Today we are excited to announce our first group of venture-backed teams in the inaugural cohort of the Octane Fund for Winter 2022!
Collectively, the DeSo Foundation has deployed $10 million to this first cohort of 16 teams, plus an additional $1M in equity-free development grants to ~23 other projects/developers that are in the earlier stages of the product life cycle.
Before we take a deeper look at each of the companies that received funding in this cohort, it’s important to take a minute to understand why this is such a monumental day for the future of DeSo.
An Open and Competitive App Ecosystem
Unlike the existing social media giants of today, the DeSo Foundation does not own the applications or content built on top of the DeSo blockchain.
It is our belief that the best way to create the social media landscape of the future is by having content + assets stored on-chain, and then enabling any team, anywhere in the world, to build on top of this open database.
With this model, social content is composable across apps for the first time. A post in one app can show up in all the others, and your followers go with you across apps as well.
This means that a SINGLE killer app emerging on DeSo bootstraps an open user-base and content-base that benefits ALL other apps that are building on DeSo.
This in turn attracts more developers to create even more killer apps, bringing even more users to the network in a virtuous cycle.
A SINGLE killer app emerging on DeSo will bootstrap a powerful developer network effect.
However, it wasn’t enough to just talk about this goal, we actually needed to put our money where our mouth was. That was why we announced the $50M Octane Fund in October 2021, to help make this vision a reality.
As great as it is to see this capital being deployed, we quickly realized that capital alone doesn’t build great companies. In addition, teams need a strong internal support network, outside mentorship, and an investment in the founders’ & teams’ human capital.
Octane Fund Accelerator: The Y Combinator of Web3
All of the teams announced today will not only be receiving capital from the DeSo Foundation, but also entering a multi-month accelerator program that we believe will be considered the Y Combinator of Web3 one day.
To help make our accelerator as effective as possible, we have already started putting talented people on the Octane Fund full time. Meghan Vita, has shifted her focus to running the accelerator, and brings with her years of operational/growth experience from Wish, Rocket Internet & EasyPark. Liam Herbst, comes to us by way of On Deck (one of the top accelerators in the world) to help further improve our program. Lastly, we have brought on Taylor Offer, founder of 8-figure consumer clothing business Feat, as a growth advisor for the teams.
As part of the accelerator, the teams will have the chance to take part in experiences like: founder group calls, Web3 workshops, mentorship from our deep network of advisors, and introductions to some of the top investors and VC firms in the entire world.
We are still actively adding mentors interested in partnering with founders and/or teams funded via Octane! If you are interested in participating, please apply here.
We believe that, with these additional resources and personnel, we will watch these projects transform into successful businesses. Furthermore, we expect these apps to better cater to the creators and users that are on DeSo. Look for many of these apps to climb the charts in terms of node-level engagement over the coming months!
Meet the Teams
At a time when the DeSo ecosystem is poised for breakout user engagement growth, we couldn’t be more excited to have these teams ready to answer the call. Without further ado, let’s dive into each of these venture-backed teams:
DeSo Messenger is building a messenger that caters to the needs of Web 3 communities. Unlike Web 2 messenger platforms, we leverage the “money graph,” making use of micro-transactions, creator coins, and more. With our product, creators are compensated for delivering value and consumers are incentivized to engage. In addition, we store all content on-chain, meaning other apps built on DeSo can easily integrate with our APIs! Public alpha planned for the end of January, with iOS, Android and Desktop Web coming soon.
Vibehut is the first 1-on-1 social video platform that cross-connects social Web2 platforms and Web3 blockchains. In one-click you can instantly match with leading influencers, creators and builders, based on follower count, coin price or NFT ownership. Vibehut allows you to login with your popular social or crypto accounts such as DeSo, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and MetaMask. Vibehut is the best way to instantly match with like-minded people. An epic new connection is 1-click away.
Purple Creator is the exchange for Social Tokens - the easiest place to buy and sell Social Tokens from different platforms. All in one place. Purple Creator believes trust, UX and liquidity are essential to enable Social Tokens ecosystem.
Entre is a web3 professional network focused on helping the next generation of professionals connect and make money on a decentralized platform. Our mobile and web app is designed to create economic opportunity for our users by enabling millions of people from around the world to grow both personally and professionally. Available on iOS, Android and Web.
OpenProsper's mission is to serve and enable creators to succeed in the decentralized social ecosystem. We analyze raw blockchain data and turn it into useful and actionable insights for creators and beyond.
