[IMPACT] Please describe your proposed solution.
According to CB Insights, among the reasons why startups fail is due to failing to raise capital, not finding the right market need, or getting outcompeted. According to Seedstars Programs, 91% startups claim that mentorship sessions help them with tackling their challenges such as calculating their market size, fundraising, reaching their KPI milestones, and improving their growth rate. However, most entrepreneurial mentorship providers in emerging markets operate as traditional organizations with centralized governance and systems. Due to this, entrepreneurs lack accessibility to mentorship opportunities that could support them with scaling their products.
We aim to support the startups throughout their journey by understanding the challenges they face, and connecting them with the best experts to help with their growth and impact. As a result, we help to develop emerging market ecosystems, create local jobs, and fuel regional income growth through businesses that tackle impactful problems.
At the moment Seedstars Mentorship Hub connects 1,400+ mentors with 500+ startups. There are 230+ monthly sessions conducted and 7,000+startups are registered on our networks. The Seedstars Mentorship Hub helps accelerators and ecosystem builders to exponentially add value to their cohorts by matching companies with a global pool of subject matter experts.
Currently, Seedstars is operating in a traditional organizational way in +100 ecosystems and +250K community members. Even though we have decentralized decision making processes and a freedom-oriented global workforce we still use central authorities to make decisions and keep the platform up and running.
Seedstars is keen to explore ways of moving from a centralized organization to a DAO. The Seedstars Mentorship Hub is a good starting point as it is a fully functioning digital product with highlighted user types and finalized journeys. Transforming the Mentorship Hub into a DAO will encourage the users to increase their activities.
Our goal is to build the basic foundation to move what Seedstars has been doing as a global organization with decentralized decision making processes and a freedom-oriented organizational model into a decentralized autonomous organization.
The first use case in our transformation into a DAO will be our mentorship activities in our existing mentorship hub. A mandatory first step for us moving into a DAO organization is making sure we build a decentralized identity solution.
Our objective in this proposal is twofold:
- Complete a feasibility assessment for the DAO transformation strategy.
- Develop an MVP for mentors and mentees to use decentralized ID to confirm when a mentoring session has taken place, and provide ratings and reviews for those sessions
Our unique reason for doing it this way is:
- The Seedstars' mentorship hub is an active community with individuals focused on innovation, making a receptive audience for research and testing
- We believe that a DAO will allow startups and mentors to interact on our platform without our interference of confirming that sessions took place.
Our audience is:
- Current and future Seedstars entrepreneurs
- Current and future Seedstars mentors
The output will be:
- Research output
- Identification of key products that are offering the same value proposition
- Identification of key challenges that hinder those products from scaling
- Understanding the added value for users
- Understanding the impact of the product
- Understanding the potential product sustainability
- Synthesizing and analyzing research findings to prepare for implementation
- Integration output
- A production MVP for mentors and mentees to use decentralized ID to confirm when a mentoring session has taken place and provide mutual ratings and reviews for those sessions.
- Seedstars mentor portal and related third-party systems integrated with ProofSpace Dashboard for issuing/verifying credentials
- Workflows live for mentors and mentees in the ProofSpace App:
- Seedstars SSI OAuth: a deep link interaction from Seedstars portal to open the ProofSpace App, discover the Seedstars mentor/mentee profile and complete SSI OAuth two-factor authentication. Receive back a unique “Seedstars ID”.
- Mentor Session Confirmation: an interaction to confirm, with their assigned Seedstars ID, that a session has taken place. Receive back the counter-party validated confirmation.
- Mentor Session Rating and Review: an interaction to confirm, linked to their Seedstars ID and session confirmation, the rating and review of a particular session. Receive back the counter-party rating and review.
The results of this proposal will impact the stakeholders as following:
- Mentors will be able to easily sign up and verify their identity on the Seedstars Mentorship Hub
- It will be easier for the mentors to confirm their sessions
- Mentors will receive the session ratings in a different way
- Startups will be able to easily sign up and verify their identity on the Seedstars Mentorship Hub
- It will be easier for the entrepreneurs to confirm their sessions
- Entrepreneurs will receive ratings in a different way
Long Term Impact:
- In future features, we aim to:
- Provide tokenized rewarding for mentors which will activate the non-active mentors and boost the activity on the Mentorship Hub
- Tokenized rewarding for each conducted session. Moreover, based on the rating received from the mentee (1 to 5) extra token will be given. The impact will be faster response from the mentors, high quality sessions.
- Tokenized rewarding will activate the non-active startups and boost the activity on the Mentorship Hub, moreover will encourage them to discuss multiple challenges at the same time with the mentors
- Tokenized rewarding for each conducted session and the feedback shared. The impact will be higher activity of startups while publishing challenges at Mentorship Hub, high quality sessions received.
