This past Thursday, we assembled the whole team here at the Celo Foundation to review how we are adjusting to the current market conditions. Wanted to quickly share the key take-aways here.
The price has changed, but the mission has not
While crypto prices have moved dramatically from their bull market heights, our mission remains unchanged. We get up every morning fired up about our north star objective, as shared in my recent post here on the forum:
Attract and nurture the most talented, value-aligned founders directly and through a
variety of programs to build successfully on the Celo platform to further Celo’s
Our friend Olaf Carlson-Wee, founder of Polychain Capital, on a recent podcast talked about - and I’ll paraphrase a bit - how we as founders are going to build ourselves out of this bear market and that’s how it’s always worked, referencing e.g. how Coinbase made buying Bitcoin easy during the 2012 bear market and that leading to the next big wave of adoption at the time.
Bull turns bear
Over the past week, we’ve been looking at all initiatives in flight, as well as budgets across our entire organization, to ensure we can provide the best support possible to the Celo ecosystem throughout this bear market and emerge as the leading ecosystem:
- Prioritize prioritize prioritize - make sure we have the right resources available across liquidity, founder community and composability categories per current roadmap
- Embrace frugality - every $CELO matters, spend wisely with an eye towards supporting initiatives that have the highest ecosystem impact
- Runway - ensuring 24-36 months of operating runway for Celo Foundation team and key initiatives
With many of the Celo Foundation’s programs effectively denominated in $CELO (eg milestone-based grants, paid in $CELO), expenditures are already programmed to scale up and down based on the price of $CELO.
The one big exception to this has been Celo Foundation payroll and I wanted to share some of the programs we are looking to deploy now that I believe can also be a helpful toolset for any web3 project looking to bring payroll expenses more in sync with web3 cycles:
- One-time salary swaps for locked tokens and/or ability to take ongoing portion of pay in tokens
- 4-day work week for equivalent adjusted pay
- Introducing sabbatical programs to allow people to take a break and recharge
- Support for employees looking to start their own ecosystem project and/or join ecosystem projects
While we will continue to hire for critical, key roles across the organization, we are placing a hold on other open positions until July to reevaluate. Considering all of the above, we are able to reduce monthly fiat spend on payroll by 30%.
The Celo Foundation grants committee will continue to provide grants. However, we will reduce amounts compared to bull market levels and prioritize grants that have clear milestones and provide the biggest utility to the ecosystem. Examples of this include: public goods, new protocols and primitives that advances Celo’s mission of prosperity for all, and projects that grow and support the Celo community. We are continuing our popular DeFi for the People and Connect the World programs but will consider them within the broader grants budget and over a 36 months time horizon to ensure we can maximize impact. For more on this, join us for an upcoming grants AMA (will post details in the replies below).
Capital for Ecosystem Founders
One big shift we are making short term is to figure out how to double down on supporting ecosystem projects as they finish fundraises or consider bringing in additional capital. We are excited about Celo Foundation capital we’ve deployed to dedicated Celo ecosystem funds around the world such as EchoVC, Flori Ventures, Polychain Capital, Unicorn Growth Fund, Lightshift and TKX that are excited about Celo projects tackling real world use cases and all are actively writing checks right now. My colleague Amit recently put together a set of resources. Check it out and feel free to reach out to us if we can help making connections.
I am incredibly excited for the opportunity ahead and to continue to grow Celo alongside you all. As one long-time investor recently put it in his letter to founders based on his 30-year history backing many of the most iconic companies of our time: “one of the top traits leading to successful companies is resiliency. Resilient founders build resilient companies, throughout all market conditions.” What’s ahead is a time of incredible opportunity for founders - some of the most impactful companies were started and/or stress-tested during bear markets. This is the time to build!