Betting on Builders: Infinite Launchpad Proposal

Non-Constitutional

TL;DR

What this proposal does:

  • Comprehensive support to builders: tailored support at every stage, from idea inception to Series A and beyond.
  • Developer mobilization: Enhance builder onboarding, technical support, product feedback, and provide funding opportunities for mature projects.
  • Advance Arbitrum’s strategic priorities: Aligns with robust DevRel, governance optimization, future-proofing, and community growth.
  • Developer feedback: Gather feedback to improve the Arbitrum stack and ecosystem, and distribute insights to relevant stakeholders.
  • Visibility and credibility: Showcase participating teams and opportunities, promoting the Arbitrum ecosystem.
  • Collaborative research: Share research findings and insights to refine the ecosystem’s approach and reduce risks in capital allocation.

What this proposal does NOT do:

  • Does not provide immediate funding to all proposed programs: Funding will be distributed quarterly or bi-annually and adjusted based on performance and oversight.
  • Does not engage in unplanned or unchecked capital allocation: All fund movements and program executions will be under strict oversight and transparent reporting.

Abstract

The “Infinite Launchpad” pathway aims to work with established entities to provide builders with seamless support at every stage (research and conceptualization through later-stage). We aim to empower our developer base and secure Arbitrum as a leading force in innovation and growth within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Born out of the Betting on Builders proposal from GovHack at ETHDenver 2024, we are presenting a collaborative accelerator program strategy, expected to run from Q3FY2024 through Q4FY2025. This strategy acts as a proof-of-concept for a pathway that any accelerator initiative can participate in. To begin, EVM Capital, RnDAO and Outlier Ventures are partnering on this proposal to launch the initiative, collect data, and establish best practices.

The purpose of this document is to detail our understanding of the current landscape, present a vision for advancement, propose a practical strategy, and provide specific outcomes and KPIs.

Motivation

According to ThankARB, which gathered data from 15,000 respondents within the ecosystem:

“We have more developers than most chains, but we don’t currently know how to best mobilize them for the benefit of the ecosystem.”

We would like to try our hand at answering this question. Some opportunities for developer mobilization, which we intend to enhance with the “Infinite Launchpad” include the following:

  • Enhancing Builder Onboarding and Support: Offering highly-tailored support at all stages (Idea through Series A) will prepare projects for commercial success or investment.
  • Creating Positive Feedback Loops: As Arbitrum’s technological stack evolves, builders can leverage the technology and benefit from their own contributions to its advancement, ensuring a symbiotic progression for both the platform and the projects it supports.
  • Technical support and product feedback: Providing technical guidance and iterative feedback is invaluable during the transition from alpha/beta stages to full project launches.
  • Enterprise contracts and funding: Providing subsequent funding opportunities for mature projects. While initial grants facilitate early-stage development, there is a void in support for scaling projects to a level where they can attract significant enterprise interest and investment, crucial for long-term sustainability and impact.

Rationale

To address these needs, we are asking the DAO to allot $10m in ARB from Q3FY2024 through Q4FY2025 for a program to enhance the Arbitrum developer and startup ecosystem.

This initiative is designed to aid our ecosystem of developers, startups, and enterprises by providing a clear incubation track that propels innovations that include but are not limited to governance, process automation/ AI, financial infrastructure, and on-chain reputation through the help of direct collaborations with 100+ commercial partners.

As teams go through the Programs, we can onboard them as Arbitrum customers, integrate them with the software stack, platforms or protocols, and support them as they become adopted in the ecosystem. If the product has significant traction, we can assess bringing them deeper into the Arbitrum ecosystem.

How this fits into Arbitrums strategic priorities:

  • Robust DevRel: Establishing a custom-tiered DevRel program with robust, accessible, and responsive tools.
  • Governance optimization: Identifying and iteratively improving key capabilities to increase DAO performance and accountability.
  • Future-proofing: Strengthening our capacity to scale Arbitrum software adoption.
  • Growing the community: Awareness, participation, efficient inquiry handling, and bias reduction.

