Here’s How Graviton Is Keeping India’s Nascent Web3 Dream On Track

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India’s Web3 ecosystem fosters 11% of the world’s Web3 talent and 450 Web3 startups

Infrastructure and organised capital that Web2 entrepreneurs once had access to are missing in the Web3 space

Web3 accelerator Graviton is working towards fostering the country’s early-stage Web3 startups in their minimal viable products (MVPs) stage

Even though India is one of the world’s biggest Web3 markets by both user base and talent pool, with 115 Mn crypto and Web3 users, its stance on Web3 has remained ambiguous, except for cryptocurrency on which it has been stern.

This is especially when, despite being in its nascent stages, the country’s Web3 ecosystem fosters 11% of the world’s Web3 talent, employing nearly 75,000 people, and housing 450 Web3 startups, according to a NASSCOM report.

In the current scheme of things, the country’s Web3 space needs a lot of external and internal support from the custodians of funds, knowledge, and regulations, which, simply put, are investors, industry experts or mentors, and the government.  

Arpit Nik and Naresh Kumar understood this gap, and with their Web3 accelerator programme Graviton, they are working towards fostering the country’s early-stage Web3 startups in their minimal viable products (MVPs) stage.

Graviton Accelerator is a venture of GravityX Capital, a Web3 and crypto-focused incubator fund based out of Dubai. 

Founded in 2020, GravityX invests across the Web3 ecosystem in early and growth stage startups. Since its inception, it has funded eight Web3 startups, with its latest investment coming in the Cyprus-based crypto platform Finery Markets’ $5.5 Mn seed round.

The accelerator programme not only enables the founders but also supports them in building Web3 products at scale.

“With India assuming a central position in the evolution of the global Web3 landscape, we have noticed a very tangible and actionable gap between what early-stage founders in the country have access to and what they need to make it to the big leagues,” said Nik.

The founder added that the industry was plagued with cleverly masquerading service companies and incubators, posing as ‘accelerators’ of the day. 

Many of them add no value to their network expansion, business skills and other elements necessary to build sustainable startups.

As a result, Nik said, a lot of mistrust between founders and accelerators is being seen lately, which is not a good sign, especially for a burgeoning space like Web3 in India.

Graviton’s To The Rescue

Highlighting the need to have genuine accelerators in the Web3 and crypto domain in the country, the founders said that most Web3 accelerator programmes in India are being run by people who have a limited understanding of the core technologies, which leads to a shallow experience for the participating startups.

They also stressed the fact that the infrastructure and organised capital that Web2 entrepreneurs once had access to is currently missing in the space.

Besides India’s Web3 ecosystem was also missing a consortium-led acceleration brand that could enable early-stage founders with the confidence to pursue an idea full-time, challenging the traditional approach of letting a product gestate within the confines of a GitHub repository.

Therefore, they launched Graviton, a 16-week programme, for early-stage startups, who are in the MVP phase and operating with up to three people and work-in-progress products. The accelerator received more than 300 applications and has plans to select 10 early-stage startups for the programme for its first cohort, which focusses on startups in Web3 infrastructure, decentralised finance (DeFi), and GameFi spaces.

More specifically, its focus is on products within cross-chain communications, modular blockchains, decentralised cloud, full-stack game studios, data platforms, and asset-backed tokenisation, among others.

Under the programme, each selected startup will be supported by two ‘buddies’ from the Graviton team, along with a network of around 20+ mentors and industry experts.

These startups will receive an initial investment of up to $50,000, with the option to raise more funding before and on the demo day. The investment will be made on an equity basis, which will vary between 3% and 5%.

The accelerator programme is divided into four modules – business essentials, Web3 first principles, marketing & sales, and fundraising – and has VC firms such as Hashkey Capital, NGC Ventures, Ascensive Assets, Moohnrock Capital, 369 Capital, and Stacker Ventures on its panel.

Graviton has also partnered with 20 Web3 companies, including Tezos India, CoinSwitch Kuber, subsquid, Chainlink Labs, and dYdX, to provide startups with access to decentralised cloud storage, blockchain oracles, NFT analytics, deployment platforms, and smart contract security audits.

Graviton mentors

Once the 16-week programme reaches its demo day, the selected startups will get a chance to pitch their products to a group of 100 VC firms and angel investors. Nik expects that nearly 70% of the cohort will end up raising funds, excluding the funding raised initially.

Web3 accelerators And The Current State Of Affairs

There are several Web3 accelerators currently functioning across the world, with the biggest one being Cointelegraph’s Accelerator Program, which opened for applications in January 2023 to give strategic support to selected startups lasting up to 24 months.

India has also seen a rise in Web3-focused startup accelerator programmes like Graviton and funds being launched recently.

Last year, Web3 unicorn Polygon launched the PolygonLEAP 2021 Accelerator, along with Lumos Labs and supported by incubation venture Buidlers Tribe. Similarly, CoinSwitch launched the Web3 Discovery Fund worth $10 Mn to invest in 100 Web3 startups last year. 

Web3 accelerator programmes in India include the India Blockchain Accelerator, Web3 Conquest and the Hatch Web3 Accelerator were launched in 2022 alone, with Graviton and Web3 Accelerator Beacons launching in 2023. 

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