Catalyst Working Groups - a proposal to the Cardano community and how to get involved!

Kriss Baird

Kriss Baird

Head of Product

· 14 min read

Catalyst Working Groups are the Catalyst Team’s following roadmap proposal to the Cardano community. These are intended to create the first iteration of community-led, data-driven analysis that informs of potentially important changes to the scope of future Catalyst funding rounds. To bring this together, it’s equally important that the Catalyst Team collaborates with the worldwide community, which should host their discussions and events.

The Catalyst Team recognizes that it should not be the only organization setting the scope of future funding rounds. More value can be drawn from insights that can be produced from a wide range of regions, experiences, and data. In the legacy world, grantmakers and investment firms often follow a charter, investment thesis, or an industrial strategy to guide their allocations that foster innovation. Catalyst doesn’t have an investment roadmap of this nature, and so it is up to us to work together to produce something that can serve the needs and is truly co-created by – and for – the Cardano community.


Working towards forming consensus on Cardano's funding priorities

Since Cardano’s decentralized innovation funding program began, the community has experimented with several ways of crowdsourcing insights to inform changes to Catalyst funding rounds. Catalyst Circle has offered opportunities for community members to be elected by their peers to sit for 3-6 month terms and co-create new approaches with Cardano Foundation and Input Output Global (IOG) in an advisory capacity. Circle engagements, formal and informal workshops, Town Halls, and break-out discussions have all been a valuable part of gathering a broad spectrum of views. Yet no straightforward ways to coordinate these activities at scale across a network distributed around the globe have emerged, highlighting the importance of collaboration and making these discussions accessible to spark deep engagement and productive debate.

Fund11 voting will decide if the community would like to see a program of work with appropriate funding dedicated to identifying and analyzing several factors; What directions should Catalyst funding take? What changes to the operating parameters will enhance outcomes? And what can be done to accelerate startup innovation?

None of this can be done without many people’s efforts and commitment to getting the job done, and so compensation will be provided to resource each Working Group to ensure and empower the Cardano community with a more active role in determining future objectives for Cardano innovation funding.

But wait, that’s not all! If this proposal is approved by the community, these momentous research activities will begin in April, punctuated by the launch of Catalyst Fund12 and the Working Groups initiative as an in-person Town Hall event. This would take place in a city where one lucky Working Group team is located, co-hosted with the Catalyst Team. The location of the Fund12 launch will be decided through a community vote once voting on Fund11 proposals has concluded. More details below.

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How can I get involved?

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  • Catalyst Strategic funding priorities Working Group: will consider the types of use cases that have been previously funded and areas of interest that require innovation funding to be directed towards. They could take a data-driven approach to understanding what innovation areas have already matured or will soon mature, and what the regional, industrial, or societal use cases arethat will benefit from blockchain innovation over the next 12-24 months.
  • Catalyst Operating Parameters Working Group: will consider how future fund budgets could be divided to achieve strategic objectives and potential changes to be made to the Catalyst operating parameters.
  • Catalyst-Funded Project Incubation and Acceleration Working Group: tasked with developing enterprises from high potential Catalyst-funded startup ideas by helping to improve the ecosystem’s proximity to a global network of professional angels, accelerators, and other investors.

If you are interested in running a Catalyst Working Group, we’re seeking applications that cover some or all of the following:

  • Events can be held both virtually and/or in-person, with varying degrees of support available depending on location and expected participation
  • Events must be accessible and inclusive. In-person events are expected to cater to the local geography/community
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate capability, capacity, and previous experience to:
    • build a local event team
    • source a suitable venue
    • organize local caterers
    • communicate and socialize the event
  • Ideally, applicants should already have a good understanding of Catalyst, the Catalyst Working Group proposal, and the workstream area of interest.
  • It’s advantageous if applicants have relevant experience running a Cardano community group and/or have hosted previous events.

What support is available?

