[DRAFT] Celo Public Goods - Grant Request - RWA-focused Accelerator with Outlier Ventures


Tokenization of real world assets is not a trend but a technological innovation feeding into a multi-decade shift in how consumers relate to the digitization and financialization of the things they own. Recognizing the importance of this shift, Outlier Ventures has decided to invest in an RWA-focused accelerator program that will support early-stage projects and founders who are building best-in-class applications focused on bringing Real World Assets on-chain. Please find our thesis and application for the program published online here.

Over the course of the next 8 weeks, Outlier Ventures will select 6-8 teams that we will then help go farther, faster by providing each with 12 weeks of hands-on guidance (in-kind services from OV’s 30+ in-house expert staff (engineers, token design, legal, marketing, and more)), as well as a $100k cash stipend.

This grant request is proposing that the Celo Community come alongside Outlier Ventures and take a headline role in supporting these founders by allocating $200,000 cUSD and $50,000 in CELO, to the RWA Base Camp.


Outlier Ventures is the leading investor and accelerator in Web3, making over 300 early stage investments in the industry since 2014. Through our accelerator program, we have invested in over 300 early stage companies, across a variety of Web3 sectors in all layers of the stack, from infrastructure to application layer. We have helped raise over $350m in seed funding across various accelerator programs, and have supported the launch and growth of top projects in the RWA space (Biconomy, Boson Protocol, Helix Labs), and in other verticals such as AI (Fetch.ai, Ocean Protocol, DIA Data), Gaming (Xai, Ex Populus), DeFi/ReFi (Givepact, Smilee Finance, CoinFX), plus L1/L2 infra (Secret Network, Agoric), and many more.

We have worked with leading protocols and ecosystems, including Polygon, Aptos, NEAR, Filecoin, Hedera, Polkadot, Zksync, Starkware, Nethermind, Aleo, Aztec and Mina. We have also partnered with Walmart and Farfetch to help drive innovation within their industries and help them to bridge the gap towards crypto and onboarding the next billion users.

By the numbers - OV programs have led to:

  • Successful launch of more than 40 tokens
  • Average live token valuation of $132MM
  • Startup survival rate of greater than 90%

The strength of these numbers is a testament to the differentiators that make OV’s program unique in the field of competition.

Competition Outlier Ventures
Recruiting Pipeline is regionally focused or one dimensional, inbound only Our investment and program team works full time for 3 months, finding founders where no one else can. With a global presence, we also recruit at hackathons, community events, conferences.
Programming Volunteers mentor teams, provide general domain expertise on a volunteer basis Our more than 30 experts include rocket scientists, token designers, lawyers, marketers and fundraising specialists who advise and develop tailored approaches for each startup.
Investment VC-backed accelerators and Ecosystem development programs have a mandate to deploy capital, incentivized by assets under management. OV runs all programs from its balance sheet. Our investment drives our due diligence process and our focus is on long term growth and adoption.
Focus Accelerators with split industry focus lack depth of experience Founded in 2014 as a Web3-only investment partnership. We work daily with the cutting edge Web3 projects.

The Opportunity

Outlier Ventures is seeking top-tier protocols that are interested in the development of RWA-related technology to serve as partners that will benefit mutually from the execution of the RWA program. At each stage of the 5-month long accelerator cycle (8 weeks of recruiting and 12 weeks of programming), our partners will receive opportunities to engage with cutting edge startups, expert OV staff, and wider web3 ecosystem.

Celo is positioned to derive unique benefit from the accelerator program’s development of RWA-focused technology. We expect several of the teams brought into the program to either be building with Celo or seeking the best infrastructure on which to base their project, and therefore open to building or shifting their projects to work with Celo. In addition to the direct development of its startup ecosystem, Outlier Ventures will deliver the following:

  • Strategic insights from identification of trends and direct interaction with a large pipeline of global teams building in Web3. We expect to review over 300 applications, and run approximately 30 teams through our IC2 (more info on OV recruiting and selection process below).
  • Post-recruiting and post-program reports.
  • OV’s marketing around the “RWA Base Camp Powered by Celo”. Includes industry media coverage, social media, podcasts, blog posts, and branding/PR assets.
  • Participation in industry events alongside OV. We expect to host and cohost many events this year and will include Celo as a co-host when appropriate, free of charge.