Supernovas is a multi-chain social NFT marketplace powered by DeSo. Supernovas combines decentralized social media, NFTs, and Creator Coins in an unprecedented way.
Currently in private beta, Kaleido is building a true home for visual art online.
Real Simple Labs builds web3 software for creators to maximize their earning potential. We’ve started by building a tool for youtubers to mint their existing content as NFTs and sell them to their super fans with just a few clicks. Think NBA Top Shot, except for youtubers. Fans are able to support their favorite creators, be financially invested in the creator’s success, and get access to exclusive content and community. We are bringing NFTs beyond jpegs and into real collectible moments that are accessible by regular fans.
CloutFeed is the first decentralised social media mobile app built on the DeSo blockchain. Our mission is to recreate how people connect with each other and help them share their opinions and ideas in a decentralised manner away from big monopolies and censorship. In CloutFeed, the creators own their content, and are completely free to monetize it in the way they prefer. You can now experience ad-free social media while maintaining full control over your content and data. Available on iOS and Android.
Polygram is one of the top NFT marketplaces built on top of DeSo. With a sleek minimalist UI, helpful features like: spotlight, recently listed and rankings, users can easily find themselves spending hours browsing on here.
Diamond aims to be the #1 source of community and discourse on the web, achieving this via a superior user experience powered by its crypto-native features. Powered by the DeSo blockchain, Diamond allows users to purchase a stake in their favorite profiles through Creator Coins, mint social NFTs in as little as 3 clicks, and give tips for posts they enjoy. Create an account on diamondapp.com to start participating in the future of social media.
CloutCast is the Promoted Post Service for the DeSo ecosystem - a Web3 take on Traditional Social’s (“TradSo”) advertising model. We allow all DeSo creators to directly monetize their following by getting paid to share content - instantly transferring payment to their wallet. Any DeSo creator, project, or brand can easily rev up their engagement by paying creators to promote their content. Our "Influencer Marketplace" has already helped hundreds of projects and creators scale up their platforms and is integrated with several major DeSo Apps via their open partner APIs.
NFTz is a DeSo marketplace and community that aims to pave the way to seamlessly blend NFTs with Web3 services. With highly customizable no-code creator options, integration with real-time insights, and a mechanism for enabling social interactions within the NFT space, NFTz is a platform built for the future. Our objective is to make minting, collecting, trading, presenting and interacting with NFTs in both the traditional digital world and the metaverse as simple, as social, as safe, and as easy as can be.
GD Virtual Galleries is a 3D virtual + metaverse experience project with the mission to provide exciting ways for retail, celebrities, music, artists and NFT projects to monetize efficiently while providing their audience an immersive virtual experience.
Wollo allows you to quickly browse and search your Deso NFT holdings from your mobile device. Coming soon on iOS and Android!
EverythingStore is a DeSo based e-commerce marketplace where anyone can buy/sell physical as well as digital goods and services for $DESO. There are currently more than 2,500 products ranging from electronics to toys and games. Our ultimate vision is to become the go-to decentralized marketplace for all apps built on DeSo.
We will continue accepting Octane grant and venture applications on a rolling basis, and will announce the dates for our second cohort later this year. To apply, please submit your application here.
Interested in working for one of the Octane-backed companies? They’re hiring across the board! Please apply here.
Development Grant Recipients
In addition to the 16 venture-backed teams, we'd also like to take the time to highlight our 23 different teams/developers who received equity-free development grants this round:
- Verified Creators
- Don Hardman
The Future: The Octane DAO
It’s been an open secret that DAO functionality will be hitting the DeSo blockchain this month. This toolkit not only opens up new possibilities for products that mix investing and social, but they also make it possible to transition the Octane Fund from a centralized entity to one that invests collaboratively with the DeSo community.
Converting the Octane Fund into a DAO means that anyone will be able to invest into the fund to own a piece of the Web3 application layer, which traditionally would have gone to venture capitalists and hedge funds.
In addition to ownership of the app layer, holding an Octane DAO coin will entitle one to vote on what companies the funds should be allocated to, creating a truly decentralized governance model to fund the first truly decentralized social ecosystem.
Lastly, once the DAO ecosystem has matured on DeSo, the companies building on DeSo themselves can launch as DAOs, with their own DAO coins as well. This would allow people to invest either in the Octane Fund DAO, to get Octane DAO coins that track a portfolio of companies building on DeSo, or to invest directly in the DAO coins of individual companies themselves. This would also make the Octane Fund a DAO that invests in DAOs, building the next wave of web3-native social applications.