Adaverse Webinar Recap: Modern Startup Funding
In this first August Ask Me Anything (AMA) Webinar organised by Adaverse, William Phelps, investment manager was hosted in the Blockchain Nigeria User Group (BNUG) Community by Chuta Chimezie, alongside BolaFunmi Adedayo, Content Manager at Adaverse.
Adebayo Adelekan, the BNUG community lead moderated the highly interactive 1-hour event on Telegram with over 300 members online.
Here is a detailed recap of the Q&A session:
Q- Hello, can you briefly introduce yourself and your team? What is Adaverse all about and why are you here?
A- (William Phelps) Absolutely — Thanks! I’m William Phelps, investment manager at Adaverse, an early-stage investor and accelerator for early-stage African blockchain projects. I’m joined by George Payne, Venture Partner, and Bola Funmilayo, Content Manager.
Founded in September 2021, Adaverse is a joint venture between the Cardano Foundation and Everest Ventures Group and seeks to promote and support the use of Cardano across Africa.
Since we were founded, Adaverse has invested in 13 companies across 6 countries and 6 Web3 sectors. These investments form the core of our acceleration program, a 3-month personal development plan that pairs founders with industry specialists and experts drawn from Adaverse’s wide network. At the end of the program, all companies are expected to be at a stage ready for further fundraising, more advanced in their respective business lifecycles.
Adaverse specialises in token investment and token support — we’re particularly interested in projects that have a novel token angle and potential to grow through tangible token utility.
In my capacity as investment manager, I oversee the deal-flow process and — being based in Lagos — am responsible for a lot of deal sourcing on the ground. If you’re a founder, I want to hear from you!
Q- Can the rest of the team introduce themselves
A- (BolaFunmi) Thank you so much. I am BolaFunmi Adedayo, content and PR manager at Adaverse. It’s great to be here tonight
Q- My question is a bit different from the mainstream model of Adaverse. Taking a look into the Pet rescue by Cardano, what is the lasting time for the barcode on pets? Are rescuers allowed to ask for ADA tip in process of return? Is the rescue process available on a public ledger? are the scan codes physically found on pets? How long can the scan codes last on pets regardless of weather conditions?
A- Whilst I’m not familiar with the specific details of the pet rescue platform, I think the speed and cost-effectiveness offered by ADA above and beyond other chains ensures that for projects requiring quick verification, small-cap transactions and rapid movements of small funds it is the ideal blockchain to build on. I’ll research the pet rescue platform, thanks for raising it!
Q- PARTNERSHIP & COLLABORATIONS are the backbones of making every project more widespread. Can you list some of your partners with us?
A- Our primary partnership comes through our relationship with Cardano. We work closely with EMURGO, Cardano’s venture wing, and are lucky to count the co-CEOs of EMURGO Middle East and Africa as members of our investment committee. This enables us to tap into the wide range of technical support and advice Cardano offers for projects building on their chain.
Beyond that, working with Everest Ventures Group (EVG) gives us great insight into many of the wider trends in technology, both Web2 and Web3, with a more global focus. EVG are more Asia-focused, so we’re pleased to be able to tap into their knowledge base beyond Africa.
Q- One question i get people asking all the time is if Adaverse only funds projects built Cardano blockchain? Can you clarify that for everyone William
A- A great question. Whilst we work closely with Cardano and seek to promote Cardano adoption in Africa, it’s not a requirement for funding. Given our ADA-focused knowledge base and partnerships, it’s easier for us to offer guidance and support for Cardano projects, but it’s not a red line if you have a strong platform being built on another chain.
Q- What stages of projects does Adaverse find fit for funding? Do Ideas only projects stand any chance of securing funding from Adaverse?
A- Given the fact that we’re an accelerator and not an incubator, we require at least an MVP to consider investment. Beyond this, traction and revenue are also great features that show the viability of your platform beyond the early stages. However, an MVP is the first requirement.
Q- Can projects built on another language be allowed if pitched for funding by Adaverse? In a case where project is built on solidity, will it be a criteria? since Adaverse Cardano recognised golang better
A- Yes, we welcome conversations with projects built on any chain. However, as mentioned, our specialism is in Cardano and our mission is to promote the use of Cardano in Africa. Hence, it is much easier for us to invest if there is an angle in which Cardano can be integrated — particularly with respect to tokens and tokenisations. Whilst Cardano isn’t always a red line, we look for clear angles that allow Cardano integration and development.
Q- What makes a good pitch deck for Adaverse funding
A- Fundamentally, I think there are 3 main features to any good investment pitch, whether it be on a pitchdeck or face to face:
1. What problem are you solving? It’s fundamental to be acutely aware of what pain point you’re addressing and how you seek to address it. Too many projects try to do too much at once without any clear goal. Aim for a certain point, and the rest will follow.
2. Who’s your market? The more specific your audience, the easier it is to craft a project that works. Whilst mass market potential is real, consider who the average user of your platform is. What are their preferences, and how will they be interacting with the solution you’re offering?
