Builder Grants for DeFi & Web3

dlab: blockchain venture studio
Published in
4 min readApr 28, 2021


Today we’re unveiling a new experiment we’ve been hatching with our partners at Advanced Blockchain: DeFi & Web3 Builder Grants.

Builder Grants are for hackers and founders working on new ideas and projects in DeFi and Web3. Our goal for this collaboration is to allow creative newcomers to the blockchain space to fully realize their concepts and bring them to market as quickly as possible. We’re specifically targeting projects that are pre-launch or even concept stage. We’ll be providing $30k in USDC as a grant to selected projects, along with 3 months of support and mentoring through scheduled weekly Zoom sessions. More importantly, you’ll have access to hands-on design and engineering resources from the pros at Advanced Blockchain, who have helped launch several high-profile DeFi projects, as well as additional help as needed on market strategy, business development, token economic design, fundraising preparedness, and so on.

What do we get in return? All we’re asking for is a first financing right that will give us the ability to invest into projects that are looking to raise funds later on to accelerate their growth. And, of course, we’re looking to pick your brains and learn from you too!

Applications are open today and you can apply for a grant here. It’s a quick form, with just a few short questions, and we’ll follow up within 2 weeks to let you know next steps. Our plan is to select six projects over the next couple months to test this out on a rolling basis. There’s no deadline, but once those six slots are gone they’re gone, so don’t wait if you’re interested.

You can apply with your early (pre-funding) startup concept or pitch us a novel passion project. Selected projects may be pre-MVP or even idea-stage but founders need to be able to demonstrate a history of shipping things (startups, open source, work for other companies, etc) and at least one founder on your team must be technical. Both dlab and Advanced Blockchain are network, protocol, and layer-1 agnostic, and we’ll consider projects designed for any blockchain. However, in-house resources are most experienced with Ethereum, Polkadot, and Cosmos, so be aware that we can probably add the most engineering value there. If you are planning to apply please note that we expect grant recipients to be prepared to work on their idea full time — we want you to be able to focus and that’s partly why we’re providing some capital.

Don’t have a pre-funding startup or a project you’re passionate about pitching, but you’re a DeFi degen or dApp builder and you want to join us for this ride anyway? We have a few topics we’re interested in sourcing talent for in the following areas:

  • Capital efficiency: Zero coupon products, fixed yield products, cross-chain AMMs, use cases for cETH and aETH and other receipt tokens
  • Layer 2 rollups (similar to optimism, rather than infrastructure products themselves); Zapper Fi style products for multi-chain, multi-layer infrastructure
  • Novel fiat on-ramps to DeFi (products that have integrated Dharma for instance)
  • Polkadot infrastructure and DeFi solutions; specifically ring signature stablecoins & privacy preserving parachains
  • AMM parameter flexibility, visualization, and automated strategy deployment
  • ETH 2.0 scaling solutions and infrastructure
  • Yield aggregators across Layer 2s
  • NFT aggregation and management
  • Data-driven insurance solutions
  • DAO tooling and “layer-2” DAO utilities and applications
  • Token-incentivized content distribution

We realize these topics may be broad but we have some specific products in mind, and if you’re interested, we’d be happy to discuss them with the right applicants (keep an eye on our Twitter also as we’ll be adding other topic areas we’re researching over the coming weeks). Of course, we’re always most curious to hear what you think is interesting; the projects we get most excited about are often the ones we don’t know we’re looking for. I know I’m speaking on behalf of both dlab and Advanced Blockchain when I say that we’re excited to see what kind of founders and projects we can support with Builder Grants. We look forward to hearing from you!

A little further along on your journey and looking for investment and accelerator-stage resources and mentorship? We’re also actively recruiting companies for the dlab accelerator. We provide up to $250k of pre-seed funding, and rolling admissions to an ongoing program.



dlab: blockchain venture studio

SOSV’s blockchain venture studio, providing capital and resources to startups exploring new topics in decentralization and blockchain technology.