Xcelerator September 2021 Updates: Demo Day Invite, SEC Contracts Xcelerator Team, 3 Series As, FTX.US + Cal Athletics, NFTs on Your Twitter, a Patent & More
The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator team is incredibly excited to share this month’s news from our teams and ecosystem! The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator is a blockchain-focused startup accelerator at UC Berkeley, run by Blockchain at Berkeley, Berkeley Engineering (Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology), and the Haas School of Business.
Note: Xcelerator companies will be labeled with their cohort name — e.g. 2021, 2020, Fa19, or Sp19. You may view a list of our past portfolio teams here.
Xcelerator Hybrid Demo Day, Showcase & Career Fair — Save the Date & Request Invite! November 17, 2021
As they say, “the show must go on!” for our 2021 cohort, and the UC Berkeley campus is open, for now.
Please plan to join us, either in person on the Berkeley campus or virtually on Hopin, for our Demo Day, Showcase and Career Fair on November 17th, 4:30–7pm PT, to hear from the amazing 2021 cohort that has already raised ~$50M in new funding since joining the Xcelerator.
And, hear updates from a selection of our past 45 Xcelerator teams. Follow on funding for all Xcelerator teams is now approaching $200M, so you will want to tune in!
For those interested in career opportunities with our teams and network, please also join us. While funding has been raised by many teams, the biggest challenge currently in the blockchain / crypto industry is talent, especially developer talent!
Request an invite here and let us know how you’d like to attend (in-person or virtually). Note that a limited number of in-person spots exist, and we will work to honor as many in-person requests as possible, possibly limited by local health guidelines. See you then!
Eluvio Announces Strategic Investment by FOX and Concludes Series A at $100M Valuation (Fa19 Cohort)
As part of the investment, the companies also announced that Eluvio will provide the underlying technology platform for Blockchain Creative Labs, FOX Entertainment’s and Bento Box Entertainment’s recently launched NFT business and creative unit.
Paul Cheesbrough, Chief Technology Officer and President of Digital for Fox Corporation, will also join Eluvio’s Board of Directors. Fox Corporation’s investment marks the completion of Eluvio’s Series A round at a valuation of $100 million.
AnChain.AI raises $10M and awarded SEC contract to monitor crypto-assets (Sp19 Cohort)
AnChain.AI, a blockchain security company specializing in AI-powered platforms, has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by SIG Asia Investments, LLLP, an affiliate of Susquehanna International Group (SIG). Fin VC, Nima Capital, Hard Yaka, and Amino Capital also participated.
The team also announced that it has been awarded the multi-year SEC contract to provide a platform for deep analysis and tracing on smart contracts, supporting the SEC in ongoing efforts to monitor risk, improve compliance and inform commission policy on digital assets and cryptocurrencies.
“The UC Berkeley network has been one of the key factors in our ongoing success. AnChain.AI is proud to ally with one of the world’s leading universities, UC Berkeley, in advancing the maturity of DeFi compliance and the entire digital asset ecosystem, as well as nurturing the future pioneers of the digital asset era.”
— Victor Fang, Ph.D. CEO and Co-founder, AnChain.AI
SubQuery raises $9M for Polkadot data protocol
Subquery (Sp21), the data aggregator on Polkadot, has raised $9M from an investment round co-led by Digital Currency Group, Arrington XRP Capital, Stratos Technologies, along with Skynet Trading, Wintermute, NGC Ventures, and Hypersphere Ventures. This is after the $1.8 million private seed round in March of this year from The LAO, P2P Capital, and DeFi Alliance, among others.
The new investments will be utilized to further build SubQuery’s data indexing infrastructure, as announced on Wednesday. Funds will also be allocated to help expand other technical features as well as open-sourcing its software.
UC Berkeley Offers DeFi Course as MOOC and for Credit
Given the huge interest in the first Berkeley DeFi course in Spring ‘21, UC Berkeley has launched the first DeFi MOOC course open to everyone!
Led by Profs. Dawn Song and Christine Parlour from Berkeley, plus Dan Boneh of Stanford, Andrew Gervais of ICL, and Andrew Miller of UIUC. The faculty team is bringing together finance and computer science students to learn and better understand this emerging space.
Lectures began August 26th! Sign up anytime, join the Discord, and view past lectures on YouTube here.
Astar’s SDN Listing News & Expansion to Hub of Bridges plus dApp Hub for EVM & WASM (2020 Cohort)
Astar Network’s sister chain on Kusama, Shiden Network, now has the SDN token now listed on Kraken, Kucoin, Gate and MEXC.
Additionally, Astar will create numerous bridges to connect external networks to Polkadot through Astar Network, while also providing a dApp hub that supports EVM and WASM.
Read more about Shiden launch and the Astar roadmap here on their Medium.
Automata’s Ecosystem Grows Significantly with Witness now Supported by 14 Blockchain projects; $ATA lists on Indodax (2021 Cohort)
The most successful blockchain projects employ formal governance mechanisms to manage important decisions — and Witness is Automata’s Network privacy governance solution supporting decentralized communities as they come together to discuss and vote on key issues. Thus far, Witness has been supported by no less than 14 industry projects, including Avalanche, Polygon, and Moonbeam among others.
Witness provides a simple interface for users to create governance proposals and vote on them by connecting their wallets and the governance tokens contained within, while at the same time allowing voters to choose between various privacy levels. Actual voting is conducted off-chain to eliminate gas costs and encourage greater participation in the governance process, but on-chain execution of the final voting results is also possible via Chainhook.
