[Approved] India Accelerator Program

TLDR of the proposal:

  • Increase adoption of NEAR among startups in India
  • Facilitate creation of high value blockchain projects built on NEAR

tl;dr: All of the below for $50,000.

Detailed proposal - max 450 words, if more info is needed link to docs:

Detailed proposal available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1senyzwbK5vB8cmnFhSqDGSJfxnxlbIE1/view?usp=sharing

Potential ROI/impact on the NEAR Ecosystem:

  • Exposure among developers building in the blockchain space
  • Contacts and visibility across 150 startups+
  • The package includes local marketing, PR and media announcements (4-5 stories every month)
  • Partnership with local communities & developers (virtual meetups with 50-70 attendees)
  • Partnership with 25 incubators across India

Amount of funding: $50,000

Project lead (internal/external):
Internal: Shreyas (?) unless anyone from BD/OWC etc find this more relevant, in which case Shreyas is happy to help in whatever capacity.
External: Lumos Labs

  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain

0 voters

 Voting and quorum thresholds:

- <2K$ - 1X Yes - no minimum quorum (* quorum defined as min number of members needed for the vote to be valid)
- 2-10K$ - 2X Yes - no min quorum
- 10-30K$ - 3X Yes - min quorum 4 of 7 - 4X members should vote in either direction
- Above 30K$ requires Erik or Illia's additional approval
- Above 100K$ requires NEAR Foundation Council approval

@shreyas added poll/vote to your post. Plz add it next time yourself :slight_smile:

@amgando would be great to have your feedback on this one!

@erik.near @illia FYI this proposal will need your approval. Feel free to review/comment if you have any feedback!

Having been on the call with these guys, I’m just not convinced they can deliver. I don’t know the quality of “start-ups” that will come through, and they definitely don’t have the NEAR knowledge to help devs/teams build apps on top of NEAR. They claim they can learn but I think that’s a lot of talk. Also the $$ is high, another India hackathon that I’m talking to with 500+ devs is asking for $3k-$5k USD for the sponsorship.

My suggestion would be to have them join as a hacker team for ETHDenver, learn to build on NEAR, and submit an app/project. If it’s high quality then I will believe that they have actually learned to build on NEAR and could guide hackers.

Although I can’t speak about this specific team’s ability to deliver, I’m a fan of the structure of this proposal.

Spinning up a teaching team that supports a cohort of vetted entrepreneurs through an intense learning program is a strong move

It’s not clear to me how to sanity check their ability to deliver beyond looking at past performance

Also the success of this would hinge on the quality of incoming teachers and entrepreneurs, obviously, which is impossible to predict.

If they have a massive network or can somehow guarantee the top of the funnels for both teachers and students leads to 1-5% acceptance rate, that would be a strong leading indicator of success for me.

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Interesting idea … @shreyas do you think you could ask them to do this?

My main concern was that they were too optimistic that their part time devrels could easily learn how to support others in using NEAR!

Hey all, @amgando and I had a chat about this today. We spoke about a couple of ideas. Adding some notes here.

Our risks are:

  1. The quality of the educators/mentors.
  2. The quality of participants the program brings in.

How could we de-risk:

We might not want to pay the entire amount upfront. Given the above risks, we can talk to the team, let them know that these are our concerns, and ask what’s the best way we can mitigate it. Ideally, the best outcome would be that we have some control over 1 and 2.

Given that these are service companies, they wouldn’t be open to the idea of participating in an ETH Denver or similar hackathon.

  1. We could do a payout based on milestones. We mutually agree on a certain set of milestones so that we aren’t giving them a 50k in advance, but break it into say 10+20+20 etc. We could have modules that the trainers go through and could even incentivise them to take these courses on NEAR.
    So, for example, the first milestone could be the trainers finishing their learning courses. Second milestone could be that the dev cohort stays on engaged for a period of 2 weeks, which shows that the content is engaging and useful.

  2. We could participate in the vetting process of these educators and entrepreneurs they bring on board. The second one, I’d imagine, is simpler, with some sort of application form that they have to fill in. Vetting their mentors might be a little tricky as their whole business model is the blackbox between the mentors and orgs.

