A Proposal for a Dedicated Startups/Grant Recipients Monitoring and Support Group

Hello Community,

Celo Blockchain has always been welcoming to startups and developers in order to foster a condition for prosperity for all. This is reflected in all of the grants and funding opportunities available to builders. Celo recently collaborated with Kickstarter and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) to bring more innovation to the ecosystem. Also, numerous efforts have been made in the area of climate action. We have seen what the Climate Collective—a coalition of businesses working together to take climate action—has accomplished.

In addition, the ecosystem has provided support for a number of hackathons and acceleration programs. According to a report by Coin98 Analytics, Celo is the 11th blockchain with the most active number of developers. This should imply that the ecosystem has a lot of high-quality dApps with a lot of users, but the opposite is true. As of today, only a few solutions on-chain can boast of a large user base. So, what could have gone wrong?

Although the ecosystem has many groups organizing various programs to assist builders, such as Developer Office Hours from the DevRel team, There are no groups monitoring hackathon winners to ensure that the fund is used for the intended purpose. One of the problems projects do face is access to on-demand tech support, mentorship, and marketing.

I was able to identify the following issues with the existing system:

  1. Grant recipients have no plans to develop their projects.
  2. Most teams lack the necessary experience to create a world-class project.
  3. The funds allotted to recipients are insufficient to complete the project.

As a result, I propose that the foundation establish a monitoring and support team. This will ensure accountability, improved access to funds, higher product quality, and increased publicity. The newly formed team would be responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Establishing a mandatory bi-monthly meeting with the project team
  2. Provide builders with on-demand technical support.
  3. Free smart-contract auditing
  4. Free mentoring and business modeling
  5. AMA with the Celo Community
  6. Assisting the team in the recruitment of qualified professionals
  7. Establishing deliverables and milestones
  8. Availability of additional funds as needed

Finally, to release funds, the team can use a milestone approach rather than an upfront payment.

You can check me out on Discord (iamoracle#0226).

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This is a spectacular idea and very well written. For #6 of the monitoring and support teams responsibilities, where would the money to pay those professionals come from? Additional funds from Celo, or would the grant recipients be responsible for managing the initial funds they receive to make sure they have enough available for this?

This is the exact approach we have taken with the Prezenti (https://prezenti.xyz) grant funding.

We want teams to define the milestones up front, project-management style, and we release tranches of the grant payments as each milestone is completed. So setting achievable and clear goals is very important in the application review process for us.

With respect to the chicken-and-egg problem, being that some teams need a kick-off payment before they can actually operationalize and pay for development work or tools and supplies, we generally would like to start with a once-off payment to get them going.

How are you proposing this monitoring and support group works? Is it made up of community members working on their own time? Or are you proposing a governance proposal to pay for the members’ time who make up the support group?

I think a group like you are proposing could work well alongside some of the existing funding sources in the ecosystem.

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Nice proposal

As a participant/winner in the Celo Huobi Hackathon, I agree with what you said regarding having a dedicated group to provide hackers and founders with the required support like mentorship and marketing, to push a product from just an MVP to market fit. This definitely should be done in collaboration with existing initiatives/programs like celo camp, just as @Thylacine suggested.

I am working on a proposal to establish a talent repository within the ecosystem. Individuals will be able to submit their portfolios and be hired for projects within the ecosystem. Consider the following scenario:

  1. Team A needs a Frontend Developer.
  2. Team A searches the repo to discover talents.
  3. Team A arranges for the professional to be interviewed.

Subsidies are required because some professionals are costly to hire and the wage exceeds the value of the prize.

Teams are encouraged to create a budget and keep meticulous records of how money is spent. However, because most projects always go over budget, Celo may award additional funds if the project is promising.

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The group will be made up of both paid and volunteer members.

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Thanks for this thread. As this technology enters the consolidation phase, I would add “9. Quality legal advice and support” as a critical element of a resilient service or product ready for public consumption.

For example, as we’ve seen places like UK and India begin defining marketing rules in this industry, legal advice is becoming a prerequisite for marketing.

Also key for any startups seeking to exit via acquisition.

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That’s what Celo Jura is about I think. Celo Jura is a Celo grant program focused on providing legal support to entrepreneurs through partnerships with large law firms around the world.

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Love the idea of a support group. I’ve also been really inspired by the work that John Ellison is doing with ReFi Founder Circles, Kernal program launched by Vivek and Andy. And of course the work @downer started with Founder In Residence Circles. It would be awesome to see a Founder and/or Developer DAO emerge in the ecosystem.

I’d love to invite @Kevin @masha and @jason to comment on the great work they’ve been doing at the Foundation to address some of the points you raised. And I’m sure would love your feedback on how to improve.

Celo Foundation Grant Program is milestone based. Funds are not released until milestones are met. Also, each grant has success criteria associated with it that are required to be met before the final payment is submitted. You can read more about the program here:
Celo Experience / GrantKit

@masha @Kevin have been working on improving the process and I’m sure would love feedback on how to improve.

Grants are also supported by Tech Guild which Dev Rel launched earlier this year. @ericnakagawa can share more details here but the idea is to decentralize developer support across the ecosystem.

Founder Program & Resources: @jason also put together this great Founder Hub and is currently in the process of revamping it - would be awesome to get your feedback. Welcome, Celo Founders!

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Hello @iamoracle,

Thanks for your notes and feedback here. My name is Jason and I head up founder programs at the Celo Foundations focused on nurturing earliest-stage founders.

I would like to take action on your feedback, pick your brain on some ideas if you’re open to it, and also highlight some of the avenues that are available already. Here’s a few:

  1. Founders Office Hours - I host founder office hours once a week to help with product, GTM, navigating the ecosystem and tokenomics, etc. People can sign up here
  2. Founders Information Hub - something that is in the works, and we are revamping it (as mentioned by Xochitl) and open to feedback on this
  3. Talent Collective - to help find talent
  4. Also happy to make relevant connections whenever and help out especially for legal and smart contract audition

Keep sharing feedback, thanks!

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Heyo! Great to read this in depth post on the forum. My name is Masha and I lead up Grants alongside @Kevin at the foundation. I believe we have already chatted on Discord.

As @Xochitl mentioned, the Foundation issues milestone-based grants i.e teams receive funds once a milestone is completed and reviewed. We make sure to scope grants that we give out over 3-4 milestones with metrics/KPIs etc.

1.Grant Kit an ideal resources for someone considering applying for a grant. Information for recipients on how to share completion of milestones for review and raise invoices are also included.
2. Application page with information for when one is ready to apply. Corresponding information on grant amounts, RFPs, milestone review, invoices is included as well.
3. Celo Tech Guild for technical support. This is a new initiative launched by DevRel at Foundation. @ericnakagawa would love to hear any updates you have on how the tech guild is supporting our ecosystem.
4. Celo Jura for legal support to founders building on Celo.

We definitely can do more to improve the process but hope this answers some of the open questions on the process we have for monitoring and supporting grant recipients at the moment.

Love these callouts for more accountability and support.

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