Published in


IDEO CoLab Announces $21M Crypto Fund

Backed by IDEO and four corporations, IDEO CoLab Ventures has invested in and helped incubate over 30 blockchain startups to date

Today, we’re excited to announce our $21M early-stage crypto fund. The fund is backed by IDEO, Avanta Ventures (the venture capital arm of CSAA Insurance Group), GS Group, Hanwha Asset Management, Fineqia, and other institutional investors, as well as executives from IDEO, Coinbase, Twitter, Fortress, and other major tech companies and financial institutions.

To date, IDEO CoLab Ventures has invested in and helped incubate over 30 crypto startups by bringing IDEO’s full range of capabilities — in the areas of product, design, customer research, and more — and networks to the development of early-stage crypto startups and protocols.

Bringing Crypto to the Mainstream

10 years ago, Bitcoin introduced the world to crypto and blockchain technologies, which for the first time, enabled human trust, incentives, and governance to be encoded into software run by distributed peer-to-peer networks.

For the last five years, IDEO CoLab has been at the forefront of crypto and blockchain, actively building with the technology, contributing to open source communities, launching initiatives like product validation day and fair launch capital, and co-creating with the founders of many protocols. Our hands-on work helped us develop a deep understanding and strong conviction in early 2016 that blockchain and crypto would ultimately lead to the creation of a new type of internet: a more open and distributed web that will give users greater access, ownership, and control.

Crypto and blockchains are driving the development of a more open and distributed web.

Like other technological innovations — computing, the internet, mobile, artificial intelligence — blockchain and crypto will introduce fundamentally new experiences, services, and business models to our world. They’ll eventually change people’s lives, and we’re already seeing early glimpses of what’s possible: Globally accessible, programmable, peer-to-peer digital money; open financial platforms and services; user-owned marketplaces and digital assets. All of these represent billion — or even trillion — dollar opportunities to reshape how people transact, coordinate, communicate, work, live, and play.

The industry is at a critical moment in its development. While blockchain and crypto technologies are still inaccessible to the average person, the fundamental need for more open, free, and equitable systems is greater than ever. We’re seeing more talent and experienced entrepreneurs flowing into blockchain and crypto startups in response. For these reasons, we’re more excited than ever about the future potential of blockchains and crypto and believe now is the best time to build and invest in it with other leading organizations.

“We’ve had a longstanding partnership with IDEO CoLab, collaborating on investments and a blockchain solution for insurance verification,” says Debbie Brackeen, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at CSAA Insurance Group. “Blockchain is a disruptive technology that will affect many industries, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with IDEO CoLab Ventures who is at the forefront of this important work.”

Our Portfolio

Since making our first investment in early 2018, the IDEO CoLab Ventures portfolio has now grown to include over 30 blockchain and crypto startups and 40 founders. Our investments focus on three areas that we believe blockchain and crypto will drive the most significant societal change over the next ten years:

  1. Rearchitecting the Internet: Web 3.0 infrastructure and tools that will be the building blocks of the next version of the web.
  2. Making the Financial System More Open: New financial systems, products, and services that are more open, free, and equitable for people around the world.
  3. Changing How We Work and Play: New networks, marketplaces, and experiences that will change the way people work, connect, consume media, and play.
IDEO CoLab Ventures’ investments confirmed to date.

We’re proud to not only work on some of the most important and hard problems with these teams but also to back these people whom we trust and respect. Change takes hard work and time. We’re humbled to be going on this journey with them, and we’re loving every second of it.

How We Work With Startups

At IDEO CoLab Ventures, we’re designers and builders first, investors second. Investing gives us the opportunity to do what we love: work with world-class entrepreneurs and teams on everything from the design of their product, protocol, UX, UI, business model, token, brand, go-to-market strategy, user acquisition strategy, and more.

“I would strongly recommend IDEO to any crypto entrepreneur. Their strategic ideation and advice is invaluable. Working with Ian, Joe, and their colleagues has been a phenomenal learning opportunity,” says Prabhakar Reddy, Co-Founder of FalconX. “They’re some of the most genuine, thoughtful, and well-connected people I’ve worked within crypto or VC.”

Our model also enables us and our portfolio companies to draw from the collective experience, expertise, and capabilities of IDEO globally in the areas of design, product, user research, and organizational development — as well as industries like financial services, technology, media, gaming, entertainment, healthcare, and others that IDEO has decades of experience working in.

“IDEO believed in us from the very beginning, and actually wrote our first check. Having IDEO as an investor has been one of our biggest step-change opportunities as a company,” says Mike Sall, CEO of Goldfinch. “Already IDEO has helped us in basically every aspect of the company, from detailed product design support, to connecting with customers and partners, to thinking about our broader strategy.”

Our fund’s corporate limited partners include IDEO, Avanta Ventures (the venture capital arm of CSAA Insurance Group), GS Group, Hanwha Asset Management, and Fineqia, and senior executives from Coinbase, Twitter, Fortress, other major tech companies and financial institutions. These partners and leaders are collaborating with us and our portfolio companies on research, go to market, and institutional adoption.

“We believe that the disruptive nature of blockchain technology is still underappreciated by the public, including corporations like ourselves, as it has not yet been translated into broadly desirable products or experiences,” says Taehong Huh, Managing Partner at GS Futures. “This will require collaboration between investors, entrepreneurs, designers, policymakers, and corporations. IDEO Colab is perfectly positioned to lead this movement, and we are excited to be a part of this journey.”

Join Us

We deeply believe that collaboration leads to better outcomes. That includes working with entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers, as well as like-minded and like-hearted enterprises and visionary executives.

We’ll be sharing more soon on our startup programs, future funds, and work in the crypto space. Until then, reach out if you want to work with us on the future of crypto, blockchains, and the distributed web:


The information included here is for general information purposes only. Nothing should be construed as, or relied upon as, investment, financial, legal, regulatory, accounting, tax or similar advice. Nothing should be construed as a solicitation to invest in any security, future, or other financial product, and nothing herein should be construed as a recommendation to engage in any investment strategy or transaction. You should consult your own investment, legal, tax and, or similar professionals regarding your specific situation and any specific decisions.

An investment in any strategy involves a high degree of risk. There is the possibility of loss and all investment involves risk including the loss of principal. The description herein of any approach, targets, and strategy is based on current expectations and should not be considered definitive or a guarantee that any approach, target, strategy, and investment portfolio will, in fact, possess these characteristics. The holdings identified do not represent all of the investments purchased, sold, or recommended by IDEO CoLab Ventures LLC (“IDEO CoLab”). Any projections, forecasts and estimates are speculative in nature. No representations or warranties are made as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of any statements. All information is provided “as is”, without any warranty of any kind. Certain links, including links to other websites, are provided in this post. These links are provided as a convenience and do not imply IDEO CoLab’s sponsorship or approval of any of these websites or their content. If you access any third-party website through this post, you do so at your own risk. All statements herein are the opinions of IDEO CoLab, unless otherwise specified.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
IDEO CoLab Ventures

IDEO CoLab Ventures

Where venture meets design. We invest in big ideas and good humans.