The Stacks Foundation is shepherding a $4 million accelerator program to invest in early stage teams building on the network formerly known as Blockstack.
The three-month program will invest up to $50,000 in anywhere from 10 to 20 startups per class, Stacks Accelerator Managing Partner Trevor Owens said in an interview. The accelerator takes a small equity cut in each team with 80% of any profits going back into the accelerator to fund future cohorts, Owens said.
Stacks is looking to position itself as the home for smart contracts and decentralized apps secured by the Bitcoin blockchain. The still-nascent developer scene on Stacks is far smaller than that on smart-contract heavyweight Ethereum and even nimble upstarts such as Binance Smart Chain, according to public data.
The accelerator and other efforts within the Stacks ecosystem aim to change that, but with a particular focus.
“This focus on innovating and scaling and extending the functionality of Bitcoin. That’s one definite distinguishing factor,” Jenny Mith, who runs the grant program at the Stacks Foundation, said in an interview. “I think the other thing is just the focus on building user-owned businesses.”
On the accelerator side, Stacks has tapped a number of prominent advisers for cohort startups to consult with. At launch, CoinShares CSO Meltem Demirors and “The Lean Startup” author Eric Ries are listed as mentors; investor Anthony Pompliano, Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov and others are involved in a more limited capacity.
“Our goal is to create a community around the creation of successful companies built on the Stacks blockchain,” said Owens.