Some Celo Programs that helped us a lot!

Exactly 1 year and 6 months ago, I heard about Celo, started learning about blockchain, and participated in my first hackathon.

Since then, I can say that:

  • We were one of the winners of Celo’s Make Crypto Mobile Hackathon with 2heavens.
  • We received a grant from Celo Jura program.
  • We participated in the Startup Pathway by Upright.
  • We were approved for the Fintech Hub program by Fintech Cadence in Canada.
  • We received a grant from Prezenti.
  • We were approved for Celo Camp.
  • I received grants to attend Celo Connect in Barcelona.
  • I became a technical ambassador for Celo.
  • I translated the content of Celo’s portal to Portuguese.
  • I wrote content for Celo Sage.
  • I am launching Alive Nature.
  • We started a builder with a focus on helping people/companies without technical skills.

All of this happened in just 18 months. Does it sound easy? We were approved for Celo Camp batch 7 after 4 attempts. For every grant we received, we had 3 rejections. For every accelerator we were approved for, we had several rejections.

I want to share a bit of this story to thank the Celo community and many people who I learned from, but also to help those who are entering the ecosystem now or starting their entrepreneurship journey.

Let me share a bit of the backstory. In 2016, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that affects my kidneys. It has no known cause and no cure. My prognosis was to start hemodialysis in 2021 with a life expectancy until 2026. My tests showed that everything was progressing in that direction. I made a decision. I had a B2B consulting company focused on marketing, CRM, and sales solutions, where we had expanded to 3 countries. The company was not at its best moment, but we had faced worse turbulence in the past and overcome it. But this time was different. My health was also being impacted. So, we sold everything and embarked on a motorhome trip across the US and Canada with no set end date, or rather, until my health could no longer take it. And then, after visiting more than half of the US and Canada, the pandemic hit. Exactly 1 year after the trip, we had to stop everything again and return to Brazil.

Fear struck hard because the virus was affecting those with renal disease severely. My time was already short, and I didn’t want to shorten it further. I studied the topic extensively, made modifications to my lifestyle and diet every 15 days, and then tested. And after 1 year, I found the path and managed to reverse my renal problem. After stabilizing myself, I needed to look for something new to do. That’s when my interest in blockchain came in.

I signed up for Celo’s Make Crypto Mobile Hackathon, and we were one of the winners with 2heavens. Due to everything I’ve experienced, my purpose has changed significantly. This is a point that made me be 100% focused on Celo.

Two months later, we were in production, and we had over 14,000 users in 4 months organically, but we realized that we made several mistakes.

The grant from Celo Jura was crucial because it showed us that we had many legal issues in our business model.

The Fintech Cadence and Startup Pathway programs were important for us to understand that we needed to communicate more with our users. That’s when we pivoted our business model to focus on retirement instead of inheritance.

Coming back to the Startup Pathway, it is a shorter program and easier to get into than Celo Camp. To be honest, most of the things in the program I was aware of, but I can say that committing to it and to the deliverables made me make the most of the points I was not aware of and could improve points I already knew. I can say that was our turn point.

Prezenti’s grant is another important moment, because until today everything is bootstrapping and we certainly wouldn’t have been able to advance at the speed we have advanced. It was very important for us.

About Celo Camp, well it’s still to come, but I can say that I’m very grateful for the many no’s we received before, because I’m sure that today we are at our best moment in terms of business model.

We are launching Alive Nature with a focus on pre-funding carbon credit projects. In a next post I will give more details. We also set up our incubator with a different model, more focused on the technical side than on business where we already have ViBook as the first company.

Now talking about the grants and the personal activities I carried out with Celo, I can say that Celo Connect was very important. I already related to the community, I was always present and shared things, but there I could see the big difference that is the Celo community. For those coming from the corporate world of large companies, the difference is huge. Instead of competing everyone really wanted to help each other and that was genuine. I got even more engaged with the community, Mila and everyone who was on the Brazil team at the time, always doing really cool things. Then I received an invitation from Mila and Eric to be a technical ambassador. I want to make a specific post on the subject, because there is a lot of cool stuff. I was able to learn a lot. I am very grateful for this opportunity.

Observing the hackathons, especially the hackathon with the Brazilian Government, I saw that there are a lot of brilliant people wanting to get into the area, but who need more technical support. Another point is that I see two large audiences: one aimed more at communities and the other at the corporate market. I’m not an expert in communities, but there are a lot of people doing cool things within Celo and the Community. From a corporate point of view, I really believe in the opportunity to bring the corporate companies closer to the ecosystem. That’s why I suggested the Celo Alumni program and we are setting up our Builder to support projects involving the corporate ecosystem.

Helping with the translations was another important point. There were hours working on it, but I saw it more as a study than as an activity in itself. I was able to learn a lot. Celo Sage is also a great opportunity for anyone who wants to learn and share knowledge.

Well, I’ll be doing a post in detail about my time as a technical ambassador, and also about 2heavens who will soon launch the new version in production and about Alive Nature.

I especially want to thank Mila, Eric, Ernest, Nestor, Jake Leraul, Viral, Joe, Daniel Olarte, Alon and Matt (Upright), and Maya (Prezenti) and I extend my thanks to everyone on the team as well. There were many with whom I learned a lot in that time. The Celo community was and is very important. There are many that I have great admiration for everything they are doing.

I’m sure it’s just the beginning of a lot of cool things being built by everyone.

If I dare say something, go deep into every opportunity you have, every feedback was and is very important. Engage with the community, share your knowledge and adapt your background to this new world. Do it for the community, receive a lot of no that among them you will also receive some yeses.