Additional key value opportunities for Arbitrum:

  • Developer feedback: As the incubated projects build on Arbitrum, we can collect direct and honest feedback to be distributed to Offchain labs, Arbitrum Foundation, and other stakeholders to refine their roadmap and improve Arbitrum.

  • Builder representation and visibility: Showcasing teams composed of individuals representing their given region, background and culture - building with Arbitrum DAO.

  • Mutual reputation building: Participating teams can enhance their credibility by claiming involvement in an Arbitrum-funded accelerator program, while also promoting the Arbitrum ecosystem.

  • Collaborative research and knowledge sharing: Research findings will be shared as insight reports, highlighting market opportunities and supporting ongoing learning and improvement for all DAO working groups (M&A, Arbitrum Ventures Initiative, Foundation Grants program, Questbook programs, etc). This can be used as a public good to refine the ecosystem’s approach and de-risk capital allocation.

Key Terms

  • Alpha: The early development stage of a product, typically for internal testing and refinement.
  • Beta: When a more advanced version of a product is released to a broader audience for testing and feedback before the official launch.
  • Series A: When startups begin to raise capital to scale their business after the initial seed stage.
  • GTM: “Got-to-Market” strategy and execution plan for launching a startup’s product and acquiring customers.
  • MVP: “Minimum viable product” the simplest version of a product to gather feedback for future development.
  • PoC: “Proof of Concept” stage where startups validate the feasibility and viability of their product or technology.
  • EiR: Entrepreneur in Residence” an experienced entrepreneur who provides mentorship, strategic guidance, and assistance in establishing valuable business connections.

Specifications

The “Betting on Builders” suite of programs work together to support projects at any stage of their journey, guiding them seamlessly from inception through Series A and beyond. Projects of any stage are welcome and will be integrated into the appropriate program.

Community Building Module (Support for Other Programs)

This program focuses on attracting talent into the Arbitrum ecosystem to nurture the whole pipeline with founders, projects, and skilled contributors. Additionally, this program provides opportunities for builders and projects throughout the pipeline to showcase their work and make connections.

Including:

  • Semesterly Hackathons
  • Quarterly Unconferences (IRL and online)
  • Weekly public workshops and talks related to building on Arbitrum and Entrepreneurship
    • Speed networking
    • AMAs with builders and domain experts
    • Pitch days
    • And more

Team: RnDAO

Market & Research Module (Problem Identification)

Significant developer attention is focused on overcrowded problems (group-think) and unsustainable ventures. This program provides a solution through focused research to map the landscape of problems and identify opportunities (market gaps) for further exploration and validation in the CollabTech space. Additionally, providing valuable intel for the Arbitrum ecosystem to de-risk capital allocation.

This program includes:

  • Interviews with industry stakeholders
  • Market research
  • Conceptual research

Team: RnDAO

Entrepreneur in Residence program (Ideation)

The EiR program supports early-stage builders in validating an opportunity fast and effectively, reducing risk and costs of entrepreneurship.

Capacity: 25 EiRs

This program includes:

  • User research & Customer development
  • Community building for EiRs (learning in public)
  • Pitch development
  • Paper prototyping and market testing

Team: RnDAO

Venture Builder (Minimum Viable Product)

The Venture Builder phase occurs during proof of concept and alpha/beta testing. The focus is on turning the conceptual groundwork from the ideation phase into tangible outcomes: an MVP that can be market-tested.

Capacity: 10 projects.

This program includes:

  • Team formation assistance
  • Strategy clinics
  • Rapid prototyping: MVP development, market testing and user feedback
  • Development of operational practices (eg. legal incorporation, governance, development processes, rewards & compensation, etc.)
  • Pitch development

Team: RnDAO

Pods Program (Pre-Accelerator)

The Pod pre-accelerator program aims to proliferate Arbitrum’s development by creating acceleration pods globally. These pods will engage local developers and stakeholders to translate and regionalize Arbitrum’s toolkit. The first pod will expand Arbitrum’s presence in Japan and the greater Asia region by partnering with AngelHack and Fracton Ventures.

