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Why Frog Is Taking A Gamble On Early-Stage Startups

Frog’s newly formed venture arm makes bold bets on startups peddling everything from Wi-Fi kiosks to a SodaStream for beer. Wise or risky?

Why Frog Is Taking A Gamble On Early-Stage Startups
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In 2014, the global design consultancy Frog formalized a venture arm–a small experimental group called FrogVentures, tasked with helping entrepreneurs launch new products, often in exchange for equity. It was a risky move, especially at a difficult time for many design firms like Frog, as large tech companies hoovered up talent and brought design services in-house. But the gamble paid off. FrogVentures’s portfolio company LQD WiFi, which makes kiosks for cities that deliver free Wi-Fi, emergency alerts, and other information, sold to Verizon in 2016.

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Today, FrogVentures supports a range of companies producing everything from smart hardhats to a SodaStream for beer. We sat down with FrogVentures head Ethan Imboden–formerly of the high-design sex toy company Jimmyjane–to learn about the particulars of venture design.

Inside Frog’s Wild Venture Design Arm

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

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