The leading global cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, has created a number of initiatives designed to support the world’s blockchain community. Now, Binance is focused on solving the most critical problems facing the blockchain industry by putting an emphasis on mentorship, guidance and education.
Through its venture arm, Binance Labs, a 10-week, on-site Incubation Program has been created. This program is designed to help entrepreneurs deliver products with a clear product-market fit. Since its launch in October 2018, the Binance Labs incubator has grown into the strongest network of early-stage blockchain developer teams.
Binance Labs Incubation Program is a 10 week on-site program designed to provide the necessary resources to top blockchain developers around the world. Through the program, we support entrepreneurs who are solving critical problems for the blockchain industry. In particular, we help participants focus on “BUIDLing” products from an early stage. The term BUIDL is a glossary term from the Binance Academy, originally derived from HODL, a term referring to keeping your heads down and focusing on building your product,” Ella Zhang, Head of Binance Labs, told me.
Today, the inaugural San Francisco chapter came to an end, graduating its first batch of blockchain projects from the Binance Labs Incubation Program. The program culminated in an invite-only BUIDLers Day, where each of the eight teams pitched to more than 150 of Silicon Valley’s top investors.
More than five hundred projects applied for Season 1 of the Incubation Program within the span of four weeks. Following an intensive review process, which required consensus among all members of the Binance Labs team, eight projects were selected. Each startup received $500,000 in seed funding and direct access to a vast range of resources, industry leaders and mentors through the Binance Labs network.
Over the course of the San Francisco program, seven of the eight projects have already shipped working products and brought users on board, and three of those teams have signed on paying customers.
The first batch of projects from the Binance Labs incubator has matured quickly over the course of the program. The projects have grown their teams, many have shipped products with paying users, and they share our vision in this industry. 2018 has been a year of building and staying focused on the long term. We will continue to grow the ecosystem and support top projects to build a solid service,” Changpeng Zhao (CZ), Founder and CEO of Binance told me.
In addition to continual support from Binance, all projects will have the opportunity to pitch onstage at the Binance Conference, being held January 21-22, 2019 in Singapore. Binance Labs also announced plans to host its next incubation program across five continents, in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Lagos, San Francisco and Singapore.
Another Block In The Chain: Product Market Fit
While the incubation program allows Binance to uncover leading emerging technologies in the blockchain space, it also helps participants understand the correct product-market fit for their projects.
“There are two problems we have seen in the ecosystem, which helped inform our design of the program: a lack of product-market fit in many blockchain projects, and the market hype that distracts founders from BUIDLing. With the incubation program, projects can focus on shipping a working product or service with product-market fit as quickly as possible,” Zhang said.
Through the Binance Labs incubation program, the industry’s most popular companies provide developers with direct feedback based on their needs, along with their users’ needs. In turn, better blockchain products are being created for the correct use cases.
Mark Miyashita, Co-Founder and CEO of Akio Labs, one of the eight startups from the San Francisco incubation program, found this aspect to be especially helpful.
I would highly recommend the Binance Labs incubation program. Anytime we needed to get a connection to someone in the industry, Binance Labs had a first-degree or second-degree connection, and we were able to talk to that person. That helped us tremendously accelerate our progress. We were able to get featured in newsletters and we were able to get connections to many VCs to see if they would use our product, which was super helpful overall,” Miyashita told me.
Echoing this sentiment, Robert Yau, Founder of Path, noted,
When I first heard about the Binance Labs incubation program and I was invited to apply, I read about the folks who were on the team and how Binance had grown so quickly in a short amount of time. It was a no-brainer for me to join. Since joining, I’ve realized that a key part of the program has also been the different mentors we had access to. You have different opinions, different strategies, and unique ways of thinking. The projects who were in the incubation covered the entire spectrum as well, which is great about Binance since the focus is not just on technology itself, but across the global spectrum.”
In addition to being regularly mentored by innovators like Viktor Radchenko, Founder of Trust Wallet (recently acquired by Binance) and Lily Liu, Co-Founder of Earn.com (Acquired by Coinbase), program participants were able to partake in weekly fireside chats with leaders like CZ of Binance.
“We are envisioning the strongest network of BUIDLers in blockchain to be formed, and the future game changers for the industry to come from our program. Mentorship and guidance is key,” Zhang said.
The eight startups from the San Francisco incubation program include:
- Akio Labs – The easiest way to get insights from blockchain data
- Deaux – Teespring for prediction markets
- Decore – Gusto for crypto native companies
- Injective Protocol – The New Standard for Decentralized Exchange
- Nym – Building a secure, private future for the internet
- Path – Plaid for Crypto
- SafePal – The Easiest & Most Affordable Hardware Wallet
- Torus – Frictionless logins for Dapps