We will achieve this goal through three program components:

Education:

  • 50+ technology partners for dev resources
  • Live sessions and async curricula:
    • Ensuring developers are proficient in leveraging Arbitrum’s technology to create innovative solutions
    • Providing guidance on business and legal structures, operations, product development, product-market fit, and go-to-market strategies, with insights from founders and thought leaders to ensure that graduating teams thrive in the next stage of their roadmap

Mentorship:

  • 250+ industry experts collaborating as mentors and advisors
  • providing tailored insights, feedback, and support to help developers refine their projects and accelerate their growth within the Arbitrum ecosystem

Capital Raising:

  • Intros to 100+ VCs, regional strategics, corporates, and other investors to not only provide capital but also strategic acceleration.
  • Pitch coaching and networking events to help startups secure the necessary funding to scale their innovations.

Team: EVM Capital
In partnership with: AngelHack and Fracton

Base Camp (Accelerator)

Outlier Ventures’ flagship 12-week accelerator program. Cohort participants (5-8 teams) are provided with support from Outlier Ventures’ in-house team of experts, partners, and mentors on their product roadmap, community building, entity structuring, token design, and more. The program also provides a grant stipend for each team to amplify their growth and success.

This program includes:

  • $100k grant per team in $ARB
  • 1:1 sessions with OV specialists and access to our external mentor network of web3 industry leaders
  • Token engineering support and business model testing to pinpoint product-market fit
  • Workshops and sessions with our in-house specialists across token, design, legal, product & engineering, marketing, fundraising and more
  • Virtual Demo Day - an opportunity for participants to showcase their product to the wider Outlier partner and investor network featuring over 200+ known names and 300+ alumni companies in Web3
  • Post Program support for two months from the OV Program Manager and Fundraising Advisor

Team: Outlier Ventures

Orbital (Growth Program for Series A and Later-Stage)

Orbital is a commercial accelerator designed to help Series A and later-stage companies align their product roadmaps with the needs of enterprise decision-makers. Building on the foundation established by our Pods program, which nurtures early-stage projects globally, Orbital will elevate these initiatives to ‘orbit’ and beyond. By leveraging our deep network of enterprise leaders and implementers, Orbital will guide companies in shaping their technology for successful enterprise adoption and integration, ensuring their innovations achieve widespread market impact.

We have consulted, worked with, and helped invest for enterprises such as:

LG, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Consensys, JP Morgan, Mastercard, Moonpay, Open AI, FedEx, Fujitsu, John Deere, Chipotle, Technicolor, SAP, AT&T, EY, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Pepsico, Twitter, Adobe, Shopify, Nokia, Magic, Google, Sig Capital, and others.

This program includes:

  • $50k grants for projects building with 200+ corporate partners
  • Market access to enterprises in 40+ strategic locations
  • Direct access to Orbit, Stylus, Nova engineering teams
  • Feedback analysis with OffChain Labs to improve the program

Team: EVM Capital
In partnership with: AngelHack

Steps to Implement

The core of our strategy is to align stakeholders—delegates, developers, and builders—to ensure the program resonates with Arbitrum’s vision. With this in mind, the timeline would proceed as follows:

