MouseBelt launches start-up school for blockchain builders

The Blockchain accelerator’s free educational initiative for pre-investment entrepreneurs joins other community programs like its Blockchain Educational Alliance and Reimagine 2020 virtual conference series

Blockchain accelerator MouseBelt Labs has announced a new program offering start-up training to founders of very early stage projects.

The free MouseBelt Start-up School will accept 100 project planners, generally in four-person teams. The school does not focus on project development but rather on helping fledgling founders with the “knowledge and skills necessary to prepare for investment or placement in accelerator programs.” 

The all-virtual program includes a pair of self-guided courses in blockchain development and the business side of starting a company. It will cover topics including go-to-market strategy, fundraising, and pitching investors. Participants will also have access to workshops, mentorship programs and networking opportunities. 

“We’ve been actively building blockchain products through our development shop for over three years,” said MouseBelt founder Patrick McLain in a Dec. 23 release. “[W]ith the success we’ve seen from our investments in startups and student developers, we believe we can accelerate existing projects and inspire more entrepreneurs to join the space by sharing what we’ve learned.” 

While the start-up school is free and does not take any equity in participants’ projects, it does, of course, give the company’s core MouseBelt Accelerator an opportunity to look at projects it might want to invest in before they are ready to pitch angel and venture capital investors. 

The accelerator supports early-stage blockchain companies with investments of up to $250,000 as well as assistance from 50 developers covering everything from user interface design and build testing to smart contracts and assistance with coin generation events. The 16-week program is currently taking applications for its third class of four startups.

The company also has a MouseBelt Engineer Blockchain Advisory division, which consults with companies looking to understand and use blockchain technology.

Community building

MouseBelt’s various community and education programs, however, go well beyond an opportunity to find good investments before anyone else.

Emerging industries like blockchain generally have to overcome hurdles to “growth and adoption due to a lack of knowledge and experience in what it takes to build a successful blockchain product and company,” the company said. It’s community programs aim to change that.

MouseBelt launches start-up school
A MouseBelt University student hackathon in pre-social distancing days (Photo: MouseBelt)

The start-up school builds on three of the company’s main community programs—the University Program, the Blockchain Educational Alliance, and its REIMAGINE virtual conference series.

The University program encourages and supports mainly student-run blockchain clubs at more than 80 universities in 24 countries, ranging from Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of South Florida to Oxford, the National University of Singapore, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Ghana. It has also funded several university blockchain courses.

The Blockchain Educational Alliance is a network of 30 companies interested in attracting top student talent to enter the blockchain industry. Along with industry firms such as Hedera HashgraphStellarRipple X, and Binance_X, it include a number of broader corporations—including ING Bank, Mastercard, Rolls-Royce and ABInBev.

The REIMAGINE 2020 conference series has put on five 72-hour events—which are still viewable online—attracting speakers like MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson, executive chairman (and Bitcoin Cash creator) Roger Ver, and Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos. REIMAGINE 2021 is tentatively scheduled to begin on Dec. 31, with the focus “Buidl Crypto Resolutions.” 

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.