In this article, we'll delve into the world of web3 grants, incubators, and accelerators, exploring their vital role in fostering the web3 ecosystem, and providing an exhaustive list of such initiatives worldwide. These programs are a key driver of innovation and market growth. According to Statista, the global blockchain technology market is expected to reach $39.7 billion by 2025, up from $7 billion in 2021. - Author: Jona Hauch
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The digital world is changing at an accelerated pace, with newer, more efficient technologies springing up every day. web3 represents the next generation of the internet - a vision where online platforms are decentralized, empowering individuals to interact with data directly and securely as sovereign owners. Entrepreneurs around the world are developing groundbreaking projects based on this revolutionary concept. However, in this brave new world, a helping hand often makes all the difference. Enter web3 grants, incubators, and accelerators, instrumental in bringing these innovative projects to fruition. These programs provide funding, mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities to aspiring web3 projects.
The boom in web3 has led to an unprecedented surge in resources available to startups in this space. As of 2021, blockchain startups had raised more than $4.4 billion through various funding mechanisms, up from $2.3 billion in 2020. Whether you choose a grant, an incubator, or an accelerator largely depends on your project's nature, its development stage, and the resources you need.
Navigating the world of web3 and blockchain can be challenging, but with the right support, the journey can lead to significant technological breakthroughs and the transformation of our digital landscape. By understanding the offerings of these different programs, entrepreneurs can strategically align their goals with the right resources to propel their vision into reality.
Web3 Grants, Incubator, and Accelerator programs
Understanding the key differences between grants, incubators, and accelerators can guide web3 startups in choosing the best fit:
|Takes equity||No||Typically yes||Yes|
|Time commitment||Usually tied to the achievement of milestones||Typically 6–24 weeks||Typically 6–24 weeks|
|Support structure||Funding||Funding, mentoring, networking||Funding, mentoring, networking|
|Stage of business||Early stage||Very early stage, usually before MVP||Early stage, usually at the first signs of product-market-fit|
What Are Web3 Grants?
Grants are non-dilutive funding offered to projects contributing to the development and enhancement of the web3 ecosystem. These funds are typically offered by foundations or organizations associated with a specific blockchain or protocol, aiming to incentivize development within their ecosystems.
Recipients of web3 grants are typically researchers, developers, and teams developing open-source software. The grant amounts vary, but the key is that they do not demand equity in return, distinguishing grants from investment-based mechanisms like accelerators and incubators. However, grantees are often expected to meet certain milestones or deliverables.
What Are Web3 Incubators?
Incubators are designed to foster the growth of new and early-stage projects by providing a variety of resources and services. These often include capital, coaching, shared services, and networking connections. Unlike grants, participation in an incubator usually involves giving up a certain amount of equity in your company, as they invest in the business.
For example, Blockchain Founders Group invests in, supports, and mentors startups focusing on blockchain technology. In case you want to know more about startup incubator programs read our article “What is a Startup Incubator?”.
What Are Web3 Accelerators?
Accelerators, like incubators, offer capital and mentorship, but they start typically when you have an MVP and first users already. They usually offer a specific amount of capital in exchange for equity and culminating in a "Demo Day" where startups pitch their progress to potential investors.
Accelerators are designed to expedite the growth of existing startups, helping them overcome challenges quickly and efficiently. They often bring together cohorts of startups, creating an environment of peer learning and networking.
In case you want to know more about startup accelerator programs read our article “Startup Accelerator Program”.
Top 10 Web3 Grant Programs
- Ethereum Foundation Grants Program: A leading initiative in the web3 and cryptocurrency space. It funds projects that contribute to the Ethereum ecosystem, providing financial support ranging from $10,000 to $500,000. The program encourages innovation, fosters community collaboration, and ensures the sustainability and growth of the Ethereum network.
- BNB Chain Builder Grant: A program that provides financial support to projects that are building on or migrating to the BNB Chain. The grant is open to projects of all sizes, from early-stage startups to established businesses. Grants are awarded on a monthly basis, and the amount of the grant is determined by the project's stage of development and its potential impact on the BNB Chain ecosystem.
- Cardano Catalyst Fund: A unique community-driven grant program for the Cardano ecosystem. It encourages innovation and development by allowing the Cardano community to propose and vote on projects to be built on the blockchain. This democratic approach ensures that the Cardano network evolves in a direction aligned with the community's interests.