Outlier Ventures RWA Base Camp

Thesis Summary

The first stage of Outlier Ventures Base Camp involves setting a specific recruiting thesis. As part of this program we have begun recruiting teams building in the following categories:

Financial Assets- dApps and solutions which provide consumers, treasurers, fintechs, and institutions access to on-chain structured financial products, equities, commodities and private markets in a composable format which can be used across DeFi

  • Consumer facing dApps
  • Tokenization platforms
  • Liquidity management solutions

Infrastructure- Tailored infrastructure to reflect, store and manage RWAs on the blockchain

  • DAO Treasury Tooling
  • Risk management & assessment tooling
  • Regulation-first onboarding tools.
  • SDKs for complete tokens
  • Data feeds & Liquidity aggregators for x-chain interoperability
  • Oracles solutions providing secure real world data

Intangible Assets- Solutions which are bringing already digitized intangible assets on-chain

  • Open Data / digital identity
  • Carbon Credits / emissions tracking
  • Patents / Trademarks / Copyright
  • Content creator IP on-chain

Physical Assets- Applications & Infrastructure bringing physical items onchain to benefit from enhanced liquidity and decentralization of ownership

  • DePin / Machinery /Inventory
  • Real Estate
  • Collectibles / Art / Luxury

Team Selection

The Outlier Ventures recruitment cycle begins approximately 10-12 weeks prior to the program start date. We source founders globally, from inbound and outbound recruiting efforts. Our investment staff attend hackathons, conferences, and other industry events in order to find the best teams that are aligned with the above investment pillars. After receiving hundreds of applications, the OV investment committee begins a process of curating the final cohort of 6-8 teams via four selection rounds:

  1. Investment Committee 1 (IC1): deals are discussed internally
  2. Investment Committee 2 (IC2): projects are invited to pitch
  3. Advanced Due Diligence: OV’s engineers and SMEs investigate the technical feasibility and readiness of a project
  4. Final selection: 6-8 teams chosen to participate

To ensure optimal alignment, selected stakeholders from Celo will be invited to attend investment committee meetings to see shortlisted teams pitch. They will then be invited to fill out a feedback and voting form. The feedback from Celo will be used as an aid to inform the decision making process. Note, the final decision would lie with Outlier Ventures and the voting process would be weighted towards the OV investment team members (details to be confirmed).

Chosen teams will participate in OV’s 12-week-long accelerator program (high level summary below). For its participation in the program, each startup will also receive a $100k stipend from OV and will be presented to OV’s venture ecosystem in order to fundraise. In exchange, teams will provide a portion of their token and equity holdings (up to 6%) to Outlier Ventures.

Program Content

  1. Week 1 & 2: Mentor Madness
    a. Teams meet OV specialists and external mentors in 1:1 sessions
    b. We gather feedback and collated into insights and actionable next steps

  2. Week 3-6: Knowledge Building

    a. Teams have regular 1:1 meetings with OV Product, Token, Marketing/BD and legal specialists to work on bespoke product roadmap, token design and marketing/GTM strategy
    b. Teams are introduced to a carefully-selected external legal counsel. An initial 1 hour session with the legal counsel to deep dive on their product and discuss key areas of legal consideration. OV legal specialists have been on board to support with follow ups
    c. Workshops on a variety of subjects,

  3. Week 7: Friendly Pitch Event

    a. Teams pitch in front of 40+ OV team members and external mentors to practice for demo day and receive feedback on their progress

  4. Week 8-12: Fundraising preparation

    a. Teams who have not yet opened their rounds are receiving full feedback and support from the OV Program and Fundraising team to put together all fundraising materials,
    b. Demo Day

  5. Post Program: Teams will have access to 2 months follow up support from the OV Program Manager and Fundraising Advisor

Program KPIs

In addition to the post recruiting and post-program reporting, we will track the following KPI’s and report to the Celo community:

  • Total # applicants building on Celo
  • Total # applicants undecided on where to build (pre-program).
  • Total # of program graduates building on Celo
  • Total funds raised by Celo alumni (post program)
  • Program Participant Satisfaction Score

Overall Allocation

Outlier Ventures is requesting a total of $200,000 cUSD and $50,000 in CELO be authorized for the program.

The funding will go towards operating expenses which can be attributed to salaries and overhead of OV staff for 6 months, which include program personnel (a dedicated program manager and program associate, a project recruiting and investment team, software engineering personnel, token engineering team, in house legal advisory, go to market advisory, and more), a full marketing staff to promote and inform the public of the program along the way, and investor relations personnel who activate OV’s VC network and ensure participating teams are visible when they fundraise.

The above request represents a fraction of the cost of running the accelerator program.


