What W3 Studio Looks for in Founders

W3 Studio > Founder > What W3 Studio Looks for in Founders

Published: May 5, 2023

W3 Studio is getting close to opening applications for founders to our grant program.  Diverse-led startups will get $200,000 grants at the earliest stage of company building to create their first product and find their first customers.  This felt like a good time to share what we are looking for in founder applicants.

Let’s start with the easy stuff.  W3 Studio has a couple of key requirements that are simple to understand.  These are not negotiable.  If you don’t hit all these criteria, then our program is not for you.

1️⃣ Founding teams need to hit our definition of diversity.  We are looking for a super majority of the common equity going to Black, Latinx, and Women.  This needs to be at least 67% of the founder shares.  There will be a certification process like getting a government MBE contract.  We are good with solo founders but prefer co-founders or a small founding team, and we require this diversity.  We understand there are many other groups that the tech community has not served well.  Unfortunately, we can’t help everyone at this time, so we’ve chosen this focus.

2️⃣ Businesses in our program will be built in Atlanta.  We are committed to this city and its amazing ecosystem.  Founders will need to be in Atlanta at least for the year they are in the program.  Strong preference will be given to founders already in Atlanta or with deep ties to the community.  We can’t make you stay here after you’ve gotten our grant cash, but we will be seriously bummed out if you immediately jet out of town.

3️⃣ We want to work with businesses at the earliest stage of company building, and we want to support founders that most need our help.  If you’ve already raised more than $100,000 in outside funding, then you are too late for us.  If you’ve been in another accelerator program with $100K cash, also too late.  If you’ve got a live product with over $100K in revenue, also too late.  Also, if you’ve founded multiple startups and had a successful exit, leave our grants for someone in higher need.  Same if you’re coming off a highly lucrative career or big entrepreneurial business.  We want to help people that can’t fund the business themselves and don’t have the personal network to get friends and family money raised.

4️⃣ We back businesses building web3.  This can be anything from blockchain to tokens to NFTs to DAOs to Metaverse to avatars.  You gotta be using these new tools to meet our qualifications.

We would love to help every great founder that we meet but that would not be practical.  We are starting with these criteria, and we’ll reconsider these in the future. 

Once you know that you’ve hit these basic requirements, let’s get down to what will really distinguish an applicant.

🏃‍♀️ We love founders that have a bias to action.  We want to see some serious scrappiness.  Show us you can advance the business with whatever resources you have access to and with your own hard work.  Maybe that means growing a waitlist or your business social media handles.  Maybe you’ve done customer discovery interviews.  Maybe that is knocking out a simple prototype product or some designs.  Show us you care enough about your idea to make some type of progress without the full funding in place.

🏆 We back winners.  Building a startup is super hard.  There will be dozens of obstacles and lots of difficult times.  It takes a long-term commitment to succeed, often 5+ years.  We want to know that you’ve taken on a challenge of similar difficulty in the past and won.  This might be in sports, education, music, the arts, or a prior job.  You need to show us that you were able to get something a bunch of other people wanted with your commitment, smarts, and drive.

🌐 We want people serious about web3, not tourists.  Please don’t slap some silly web3 idea into your startup to try and get some of our sweet grant candy.  We’ll know if that is the case.  We are looking for people that have spent time in web3 communities, in-person or Twitter or Discord.  We will ask about what content you consume and what products you’ve personally used in the space.  Web3 natives only.

So, does this all sound like you?  If so, please reach out here, and we’ll set up a time to meet our team in Office Hours at our homebase – the Atlanta Blockchain Center.  We look forward to helping you grow an amazing company.