We were an incubator
In the past, we incubated projects at the R&D stage, in most cases over several years, from token design all the way to rolling out networks and customer go-to-market, delivered by a team of 30 staff. As far as we are aware we were the first incubator globally to hire a Head of Tokenomics, who went on to deliver award-winning work with Imperial College of London called: The 3Ds of Token Design.
We aren’t a ‘fund’
What most people don’t know about us is it’s always been our own money, not 3rd party LPs. We never created a fund in the classic sense, we never took management fees or carry and so we have never had to deploy capital or distribute profits. We have been, and continue to be, deeply committed to the crypto space, our portfolio and digital assets. Only rarely have we invested without being an advisor where we could impact the success of the network. Where we are an advisor any upside typically vests over multiple years mirroring the founders.
Building an ecosystem
Over the last few years, we have seen sentiment rise and fall. Competitors and partners have come and gone but we made the conscious decision to reinvest all profits back into the Outlier platform, continuing to support and grow our portfolio, or what we refer to as ‘The Convergence Stack’. This equates to several million of our own hard-earned cash back into our developer conference, Diffusion, developing protocol integrations through OV Labs, and directly supporting and facilitating customer adoption. While we have been doing this, as a startup, we too had been ‘finding fit’.
Condensing six years into three months
Late last year, almost six years into our journey we decided to take everything and everyone we know and condense it into Base Camp, a three-month London-based accelerator program. We brought together our amazing network of leading Web 3.0 investors, founders and entrepreneurs as well as executives from major corporations into an insanely intense program.
The first cohort is now off in the wild closing customers, investors and partners including other networks in The Convergence Stack. In the past, we would have been the lead and sole advisor, now we are primarily facilitators of a wide ecosystem providing a structure that surfaces and responds to the needs of each startup through a network of amazing mentors. We also discovered startups working together as peers during this phase rather than in isolation made a huge difference to their progress, but also mental health and wellbeing. We have also found that an accelerator is more scalable, and ironically more impactful, than a multi-year incubator. We have now gone from working with a handful of projects a year to eight per cohort, which we can run multiple times a year across multiple cities.
We are beginning our second cohort in London in March, and are rolling it out in Berlin in the summer and a third city in the autumn. Because of the qualities of Web 3: new business models, crypto-tokens, new fundraising methods, as well as nascent developer tooling we believe this new paradigm needs a dedicated accelerator. In short, we found Fit.
Supporting ‘The New Data Economy’
We’ve always looked at blockchains and crypto in the context of their convergence with other technologies like the internet of things and artificial intelligence. Many startups in our portfolio are as much an AI or IoT company as they are a blockchain company. Regardless of what market they are targeting or technologies, they are using, the common denominator is data: the production, distribution and consumption of data. Where previously we focused mainly on infrastructure and crypto-tokens. Now the technology stack is mature enough enabling middleware and applications to thrive and onboard enterprise and consumers.
From our thesis to OUR thesis
The goal of our accelerator is to help each startup get further, faster, with clarity on the mission, positioning, product momentum and ecosystem contacts. We are now directly inviting our network to provide input into the design and thesis of our next cohorts. As such we are recruiting sponsors to share in the commercial upside through co-branded programs, including the ability to directly inform the startup selection process and city roll-out. If you are a dedicated blockchain fund, tech VC or a CVC looking for access to the crypto industry and wish to become a strategic sponsor or get us aligned with your thesis, get in touch.