ConsenSys is launching Tachyon, the first ethereum-focused accelerator program in San Francisco, the firm announced Thursday.
Starting in September, up to 15 projects will receive between $75,000 to $100,000 in investments, plus access to an eight-week program. According to the company, the new venue will feature everything from educational workshops to public demo days with venture capital firms from Silicon Valley and Switzerland.
ConsenSys managing partner Kavita Gupta gave CoinDesk the exclusive scoop on the program’s debut, saying that the effort hopes to provide a dose of realism in an industry overflowing with excited young entrepreneurs.
“It’s [about] having a reality check about how mature this space is, which is not really very much, and who are the real users. What is missing to optimize the current processes?”
Applications are open to anyone with a project that fits with one of the three tracks – social impact startups, general ethereum startups, and open-source projects, including blockchain agnostic tools. So far, applications are already pouring in from China, Israel, Colombia and Abu Dhabi.
Also invited, Gupta said, are teams from established tech companies.
“There are lots and lots of projects coming out of Google, Uber, etc, which have really strong themes and a product vision. But didn’t have a deep understanding of how blockchain technology really works,” Gupta said.
In this way, Gupta said strategic mentorship will be a key value-add.
Each team will be paired with at least two mentors, one from established crypto startups like MetaMask, Token Foundry, ConsenSys Labs or Adhara, and another from a traditional Silicon Valley “unicorn” company.
“I think the most important part is, why do they really think this is missing from the market?” Gupta said. “How do they see that product interacting and pushing the envelope for the whole decentralized economy and community, instead of just their standalone project?”
Tachyon will hardly be the first blockchain accelerator program, but it promises to leverage the strategic positioning of ConsenSys, itself a hub of startups, to offer value to entrepreneurs.
According to Gupta, the Ethereum Foundation, the non-profit that oversees the protocol itself, has committed to offering support for teams, including those working on open-source tools instead of full-fledged business ideas.
Gupta said she is most interested in solutions in this area should aim to address scalability, security and optimized data transmission. On the other hand, she also hopes to be surprised by new ideas.
“I have a lot of people coming to me and saying: ‘This doesn’t exist. We’re going to build it.’ And I’m like, have you ever thought that people are not stupid in this space? Why haven’t they done it? Then we think on it, and the solutions, instead of sitting on this high horse,” she said.
Kavita Gupta image courtesy Consensys