Xcelerator February 2022 Updates: Astar Raises $22M, Eluv.io Goes to Sundance

As we move forward from a wildly successful 2021, the Xcelerator is excited to share recent milestones, important upcoming events and announcements from teams across our four cohorts!

The Campanile Tower on UC Berkeley’s campus at sunrise

The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator is an internationally recognized, non-dilutive source of support for startups in the Blockchain ecosystem- formed by a partnership between the Haas School of Business, Blockchain at Berkeley student group, and Berkeley Engineering.

Berkeley Ecosystem Updates:

The 2022 cohort application is now closed. We’re proud to share that the program received over 300 applications for this cohort- the most we’ve ever received! Application review will be conducted over the weeks ahead. Teams who pass through to the second round of evaluation will be interviewed later in February, with the announcement of our accepted teams to follow in March.

2022 Programming will begin in April, hopefully with a hybrid kickoff week in the San Francisco Bay Area! A streaming service will be available for those who would like to join us but are not able to travel. Location and streaming details for all community-wide hybrid events to follow as we navigate the uncertainty of Covid-19.

Another important milestone- our 65 past Xcelerator teams, across 4 cohorts, have been on a fundraising tear and have now raised $422M in follow-on funding, a notable figure as we also mark 3 years since announcing this effort in January 2019.

In parallel with our programming, two new blockchain entrepreneurship courses have kicked off for the Spring semester- receiving over 300 student applications.

Thank you to our education sponsors — Rally.io, Algorand Foundation, Ripple UBRI, Web3 Foundation & Republic Crypto!

Xcelerator Team Updates:

Astar Raises $22M

Having secured a Polkadot Parachain space this past December and launching its mainnnet after 2 years of development this month, Astar has partnered with Polychain, Crypto.com, Alameda Research and others to fundraise $22M.

From Jenny R. at DeFiReport:

“Ben Perszyk, Partner at Polychain Capital, commented that ‘Astar is making a very competitive offer for new developers in the Polkadot space, and we are excited to partner with them. The project’s focus on including additional WASM build languages ​​in its EVM support should help attract development in many more programming languages, and its dApp engagement platform represents an innovative new approach to driving and funding an emerging ecosystem’.”

Read more on building a project on Astar, and why it’s the right choice for L1 blockchain developers, here.

Eluv.io brings Blockchain Technology to Sundance Film Festival

Eluv.io will host the framework for streaming the documentary film Angst at the upcoming hybrid production of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The global streaming/NFT event will allow for engagement from a global audience while providing access to mental health resources necessitated by the issues examined in the film.

Ron Johnson, CEO of Liquid Media, had this to say on Eluv.io’s contribution to the convergence of blockchain technology and traditional media:

“We are especially excited that our screening of ‘Angst’ will showcase the incredible ways that independents can leverage blockchain technology and NFTs to reach new audiences, achieve lower-cost, decentralized distribution, sell merchandise and other special access experiences, and broadcast directly to fans on their own terms.”

Also of note- The Masked Singer, produced by FOX Broadcasting Company, has established a MaskVerse operating through the use of NFTs minted on the Eluv.io blockchain. Create an Eluv.io wallet to attend Maskverse events, engage with the community and earn rewards!

Utrust Unites with Elrond

In a significant event for the landscape of crypto payments, 2021 cohort member Utrust has united with Elrond Network! Utrust’s fully integrated $EGLD in tandem with Elrond’s ability to process hundreds of thousands of transactions per second provides valuable transaction scalability and accessibility that will accelerate and simplify the implementation of DeFi payments.

From Utrust CEO Sanja Kon:

“It’s a way for merchants to have their stake in this space and a more diversified treasury…We really want to change how people pay and get paid. Traditional payments are incentivized more in the way of large marketplaces and large merchants, instead of giving everyone the opportunity to do business. And that’s what we want to do.”


GIANT raises $5M from Coinfund and others

GIANT Protocol has raised funding from Coinfund, Gumi and others to further its mission to “shake up the telecom industry” through tokenizing bandwidth. Blockchange, Argonautic, Entheos and Bronco Fund also participated in the protocol’s seed round.

GIANT looks to reimagine bandwidth as a digital asset to be used as currency- establishing itself across existing telecom infrastructure in contrast to existing projects that rely on a series of user-owned nodes.

Bit.Country raises ~$40M

Bit.County, in partnership with Metaverse.Network, raised close to $40M from their community’s early adopters through community whitelisting on Tokensoft. Round 2 of fundraising alone saw $12M worth of NUUM sold out within 90 minutes, reaching the cap for the event in no time at all!

Via Bit.Country Metaverse Network:

Bit.Country & Metaverse Network is building a future for metaverse owners to have the ability to grow exponentially while letting the members take ownership and earn through a variety of opportunities, benefiting directly from the development of the metaverses they are in.

OP Games partners with YGG to launch GM Frens

On the heels of successfully raising over $8M in seed funding, OP Games has established a Publishing and Accelerator arm for gaming- with the goal of reducing barriers to entry for indie developers on the blockchain. GM Frens will provide holistic support to developers through game design and tokenomics, NFT sales, marketing, community building, and tech and blockchain integrations.

2022 will see OP Games continue its mission of empowering and enabling game developers to create sustainable economies using Web 3.0.

Read about more of OP Game’s yearly highlights here.

AnChain.AI is featured by Gartner

AnChain.AI has been highlighted by Gartner as a key example of innovation in analytics and intelligence for on-chain and off/chain data- across Blockchain analytics use cases including user behavior, law and tax enforcement and anti-money laundering.

Listen to Victor Fang, co-founder & CEO, share his insights on #AI for cybersecurity, fraud detection solutions and navigating this evolving technology here.


Para.State goes to Auction

Known as ‘Ethereum on steroids’, ParaState is a multi-chain smart contract platform bridging the application and developer ecosystem between Polkadot, Substrate and Ethereum, as well as other chains wanting to provide Ethereum compatibility.

ParaState works like a DAO and aims to bring EWASM runtime infrastructure for massive adoption in a multi-chain ecosystem. Read this educational post to help understand the advantages of establishing their governance as a completely decentralized environment.

ParaState’s parachain, Geminis Network, will take part in Polkadot Slot Auction number #11 from March 3 to 10, 2022. Please vote and stake with them!

Looking Forward:

As we prepare for the year ahead, the Xcelerator is also excited to see the development of UC Berkeley’s new Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence (RDI), previewed by UC Berkeley at the Xcelerator’s November Demo Day.

We look forward to the continued success of our program alongside this initiative- a collaboration of UC Berkeley faculty from across many disciplines under the direction of Profs. Dawn Song, Christine Parlour and Jocelyn Weber-Phipps- seeking to promote accessibility, responsibility and security in the DeFi space.

The latest from RDI and Prof. Dawn Song is the DeFi MOOC Future of DeFi Fireside Chat series that includes sessions with Crypto Dad & former CFTC Chair Christopher Giancarlo, Curve Founder Michael Egorov, Circle Founder Jeremy Allaire and other industry leaders. A session with Consensys Founder Joe Lubin is coming later this week!

The Xcelerator wishes everyone a happy, healthy start to the New Year. Stay tuned for more projects, news and opportunities!

Our mission is simply to provide education and opportunity creation for our students and the entrepreneurs who join us, while moving the industry forward responsibly and creating a blockhain-native talent pipeline.

Check out more about our program and portfolios on our website.

Interested in partnering with us? Click here.



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Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator

A partnership between Berkeley Engineering’s RDI & SCET, Blockchain at Berkeley, and Berkeley Haas