Techstars: Get to Know Sawa



Cox Enterprises is proud to partner with Techstars Atlanta as a supporter of its third annual cohort. The 10 companies chosen to participate in the 12-week startup accelerator program this year represent best-in-class entrepreneurs from six U.S. states and Israel. The program is housed at Ponce City Market in Atlanta.

When you think about the McDonald’s “M,” you instantly picture the golden arches.

That’s because consistent and recognizable branding is important to companies. But the smaller the company, the harder it is to achieve that brand consistency. At small and medium-sized companies, it’s not uncommon for marketers to go rogue when it comes to creating corporate designs, because they need an email banner, social media post or similar design created more quickly than their in-house designers can deliver. (That’s if they even have in-house designers).

SAWA is the solution. The intelligent graphic design platform creates worry-free designs for marketing teams.

It was an idea born from founder Francis Tao’s own experiences handling marketing communications for a Washington D.C.-based global nonprofit organization. The employees there urgently needed beautiful designs, but the marketing team didn’t have the capacity to produce all their projects.

“When the employees didn’t get the design support from us, they would go off in secret and create their own designs,” said Francis. “It would look unprofessional and not be consistent with our branding. SAWA is meant to be the solution for both sides.”

SAWA — now a San Francisco-based company with five team members —  lets users upload their company’s preferred fonts, logos and color palette. It then uses that information along with “brand personality” information based on questions the user answers to automatically generate marketing assets (digital ads, email campaigns, website visuals and more).

As one of 10 startup companies chosen to participate in the Techstars Atlanta 2018 class, SAWA is currently working to scale up and to hone its presentation for the program’s culminating event: Demo Day. At the Oct. 15 event, company founders pitch their business plan to hundreds of potential investors and community supporters.

Francis said Techstars Atlanta has given his three-year-old company a huge boost, adding “I think the resources and network of Techstars is the most valuable thing by far.”


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