Preparation
  • Strategic Alignment: Ground zero for our strategy involves syncing with the Arbitrum Foundation, Offchain Labs, and key community actors to solidify shared goals and transform insights into actionable plans.
  • Committee Formation and Program Oversight: We’ll gather a committee of top-tier delegates and program-specific representatives to oversee program implementation, ensure alignment with the DAO’s goals, and set up a multisig for funding oversight.
  • Funding Installments and Oversight: To maintain the DAO’s objectives during the funding period, proposal funds will be distributed in quarterly or bi-annual installments through a multisig account the oversight committee creates. This enables the DAO to modify funding for individual programs or the entire suite if desired outcomes are not met or if a specific program surpasses expectations.
  • Program Activation: Bringing the pathways to life, we will establish clear criteria for attracting high-caliber talent to ensure that our programs are as competitive as it is rewarding.
  • Launch: No grandstanding, just a targeted go-to-market strategy aimed at cutting through noise to showcase the strategic growth opportunities within the Arbitrum ecosystem.
Operation
  • Program Execution: We steer each cohort through a well-crafted curriculum in the appropriate program (see [Specifications]) for their projects’ current stage, which uses an operational model designed for agility—adapting, iterating, and moving forward relentlessly.
  • Transparent Reporting and Accountability: We will provide regular comprehensive reports and reviews to the assigned oversight committee on each program, to inform funding installments and oversight. These reports will cover the program’s status, key performance indicators (KPIs), milestones, and financials.
  • Community Engagement: Our marketing will aim to spark conversations, forge connections, and create a movement around our builders and their projects. We’ll ensure accessible feedback methods for ongoing community-led enhancements. Additionally, participating teams will be encouraged to use Arbitrum as a resource.
Post-Program
  • Platform Integration: Post-program, we’re not just patting backs and sending builders on their way. We’re embedding their successes into the very fabric of our ecosystem. With venture studios and portfolio companies cross-pollinating, we’re not just building projects—we’re weaving an infrastructure of mutual support and integrated growth.
  • Committee Feedback and Program Improvement: Post-program, we will collaborate with the assigned oversight committee to review its performance. Together, we will refine the program’s design and propose plans for phase 2 funding, based on the successes and shortcomings identified during the initial phase.

Timeline

EVM and Outlier programs (Pods, Base Camp, and Orbital) are cohorts, while RnDAO programs (Modules, EiR, and Venture Builder) operate on a rolling application basis.

2024:

  • Q3FY2024:
    • Finalization of the overall structure
    • Co-branding and marketing efforts to increase application inbound
    • Application period for Base Camp 1
    • Completion of design preparations for Pods and Orbital
    • Execution of Community Building Module (16 Months)
    • Execution of Market & Research Module (16 Months)
    • Execution of Entrepreneur in Residence program (16 Months)
    • Execution of Venture Builder (16 Months)
  • Q3FY2024 and Q4FY2024:
    • Execution of Pod 1 (12 Weeks)
    • Execution of Base Camp 1 (12 Weeks)
  • Q4FY2024:
    • Creation of a committee from the DAO to help evaluate Infinite Launchpad success
    • Alignment of program OKRs and revision of the Infinite Launchpad suite

2025:

  • Q1FY2025:
    • Finalizing preparation for all programs
    • Announcing & launching Orbital 1 (12 Weeks)
    • Announcing Pod 2
    • Execution of Base Camp 1 post-program support
    • Application period for Base Camp 2
  • Q2FY2025 and Q3FY2025:
    • Execution of Pod 2 (12 Weeks)
    • Execution of Base Camp 2 (12 Weeks)
    • Execution of Base Camp 2 post-program support
  • Q3FY2025:
    • Announcing Pod 3
  • Q3FY2025 and Q4FY2025:
    • Execution of Pod 3 (12 Weeks)
  • Q4FY2025:
    • Committee evaluation of Infinite Launchpad
    • Alignment of program OKRs and revision of the Infinite Launchpad suite

Expected Outcomes and KPIs

The Infinite Launch Pad aims to work with established entities to expand, support, and mobilize Arbitrum’s developer base and reinforce Arbitrum as a central influence of innovation and impact within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Additionally, we aim to onboard participants into the Arbitrum ecosystem and expand Arbitrum’s international influence.

Primary Expected Outcome:

Within the initial time-frame of our programs to establish Arbitrum as a premier platform for Web3 startups:

  • Gather 1600+ applications collectively
  • 30+ startups building with Arbitrum by end of 2024
  • 100+ startups building with Arbitrum by end of 2025
  • 10+ Orbit chain deployments by end of 2025
  • Participating projects from at least 20+ countries

By investing in the mentorship of over 100 startups, we position ourselves for high-reward outcomes, such as the potential of facilitating one or more massive start-up successes. Our North Star is to situate ourselves for the potential of at least one startup to reach unicorn status while leveraging the Arbitrum software stack and protocols.

