Metalab Ventures, backed by the interface design firm and other investors, will seek product-led startups from pre-seed to series A stages.

Luke Des Cotes, Metalab Ventures

Photo of Metalab CEO Luke Des Cotes courtesy of LinkedIn.

Canadian interface design company Metalab has launched a $15m first fund under the new corporate venture capital arm Metalab Ventures, TechCrunch reported yesterday.

Metalab Ventures will focus on product-led companies that develop and provide offerings based on customer needs. The unit is set to invest in between 25 and 35 startups at the pre-seed, seed and series A stages, having already made a few undisclosed deals.

Luke Des Cotes (pictured) and David Tapp, Metalab’s CEO and head of partnerships, are general partners at Metalab Ventures. Metalab is a limited partner in the fund, which has unnamed LPs including institutional, funds to funds, angel investors and founders.

Founded in 2006, Metalab helps software and device producers with user interface designs. The company’s customers include Slack, Coinbase, Uber and Tumblr.

Because Metalab’s clients are often startups, the firm already has experience working with entrepreneurs through designing their apps and platforms, Des Cotes told TechCrunch.

Through the CVC programme, Metalab will work more closely with founders for a longer period, between 10 and 12 years. Des Cotes added that although the company invested in startups in the past, it did not have a formal scheme in place.

“We’ve already operated very much like a venture fund,” Des Cotes was quoted as saying. “Now we are working through that process to understand what’s the product, what’s the opportunity, what’s the value that can be created here.

“When we believe in this business, we think of human capital as being our scarce resource that we can then deploy into those businesses.”

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.