Introducing the Startups of dlab v2
Real-world use cases for crypto from globally distributed teams
So much has happened since the launch of our first cohort of accelerator companies earlier this year. In the last six months we’ve seen several cryptocurrency market price movements (it’s never a dull day in this industry, yeah?), continued progress towards institutional adoption in finance and other corporate use cases, and an explosion of new decentralized finance applications. Some have even heralded the latter as being the first real killer app for Ethereum, with well over 500m in assets locked up in smart contracts as of this writing.
Real-World Use Cases
However, despite all the excitement going on in this corner of the world, it’s important to remember that these are all still relatively insignificant accomplishments in the grand scheme of things, and that the user base itself is still quite small. For example, it was recently reported that almost 80% of the total supply of Dai is held by the top 100 Maker CDP addresses. Clearly, for any of this technology to really matter, we need to get outside of the blockchain bubble and support initiatives that have broader ramifications in the real world, where the end users don’t care about buzzwords (and aren’t whales!) We need more people actually using crypto, which means we need to developers to focus on user experience, scalability, and (most of all) real-world use cases. At dlab we strive to work with entrepreneurs who are focused on these sorts of problems, and back them with the funding, resources, and mentorship they need to help them deliver products that solve real problems for them.
In our most recent cohort, we’re working with two companies who are contributing to the DeFi ecosystem in important ways, both building tools that address some of our core concerns about these products scaling to a wider audience (creditworthiness, integrity of data sources). Other problems we’re tackling this time around include account security and UX (3FA!), credential and identity fraud, employee compensation, and content distribution.
One of the things that we love about the companies that are working in this industry is that their teams are often just as decentralized as the technology (in some cases moreso ;-). Our staff reviewed hundreds of applications from more than thirty countries during our due diligence cycle this time around, and the founders we selected were truly the best of the best: the top 3% of all applicants. The six companies we’ve chosen to invest in for dlab 02 are a diverse group, whose founders are spread across eight different countries as far from our home base in NYC as Thailand and Uganda. Some of them are first time founders, while others are serial entrepreneurs with successful exits under their belts. Although each of the startups in this new cohort are very different, they all have a number of obvious commonalities: they’re using blockchain technology to solve a real-world problem, they’re focused on growing the decentralization ecosystem, and they have truly exceptional founders. And we’re excited to be working with each of them.
Without further ado, here are the six companies that we’re proud to be working with as part of dlab 02:
Credmark (f/k/a Graychain) is building the world’s first crypto credit bureau. As cryptocurrency-based lending grows and evolves, the data needed to make the right decisions is critical. With only a blockchain wallet address, Credmark generates a reliable credit score based on a borrower’s financial history and wealth, making crypto loans smarter, safer, and more customer friendly.
Quidli is a SaaS platform for companies to distribute and manage equity and incentives with a dynamic workforce that includes not just employees but also freelancers, business partners, community members, and customers. Quidli makes it easy for you to assign equity to these stakeholders programmatically based on objectives and metrics that are important to your work culture.
Diwala is working with educators and employers to combat invalid credentialing, using blockchain-based digital skill certifications. Credentials issued on the Diwala platform are secure, portable, and can be easily verified, enabling global opportunities for youth and displaced communities.
Honeycomb is an API marketplace purpose-built for connecting smart contracts to high-quality external data inputs from some of the world’s premier data providers. Smart contracts can query APIs on Honeycomb via decentralized oracles, allowing the contract to execute in a highly reliable secure manner on networks such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Hyperledger.
Goblin is building the infrastructure for metering, monetizing, and distributing content on the Web. You can use Goblin today as an alternative to paywalls and advertising to monetize web content with a slice of your readership’s compute capacity.
Crayonic enables next generation security for user authentication, digital asset storage, and electronic signatures. KeyVault, Crayonic’s keychain-sized hardware device, uses a combination of behavioral biometrics, machine learning, and cryptography to achieve unrivaled usability and security, also incorporating their unique proof-of-free-will feature.
These six new investments join the four companies from our previous cohort and our wonderful extended family of research fellows, mentors, EIRs, and partners that continues to help us learn, adapt, and explore what’s possible together.
We’re already reviewing new applicants for our third program, to launch in 2020. If you’re interested in working us to accelerate the state of decentralization and grow the blockchain ecosystem, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
dlab is a startup accelerator and venture studio focused on new topics in decentralization and blockchain technology. Based in New York City and backed by SOSV and EMURGO, the program combines EMURGO’s deep expertise in commercial blockchain development with SOSV’s best-in-class acceleration processes, investment consortium, and ability to help companies bring innovative technologies to market rapidly. In addition to investment capital, selected startups receive extensive access to staff and partner resources, mentorship, and in-kind services. The program is protocol agnostic and multi-disciplinary, and accelerated startups may be focused on any variant of distributed ledger or blockchain technologies.
EMURGO drives the commercial adoption of the Cardano blockchain and adds value to ADA holders by building, investing in, and advising projects or organizations that adopt Cardano’s decentralized ecosystem. EMURGO leverages its expertise in blockchain R&D as well as its global network of related blockchain and industry partners to support ventures globally.
SOSV— The Accelerator VC — is a venture capital firm with $650 AUM operating global accelerator programs: HAX (Shenzhen/San Francisco) for hardware, IndieBio (San Francisco) and RebelBio (London) for life sciences, Chinaccelerator (Shanghai) and MOX (Taipei) for cross-border internet, Food-X (NYC) for the business of food, and dlab (NYC) for blockchain technology. SOSV invests in over 150 companies per year and its two-decade track record puts it in the top 10% of VC funds in the world.