Overall Cost

The projected total cost for implementing the Infinite Launchpad is $10 million USD. This budget will cover expenses from Q3FY2024 through Q4FY2025, enabling us to mobilize developers and support high-quality projects within the Arbitrum ecosystem. This support will facilitate their growth while also benefiting the Arbitrum ecosystem as a whole.

RnDAO
  • Direct capital (EiR + Venture Programs): 800K USD
  • Direct support (EiR + Venture Programs): 498K USD
  • Development: 272K USD
  • Community Building Module: 300K USD
  • Market & Research Module: 325.5K USD
  • Admin (Operations and Overhead): 700k USD
  • Marketing (programs + incubated companies marketing): 124.5k USD
Outlier Ventures
  • Base Camp:
    • Base Camp Cohort 1:
      • Program Fee - Operations & Overhead: 700K USD
      • Team Grants: 800K USD
    • Base Camp Cohort 2:
      • Program Fee - Operations & Overhead: 700K USD
      • Team Grants: 800K USD
EVM Capital
  • Pods
    • Pods Cohort 1:
      • Program Fee - Operations & Overhead: 225K USD
      • EiR Team: 225K USD
      • Team Grants: 225K USD
    • Pods Cohort 2:
      • Program Fee - Operations & Overhead: 225K USD
      • EiR Team: 225K USD
      • Team Grants: 225K USD
    • Pods Cohort 3:
      • Program Fee - Operations & Overhead: 225K USD
      • EiR Team: 225K USD
      • Team Grants: 225K USD
  • Orbital:
    • Orbital Cohort 1:
      • Program Fee - Operations & Overhead: 775K USD
      • EiR Team: 500K USD
      • Team Grants: 1M USD
Summary
  • RnDAO: $3,020,000 USD
  • Outlier Ventures: $3,000,000 USD
  • EVM Capital: $4,250,000 USD
  • Cross-program Marketing: $200,000 USD

Total Ask: $10,470,000 USD

Numbers are shown in USD and will be converted to $ARB ahead of a Tally vote.

The requested grant funds will be distributed in quarterly or bi-annual funding tranches via a multisig account created by the assigned oversight committee. This is intended to allow funding flexibility and enable the DAO to adjust funding for individual programs or the entire suite based on performance. If desired outcomes are not met, or if a particular program exceeds expectations, funding can be modified accordingly.

Other Considerations:

This proposal was developed in consultation with the AVI team. Should such a vote pass, we will adopt any reasonable standards set by the DAO for KPIs, metrics, and ecosystem impact reporting, including financial, operational, and participant surveys on satisfaction with the experience and learning outcomes.

Furthermore, we want to emphasize our commitment to integrating our work into any larger legal framework or umbrella that the DAO decides upon.

Acknowledgements

We want to thank L2Beat (@krst and @Sinkas), @Pepperoni_Jo3, @coinflip, @dk3, Entropy (Matt Fiebeck and Sam Martin), @Djinn, @DisruptionJoe, @senad.eth, @AlexLumley, and @KlausBrave for their time, energy, and feedback during the development of this initiative.

We also thank all others who have engaged with us through the process of discussing our individual programs.

7 Likes

The “Infinite Launchpad” proposal presents a well-structured and comprehensive plan to mobilize and support developers within the Arbitrum ecosystem. It addresses key strategic priorities, offers diverse and tailored program offerings, and sets clear, ambitious outcomes and KPIs. The transparent budget and performance-based funding approach enhance credibility. Including risk management, detailed metrics, a continuous feedback mechanism, and a sustainability plan would further strengthen the proposal. Overall, it is a promising initiative with strong potential to drive innovation and growth within the Ethereum ecosystem.
Great job, @aminiman !

2 Likes

Thank you for this interesting initaitve @aminiman

  • Is it possible to learn more about the specific financial & strategic returns expected from this investment?
  • Are there any plans to address the risk of market saturation with similar projects? are there any strategies are in place to differentiate & prioritize unique high impact innovations?
  • Is this a one time ask or is there a roadmap for sustaining this initiative in the future?

