Your Design Co-Founder

Good design means good business. We ensure design quality (i.e. better valuations) right from the start, making us an ideal co-founder for user-facing startups.
We think of ourselves as a pre-accelerator. IXDS labs joins startup teams in a design co-founder and CPO role from the very early days, at the stage of conceptualization and ideation. Design + business + technology is a winning combination; at IXDS and IXDS labs, we cover all three. Investors, accelerators and incubators are often strong in business modelling, mentorship and access to their network; we bring a sharp user focus and a startup approach to service design and user experience. 

We are convinced that every startup (or every company, for that matter) should have a design co-founder - or at least have design as an executive priority. Recent data only strengthens our case:

  • 9 of 25 top VC-funded startups have design co-founders
  • over 10% of the 2015 Fortune 100 place design as an executive priority
  • 42 design firms acquired since 2004, almost 50% in last 12 months

Read more on the role of design in tech here.

Designers are trained to think from a user experience perspective, but they are quickly catching on to thinking business. The recent rise of ‘product’ people in the US startup ecosystem is further proof that mixed perspectives of business, design and technology are inherently important for startup success.

Why Partner with IXDS labs?

Together with IXDS, our team comprises of designers, engineers and entrepreneurs; perfect ingredients for early stage startups. Think of us as a pre-accelerator; a foundation to build quality, user-centred products with hands-on help from a pool of experts in service design, UI & UX, industrial design, hardware and software prototyping and business design.

Our offer to (pre-seed) startups

We invest very early; we look for great founder personalities over solid ideas. If you don’t have seed investment yet, your first priority is to do what is necessary to get there. That usually means a pitch deck, team and vision.

For pre-seed startups, we support in the following areas


  • business model design (back of the envelope)
  • service design
  • pitch deck (vision, market, competition, call to action, layout, etc)
  • finding a co-founder
  • finding an investor
For seed startups we will assist on the following topics


  • prototype for manufacturing
  • recruiting design team
  • defining product strategy
  • route to market
  • customer acquisition / customer lifetime value
  • KPIs

For this we ask for a 2.5% stake in your company.

With IXDS labs as a shareholder in your company, you get access to


  • co-working space in Berlin and Munich
  • hardware/maker lab
  • design for equity / reduced agency rates to work with IXDS as a service provider for design and prototyping*
  • IXDS freelance pool

If you want to learn more or pitch us your idea, just contact us.

* Design for equity

We know that money is a very limited resource for startups, so we wrapped our head around how to enable working together and still make it work for both sides. Unfortunately we cannot offer IXDS design services completely for free, but we brokered a deal that gives you access to the top notch talent pool of IXDS with high a discount on their normal rates. The difference (from normal rates) will be converted into equity in the following investment round.

Our startup experience

Startup clients

In the past we worked together intensively with founders and startup teams such as Mimi, CardioSecur and LifeBuddy. We supported them from the initial concepts through to product launch, doing hands-on service design, UX and visual design for their products as an active part of their team.

Our Directors

Our labs CEO, Bryony Cooper, is a serial startup entrepreneur and has built 3 successful companies to date. During her 4 years as CEO at T Dispatch, Bryony was responsible for financing, managment, sales, marketing, communications and business development. She gained extensive experience in B2B, SaaS, mobility/smart transportation and cloud platforms. Bryony previously participated in a Berlin incubator program and has worked with various accelerators, leading to the implementation of an internal accelerator at IXDS. 

Bryony has worked as a consultant advising various early-stage startups in the areas of business and communications, including pitch coaching and investor relations.

Hannes Nuetzmann, CPO of the labs, is a product person all around. He has backgrounds in Computer Science and Interface Design, and worked more than 5 years on building products and experiences in startups and agencies. He co-founded two startups, and was employee number one of Home eat Home, a Coca-Cola Founders startup, where he managed the technical development and user experience.