[IMPACT] Please describe how your proposed solution will address the Challenge that you have submitted it in.
The solution will project on the Challenge KPIs such as:
- Research the feasibility and use cases of Digital ID to help create similar, but superior, tools (ID Verification) for use in DAOs
- Use Digital ID to build an effective collaboration management platform out of the Seedstars mentorship hub
- Build and publish a framework for best use cases of D-ID in DAOs, giving Cardano a unique advantage
- Document and verify tools and processes for DAO creation, operation, and governance
[IMPACT] What are the main risks that could prevent you from delivering the project successfully and please explain how you will mitigate each risk?
Risk: Lack of user adoption
- Mitigation: Seedstars will create tutorials and tailored onboarding sessions to explain the benefits to the users. We will be monitoring activities and constantly communicating with both startups and mentors to ensure user adoption.
Risk: Technology for DAOs is still early stage
- Mitigation. Seedstars will work closely with the Cardano ecosystem solution providers such as Proofspace to adapt the best technology for these use cases.
[FEASIBILITY] Please provide a detailed plan, including timeline and key milestones for delivering your proposal.
- Agree and the MVP workflow, including integration requirements for Seedstars portal and related third-party systems.
- Configure verifiable credential workflow for mentors and mentees.
- Create Schemas
- Create Seedstars Credential Definitions
- Create Mentor/Mentee interaction sequence for required/issued credentials
- Integrate credential workflow with Seedstars portal and third-party systems, including possible user interface adjustments for SSI OAuth interactions.
- Run tests on the workflow.
- Push to production
Milestones & Deliverables
- Oct-Dec, 2022: Research Phase
- Mapping of players
- User Journey
- User Interviews
- North Metric Star, KPIs and Assumptions
- Viable Business Model
- Implementation Roadmap
- Jan-Feb, 2023: Implementation
- Workflow Consultation
- Full workflow implementation
- Mar-Jun, 2023: Adoption Sprint
- User Onboarding
- User Testing
- Bug Testing
Managing the workload of this and other proposals:
- At the proposal stage we will be understanding and highlighting deliverables and team allocation.
- During the implementation stage we will be working on each team members’ dedicated tasks and goals. Moreover, we will organize weekly check ups to understand where each team member stands and will brainstorm on the next stages. During our work we will be using automations, no code tools and a functioning platform which will help us to work faster and more efficiently.
- Here is a link explaining workload management.
[FEASIBILITY] Please provide a detailed budget breakdown.
- Apply to Fund 9: $1,600
- Identification of key products that are offering the same value proposition: $2,000
- Identification of key challenges that hinder those products: $2,000
- Designing a User Journey: $1,600
- Conducting User Interviews: $4,000
- Understanding the impact of the product: $1,600
- Understanding the potential product sustainability: $4,000
- Synthesize & Analyze Research Findings to Prepare for Implementation: $1,600
- Roadmapping: $4,000
- Seedstars Workflow Implementation: $6,000
- Bug Testing: $3,000
- User Onboarding: $5,000
- User Testing: $4,000
- Marketing: $4,000
- Internal Project Management Team: $14,912
Total: USD $44,400
- SSI Workflow Consultations and Design: $5,103
- SSI Workflow Implementation: $6, 208
- 12mo ProofSpace subscription (Validate Package): $2,277
- 15hrs dedicated ProofSpace support: $2,100
Total: USD $15,688
Cardano Partnership, Advisory, & Maintenance
- Internal costs for Cardano advisory services and team allocation
Total: USD $15,000
[FEASIBILITY] Please provide details of the people who will work on the project.
Seedstars (https://seedstars.com/) is a group on a mission to impact people's lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. It consists of 3 tracks: investments (VC funds), capacity building for tech startups (Seedstars Programs), and entrepreneurial education (Seedstars Academy).
Seedstars Team working on this project:
- Zeb Hastings, Project Manager for Seedstars, coordinating Seedstars’ projects and capacity-building programs focused on startup development in emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East regions. In addition to these projects, Zeb leads the company's data analytics strategy and reporting, focusing on emerging market ecosystem trends, products, sales and marketing, and business operations. Zeb currently manages other approved Cardano proposals from Fund 7.
- Mira Charkawi, Startups Lead at Seedstars leading all the sourcing and screening campaigns of the acceleration programs across MENA, LATAM, Africa, Asia and CEE. Mira is also a Product Manager of internal Seedstars products built to help startups scale in emerging markets. Prior to that, she worked as the Community & Events Manager in the MENA region organizing various pitching and training events, in addition to, interacting with the most active startup ecosystem builders in each country, from corporates to governments, startups, mentors, and investors.
- Zarina Gabdolova, Product Lead for Mentorship Hub at Seedstars. Managing product development, progress, and features from ideation. In addition to this, Zarina leads the mentors’ and alumni startup community focusing on day-to-day communications, community events, and engagement.