We believe OV can play a meaningful role in Celo’s ecosystem development by bringing our deep expertise and rich track record to recruit and integrate the best possible teams building with RWAs.

We encourage all Celo stakeholders to participate in the discussion on this initiative which we believe will help the ecosystem flourish as it transitions into an Ethereum L2.


I think the RWA focused nature of this proposal helps to reinforce the Celo community’s commitment to real world assets.

Where can interested teams go submit an application? Any specific criteria you can share for stage, traction, or status of pre- post- launch that can help folks self select?


Hi @AronVanAmmers,

Thanks for making such a detailed proposal. The Outlier Real World Asset thesis aligns well with Celo, especially given that USDC (already live) and USDT (coming soon) will be natively available on Celo. The proposed program and associated KPIs are spot on, and I see clear value in having an “RWA Base Camp Powered by Celo.”

Note: Celo Governance had initially set aside an Incubation budget as part of the Celo Public Goods budget for H1; however, with Celo Camp’s proposal passing last week, the initial funding is fully allocated.

This means that this Outlier proposal will have to be submitted to regular Celo Governance, which has higher quorum requirements. As such, getting wide stakeholder input (and traction) on this proposal is extra important. I will chat with Governance Guardians to set up a Governance Call sometime soon, so your team can present the proposal.


Certainly! Here’s a link where we are collecting applications - OV Applications - Formstack

In terms of stage, most are post-MVP but pre-revenue. Teams are usually prepared to raise a pre-seed or seed round following the program.

Hope this clarifies a bit. Happy to hear everyone’s thoughts and help answer any questions!


Johnlikes, please submit a proposal to github and we can queue it up for discussion in the next Governance call next week.


Thanks ericnakagawa, sounds good. Looking forward!

@Johnlikes and @AronVanAmmers, you are scheduled to present this proposal on the upcoming Governance Call. Friday March 22 at 11:30am EST, 4:30pm CET. Please see the invite here:

Celo Governance Call #43 | March 22th, 2024 · Luma

Can you confirm your attendance, availability to present the proposal for ~10 minutes, and to respond questions the community members may have?

Please shot me an email (daniel.olarte@celo.org) so I can have an email to add to the Google Cal invite.


Is OV seeking also funding from other projects to support this accelerator?

Rather than directing funding from the Celo treasury into this accelerator in hopes that one or more of the 6-8 companies in the cohort build on the network, I’m more interested in a paradigm where the Celo community gains equity or token exposure to the companies being incubated. John from OV mentioned in the governance call today that this may be something worth considering.




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Hi @alchemydc, thanks for the feedback! We’ll be editing/posting an updated proposal shortly which will include some of the feedback we’ve received and also presents an opportunity to invest directly for equity and token stake in a few of the teams.

To your question about other projects- others could participate in the program in minor ways, but the intention is to have Celo as the headline go to market Program Partner on this RWA cohort. The updated post will make the nature of our investment in the partnership more clear, defining our commitment to recruit with Celo’s thesis in mind, so that at least 3 of the teams brought into the program will be building on Celo, aligned with Celo’s mission of creating more equitable financial and social constructs, and/or focused on bringing certain benefits of web3 tech to developing economies.

With regard to investment- OV does not operate a fund through which LP’s can gain exposure to the teams as investments. However, we do often have “Venture Partners” which co-invest with us at the beginning of the program in exchange for a portion of OV’s token and equity share in each. For various reasons, we require that these Venture Partners commit to investing in all teams in the cohort (generally up to 8 teams for a total of $800k commitment). The exception we can make to the full-cohort rule is a unique perk we can offer to our Program Partner, alowing them to invest in a selection of the teams. In this case, if Celo is our RWA program partner, we can allow Celo to directly invest in (for example) 2 of the 8 teams in exchange for a portion of OV’s token and equity allocation to these teams.

I hope that makes sense and I’m happy to answer any questions on this. Please stay tuned for the updated proposal which explains

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I’m excited about this RWA-focused proposal. Don’t want to reiterate what the rest said but it aligns perfectly with Celo’s vision and where we are heading. The program not only fosters RWA growth on Celo but also introduces founders to Celo as a prime destination for RWA projects. Having interacted with Outlier’s team in London, I’m confident in their expertise and track record.

Let’s push for this to happen!

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Thanks @NikoG and everyone who has provided feedback so far! FYI link below to the updated proposal. It should clarify our alignment and commitment to teams oriented towards and building on Celo, as well as an option for direct investment: