By Pete Townsend, Managing Director, Techstars Web3
As web3 is global and borderless, so is Techstars Web3, and we're looking for 12 fantastic founding teams from all over the world for our 13-week accelerator program kicking off on 11th March 2024. Applications are now open, so check out the program details and apply here.
Techstars Web3 is in its third running year. While primarily virtual, we do meet up in person three times during the 3-month program. Once, at the beginning of program, then again during the middle of program and during the final week.
In 2023, we kicked things off in Dublin, Ireland, because its a fantastic place to build relationships fast and to get with the program. We then spent the middle week at Techstars London and the final week in Toronto and NYC for our web3 investor events.
For 2024, we'll be returning to Dublin for kick-off and also to London for the mid-program week, and we will confirm our plans for the final get-together by early March 2024. We are particularly keen to extend the middle period together for those who want to stick around.
Techstars Web3 works with entrepreneurs building in web3 and enabling the next wave of growth in the decentralized internet and in tokenized economies. We invest in and accelerate founders enabling the onboarding and engagement of the first one billion users of web3. Above all else, we look for excellent founding teams. Where we see a big push towards the ‘protocolization of web services', there is so much to build for capital, data and machines to better serve us. Incentive mechanisms, utilities, and usability are key but we know there is a lot taking shape - from application layers and tooling, to infrastructure, interoperability, security, identity and more.
We're in this for the long-term, not just in our commitment to founders, but in our belief in the major internet evolution underway with web3. To succeed in web3, you need to think long-term, as you'll be hit with so many distractions along the way with hype cycles, bull runs, bear markets and long crypto winters. To quote Sam Williams, founder of Arweave and a Techstars Berlin class of 2018 alum:
"Markets are extremely noisy, and they tend to over-index on the short-term and under-index on the long term. Filter the noise, focus on the fundamentals." Sam Williams, Arweave
Last year, we drove all of the learnings from our first class into an updated Web3 Thesis 2.0, and after our second class, we're still thinking about web3 in the same way. A few themes stand out though that shape our view on where we're headed:
We believe in the fundamentals. No matter how innovative your product, it doesn't matter if no one wants it. We look for founders who are obsessed with solving big problems in web3, can execute fast, and bring solutions to market to exponentially grow the web3 market beyond the 6 million daily active users of crypto wallets today.
We care a lot about centralization vs. decentralization, as it impacts everything. Whether or not you plan to decentralize over time impacts how you plan to incentivize users and developers, build your community, build and ship product, go-to-market, fundraise, grow and scale. We'll continue to look for founders that get this.
We used the word "infrastructure" six times in our Web3 Thesis 2.0. There are a lot of holes to fill in web3 to onboard the first 1 billion users, and we'll continue to look for those founders with a deep first-hand experience at solving problems at the critical intersection of bomb-proof security and a 'surprise and delight' user experience.
We're keeping a close watch on regulatory developments - the EU ratified its Market in Crypto Assets Act (MiCA) in May 2023, and the implementation period is underway. Singapore and Hong Kong have implemented new crypto regulatory frameworks. The US is playing catchup on the regulatory front, but the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT Act) is moving carefully through Congress. Also, the eventual outcomes of ongoing SEC actions will have a significant impact. If you're CeFi or DeFi, regulation will eventually impact you, so you're better off running towards it than away from it. We'll continue to look for founders who are doing just that.
As with any Techstars program, we are a mentorship-driven program. Founders will engage with 70+ handpicked mentors overall before selecting the 3-4 lead mentors they’ll be working with for the rest of the program. Check out some of the profiles of some of our amazing web3 mentors here.
We’ll be in investing up to $120K in each company / project, and a summary of the deal terms are available here. As part of the Techstars network, companies and founders have access to over 300 perks valued at over $4 million. In addition, we’ve built up a network of web3 investors who we’ll be connecting with ‘investor-ready’ program participants, and we provide significant guidance on how to build your investor pipeline and get pitching.
The program curriculum combines traditional topics like fundraising, customer discovery, go-to-market, product development, marketing, entrepreneurial leadership and company building with web3-specific topics such as tokenomics, community development, crypto legal and jurisdictional matters, and web3 architectures. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it's that so many of the fundamentals of ‘Startup 101’ are completely applicable to web3-native startups, and we augment that with web3-specific content to level up all participants.
If you’re interested in learning more, please get started on your application here, and then get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or at email@example.com to set up some time for Web3 Office Hours.