General feedback:

  • While established partners provide stability, a balanced approach that includes support for lesser-known but promising entities would be beneficial in preventing over-centralization & encouraging diverse contributions

  • Some strategies to integrate & support existing developers, would go a long way to ensure that this initiative complements rather than competes with the current ecosystem

1 Like

Thank you @jengajojo for your questions and feedback. Below is our response on each line item that addresses each question and statement:

We see significant strategic value coming from developing Arbitrum as a resource for builders not only from a technical and developer community perspective but also from a fundraising and founder support perspective.

Additionally, Outlier Ventures has the longest proven track record out of our working group with 300+ investments and a 12x avg ROI per investment of which Arbitrum will have exposure to. These are the kinds of metrics we aim to achieve.

We’ve also attempted to cover some specific metrics we’ll aim to hit here:

  • 1600+ applications collectively
  • 30+ startups building with Arbitrum by end of 2024
  • 100+ startups building with Arbitrum by end of 2025
  • 10+ Orbit chain deployments by end of 2025
  • Participating projects from at least 20+ countries

We are also very aligned with enabling financial returns to Arbitrum following the decisions around GCP and AVI, so we can plug into the proper legal structures once that matures. Specifically, having a conversation around how grants given to teams could be convertible into equity, allowing the DAO to own a stake in these ventures. This way we can move fast to sustain Arbitrum’s leadership in the industry, while also developing a robust setup for long-term sustainability.

Yes, we have taken note of past accelerator programs that are chain/network specific, and we believe it’s an important time for teams to focus on growth to maintain a competitive edge in the ecosystem. As long as there are clear milestones and funding shut-off valves, the more programs that are funded and tested, the more we will find what is most effective (refine what needs improvement), and collaborate to set the Arbitrum ecosystem apart.

Furthermore, the Infinite Launchpad proposal is geared to having an advantage over other ecosystems’ approaches, which is the ability to seed new projects from scratch, thanks to being a complete pipeline starting with community attraction and research.

RnDAO’s programs start with research to identify and validate new market opportunities. EVM Capital will prioritize initiatives across four key “future of work” categories: governance, on-chain reputation, AI/process automation, and financial infrastructure. Meanwhile, Outlier Ventures will tailor their program specifically for Arbitrum. They will collaborate with the DAO to design and drive the thesis and designate the focus of the program.

As such, we’ve built-in mechanisms across all programs to ensure high-impact and differentiation.

The current proposal is a one-time ask. However, our aim is to sustain the initiative in the future, contingent upon continuous evaluation from the Oversight Committee. After completion, we will submit a Milestone 2 proposal where we will present the success metrics of each program, our learnings, and ways the pathway will improve for the next funding round.

Smaller projects are welcome to apply for future iterations of the program. We will never attempt to block the efforts of other entities or create comparisons between our programs and theirs. However, we would suggest smaller projects first utilize the resources of the DAO (e.g. firestarters) to establish a proof of success. That way all programs within this larger proposal have a verified track record.

Existing developers and projects within the Arbitrum ecosystem are strongly encouraged to apply, we’ll ensure the current Arbitrum community is made well aware of the opportunities and can easily find the right program for them to apply, taking them to the next phase of growth. Ultimately, acceptance into the different programs will be meritocratic, ensuring the best results for Arbitrum.

2 Likes

Question for the Outlier Ventures portion of this proposal:

What is up with this cost structure? It shouldn’t cost $1.4m to give out $1.6m in grants. Can you break down what some of the larger costs are? How can we get those down to a more manageable level?

I like the idea, but how does this coexist with the current grant programs? I don’t think making every new developer on Arbitrum have to jump from grant program to accelerator to other grant program makes for a good onboarding experience. The $10M figure is also a massive ask to the DAO. I’d like to see a significantly cheaper pilot phase and a clearer idea on how this embeds in the current developer experience offering of Arbitrum.

We want to echo some of the prior points and questions. Overall we think this program is interesting and has its merits, however, there should be no reason that the costs are this high when running such a program.

Additionally, we are wondering if Thank ARB helped out financially in funding the creation of this program and how/what they were able to provide and do?

The $10m ask is quite massive and we think that it is not appropriate right now.