Mike Butcher, Editor-at-large of TechCrunch Europe
As cryptocurrency fever grips the tech world, and blockchain technologies gradually become more viable, there is a new wave of accelerators and incubators appearing to service this growing ecosystem. Some are covering funding and services, some are about services only. It’s fair to assume, however, that some kinds of cryptocurrency will be changing hands, of course, not to mention the odd token here and there. The latest to join the throng is Waves which has a platform for blockchain-based token trading and raised $17m in their ICO. They aren’t the only ones, however, because the idea behind these incubators is to build out each protagonist’s ecosystem. As such, this going to be interesting to watch from the sidelines as each platform does its best to attract the best and brightest blockchain startups. This emerging world is not so much about old-fashioned “exits” as it is about creating a robust community in each case.
The Waves Lab will provide support for pre-ICO projects and teams which are creating solutions using the Waves Platform’s infrastructure. The startups selected will get tranches of early funding up to $300,000. In addition to seed funding, they’ll also get legal support and advice, tech resources and PR/Marketing. They are also aiming to get their charges fully up-to-date with compliance requirements, given the murky, unregulated world of ICOs these days. But Waves isn’t the only one playing in this new incubator arena for crypto/ blockchain startups.
Earlier this year Thomson Reuters, the news and information behemoth created a new startup incubator aimed at blockchain companies. Incubator Labs will offers startups in various fields access to free resources like office space, Amazon web services and mentorship at a number of locations. Two companies joined initially, Open Mineral and WealthArc
It was launched actually in Zug, a small canton (or municipality) that is part of Switzerland’s so-called Crypto Valley. Open Mineral has developed a multi-sided platform which will directly connect the mines and smelters of physical commodities such as copper, zinc and lead, aiming at increasing transparency and lowering fees. WealthArc is a SaaS platform for the $120 trillion investment management industry.
Meanwhile, the NEM Foundation, creators of the NEM blockchain platform, have launched a strategic alliance with Australia’s Blockchain Global to open a Blockchain Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to serve as an incubator, accelerator, and co-working space. Predictably, this will nurture startups interested in using the NEM platform. The NEM Foundation is expected to spend around $40 million in the next year to fund its global expansion programs and $5 million will be allocated towards supporting blockchain companies incubated in the Blockchain Center.
But the list does not end there.
Adel is a global cryptocurrency community that is self-regulated, self-sustained, and offers its own economic ecosystem with the Adelphoi token.
BitHub.Africa is a commercial blockchain accelerator that is driving the adoption of blockchain technology and solutions across Africa.
Block Chain Space is a multi-location 12-week acceleration program
Boost VC is an institutional fund to commit to funding blockchain companies. Boost VC runs two accelerator programs every year and invests up to $50k in exchange for 7% of the company.
Coin Apex is a New York-based incubator that builds products integrating cryptography, software, and technology. The company says it can offer a full scope of services from advising to implementation.
Outlier Ventures co-develops blockchain startups with entrepreneurs, corporate venturing partners, consortia, and accelerators because the company “believes blockchains are about networks, not platforms”. Outlier Ventures Ltd is the research and commercial arm to the venture platform which tracks over 30 blockchain use cases at any one time on behalf of Outlier Capital LLP.
Satoshi Studios is an incubator for blockchain startups in Southeast Asia. All the selected companies have to move to New Delhi, India, for a three-month intensive program where they get access to mentorship and hands-on sessions with blockchain experts. The incubator invests $50K in exchange for 8%–15% of equity.
As you can see this is just the tip of the iceberg that is the developing crypto accelerator world.