When the startup’s idea is already figured out and developed with a whitepaper, roadmap and the final product description, the weighty problem that still seems to be a stumbling block is to find investments for further development. To meet market demand, our team selected several incubators and accelerator programs that help newborn blockchain based startups to make a quick start into the big gamble world.
There are two types of supporting organizations that are likely to lead a newbie business to success: the ones originally specializing on putting into effect crypto tools and blockchain-based technologies and the others, well-known globally as traditional financial or IT specialized companies that turned to blockchain in its evolution on the market. The shortlist of the “fairy godmothers” for the new startups is on stage:
The supporters of the crypto sphere
Huobi Labs is a blockchain incubator of the same name as the third largest crypto exchange in the world. It provides the newbies advisory, fundings made in crypto form, SMART-Chain evaluation model, and the main company’s insights, reputation and trust. To apply for the incubator’s program fill the following form as the first step.
In February 2018 a partnership between Huobi Labs and 500 startups was announced. Both companies will have to select companies for Batch 23 blockchain track with the creation of program design, development of fundraising strategy, white paper drafting, networking and marketing communications.
I am very excited to partner with Huobi Lab. Our teams will learn so much especially around the ins and outs of how a digital exchange works.
Edith Yeung, the partner at 500 Startups
Among the former wards of Huobi Labs are CoinMeet, a blockchain social networking ecosystem with wallet and identity integration, IOST, an infrastructure protocol providing security and scalability to the decentralized economy and DATA, a “decentralized AI-powered trust alliance” as it is written on its official webpage.
In May 2018 Huobi Labs has decided to launch its fund for the dissemination of blockchain all over the world by signing an agreement with Tianya Community social network to build a billion-dollar blockchain fund in Hainan Province. The governmental restrictions upon cryptocurrencies and their turnover do not frighten the company with its ambitious plans to create the Hainan Special Economic Zone.
Against the background of the new era of Chinese socialist characteristics, we have given Hainan’s Special Economic Zone a new mission of economic reformation.
In continuation of the crypto exchange theme, in April 2018 on the official Coinbase account on Medium it was announced that the company would create “an open financial system for the world”.
We’ll be providing financing to promising early-stage companies that have the teams and ideas that can move the space forward in a positive, meaningful way.
Emilie Choi, Head of Corp & Biz Dev and Biz Ops at Coinbase
According to the “Introducing Coinbase Ventures” text, the company’s goal is not to create formalized relations with startups, but to build strong relations and to help them. Nevertheless, it is notspecified what differs such approach from the others.
Coinbase Ventures fund is also surprisingly interested in investing in potentially competitive projects, arguing that it is quite useful for the innovative sphere to develop and to present multiple approaches to the community.
There are already 23 projects supported by Coinbase Venture. The full list of them can be seen here and it is a diverse one, from a marketplace for crypto collectibles to real estate investment based on blockchain.
Binance Labs Incubator Program
Having the reputation of the biggest exchange in the world, Binance could not afford to stay complacent and in June it announced its own program to support entrepreneurs and their brainchildren, following in the footsteps of Huobi.
According to TechCrunch reporter, Jon Russel, the conditions of the venture fund are aggressive enough. The representatives of Binance Labs imagine an ideal candidate as the one who has not attracted any investments before. The subject matter of the project can be absolutely different, from virtual goods to compliance.
The company provides $500,000 seed funding for each of the selected startups for 10 weeks period program, asking 10% stake in the newbie’s business in return. It is also noted that Binance doesn’t give information about the specific form of investment, if it is in cryptocurrency, fiat money or both. In addition to financial aid, the crypto exchange will provide its wards technical and organizational help, the mentoring function, and access to the network of the crypto giant.
The first wave of applications ended on 14th September, but the promising “Season 2 Coming Soon” gives hope to those who are still thinking about submitting an application.
Binance Labs began to do investments in the past few months and we’ve seen a lot of market hype which is distracting many founders from launching and delivering because there’s a huge demand from investors to get into their project.
Ella Zhang, Binance Labs CEO
Koi Trading’s mission is to bridge fiat and cryptocurrencies in a compliant manner. This aligns with our broader vision at Binance to build the infrastructure which provides the freedom of value exchange globally.
Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC), Genesis Hub
In September 2018 Swissinfo reported that Swiss investors ( to be more precise CVA members Lakeside Partners and MME Legal, according to official news from Crypto Valley) had launched a new start-up factory called CV VC with its first location at Genesis Hub in Zug, a territory with the reputation of being the Swiss Crypto Valley.
Our team member has already spoken with Alexander Nikolaev, the founder of Forseti startup that has received 20,000 CHF as the winner in the “Early Stage” category of the Crypto Valley Blockchain Awards organized by Crypto Valley Association, which is linked to CV VC; its vice-president Vasiliy Suvorov is currently a CV VC advisor.
