Facebook design manager Ben Blumenfeld is leaving the company to co-direct Designer Fund, an angel fund of designers, TechCrunch reports.
Blumenfeld, who started working at Facebook in 2007, has been on sabbatical since December, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. However, the news comes shortly after a number of other high-level employees announced their departure, raising questions about how Facebook will evolve post-IPO.
After working on growth and platform, Blumenfeld managed the design communications team, which focuses on guiding users through changes and educating them about products. Most recently he helped with the transition to Timeline.
“We were building great products, but not doing a great job of guiding people through the changes, or telling them why they were important,” Blumenfeld told TechCrunch.
Now with Timeline, for example, Facebook provided a number of resources to understand the change, a nearly year-long rollout and a seven-day curation period for each user. The team has also expanded significantly over the years. Facebook has 45 designers, including some that have come through acquisitions of well-known teams in the industry.
Blumenfeld, who helped create the group in April 2011, will co-direct Designer Fund with Enrique Allen. He says its mission is to invest in designers who create businesses with positive social impact. The fund also provides mentorship and education events to help entrepreneurial designers.
“This is an ambitious undertaking,” Blumenfeld wrote in a blog post. “As one of my mentors told me – ‘If you leave Facebook, it has to be for something important. Something huge.’ For me, helping the next generation of designer entrepreneurs build world changing companies is exactly that.”