Fastest to $39M with zero marketing, no VCs, and no ICO

Saswata Basu
Zus Network
Published in
3 min readFeb 26, 2018


I thought I would share how we were the fastest to raise our goal of $39M without an ICO, without any big name VCs, and without any marketing. We raised a hard cap within 2 months of launch of our website, and within 1 month of our first public appearance at WCEF. I remember December 16th, 2017 vividly, as it was the day we launched our website with our initial white paper, just 4 team members, no advisors, and generally an unknown entity. I wrote a couple of blogs and initiated a conversation on Telegram. And then, slowly people with deep blockchain and token economy knowledge trickled in and became aware of our project, and started chatting with us on Telegram.

Within 2 weeks, we had a commitment from a token purchaser. He started out offering a contribution of just 200k, but as he learned more about the project, grew the size of his commitment steadily to $2M, then $5M, and then we had to stop him during the presale round, as we did not want a single buyer to dominate the contribution pool, although he wanted to commit more than $10M, even at the highest presale price. At that time, we knew our project resonated with hard-core blockchain enthusiasts and influencers in the industry. And soon, we started to cap all contributions from private buyers, otherwise we could have easily raised 2–3x the hard cap target.

A few large buyers committed prior to our first public event at WCEF in San Francisco on January 15th, where we participated in a 2-minute token pitch competition. After WCEF and a subsequent Bitcoin event in Miami, interest in our project grew rapidly, and accelerated further after our demo with ohheymatty. In fact, subsequent to our demo, we were overwhelmed with interest and had to pause our private presale end of January to accommodate a broader private presale round for our initial members on Telegram. We started capping contribution size at $2M to have a broader distribution, and later capped it further to have enough allocation to accommodate more influential buyers.

For the broader private presale we decided to go with a fixed 3 ETH to give everyone a fair chance, keep it simple, and restrict to people who are serious about our project. We also did not want to have a large distribution pool, which would be difficult to manage. We were very particular about who we had selected, and wanted to make sure we had a distributed pool around the world. Indeed, we have buyers from over 100 countries, who are influential and would contribute to our project in some manner.

Unlike traditional VC fund raising, I believe the community sourced method will be the way of the future, especially for novel concepts, big ideas, and big projects. VCs tend to be slow and deliberate in their process, and typically have a long due diligence process, where multiple partners need to agree, and often ask for a large discounted allocation. A grass roots effort like ours allows the price and allocation to be fairly uniform, have global awareness, and the due diligence process to be fast and transparent, because of discussions, questions, and uncertainties played out over the public channel on Telegram.

Now with the contributions raised, we are shifting our focus to some marketing activity (finally), partnerships with dApps, blockchains, enterprises, as well as research and development. The development of the protocols, writing white papers and proofs, and developing production code for the testnet are executed in parallel by our team. The marketing activity will revolve around conference and meetup events, AMAs, press interviews, and partnership announcements. Our marketing efforts will resonate around the following message –

“0chain is a fast, free and flexible dCloud for dApps on any blockchain. 0chain is an extensible platform. In short, we turbo-charge dApps and blockchains”

The past two months have been an incredible journey. The speed by which the community got interested in our project was just amazing. We want to thank each and every buyer who has supported 0chain. Without the community support this would not be possible, so we really value every member. Even those who did not have a chance to purchase but are supporting 0chain, we want to thank them too. We look forward to posting more about the project progress on a regular basis, and keep in touch with the community on our telegram and twitter channels.
Twitter @0costcloud