The time is ripe for CV VC. After the initial phase of pioneers, traditional investors and big players of the ‘old economy’ are starting to take note. Analysts now speak of a new dawn for the industry, with serious companies, serious people and serious money coming into space.
Mathias Ruch, head of CV VC
The seed funding for startup development is $125,000, the kick-starting program lasts for three months. Genesis Hub for its parts wants to receive up to 8% stake as shares or digital tokens of the newbie ward. Swissinfo writes that the long-term goal of CV VC is to get 1,000 blockchain companies off the ground internationally within five years.
Blockchain Centre, Blockchain Engine Program
This incubator located in Melbourne has been presenting a transparent and thorough supporting program for the blockchain-based newbies since 2014.
The duration of each session is 10 weeks with two workshops per week, 20 specially chosen mentors for every separate newborn project, and 10 startups to be strengthened.
In February 2018 Business Insider published the list of those who will be partnering with the incubator and using all opportunities to increase their chances on the market. Among these startups, three projects won the Demo Day and achieved valuable prizes. Charlie project became the winner in the Best Team Category, BuildSort as the Best Blockchain Solution and Supp was chosen as the Best Business Idea.
The next wave is to be announced and arranged later.
Blockchain Trust Accelerator
This project was established in 2016 by New America think tank, the Bitfury Group and The National Democratic Institute with additional support from the Rockefeller Foundation. This collaboration between business and non-governmental organizations aims to build trust, raise awareness and accountability of the discussed topics.
BTA is realized through the Bretton Woods II program. Its core goal is to “harness analytics, advocacy, and financial tools to channel part of the $25 trillion controlled by long-term asset holders into strategic investments in social impact that address the root causes of volatility”.
The accelerator is interested in a partnership with social entrepreneurs, governments, tech firms and investors specializing in the following basic challenges:
- Economic Opportunity,
- Property Rights,
- Strengthening Civil Society,
- Supply Chain Tracking,
- Financial Transaction.
To join the Trust Accelerator you should fill the pilot submission form.
The Tachyon accelerator, an extension of ConsenSys Ventures, will give entrepreneurs a unique faster-than-light jump start with the unprecedented opportunity to access the deep network of ConsenSys founders and technologists who have years of expertise building on the Ethereum platform. We look forward to partnering with budding entrepreneurs and supporting external projects that aim to grow the decentralized web, Web 3.0.
Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys founder
The program ran for ten weeks was similar to the Blockchain Engine Program with a Demo Day for the post-program fundraising. Its first wave lasted from September 15th to November 15th with 16 projects selected by ConsenSys Ventures, TechCrunch provided the list of the first cohort of projects to enter the Tachyon program. The amount of pre-seed funding provided to the chosen teams was from $75,000 to $100,000.
The financial companies or IT-giants that focused on blockchain meeting the increasing demand for DTL startups
IBM Blockchain Accelerator + Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator
What is also needed to truly bring about this sea change is the right technology and expertise which is why IBM is working with Columbia to help give these early- and mid-stage founders a way to build enterprise-grade networks that can move blockchain innovation forward.
David Post, Managing Director, IBM Blockchain Accelerator
The following programs will give chosen companies access to technology and services with the approximate value of $400K per firm. All the details will be updated later; the open sourced information is still exhaustive. As it is already known, no charges or fees will be taken by IBM and Columbia University for participation. The applications for the program can be sent from January 2019. This symbiosis of a tech-giant and a leading academic institution sounds like a great opportunity, doesn’t it?
Thomson Reuters Labs Zurich Region
The program lasts from half a year to a year. To apply it is obligatory to complete a form on F6S. The focus area of the incubator is closely linked to data science: from AI and DLT to machine readable news and data analysis.
Its current participant is an Ethereum-based Kleros project announced as a “dispute resolution lawyer”, another blockchain startup SMART VALOR as an alumnus participant works on making crypto financial sphere borderless.
Drawing a conclusion
Summing up, there are many options available for startups to find funding for further development through incubators and accelerating programs. Another thing to consider is that such type of cooperation is not only a good possibility for the new project, but also it is the way of improvement of the overall situation on the market.
The incubators and accelerating programs, being valuable and trusted through their name and reputation, are the ones who bring more transparency to the newborn startups’ market and to the whole industry. Due to the strict procedure of the projects selection, subsequent business studies and mentoring their wards transform just as caterpillars turning into butterflies, changing their approaches and enhancing knowledge.
On the backs of the incubators’ alumni there is an expertise and experience of the valuable market players, who for their part act as an unspoken guarantor of the project’s reliability and credibility. From the pouring money perspective these startups are less risky to be invested in than those that appear on the market with glorious marketing strategy and no background, in most cases turning into scandalous scams.
Take care of your investment and make conscious decisions if you look through the prism of an investor. If you are on the other side as the startup’s founder, just develop your product to meet the described conditions of different incubators and accelerators and do not be afraid to dare and dazzle!