Venture Capitalist and Researcher
Joichi "Joi" Ito is a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, writer and scholar focusing on the ethics and governance of technology. As an activist, he works to tackle complex problems such as climate change and societal inequity and redesign the systems of scholarship and science.
Ito is the co-founder and a board member of Digital Garage and serves on a number of for-profit non-profit boards. He currently runs Neoteny, an early stage venture capital firm. Ito is also a co-founder of and a board member of the non-profit, Safecast, a primarily volunteer run platform that publishes and advocates for open environmental data.
He served as director of the MIT Media Lab from 2011 to 2019. Ito was chairman of the board of PureTech Health and was previously the board chair and chief executive of Creative Commons. He has served on other boards, including at The New York Times Company, Sony Corporation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), The Mozilla Foundation, The Open Source Initiative, and The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
Ito was an early investor in many startup companies, including Flickr, littleBits, Optimus Ride, FormLabs, Kickstarter, and Twitter.
In 2011, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute for his work as one of the world's leading Internet activists. He received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from The New School in New York City in 2013 and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Tufts University two years later. In 2013, he was inducted into the SxSW Interactive Hall of Fame. In 2017, he received the IRI Medal and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The following year, the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and the Antiracist Research & Policy Center named Ito to the FD200, a list of 200 people whose work and activism on behalf of equality and freedom reflects the spirit of Frederick Douglass. Ito was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from EPIC in 2019.
He earned a doctor of philosophy degree from Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance in 2018 for his thesis, The Practice of Change. He serves as a distinguished researcher at Keio University.
Ito is co-author with Jeff Howe of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future (Grand Central Publishing, December 2016).