Web3 startups flock to accelerators as crypto enthusiasm surges

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Some Web3 startups are turning to accelerator programs as crypto enters a new bull market and investors look to get involved in the 

Accelerator programs offer mentorship and guidance in return for early equity. For example, United States-based Y Combinator counts several crypto firms, such as Coinbase and OpenSea, among its alumni.

On March 26, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) revealed the lineup for its spring 2024 crypto startup accelerator. The 25 startups will undergo a 10-week mentorship program in London led by the a16z crypto team.

Operating partner Jason Rosenthal shared a list featuring projects including Farcaster infrastructure, decentralized food delivery and zero-knowledge passport authentication. Startups in a16z’s accelerator get $500,000 from the firm in exchange for 7% equity. Alumni include Flashbots and Phantom.

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On Nov. 9, 2023, the Avalanche Foundation and Ava Labs introduced the first group of startups in its accelerator, Codebase. The program will see investments ranging from $500,000 to $1 million for startups.

Helika, a Web3 gaming infrastructure company, revealed its collaboration with Pantera Capital, Spartan Capital, Sfermion and other venture capital firms to allocate up to $50 million to startups participating in its new Web3 gaming accelerator, Helika Accelerate.

Related: Paradigm’s funding takes Farcaster’s dev to unicorn status

The cryptosphere has seen a resurgence in venture capital activity as the bull market ramps up. Crypto-native venture firm 1kx recently disclosed an oversubscribed $75 million fundraising round, while Hack VC finalized a $150 million round in February.

Sam Lehman, principal at Symbolic Capital, emphasized in a March 26 X post that robust crypto accelerators play a vital role in fostering community among founders within the network-centric Web3 sphere.

Lehman highlighted the rise of new crypto accelerators driven by funds aiming to boost their brand and deploy capital quickly. However, he warned of potential predatory practices among some accelerators:

“Some accelerators are using the early stage at which they invest plus their proposed ‘value-add’ to come in and take extremely big positions in companies immediately. Founders should definitely think twice about whether the terms they’d accept from an accelerator are worth what they’d receive in return.” 

Investment activity in Web3 gaming has also steadily increased recently. 0G Labs closed a $35 million pre-seed funding round on March 25, with participation from over 40 crypto-native institutions, including Hack VC and the Blockchain Builders Fund.

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