Ayre Ventures joins Satoshi Block Dojo’s growing database of investors and VCs
This article was originally published on CoinGeek on February 24, 2022.
Ayre Ventures has made a significant investment in technology startup incubator Satoshi Block Dojo (SBD), offering additional opportunities for BSV-focused entrepreneurs to turn their visions into reality.
This week, Ayre Ventures announced that it had made a significant investment in the London-based Satoshi Block Dojo, which operates an intensive 12-week in-house training program for BSV-focused startups that offers these fledgling projects much more than simply desk space and the occasional word of encouragement.
Launched in August 2021, the Dojo announced its mission as taking responsibility for the more mundane and financially draining aspects of starting a company in order to let founders focus on the development of their idea into a tangible and truly viable product.
Following an application and vetting process, each of the Dojo’s first ‘cohort’ of startups entered the Dojo offices in East London on January 15 with a £10,000 ‘golden hello.’ Over the next 12 weeks, these teams—minimum two-person groups, ideally consisting of one commercial/CEO and one technical/CTO, although Dojo can help find technical talent—will enjoy a weekly rhythm of workshops, masterclasses, 1-2-1’s and socials, but the assistance on offer will also have an external component.
Getting corporates involved early
Dojo co-founder Craig Massey said his company was “trying to be more proactive by getting corporates involved right from the start.” Massey, a startup veteran with five successful exits to his credit, said the lesson he took from his failures was “not getting a potential client involved soon enough in the process of building the technology.”
As such, Dojo aims to connect its cohort teams with R&D partners early on. Once these partners are on board, “they can feedback, advise, iterate. It stands to reason that you might end up with a letter of intent or at least some validation that it’s actually going to be a more viable product as opposed to ‘build it and they will come.’”
Potential R&D partners will be able to study the cohort teams through the new Dojo Discover platform, which is scheduled to launch by the end of Q1. Cohort participants will also be able to update potential investors as to their progress throughout the 12-week program and afterwards (in theory up to their Series A funding and beyond). Investors interested in gaining early access to the Dojo Discover platform can sign up here.
At the conclusion of the first cohort on April 7, the individual teams will take part in Demo Day, aka the investor pitch event, with £140,000 in Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) funding potentially awaiting each team. Dojo principals will help cohort teams prep for their moment in the spotlight.
Get to know the cohort
Massey and Dojo CIO James Marchant—who also has a history of successful business exits—believe several of the current cohort are strong contenders to finish strong on Demo Day. Marchant singled out two—Buzzmint and Soundoshi—as his choice for the first teams to score significant investor interest.
Buzzmint is a platform that will allow brands, creators, media-specific businesses and individuals to simply and quickly ideate, create and deploy utility-led NFT/token projects. Customers can integrate their own branded version of the Buzzmint platform into their websites or publish directly to Buzzmint’s own marketplace, which is set to debut in Q3.
Soundoshi—formerly known as Banach Group—is described by its Polish founders as an ownership-based streaming platform, using NFTs as a new music carrier/container. Users can not only own the music but also send, trade or exchange it. The platform, which expects to launch in Q2/Q3, is currently in talks with key Polish music publishers about onboarding their catalogues.
Massey’s top cohort picks include Sattva Meta, who are building a platform to help construction companies reduce their carbon impact and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. There’s also pay-for-play game Ninja Punk Girls and a call-to-earn app called +App, which Massey touted as ideal for professionals who charge by the minute for their services, including lawyers, counsellors and therapists.
BSV investor appetite growing
Ayre Ventures founder Calvin Ayre is a noted BSV proponent and his Ayre Group has made a number of investments in BSV-based projects. As such, his interest in supporting Satoshi Block Dojo—and the multiple successful projects that will likely emerge from its cohorts—seems a no-brainer.
But Ayre’s willingness to back up his vocal support for BSV with generous financial support has led critics to claim that the BSV ecosystem couldn’t survive without him. Massey and Marchant’s history of successful exits have left them with a vastly different view of the field.
The Dojo has a database of over 3,500 angel investors, 250 family offices and early-stage VCs on which they can draw for potential cohort partners. Massey believes Ayre Ventures invested in the Dojo “because it makes a lot of sense but the Dojo is also bringing in lots of new money into the BSV arena.” Ayre Ventures’ willingness to take the lead on this current funding round will “provide confidence to other investors, who are totally outside of the blockchain space, to make significant investments into the Dojo.”
Marchant echoed this view, saying that “as more startups choose to use BSV both inside and outside the Dojo, there is significant growing interest and demand for investment opportunities into attractive business models that are utilising this scalable tech. I would go so far as to say investor appetite outweighs early-stage BSV investment opportunities and this is a problem where the Dojo is aiming to have an impact.”
The future is about scalability
As befitting a company based on accelerating project development, the Dojo is expanding its operations internationally to create a constant flow of new BSV startups and investment opportunities. Marchant said the plan is to open the first international Dojo within the next six to nine months and then add two new locations per year onwards.
The specific locations have yet to be finalized but Marchant said Dojo was weighing options in the Middle East, Central Europe and the United States. Each of these new locations will require an initial round of investment but, as with its original U.K. Dojo, investors will also receive equity in each startup that comes through a specific location. Interested parties are invited to contact Marchant at [email protected].
In the meantime, the Dojo’s London offices will welcome their second cohort about a month after the first bunch ‘graduates’. Entrepreneurs interested in being part of the Dojo’s second cohort need to submit their applications by March 31, with successful applicants scheduled to begin their Dojo experience on April 30. Subsequent cohorts will follow this rough pattern of three months on, one month off.
The Dojo is also hosting its first Ideation Jam on March 23, 2022, in partnership with the UCL Business School. The event will take place in the Lloyds building in London and is appropriately aimed at the insurance industry. Twenty teams of three students apiece will listen as insurance executives cite specific issues/areas in which blockchain tech might offer solutions. A pitch day will follow in which the student teams will present their ideas to a panel of Dojo judges, with the top three teams gaining automatic entry into the Dojo.
Massey said the Dojo has a ‘no one gets left behind’ mantra and this philosophy has trickled down to the current cohort participants. “I have witnessed extraordinary help and collaboration between all the different companies who genuinely, become each other’s business associates.” This spirit of cooperation, combined with the connections made during the 12-week programs, will serve both the Dojo’s cohort teams and the greater BSV ecosystem well in the years to come.
Watch: Satoshi Block Dojo opens doors to next generation of BSV entrepreneurs