Over the last couple of years, technology has been a bridge to human connection. While the tools and experiences have improved, nothing beats being across the table from another like-minded human to explore ideas and share perspectives.
Rooted in the coffee houses of Vienna and the ramshackle tables of Lockheed’s Skunkworks, there is magic in the potential of these serendipitous IRL meetings, and that magic is not as easy to replicate in the digital realm. It’s not impossible, but it’s limited today.
In a well-appointed concrete building with a mural depicting popular NFT art, Atlanta Blockchain Center is building a community around education, incubation, and ideation. With weekly events and speakers, it’s an epicenter of web3 buzz, activation, and innovation. ABC is organized as a DAO and the holders of $BUIDL or one of the ABC NFTs can gain access to the coworking hackerspace and preferred access to the deal flow from their incubator led by Starter Labs.
Last month, I was asked to host a panel on the intersection of music and web3 with three inspiring entrepreneurs, and I connected with Atlanta Blockchain Center’s Chief Marketing Officer, Angela Brasington to learn more.
What was the catalyst to start Atlanta Blockchain Center?
At Starter Labs, Atlanta Blockchain Center’s parent company, we knew the bear market was coming and wanted to diversify what we were doing. Part of that plan was to bring our virtual incubator and launchpad to real life. We had launched 63 defi projects from all around the globe, who raised over $45M on our platform, starter.xyz. We really understand what it takes to spot a great project and how to prepare them for a smooth and successful token launch.
We realized Miami’s lead in the crypto scene but also noticed Miami’s crypto community is just that – all crypto. Our founder is a builder at heart and continues to code every day. We were more interested in creating awareness around the technology that made crypto possible while educating people on the plethora of other incredibly impactful use cases of blockchain technology.
When we visited Atlanta, we found a booming FinTech industry and the #4 tech college in the US (along with other great tech schools). We also learned that Atlanta, known as “Transaction Alley”, processes 70% of the world’s payment transactions. Yet, when we searched for blockchain groups, meetups, and events, we found just a couple of inactive groups from a few years ago.
It seemed strange because Atlanta appeared to have the perfect foundation to be a blockchain hub, if not THE blockchain hub of the United States. We quickly put that puzzle together and saw the opportunity in front of us. Then we continued doing what we do best: BUIDL! First the concept, then the planning and finally figuring out how to execute our exciting new chapter.
Tell me about Starter Labs and their affiliation with ABC.
Starter Labs is the umbrella, or parent company, over multiple DeFi, web3, and blockchain-related products and initiatives. Starter.xyz is a multichain launchpad, incubator, and investor network for businesses building on the blockchain.
We are deployed on 5 blockchains: Binance smart chain, Polygon, Ethereum, Fantom, and Avalanche. Taking our experience from Starter, we launched ABC as our first IRL initiative. Among many other things, we incubate projects and raise funds with investors, just like at Starter, but all in person! It’s been a fun shift to get off Zoom and be face-to-face with our community.
How do you see the DAO evolving over the next year?
We’re still in education mode with the DAO. Some people are brand new and learning, while others are members of multiple DAOs. We’re working hard to help everyone understand how it all works. I see the most active members getting more involved, asking great questions, and submitting proposals.
As a result, we’ll start to see some sort of organization committee forming. Once that happens, I’d love to see a timeline of events, initiatives, partnerships, and collaborations, and for them to be able to start generating funds for a well-managed treasury.
What advice would you give someone starting a DAO related to keeping the community aligned and engaged?
Remind yourself every day how important it is to keep the DAO community aligned and engaged. Then DO IT! I can’t stress it enough.
Discord is great for creating channels where you can get the community talking and find creative ways to get them involved. Separating channels allows people to engage with the content that suits them best. It’s a better way to keep them active because they’re seeing what they want to see. We have a ‘general chat’ channel for all members to openly communicate with each other.
We have a ‘introduce yourself’ channel, which is solely for new members to introduce themselves, see who’s who, and connect when synergies abound. We have a ‘rabbit hole’ channel to allow people to go down the rabbit hole on whatever topic they see fit, as it relates to the blockchain, web3, and the industry as a whole. And many more, including our DAO governance channel, where NFT-holding DAO members can vote on member-submitted proposals. It’s important to structure your channels in a way to encourage activity and provides value to members.
What are the key components of a successful web3 investor pitch?
It must be clear and concise. It should efficiently address the problem being solved and the steps being taken to solve that problem. Along with that, the business model must be properly articulated with realistic revenue projections.
Trust me, it’s not pretty to show $20M in projected revenue for year 1. Investors don’t want to see that because we know it’s unrealistic for the majority of businesses, especially those we’re working with who are primarily early stage.
The team should be listed with photos, and you should be prepared to discuss their level of involvement. A well-thought-out roadmap is key. I want to know where you are going, how you’re getting there, and if the team can feasibly execute that.
What projects are you excited about from the first incubator cohort?
I’m honestly super excited about all three projects and their founders. They are all unique and different in their own way.
Jeremiah Long created Wedge, which specializes in community outreach to educate businesses and the general public about Web3 technology. He has made tremendous strides in connecting with community groups to move his mission forward.
Keith Wilson created Helix Automotive, the world’s first metaverse automotive manufacturer. Keith’s experience working at Ford has provided a rich understanding of the auto industry, including what they don’t do well. He’s built ways to capitalize on that and bring value to both the auto giants and consumers.
Yolanda Barton created Revere XR, the future of music & immersive storytelling. She is working with Oculus to bring her experience to life using their headsets.
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Metaverse Methodologist, Connector and Creator