3. Know your investors. Fundraising is a varied and complex process; it does not simply mean lump allocations of cash. Whilst money is both useful and necessary, considering strategic partners, network contacts and future collaboration is the key to successful growth. Being aware of what kind of investors you want to attract and what you expect from them will not only streamline conversations but also help develop you develop a solid vision of future trajectory.
Q- What is the minimum & Maximum threshold for funding in terms of figures
A- One of Adaverse’s great strengths is our flexibility when it comes to our investment strategy. In terms of ticket sizes, this means we can invest as low as $50k and as much as $750k (and more!). This depends on the nature of the project, both in terms of company outlook and its stage in the business lifecycle.
Q- You mentioned Token based investments, does Adaverse not engage in equity based investments?
A- Given our specialism in tokens and tokenisation, we prefer token-based investments. However, this does not preclude participating in equity rounds. Provided we can get assurance that, if tokens are issued, we can be guaranteed an allocation, we can do both!
Q- What is the expected duration of an Adaverse investment before profit taking commences?
A- Every project is different, so it's hard to give an exact answer. We invest everywhere between pre-seed and Series A, so it’s best approached on an investment-to-investment basis. This is made even more true given the importance tokens play in our investment strategy — considering vesting periods and lock ups etc.
Q- Can you be specific which sectors of the Blockchain space you have helped with funding? And which areas, Adaverse is desiring to fund at the moment
A- We are sector agnostic and have experience across the Web3 space. Broadly, we’ve invested in 6 sectors: proptech, gaming, exchanges, DeFi, NFTs and metaverse. In terms of future funding, we remain open-minded! We prefer not to approach from the perspective of sectors but instead the quality of the idea and the stage of development.
Q- How many projects proposals have you received in total and also be funded
A- We’ve received approximately 300 proposals and have invested in 13, with a couple more planned in the pipeline! However, we aim to have first conversations with as many applicants as possible — providing feedback where we can.
Q- Aside from funding a project, are they other support the team can render i.e technical, structural…..?
A- Support beyond funding is very important: man cannot survive on bread alone! Hence, we’ve carefully developed our 3-month acceleration program to offer personalised plans for founders based around 4 hours per month of one-to-one support, roughly 1 hour per week.
This will be planned along areas of weakness and development and split between a number of mentors assigned to each founder depending on the stage of project development.
It works through a strategy with 4 dimensions:
1. Tokenomics: Advising startups on tokenomic design, incentivisation, and feasibility of token projects.
2. Technical consultancy: Providing generalised technical support in terms of smart contract development and tokenomics, whilst also giving specialised assistance to leverage Cardano and EMURGO’s resources to develop products on the Cardano blockchain.
3. Content/marketing strategy: Paying close attention to marketing and community engagement, providing a sophisticated content strategy to support token projects. Seeks to utilise both conventional resources and influencers for mutually beneficial, high-exposure promotional campaigns.
4. Fundraising support: Focusing on token-related fundraising and listing, such as private and public sales, IDOs, IEOs and equity financing etc. Also aims to connect founders with relevant contacts including DEXs, CEXs, token investors, and the requisite legal support and advice for projects.
Q- What are the requirements needed for funding a blockchain/Metaverse project built on BscAnd who do we contact and where do we submit the proposal
A- We need to see a potential for Cardano integration, whether that be through multi-chain features or tokenisation. In terms of submitting a proposal, please check out https://www.f6s.com/adaverse-accelerator/apply
Q- Is there any mechanism put in place to recover your funds in case if a project fails to build further or runaway
A- We’re very rigorous when it comes to analysing the nature of a project, its traction, technical basis and team. We don’t invest in projects that are set to fail!
Q- Aside Nigeria that I know of, which other countries in Africa have you extended your funding gestures to. Why the choice to start with Nigeria
A- Globally, we’ve invested in Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the USA and Singapore.
In terms of Nigeria, it’s undeniable that this is where the energy and creativity is. In all metrics, Nigeria leads Africa in blockchain usage and adoption. Moreover, Nigeria attracts the highest amount of investment across both blockchain and Web2 in the continent. Africa is set to lead the world in blockchain expansion — Nigeria sits at the head!
Q- From my observation, I discovered that the males have dominated the space even with access to funding. How have you been able to balance the equation with the females. We want discrimination on the gender matters
A — One of the great things about blockchain technology is equity it brings to the table. Everyone is equal on-chain! This is the same when it comes to development and funding. Adaverse are proud to judge all ideas on the merit of their construction, no matter who the founders are. As mentioned, we seek to give as many applications that fit our criteria initial calls and feedback, thereby widening participation to anyone developing in the space.
This Webinar was organized by Adaverse, a Cardano Ecosystem Accelerator aggregating entrepreneurs, strategists and mentors. We are a Collaborative Initiative between EMURGO and Everest Ventures Group that Supports blockchain founders with funds, mentorship and tech infrastructure to scale solution-driven products in Africa and Globally.
Please join us again on the second AMA scheduled to hold on August 11, on BNUG channel.