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Dedicated blockchain accelerator opens doors to first cohort

A new accelerator programme, which balances business and wellness, takes seven startups into its first cohort

London-based blockchain accelerator StateZero Labs has announced the selection of its first cohort of tech startups.

Each of the seven startups, which are leveraging blockchain technology across a range of industries and sectors, is set to receive a £50,000 equity-free grant, as well as three months of mentoring and one-to-one technical support. The programme also focuses on the wellness of its startup teams.

“Everything’s about balance, so we have a balance between the business side and the wellness side of our programme,” said Tazz Gault, director and co-founder of StateZero.

It was this approach that led the accelerator to give the startups access to nutritionists, yoga teachers and personal trainers.

“Their ethos is what pushed me over that threshold to joining,” said Sam Applebee, co-founder of Super Global, a self-proclaimed tech co-pilot for impact organisations (such as charities and social enterprises) that was set up to foster better collaboration between those organisations and technical service providers.

“I’ve thought about joining other places in the past, but they always neglected or decided not to pursue those things. And 50 grand is a significant grant that actually allows you to go through iterations, which is awesome,” he said.

Using blockchain to build trust

“Most of the other startups in the accelerator programme have a core technology, and that technology is their IP [intellectual property], whereas our IP is the relationships and our understanding of those different partners, and being able to present curated suggestions to them about who they should be partnering with,” Applebee added.

Blockchain therefore enables Super Global to foster transparency and trust between various partners by securely storing all of their transactions and reporting data.

“The technology, for us, is more about facilitating that, and baking in the trust that is necessary, which is where blockchain comes in. The blockchain part and the technology part is just a rational business decision, rather than it being like ‘we have developed the coolest new technology’,” said Applebee.

Read more about startup funding

By the end of the three-month programme, he said the goal was to have completely validated every aspect of Super Global’s business model.

Others, however, are keen to use the accelerator to prove the product to their industry.

“The big thing for us is getting our tech in the hands of construction companies, large or small. We want to test what we’ve built,” said Josh Graham, CEO of Ehab, a data and process management platform for the entire lifecycle of a construction project.

“One of the things we built is a supply chain tracker. So if you’re a supplier we want to speak to you. If you’re not a supplier but you’re interested in using blockchain technology to create efficiencies in your business processes, we want to speak to you, because the whole point of our platform is that now we’ve built the underlying tech, modules can just be built on top of that,” he said.

“The entirety of the [construction] industry has a huge lack of transparency, from people not knowing when a change has been made to not knowing what materials are in their buildings. Blockchain is a really good way of having permissioned access to that data.”

Using blockchain for the right reasons

For many of the startups, as well as the founders of StateZero Labs, transparency and social transformation is at the heart of blockchain technology.

“We realised that as a technology, blockchain had a really bad reputation for the wrong reasons, and there was a real misunderstanding about what the technology could really do,” said Katie Mills, director and co-founder of StateZero. “Cryptocurrency – when you say blockchain, that’s where people go.

“There are some real-world problems this technology could solve. We need to talk about those rather than the bad stuff that happens with the technology, because [as with] every technology, it’s about the people who use it.”

StateZero’s Gault said that outside of the technology, the idea of the accelerator programme was also around levelling the playing field for startups: “We always talk about trying to bridge the gap between humanity and tech, and that’s why we’ve got the model that we have.”

According to the two co-founders, the £50,000 funding is awarded based on a set of milestones each startup has to achieve. At the end of the three-month programme, StateZero will then look to follow up with direct investment into the startups, with the programme essentially allowing both the accelerator and the startups to do due diligence on one another.

“What usually happens is the equity stake is set at the very beginning, which for us felt a little bit unfair – to take it all upfront when they don’t know if they’re going to like us and vice-versa,” said Mills. “It’s really crucial the founders pick the right investor.”

Meet the rest of the startups

Tokenblocks

This startup manages fund data across service providers from a single, enterprise-friendly distributed ledger that it claims will reduce operational costs by up to 30%.

Deputi

Allowing for the easy sharing of information between teams, Deputi automates day-to-day operational tasks to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Resonate

By assigning a proportional token value to an individual’s impact track record, Resonate lets individuals understand more about the day-to-day impact of their actions, helping them form long-lasting, positive habits. The aim here is to solidify social relationships between a company and its customers and employees.

Remixology

Remixology aims to be a leading global marketplace for commissioning remixes and derivatives of copyrighted media by offering parity between key stakeholders involved in the music business.

eTEU

Aiming to connect all members of a supply chain to a decentralised network, eTEU uses smart contracts to automatically interact with stakeholders such as customers, carriers and banks, eliminating trust issues and streamlining business processes.

Read more on Technology startups

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