Zoo Labs Announces Raffi Minasian as Chairman of the Board

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Minasian brings 25 years of experience as a designer, educator and musician to the board of Zoo Labs, a creative incubator for entrepreneurial musicians and music-tech startups.

Zoo Labs is proud to announce the appointment of Raffi Minasian as Chairman of the Board. Minasian brings deep experience in design, innovation, business and education to the Zoo Labs mission of building new models to support creative careers at the intersections of music and technology.

“As Zoo Labs begins to grow and expand our reach, we’re happy to have Raffi’s incredible breadth of experience and remarkable leadership on our board,” says Vinitha Watson, Founder and Executive Director of Zoo Labs. “Raffi truly understands how to bring a vision into reality. He is gifted at navigating complex design and business challenges, and brings intense focus and insight to the table.”

Minasian’s multi-disciplinary background as a designer, educator and musician adds a highly relevant perspective to Zoo Labs as it continues to grow its programs for entrepreneurial musicians and technologists working in music. Minasian was one of the first workshop leaders at the Zoo Labs flagship program, a unique hybrid residency/accelerator for entrepreneurial musicians called Zoo Labs Music Residency. It combines an opportunity to create new work in studio recording session with workshops focused on building long-term business strategy. By introducing musicians to business as a design-based craft that is compatible with their existing creative process, Zoo Labs helps teams understand their ability to have dual focus. Minasian has first-hand knowledge of this through his extensive career as a creative and business-minded professional.

In his 25 years as a practicing designer, Minasian has matched his exceptional creative talent with an understanding of the product development cycle and how products are supported by business and marketing strategies. His work includes aircraft interior design for The Boeing Corporation, toys for Mattel and McDonald’s, consumer products for Microsoft, Polaris, and Rainbird, and car designs for Lexus, Subaru, The Franklin Mint, and Moal Coachbuilders. In all, Minasian has designed and developed hundreds of consumer products, toys, and home accessories. He holds degrees in both Product and Transportation Design.

More recently, Minasian has devoted much of his professional energy to educational programs targeting young people interested in design professions, new concept development for startup companies, and business plan development integrating design thinking as part of the business strategy. He teaches Industrial Design and Innovation at California College of the Arts. In addition, he is an advisor to several startups and served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Collectors Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving youth in the automotive community through scholarships, grants, and museum support (now the Hagerty Education Fund). His experience has brought him opportunities to speak at museums and corporate events on the subject of futurism, new ventures, and creative process.

He is also a lifelong musician who still plays regularly with several bands.

With the addition of Minasian, the Zoo Labs Board of Advisors consists of: David Watson, Asher Waldfogel, Victor Bennett and Namane Mohlabane. Together they bring experience in venture capital, entrepreneurship, arts non-profit organizations, music, design, game theory and engineering.

About Zoo Labs:
Based in Oakland, CA, Zoo Labs is a non-profit creative incubator where music, entrepreneurship and technology intersect. Their goal is to develop new ways to support musicians and to create new models for sustainable creative careers. Their facility includes a state-of-the-art recording studio and collaborative workspaces for musicians and music-tech startups. They will be running their next Zoo Labs Music Residency in June 2014.

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