Fund looks to extend its successful legacy backing market leaders including Stripe, Gusto, and Notion
Designer Fund, a San Francisco-based design and venture partner, today announced it has raised a $40 million dollar Fund III. Designer Fund invests in early-stage tech companies that use design to improve health, sustainability, and prosperity for all people.
Over the past decade, Designer Fund has invested in and partnered with nearly 100 startups, including multi-billion dollar companies like Stripe, Gusto, Notion, Commure, and Netlify to help hire and manage exceptional design teams, provide expert design advice, and offer professional development with a network of top designers and founders. As more design-centric companies like these have succeeded, the venture ecosystem is finally grasping the importance of design, and the impact it can have on successful business outcomes.
“Ten years ago, we began to notice that excellent design created exceptional outcomes for companies. That bet paid off, and this fund continues our mission of backing exemplary founders and empowering them with design to improve the world,” noted Ben Blumenrose, co-founder and Managing Partner of Designer Fund. “We’re looking for mission-driven companies that intentionally create a positive impact on people and our planet. Whether promoting economic opportunity for more people, grappling with climate change, or improving health and wellbeing, we’re committed to funding companies that make a difference.”
Designer Fund invests in and supports businesses that recognize design as a key driver in overall company success and is working to bridge the design gap in legacy and frontier industries such as financial services, digital health, and climate tech. Its investment thesis proposes that great design is more than just aesthetics, and can yield outsized returns.
The fund also announced its Designer Fund Partnership, a new investment and design support model for early-stage startups that includes an average investment of $500K, monthly design help, and a community of design leaders that founders can call upon. Designer Fund Partnership is a more inclusive way for founders to apply to partner with Designer Fund without needing a referral.
“It’s rare to find an investment firm that prioritizes and understands intelligent design like Designer Fund,” noted Max Hsieh, co-founder, and CTO of Forma. “In working with them, we found the support we needed to build the product we envisioned. When it comes to building impressive and impactful products, hiring talented designers, or helping navigate growth, there is no one better than Designer Fund.”
“Designer Fund is an early Gusto investor and one of the most successful early-stage VCs in the valley. They are definitely one of the most helpful ones in our journey at Gusto,” stated Tomer London, CPO, and co-founder of Gusto.
“Designer Fund was one of our seed stage investors who’ve been with us for a large part of our journey. Ben has always been incredibly supportive, including helping with design hiring and interviewing as well as thinking through the role of design in our organization. He even went as far as helping design our Series A deck back in the day, which led to 5+ term sheets,” said Matt Billman, CEO of Netlify.
In addition to the new fund, the firm is growing its Designer Fund Collective, a community of hundreds of founders, advisors, and design leaders who are committed to improving the world with good design. Collective members can participate in a members-only Slack workspace, virtual events, and in-person gatherings around subjects ranging from scaling early-stage design teams to driving business impact through design.
Designer Fund was launched in 2014 by Ben Blumenrose and Enrique Allen and is now open for new investments. Founders can submit an application by October 31st, 2022, at designerfund.com.
Designer Fund partners with early-stage companies to empower them with design to improve the world. Designer Fund invests in Pre-Seed through Series A companies, helping them to hire great talent while providing expert advice and connecting them to a community of design leaders they can call upon. Designer Fund partners with founders that use design to improve health, sustainability, and prosperity for all people. Designer Fund has raised three funds totaling over $80M since 2014.