@amgando please feel free to add anything else that I missed. :pray:

What do you all think of this? If you have any alternate suggestions, please let us know. :slight_smile:

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I think there is an additional downside to keep in mind and see if we can ask them to address! The builders/learners in that program most likely are not that active in the Crypto Twitter/social media circles that we care about. So, we could end up spending all this time/effort while getting no-very little exposure.

Potential solution: they could add an additional requirement of “sharing your learning journey” with blogs and ideally videos that learners share on social (Twitter, YouTube, Dev.to etc …)

We can give people who do this some additional tokens/swag!


That’s a good point! The founder of Lumos Labs worked in PR and marketing before, which is why they mentioned they would be able to get press mentions, coverage etc, but we could do it from a participant POV as well.

I’m not sure if we can enforce this, but we could definitely nudge them towards that direction of sharing their learning journey publicly with tokens/swags!

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Hey all, just had a call with the team and here are some updates.

  • This is a clear accelerator program and not an education program- the goal is to get startups building on NEAR. Education is a part of this and they’ll have resource to handle tech questions. They also have a shortlisting criteria for startups (eg: Whether their idea actually requires blockchain or is a force fit, willingness to build on NEAR or migrate to, seriousness of the founder- composition of the team, progress of an MVP etc.) and they are happy to incorporate any of our suggestions too. We have full visibility and control in all this.

  • They are open to the vetting process of mentor/educators that help the devs- participating in ETH Denver might not be possible, but taking up a bounty, or having our devs speak to them etc. are fine with them. They’ll share some ideas around that, but generally happy to do it.

  • They are open to creating a more structured incentive program and way to share organic social proof and learning journey from participants through personal video testimonials, blog posts etc. They can take care of video editing etc.

  • Their marketing person will work with our team to plan out PR, social media, analytics etc. to ensure that we’re able to capture leads effectively and measure the impact & reach of campaigns etc. This includes right from the data that we want to capture in the sign up form to the final demo day event.

  • They are happy to do a milestone based payout where we mutually agree on a milestone and distribute payment when we hit that.

Since this now seems to be really aligned with OWC, I’ve pinged Mimi about this to figure out the details. They are reworking their proposal. I’ll share it when it’s ready (timeline: 11th Feb). If anyone has any other thoughts, concerns or suggestions about any of the above, please do share.

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Thanks Shreyas! This sounds good to me. Please keep me in the loop re milestones for payments and criteria around that. Otherwise sounds good and I think we should do it!

I feel education will be a byproduct of this initiative so it should still be coordinated with Sherif ideally to make sure they stick to some basic standards and cover essential topics.

One more thing: I think we should double down and add an additional prize/incentive for the top 1-3 teams to make the program more appealing for top performer A++ devs/teams.

Last … thing: would the program be open to nearby geos/countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Malaysia etc?

Will do! I’ll share their updated proposal next week when I get them and we can review.

100%! Will definitely need @amgando’s input on education, QC, checking the skills of of the mentor(s) etc and more. I’ll sync with Sherif after I get their updated proposal.

Not a hackathon, but an accelerator program, so yeah, how much we want to give out as grant/funding etc is entirely in our control. Can upsize or downsize :slight_smile:

Their USP is reach and connects with incubators, dev communities, startups etc within India. Technically, there isnt anything preventing other geographies, but I don’t think they have the reach. Will share the idea with them and get their thoughts on this too.

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Re last point (geo) we could at the very least involve our Vietnam guild lead to see if we get any applications from that region! Also NEAR Turkey and MENA folks are in the same-ish time zone range :slight_smile:

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Hey everyone,

We have the updated proposal. Here’s the video walkthrough:

Link to the proposal: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IS94hLeJhO1RXWMOJIpHJNVLucGFoV9p/view?usp=sharing

They have agreed to this.

@nima they’ve also mentioned the milestones and payouts in the proposal, but here is a tl;dr

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Thank for the update Shreyas. Let’s aim to have a decision on this by EoW.

If this is their response and it’s tied to hard metrics like # of apps launched, txs / users created, $$$ raised from angel seed.

They are happy to do a milestone based payout

99% of the time my answer will be YES

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Are the milestones just general like “deal flow phase completed”? OR are the milestones tied to the proposed number of projects/outcomes/numbers they mention above?

Isn’t this clear from the video the guy shared? Which one do you think makes sense?