The Grindery Guide to Getting Grants
Funding your web3 project is about experimenting and continuously learning, while also sprinkling in a little bit of creativity. You have an idea that you’re convinced is going to revolutionize the blockchain and make web3 a better place. But you need funds to get the ball rolling. This is where grants come in handy.
Web3 is a community of like-minded individuals and teams. We know this. Everyone is working together to benefit the community and to add value to Web3. On one hand, there are builders, developers and innovators who are eager to help facilitate innovation. On the other are chains and exchanges such as Harmony, Near, and Binance (as a few of Grindery’s partners) to help fund. There are a lot of opportunities currently available in the space, either from a DAO, a chain or a dApp who are willing to offer funding, to help build something new to add value to Web3.
Research and Preparation
It goes without saying, but if you’re going to approach a chain, a DAO, or a dApp, and apply for a grant, you need to know your audience. It’s critical that you understand their vision, mission, what they’re trying to achieve, and how you can contribute. For example, the Web3 Foundation offers grants for open-source software development and research around Substrate, Polkadot, Kusama and ink!. If what you’re working on doesn’t contribute to PolkaDot, use Substrate to build, or it doesn’t add something new to the parachain community, you’re better off applying for a different grant.
While every grant has a different set of requirements and criteria for its proposal, some core components are universal. For example:
- Show your research output - as well as other work you’ve done in the area, showing off your thought process and hypothesis.
- Share the core benefits of your project - how does it stand out from competitors or use technology in a way that doesn’t yet exist in the ecosystem.
- Make sure the code is open-sourced - It must not rely on closed-source software for full functionality. Grants encourage open-source projects.
- Show your relevant experience - While anonymity is one of the core principles of Web3, it’s ok to share more than what’s available on Github or your basic online CV.
- Have great documentation - An application with a well-written document has a better chance of receiving a grant. The same goes for closing the grant and submitting your milestones.
- Have a maintenance plan - You need to demonstrate that you can maintain the project after the grant is completed. Make sure your strategy and benchmarks are possible, as you don’t want to overpromise and then not deliver.
Everyone is Here to Help
As much as it may seem that receiving a grant feels competitive, with a number of projects vying for funding, the bottom line is that you are building something that will ultimately benefit the community. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. There are various forums and channels, you can look at Discord, hop on Twitter. Just ask. It’s Web3, everyone is willing to help and everything is peer driven.
As well, the chains, DAOs, and dApps that you’re sending your proposals to are also resources for your project. The grants themselves are not just free money offered to you to do something interesting with your idea with no strings attached. In fact, they are more of an investment in the project. They, an established Web3 property, are looking to invest in your idea to make the community stronger, and continue to push the boundaries of the blockchain further.
We always live by the mantra “Don’t ask, don’t get.” Getting funding starts with a proposal and a question; “How will my project be a benefit to the Web3 community, and who’s willing to back me on this?”
Then, go out and get your answer.
Build for the Community
This goes without saying. The most important lesson we took to heart when developing our roadmap to building Grindery and securing funding was that our mandate was to build for the community, not for the sake of building. You can have a revolutionary idea that may be the thing that changes the future of Web3 for the better, but if it’s not going to benefit the community, there’s not really a point. For example, think about the idea behind the Ring doorbell. They didn't just set out to build a better doorbell, but to solve a pain point and help neighborhoods add a level of security to their streets.
This is why a lot of Web3 projects, such as Optimism DAO, incorporate retroactive funding mechanisms. In the case of this particular DAO, if your contribution, tool, dApp, or whatever you’ve created offers a positive benefit and provides value to Ethereum and the Optimism ecosystem, then you are rewarded. Applying for a grant relies on the same principle: demonstrate the benefit to receive the funds.
This requires Web3 innovators and builders to tune into the communities they’re trying to serve. If there’s one thing we’d recommend as a key component of a successful grant application, it is that seeking feedback from the community first, before building and proposing, will take you a long way.
Set and Manage Expectations
Finding funding for your project would be pretty straightforward and easy if it only took one grant. Unfortunately, that’s the least likely scenario. Don’t expect one grant to pay for the entire project. Grant money is there to kickstart the process, and it would be wise to apply for multiple grants, and continuously do so as your project is being developed and gaining traction.
While there are grant pools that range between 6-7 figures, no one project gets the entirety of that funding. For example in early 2002, Alchemy offered a $25 Million WAGBI (We’re All Gonna Build It) Developer Grant, but each eligible project could only receive a maximum of $50,000 in credits.
Therefore, set your expectations early and set them low. Then, keep on hustling.
It Will Take Several Iterations
With any kind of funding application, “no” doesn’t mean that your project is completely without merit. It often just means “not now” – there is still work to be done and you won’t get selected this time. If you get rejected; regroup. You can seek out partnerships to make your proposal and project stronger. You can revise your approach and provide better documentation or better define your core benefits. Or you can start again from the ground up if you so choose. Then, go back and try again.
Or start to build without a grant. Grindery did. It started off as a bootstrapped project in 2018, and has been worked on in the background until the Grindery Nexus product was ready to be demonstrated. Then, we started applying for grants. This way, we were able to provide a working demonstration of the project. Any feedback, positive or negative at this point, only serves to improve the grant proposal and product ideas.
Now, we’ve got a product we’re proud of.
Want to know more? Have some questions? Contact us!.