DeFi Incubator Cumberland Lab Comes Out of Stealth Mode

The growing Singapore-based Web3 lab will have 25 staffers by week's end.

AccessTimeIconJul 21, 2022 at 6:40 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:36 p.m. UTC

Cumberland Lab, a Web3 and decentralized finance (DeFi) incubator, which shares the name and expertise of Chicago-based cryptocurrency trading giant Cumberland DRW LLC, is moving into the public sphere.

The Cumberland Lab incubator is based in Singapore, where it has been quietly building since March. The lab now numbers around 20 staffers, with five more being added this week, according to Cumberland Lab chief Naveen Agnihotri.

It could be a well-timed move as the so-called “DeFi summer” of 2020 blossomed following the 2018-19 crypto winter. In addition, pure DeFi would seem to be vindicated to a large degree as having so far survived the recent bloodletting involving overleveraged and opaque trading platforms.

“Crypto winter environments are a very favorable time to find growth partners who are in it for the long haul, as opposed to investors who only want to know if your token has gone up 30% this month,” Agnihotri said in an interview with CoinDesk.

There are currently several DeFi projects under the auspices of Cumberland Lab, added Agnihotri, though he decline to provide details.

Agnihotri continued: “The lab has two broad initiatives: One part is to incubate projects as they come to us, and the other is to launch our own projects. We look out into the ecosystem and see if there’s a product or a project that should exist but doesn’t. And if so, we build it ourselves. So we will create a team and we will fund it and bring in management and launch it ourselves.”

Cumberland Lab was founded by the DRW partners, Agnihotri explained, but strictly speaking it’s not a DRW or Cumberland entity.

“So legally, we’re a different company," he said. "We have our own management, we make our own decisions. Having said that, we do benefit from the wisdom of our founders. But the idea is that we will be incubating and launching our own projects that will go out into the world, and not necessarily become captive projects for the DRW or Cumberland.”


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Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

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