“Of all the many things people value and care for in the world, the mind is the most precious. In fact the mind is the foremost treasure in the whole world.”

– Abiding in Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein

It has been a hectic couple of months. I have been neck deep raising capital for Iceland Venture Studio, you would think since the announcement is done we are done, well we are not done yet. The problem with raising capital is that it is a never ending process. The advantage that we have in the Iceland Venture Studio funding model is that we don’t operate like a venture fund, we are a Studio, that means we raise capital like any startup and put that capital to work as soon as we are have enough to get going. We closed our first tranche of funding of approximately $1m, it was sufficient for us to get started so we decided to do just that. When we announced the Studio we also announced the teams that we are investing in.

The first one is Risk ehf’s Retina Risk App (iOS is here and Android is here). A Diabetes Risk Management Platform. We started with the most serious of the risks of diabetes; which is Blindness. We wrote a piece on that a while back in the Startup Iceland Blog, if you have not read it, you should. The mission of this company is to empower the diabetic patients to manage their condition with data, knowledge, strategies and algorithms. There is a long blog post due on why I am obsessed with solving this problem but it is enough to say this epidemic cannot be solved with just medication and/or healthcare systems. We need a radical re-think and that is what we are doing through the decentralized algorithm to help patients manage their risk of diabetic retinopathy.

The second one is FlowVR. A Guided Meditation Application using Virtual Reality, we are investing in FlowVR to build a specific mobile application that uses the content around the guided meditation with integration with wearable data from FitBit, Garmin or Apple Watch. We believe a real-time feedback on what is happening to your body while you meditate is a valuable habit forming loop. Watch out for more announcements and other strategies that we are exploring to accelerate the Studio concept using FlowVR. I will leak the secret, it has something to do with FunderBeam 🙂

Coming back to the Studio, we have a very clearly stated investment thesis, what we do and how we do it. It does not show you how the sausage is made yet but I guess you should have guessed by now that if it is worth saying you will hear it from me through this blog. We ask all the founders who want to work with us to fill out the 7 questions made popular by one of my favorite books Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters. If you have not read that book yet then the title of this blog post will probably not make as much sense as it would if you have read the book.