Jin Fan

Jin Fan, co-founder and CEO of ClearLED, completed her bachelor's degree in 2009 with a major in interactive arts and technology and a minor in communication.

ClearLED creates transparent LED displays for major global clients such as Air Canada, Bombardier, Aritzia, Walmart, McDonald’s, Cirque de Soleil, Nine West, and Bank of America. Her education and experience in creative communication, interactive technology, computer science, and product design led her to begin her career at IBM and SAP. She then joined Dream Lighting City Culture Development in Beijing to manage large scale entertainment projects combining sophisticated stage technology with acrobatic artistry, integrating sound, LED, animation, projection mapping, lighting design, and art. She was inspired by the potential of clear LED screens to found her innovative business. 

Jin is passionate about technology and design; and she enjoys hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and snow-boarding.

How did you you get into display design and technology and what was the journey like, is this what you wanted to do after graduation?

The SIAT program prepared me with many solid skills in the area of digital media design and technology development. I have a particular passion in media mrchitecture and always wanted to create interesting digital experiences in the context of physical spaces. After working for SAP and IBM, I got an opportunity to work on media architecture projects in China during 2012 to 2013. Through one project, we developed a bright LED display that would allow people behind the display to see outside and allow sunlight to pass through while still showing media content.

It was around that time that I discovered the opportunity to develop this type of display into a series of product lines that could potentially become a new type of building material, enabling future architecture to become a living and dynamic interactive device. Retail business can also digitize their storefront signage to engage their customers without blocking their windows or views. With that goal in mind, I founded ClearLED and got myself into the audio visual industry.

At what point in your life did you want to make ClearLED your career and passion?

After starting up the company and running it as a side job for two years, we had gained more and more interest which gave me the confidence to devote all of my time to developing it into a larger company. It’s always been my passion to make a positive impact on the world through design and technology, and building ClearLED fits my goal.

What was the turning point for you or your company when it became a true business beyond a startup project?

After successfully completing several projects with our products, we gained the reputation and brand awareness within the audio visual industry. Today we have several award-winning works in our portfolio, including clients like the National Arts Centre of Canada, McDonald’s, Zara, LUSH, and Primark, and we have developed a reseller network worldwide.

For our current and future alumni, what is one trait you would tell them to never compromise?

Curiosity and passion, I think. These are the two things have been my fuel that kept me going for this many years.

How do you stay inspired?

I am planning on going to business school part and-time to expand my business knowledge and network. Also, I would like to get more involved within the Vancouver startup community and get inspired by other people’s stories.