All community-led hosts will be supported with the ada equivalent value of:

  • $1,000 per virtual Working Group and up to a maximum of $10,000 per in-person Working Group
  • PLUS $1,000 stipend compensation for a virtual Working Group team
  • OR $1,500 stipend compensation for in-person Working Group team
  • Financial support is intended to cover a mix of:
    • event setup/venues and any infrastructure required eg audiovisual production
    • refreshments, depending on the event
    • costs for administration, such as compensation to moderators and hosts
    • merchandise and swag for attendees/hosts
    • awareness and socializing campaign
  • Working Group materials, including playbook, templates, briefing documents, suggested agenda

Please note that some finance may be provided on a case-by-case basis to cover upfront costs to secure venues and suppliers. Quotes and receipts will be required to provide evidence of costs incurred.


The outputs

Each Working Group will be required to produce a summary of outputs and run a post-workshop survey in an agreed format that will be collated into larger themes and topics that may warrant further discussion or consideration.


The application process

  1. Application form: teams to apply for their Working Group by February 4 to be considered
  2. Event review and location: we will review all applications and select the shortlist of locations and virtual events that cover the broadest spectrum of the Cardano ecosystem
  3. Working Group with Fund12 launch location shortlist communicated on Town Hall on February 7
  4. Fund 11 main vote ends on February 8
  5. Vote on Fund12 launch location (1 epoch) February 12-18
  6. Final confirmation: all applicants and the wider community will receive communication by February 21 about which working groups are confirmed and how they can participate
  7. Debriefing call: during the week commencing February 26, we will host two debriefing calls (across two time zones) for confirmed hosts and their respective teams

Apply today!

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How are decisions made about which working group teams are selected?

Teams that submit Catalyst Working Group applications by the deadline (February 4) will be reviewed and evaluated by the project team, a collaboration between the IOG Catalyst Team, SustainableADA, and Rare Evo.

We will take a portfolio approach to create the shortlist - meaning we would like a global network of Catalyst Working Groups and so the review will consider for in-person Working Groups the region and the likelihood of attracting other members of the community to participate, the proposed plan and budget, plus the team’s experience in hosting and facilitating workshops. For virtual Working Group teams, the same considerations apply, except for regionality, so the review will focus on the likelihood of attracting other community members to participate and each team’s capabilities to produce high-quality outcomes.

Once the Catalyst Working Group shortlist and Fund11 voting results are published, the Catalyst Team will start a new voting process for the community to participate in. Voting will be held on the Catalyst Voting App, targeting the epoch boundary around February 12-18 to cast votes, and will ask voters to decide which city or location do they want to see Catalyst Fund12 launched in.

What happens if this proposal does not get approved by the community?

While we are making plans for the best-case scenario to avoid delaying the launch of Fund12, it is important to recognize the will of the community. If the Cardano community does not approve funding for the Catalyst Working Groups proposal, this initiative will not go ahead, and we will explore other opportunities in the future to bring the community together to do this important work.

Can I run more than one Working Group event?

Yes, this is possible, and should be indicated in the application form. We recognise that in some cases, it might not be possible to cover all the topics in your workstream in one session.However, to maintain a broad representation of community groups, or if there are duplications (for example the same location for two or more events), we may request revisions to your application. We will not reject applications for being ambitious or wanting to reach wider audiences, but please bear in mind we may ask you to reconsider parts of your plan if there are multiple applications for the same location, etc.

Will financial support be provided?

Financial support is provided on a per team basis, so plans and budgeting for running one or more Working Group events must comply with the budget limits stated above. In other words, if you want to host more than one in-person Working Group event, the combined cost must not exceed $10,000. The stipend will be provided once per team.

Will IOG, the Cardano Foundation, and/or EMURGO representatives join workshops?

Given the anticipated breadth of events, it will depend on location, date, and time. As a result, attendance by the IOG Catalyst Team, the Cardano Foundation, or EMURGO cannot be guaranteed. If your application is successful and there is an opportunity for representatives to participate, they will confirm with hosts directly.

When will the last event be held?

The intention is for Working Groups to have completed their activities and submitted their outputs by the end of June. A dissemination event is intended to be held at Rare Evo in August, where the conference will provide a platform to celebrate the outputs and outcomes of the collaborative efforts of the Catalyst Working Groups.


How to get involved

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We look forward to seeing you!