In addition, Automata Network’s $ATA token is also now listed on Indodax, Indonesia’s largest crypto asset marketplace with nearly over 4 million verified members.
SubQuery receives over 1,700 Applications to its Ambassador Program (2021 Cohort)
To date, SubQuery have received over 1,700 applications from most countries around the world. This really shows the strong organic growth in SubQuery’s community, and the developer interest across the Substrate/Polkadot ecosystem.
Liquid Mortgage Raises Seed Round, Issued Patent (2020 Cohort)
Liquid Mortgage announced today it has raised capital from and entered into a strategic partnership with Redwood Trust (NYSE: RWT). The capital raise and partnership are the culmination of a months-long engagement, in which Redwood Trust tested Liquid Mortgage’s technology and developed an actionable strategy to build a future-ready mortgage ecosystem. The partners share a common mission of utilizing blockchain technology within the current market infrastructure, rather than reinventing the mortgage ecosystem overnight.
Additionally, Liquid Mortgage has been issued a U.S. Patent for its distributed ledger technology, supporting its vision for the future of debt markets. U.S. Patent 11,068,978 entitled, “Decentralized Systems and Methods for Managing Loans and Securities,” aims to make debt markets more efficient and transparent, while lowering overall ecosystem costs.
Litentry launched My Crypto Profile — a tool to show NFTs on Twitter (2021 Cohort)
My Crypto Profile, launched by Litentry, is a browser extension that allows users to show their NFT collections on Twitter. Users can now shill NFTs and discover NFT artists on Twitter by securely connecting Ethereum address with Twitter account.
NFT holders have a strong need to display their digital assets. To meet this need, Litentry built a data indexing layer to bridge the metaverse and Web 2.0 social networks. My Crypto Profile is a proof of concept of the cross-network identity aggregation protocol, which demonstrates the feasibility of connecting different virtual worlds with simple tools. Ethereum was Litentry’s first stop, and they plan to support Kusama, Solona, Polygon, and more in the future. Additionally, Litentry plans to add more social networks, such as Discord and Telegram.
My Crypto Profile launched on Product Hunt as well; upvote them here - https://www.producthunt.com/posts/my-crypto-profile
CryptoIndexSeries — Flagship product CIS API is Released (2021 Cohort)
CryptoIndexSeries recently released the CIS API which provides access to their Unified Web API and web socket services. The API provides real time crypto financial data, access to news, reference data, timeseries data & searchable content as well as a Trading and a Portfolio API to submit & manage orders and track the performance of portfolios.
The product has already attracted interest by Wealth Management Platform Providers and other Technology providers ( eg. Algo Traders, Index Fund Providers) as these actors do not want to build the data, trading and portfolio infrastructure from the ground up.
Manta Network’s Kusama Project, Calamari Network, Receives Over 130,000 KSM and 10,000+ contributors in Crowdloan (2021 Cohort)
Bit.Country’s Alpha 0.1 is Ready for Internal Team Testing (2021 Cohort)
Bit.Country allows you to create your own bit country with Metaverses, Token Economies and NFTs. Here is the latest on their progress:
- Developed the Bridge between Bit.Country and Ethereum.
- 1143 tasks have been completed by our Ambassador candidates. The community is reviewing each of their tasks.
- Launched blind box campaign to distribute NFTs & prizes using testnet network. 15K users participated within 4 days since launch.
- Testnet faucet has a total user account of ~23K
- Collator node campaign remains on the top.
Cal Athletics and FTX Unveil 10-Year Landmark Relationship
Cal Athletics and FTX.US (“FTX”), a leading US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, announced the first-ever collegiate cryptocurrency naming rights sponsorship. As part of the $17.5 million deal, LEARFIELD will accept the full payment in cryptocurrency on behalf of the university. Through this historic, 10-year agreement, FTX receives naming rights to the field at California Memorial Stadium, which will be known as FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.
“We believe we have found a great partner in FTX,” Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. “FTX is a growing company at the forefront of innovation in an emerging technology, one that fits well at both Cal and in the Bay Area. This agreement extends well beyond field naming rights, which is part of our strategic plan to diversify revenue streams in support of our student-athlete experience, and includes commitments for our Cameron Institute, Cal Veterans and students in need here in Berkeley.”
Through their new relationship, Cal Athletics and FTX will support and build out a community engagement program for the Cameron Institute for Student-Athlete Development. One of the primary focal points for the institute, the community engagement pillar helps student-athletes understand the benefits of public service and success through short-term and long-term commitments. With a significant financial investment from FTX, these efforts will initially focus on serving communities including the homeless population in Berkeley, underrepresented students and the Cal Veterans Group.
Cal and FTX share a connection in FTX.US’s Chief Operating Officer Sina Nader, who earned his bachelor’s degree in legal studies from Cal and was also a walk-on member of the Golden Bears football team during his time there. Nader commented on the agreement, “We’re excited to partner with one of the world’s great universities and expand crypto’s presence into the collegiate athletics landscape. This historic partnership will also allow us to collaborate on charitable initiatives that align with our organization’s core values. Personally, I am excited to work alongside my alma mater to collaborate with local communities around a variety of causes.
In the spirit of giving back, we are also committing an additional $200,000 on top of this partnership, which will specifically be used to help fight homelessness in Berkeley, and to support organizations that help underrepresented student groups at UC Berkeley.”