- Ratko Ivanovic, IT Specialist and Support Professional. Ratko is Founder at Zeal Agency and Co-Founder at Snipers.sale. Ratko loves to find ways to break down and automate complex activities, and has been involved with Seedstars for 5+ years.
- Tiago Lourenço Geada, Solution Architect, Tech Lead at Seedstars. Overseeing tech team in all projects each member undertakes, inspiring them to reach their goal, promoting better tech solutions for Seedstars and its partners. Bridge between tech and non-tech environments.
ProofSpace is a multi-network identity platform, wrapped with no-code tools for building and scaling decentralized ID workflows and ecosystems. Our goal is to eliminate the barriers to adopting Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) and proliferate the range and volume of use cases on production. Our vision is to power global digital inclusion and cross-chain commerce with interoperable verifiable credentials, and in so doing expand use of blockchain as a medium of trust. We are live with Hyperledger Indy, on testnet with Atala PRISM and reviewing SSI protocols on Polkadot, Ethereum and Solana.
ProofSpace Team working on this project:
- Viktor Radchenko - CTO and mobile dev for ProofSpace. 20-year R&D track record. Skilled in project and product management, solution architecture, science consulting, blockchain, mobile, web, game, and embedded development. 6 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
- Ruslan Shevchenko, PhD - Solution Architect and BE for ProofSpace. Skilled architect and scientific researcher with 30-years’ experience across blockchain, telecom, advertising and financial services. Researcher in the Institute of Software Systems and Founder of several successful ventures including NBI (an Internet Provider), GradSoft (a software development firm) and UA Scala user group. 10 publications in peer-reviewed journals, co-authored book entitled “Methods of Algebraic Programming” and is an active columnist for the Ukrainian developers' community portal.
- Alexey Hodkov - FE/BE for ProofSpace. Talented web backend and frontend solution architect and developer with 17-years’ experience. Team leader, tech mentor and CTO in complex projects for various companies like Yandex LLC and Megogo.
- Viacheslav Zhelobkov - Senior Mobile Dev for ProofSpace. Software developer with 20 years experience in a wide variety of IT areas including embedded, mobile, web, backend, etc. in roles from solo founder to Solution Architect and CTO.
- Olesya Kershaw - Customer Success Analyst. A professional musician, experienced concert pianist and teacher who made a career change into digital technologies. She uses her analytical, relationship building and research skills in her work as a business and customer success analyst, while continuously developing her technical skills.
- Nick Mason - CEO for ProofSpace. Experienced social entrepreneur and venture analyst with a proven track record of social venture funding and of starting and growing ventures in Europe and Africa. Background as Consultant venture analyst at Toniic, Head of Portfolio and Operations at BeyondMe, UK Director for Sierra Leone based education charity and Trustee for Street Child. Co-Founded ProofSpace (formerly ZAKA in 2019).
[FEASIBILITY] If you are funded, will you return to Catalyst in a later round for further funding? Please explain why / why not.
This implementation is the beginning of a long-term product building where we will apply for further proposals to add new features on the mentorship hub. Future features will include tokenizing the product and connecting it to ADA wallets.
[FEASIBILITY] Are you or any member of your team working on any other proposals in this Fund9?
[FEASIBILITY] Are you or your team working on any other proposals from previous Funds?
[AUDITABILITY] Please describe what you will measure to track your project's progress, and how will you measure these?
Every deliverable of the project described in our detailed plan will be visible to the community. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include:
- Number of high-value mentorship sessions conducted monthly
- Number of challenges shared by startups monthly
- Publication of project deliverables through monthly reports, which will demonstrate adherence to the work plan.
- Dashboard of Mentorship Hub , which will show the data on the ongoing activities of each stakeholder.
- Functioning workflows for mentors, mentees and Seedstars, including integration with existing and third-party systems.
The outcomes of the project will be shared with the Mentorship Hub stakeholders (mentors and startups) and will be communicated through dedicated Newsletters and Community Workspaces (Slack).
[AUDITABILITY] What does success for this project look like?
Success for this project will mean that we answer all research questions and implement the identity verification. Upon completion of the project, we should have a clear infrastructure to build a mentorship DAO and leverage identity verification solutions for a mentor network. We will have a better understanding on how DAO’s can contribute to more startup mentorship opportunities in emerging markets.
The output/deliverables will be:
- Solid understanding of the users and their adoption
- Implementation of identity verification of the mentors and startups
- Increase of the mentorship sessions between mentors and startups
- Increase in the number of new mentors and startups joining the Hub.
- Increase in the quality of the conducted sessions
[AUDITABILITY] Please provide information on whether this proposal is a continuation of a previously funded project in Catalyst or an entirely new one.
This is an entirely new proposal