Blockchain startups need to turn down the sizzle and focus on the steak, because the only thing serious investors are interested in these days is utility, utility and—oh, right—utility.
There was a time in which an entrepreneur need only insert the word ‘blockchain’ into a pitch deck then sit back and watch the venture capital cash flood in. But those days are long gone. And it’s not just startups—one need only look at Coinbase’s (NASDAQ: COIN) recent rollout of its underwhelming NFT marketplace, which, far from arresting the prolonged drop in the company’s share price, may have actually accelerated its decline.
Investors have had their fill of blockchain-based projects that rely on liberal sprinklings of Magic Pixie Dust to hype their value. Instead, utility is now the buzzword that causes investors’ ears to prick up, particularly projects whose output will be something society will still find useful long after it loses interest in the latest crop of crudely drawn JPEGs.
But if picking winners and losers in the investment space was that simple, we’d all be sipping Mai-Tais on a white-sand beach somewhere right now. One way of improving one’s odds of backing a winner is to choose projects led by entrepreneurs that have already demonstrated the ability to grow a business while dodging innumerable pitfalls. As they say, there’s no better teacher than experience.
That said, while entrepreneurs may gain much of their experience firsthand, having an experienced business mentor can prove invaluable. That was part of the impetus behind the launch of technology startup incubator Satoshi Block Dojo, which aims to connect BSV-based projects with R&D partners early on to ensure they’re actually building viable products for which a market is waiting.
The eight startups that successfully emerged from Satoshi Block Dojo’s first cohort this spring are a diverse lot, including some NFT/gaming businesses (Buzzmint / Ninja Punk Girls), projects involving the metaverse (CosmosX), the art world (G&P) and keeping corporations honest about their carbon offsetting efforts (Sattva Meta).
There are also projects targeting the music industry (Soundoshi), the gig economy (+App) and the always enticing adult video sector (Sesire). A common thread running through these projects—beyond their faith in BSV as the platform of the future—is a desire to empower end users by offering a greater level of choice and a greater degree of control in how they conduct transactions. In other words, utility, which bodes well for these projects’ chances of breaking through to mainstream consciousness.
Another thing these Satoshi Block Dojo projects have in common is that they all got to pitch their projects to a captive audience of potential investors at the conclusion of the 12-week program. (A documentary on the proceedings is in the works.)
If you weren’t in London for that auspicious event and can’t wait for video editors to do their jobs, fret not. A global opportunity awaits the principals behind several Satoshi Block Dojo projects who will be giving presentations on their respective efforts at the upcoming BSV Global Blockchain Convention, which runs from May 24-26 in Dubai.
A successor to the long-running CoinGeek Conference series, the BSV Global Blockchain Convention will (finally!) feature an in-person audience in addition to the global audience watching the free livestream of the event. So, no pressure whatsoever to deliver a winning pitch, Dojo graduates.
Also in attendance will be Satoshi Block Dojo chairman Craig Massey, who will offer insights into what type of startups are likely to get the nod to participate in future cohorts. (Hints from co-founder Richard Boase: confidence, clarity and honesty are considered ‘green flags,’ as well as focusing on projects that can scale to a size that investors will find compelling.)
Satoshi Block Dojo’s second cohort is due to get underway on April 30 and conclude at the end of July. BSV-based entrepreneurs interested in applying to become part of SBJ’s third cohort need to submit their details by August 1. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see you standing on stage at a future Global Blockchain Convention pitching the utility of your product to an audience of potential investors.
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