- Solana Foundation Grants Program: Provides milestone-based funding to support initiatives aimed at decentralizing, growing, and securing the Solana network. The program is open to projects of all sizes, from early-stage startups to established businesses. To be eligible for a Solana Foundation Grant, projects must meet the following criteria:
- They must be built on or migrating to the Solana network.
- They must be open-source and non-custodial.
- They must have a clear roadmap and a strong team.
- They must be able to demonstrate the potential to benefit the Solana ecosystem.
- Chainlink Community Grant Program: A funding initiative that supports the development of the Chainlink Network and ecosystem. The Chainlink Grant Program funds individuals and teams building a more functional, accessible, and impactful smart contract economy. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis, and the amount of the grant is determined by the project's scope and potential impact on the Chainlink ecosystem.
- HBAR Foundation Grant: The HBAR Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the development of the Hedera network by providing grants to projects that are building on the network. The Foundation has six funds that focus on different areas of the Hedera ecosystem, including the Crypto Economy, Metaverse, Sustainability, Fintech, Privacy, and Female Founders. Grants from the HBAR Foundation can be used for a variety of purposes, such as: Funding development of new projects, expanding existing projects, marketing and promoting projects, and conducting research and development.
- Web3 Foundation: The Web3 Foundation Grants Program is a significant grants initiative in the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem. It supports projects that enhance the Polkadot ecosystem, fostering innovation, financial assistance, and community building. The program plays a crucial role in promoting the development and success of Polkadot's interconnected and scalable blockchain platform.
- ConsenSys: ConsenSys is a blockchain technology company that has provided over $50 million in grants to projects that are building on Ethereum.
- Gitcoin: Gitcoin is a decentralized platform that provides grants to open-source projects. It has raised over $100 million in grants from over 100,000 donors.
- Game7 Open Source Grants: A funding initiative that supports open-source projects within the gaming and blockchain industries. It aims to foster innovation and collaboration among developers, contributing to the growth and accessibility of blockchain-based gaming platforms. The grants encourage the creation of new gaming experiences and tools.
There are many more grants, here is a list of 61 web3 Grants: Web3Grants
Top 10 Web3 Startup Incubator and Accelerator Programs
- Blockchain Founders Group: With the BFG Superstars incubator program we are investing in, supporting, and mentoring global startups focusing on blockchain technology, offering resources including financial support, networking opportunities, and expert advice.
- Outlier Ventures Base Camp: A web3-focused accelerator providing investment and a program to develop a minimum viable product (MVP).
- Techstars Web3 Accelerator: In partnership with Alchemist, this program provides capital, mentorship, and a network of experts for startups focusing on blockchain innovation.
- Y Combinator: Y Combinator (YC) is a startup accelerator that provides seed funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities for early-stage technology companies.
- 500 Startups: A global venture capital firm with accelerator programs for a variety of tech sectors, including blockchain and crypto.
- a16z START: A program for early-stage founders who are building businesses at the earliest stages of company-building. The program provides funding, mentorship, and access to a network of investors and partners.
- Binance Labs: The venture arm of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, aiming to incubate, invest, and empower top blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs.
- Antler: Antler is a global early-stage venture capital firm that invests in and helps launch new businesses.
- CV Labs: CV Labs is a blockchain hub in Switzerland that helps global startups, corporates, and investors leverage blockchain technology.
- Fractal: Fractal is a web3 accelerator that provides funding, mentorship, and access to its network of investors and partners to help web3 startups succeed.
These web3 grants, incubators, and accelerator programs are the bedrock of the web3 ecosystem, stimulating its growth by providing resources and funding to entrepreneurs and innovators globally. They empower talented individuals to bring their revolutionary ideas to reality, pushing us closer to a world of decentralization and interoperability.
The road to web3 is teeming with possibilities and challenges alike. With the continued support from these dedicated incubator and accelerator programs, developers and innovators worldwide are bound to keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible in this exciting new era of the internet.
About Blockchain Founders Group
BFG Blockchain Founders Group is a company builder and early-stage venture capital investor. Our team comprises academic and regulatory drivers of the blockchain economy, serial entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists. We love to work with outstanding entrepreneurial talents and bring to bear the full support of our network to make them succeed. Follow us on LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, and YouTube.
About BFG Superstars Program
The BFG Superstars Program is a crypto incubation program for pre-seed ideas and a place for blockchain talents and co-founders to meet and launch crypto startups in 2 to 3 months. Each year we invest in 12-14 startups with different blockchain-based solutions. At the end of the program, selected startups will receive pre-seed funding amounting to 70,000€. Find more information about the program here.
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