnings, NiftyLit has been committed to promoting exceptional, thought-provoking content, particularly from emerging creators within underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Building on the success of their thriving Discord community, NiftyLit sought to expand its reach by revamping its existing website. With the NFT market gaining momentum, the company recognized the need to improve its online presence to showcase its products more dynamically. The goal was to create a platform capable of growing alongside the business, facilitating seamless browsing, and showcasing new NFT collections. Integration with the OpenSeas NFT marketplace platform was essential for streamlining the purchasing process, while also supporting community engagement beyond Discord.

In collaboration with our content and design partner, Public, we developed NiftyLit’s new website using WordPress. This platform provides the flexibility for the team to manage content independently, including custom illustrations and detailed tagging of each piece by genre, author, and illustrator. The incorporation of customized OpenSea NFT marketplace integration means visitors can preview available literary content and transition to the platform for purchases.

Explore our work with NiftyLit

Niftylit Homepage

Supporting niche innovation: Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks has quickly become the go-to digital platform for building businesses and networks. The Mangrove team was brought in and supported Mighty over 3 whirlwind years.  Initially, we worked with the team on three projects: 

  1. Niche Name Generator: An interactive tool designed to help niche brands create unique business names. 
  2. Niche 100: A dedicated microsite showcasing the most innovative online niche brands.
  3. A comprehensive refresh to improve the design and user editing experience of the platform’s marketing website.

Together, these initiatives aimed to further promote Mighty Networks’ presence and functionality.

Firstly, we conceptualized and developed the Name Generator, an interactive tool tailored for niche brands seeking distinctive identities. Through collaboration with our partners at L+R, we conducted UX/UI Research & Strategy for the Name Generator segment. This involved comprehensive user interviews and prototyping sessions aimed at creating a tool that not only captures users’ attention but also sustains their engagement over time. Our team executed the designs and engineered the underlying logic of the Name Generator, providing a positive user experience with informative and inspiring outcomes. 

Our collaboration with Mighty Networks is ongoing, focusing on strengthening the logic and functionality of the Name Generator to meet evolving user needs. Today, the Niche 100 (now repurposed as case studies) is evidence of our successful partnership, offering a curated selection of innovative online brands. This microsite serves as a valuable resource for aspiring entrepreneurs, offering insights and inspiration as they explore niche businesses.

Explore our work with Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks Homepage

Revitalizing connections: Off the Grid

Off the Grid is a renowned food truck company that operates over 50 weekly public events across the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing communities together to enjoy an array of tastes from local street food vendors and transforming underutilized public spaces into bustling neighborhood hubs.

Using their proprietary CMS, Off the Grid manages a strict operation, including event scheduling, vendor coordination, and menu offerings. Recognizing the need for enhanced digital capabilities, Off the Grid sought Mangrove’s expertise to help create a bespoke WordPress platform to meet their specific needs. Through integration facilitated by our custom API, Off the Grid seamlessly merges its internal CMS with the WordPress interface, empowering it with greater autonomy over its marketing efforts.

This integration allows Off the Grid to effortlessly manage and update their marketing pages directly from the WordPress dashboard. With updates synchronized from its internal system, Off the Grid ensures that its online presence remains current and reflective of its event offerings.

For users, this translates into a seamless and intuitive experience. Whether seeking out events of interest, perusing vendor offerings, or exploring menu options, visitors to the site can easily navigate through list or map views. With the help of geolocation technology, the platform automatically displays relevant results based on the user’s current location, making it easy to find nearby attractions and encouraging active participation in the lively Off the Grid community. 

Explore our work with Off the Grid

Off The Grid Homepage


The partnership between Mangrove and these startup organizations reflects our spirit of fueling innovation and helping businesses do their best work. If our skills can help grow your business, reach out. We would love to be a part of your story.

Photo by Dawid Zawila on Unsplash.

A Certified B Corp, Mangrove is a woman-owned website design and development company with a diverse, talented team distributed around the globe. We’ve been building websites since 2009 that amplify the work of change-making organizations and increase the competitive power of businesses owned by historically marginalized people.

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