Now that the extreme hype wave around Web3 and Metaverse projects has relaxed, the door has opened for blockchain projects geared toward practical applications to thrive. An ecosystem under less public scrutiny at every turn can develop meaningful products without unnecessary oversight.
That being said, less hype around a sector also usually coincides with a drop in investment from VCs and other sources. Web3 startups in particular face two uphill battles here: The general drop in tech VC spending following an industry-wide downturn and the incredible resurgence of interest in generative AI. So how can young, potentially revolutionary projects find backers and guidance in such an ecosystem?
For Web3 startups, incubators are providing a much-needed lifeline for early support, especially in key economic regions such as Asia.
Astar Network, a multi-chain smart contract and dApp hub utilizing Polkadot and Ethereum Virtual Machine, has teamed up with Sony Network Communications to launch a Web3 incubation program. The three-month-long program, which runs until June 2023, supports projects developing Web3 use cases that focus on the real-world practicality of NFTs and DAOs. With a focus on interoperability, the joint venture between Astar and Sony provides business guidance from an industry giant in conjunction with technical support and consultation from a blockchain leader.
Across many industries, even outside of tech, incubator programs are essential to nurturing emerging talent and spritely startups to find their footing. Typically, incubators take a multi-level approach to fostering new projects rather than just dumping money into a startup with little direction. Whether it’s through mentorship, brand partnerships, or access to tools and resources outside of funding, incubator programs can lay the foundation for sustainable growth in tech.
By partnering with a smart contract platform, the Sony-backed incubator program follows a new trend of large companies reentering the blockchain space. But unlike the hype-driven wave of 2021, these projects are rooted more in practical applications. By design, projects selected for the incubator undergo intense deliberation during the screening process in order to gain the most concrete benefits and mentorship. Following the completion of the incubator program, projects may also be considered for additional investment from Sony Communications Network.
The incubator program is the latest in a series of high-profile collaborations for Astar, which recently partnered with Toyota for a Web3 hackathon.
Following its mainnet launch in 2022, Astar attained early recognition with backing from industry leaders including Binance Labs, Crypto.com, Coinbase Ventures, and DFG, a VC investment firm working closely with innovative Web3 projects. As a Tokyo-based company, Astar puts an emphasis on becoming the go-to blockchain network for the Japanese market. The company has also opened the Astar Japan Lab, an R&D and collaboration service for blockchain that has partnered with more than 100 companies to date including Amazon Web Services, Dentsu, SoftBank, and PWC.
Built on Polkadot, Astar has cemented itself as one of the most popular parachains on the network thanks to its focus on interoperability and creating infrastructure for sustainable cross-chain growth. Its ecosystem supports Web2 and Web3 development, encouraging builders to create truly communicative products through its Build2Earn community earning program.
Astar also continues to work closely with the Japanese government to accelerate Web3 adoption and development, onboarding the cities of Fukuoka, Sendai, and Shibuya Special Ward to the Japan Lab.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.