Dove Dispatch #29 (Aiham Jaabari - Silo)
Going fair launch, hackathons, working with DeFi advisors, and much more
GM and welcome to Dove Dispatch #29!
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Silo is building technology so you can borrow any token using another securely. It is a non-custodial lending protocol for permission-less money markets.
They just announced their upcoming Genesis Token Auction - 10% of the total token supply will be offered to the community through a public batch auction conducted on the Gnosis Auction, on December 6, 2021.
They also closed a seed round from builders and angel investors in DeFi such as Joey Santoro from FEI Protocol, Sam Kazemian from Frax, Santiago R Santos, and others. Lattice, who maintains Dove Metrics, is excited to be participating in the round as well.
Co-founder Aiham Jaabari sat down with us and answered a few questions about fundraising.
You started building ETHOnline 2021 Hackathon a few months ago only - how decisive was it to raise your funding round a few months later?
The Hackathon helped us on many levels, most notably it committed us to build Silo in a short period of time and then gave us a platform to get community support that later translated into closing a seed round fast.
You said you wanted to go fair launch rather than onboarding traditional investors - can you explain why?
It was more of a strategic question/decision: where do we want to be in 5 years and how do we get there? We want to have the right people supporting our long-term vision. Offering a fair chance to everyone, including those who believe in our vision, seemed the right way to do it. Money is a commodity in this space but surrounding our project with projects and individuals willing to support all the way is something that we cannot find easily.
You will be launching your Genesis Token Auction soon, intending to lock the majority of the raised funds in Silo DAO as Protocol Owned Liquidity (POL) and controlled by the community through governance - why does that represent the future of fundraising in DeFi?
We want the community to become the owners, beneficiaries, and sort of employees of the DAO - and the best way to do so is by having everyone committing capital that can be directed in ways that benefit everyone.
But the best way to do this is by selling our token through a fair-launch platform where everyone works to establish a value for the project and pays a single price for the token. By doing this, we foster a strong community with little or no resentment because everyone paid the same price right from the start. In other words, strong DAOs establish a culture of togetherness, fairness, and transparency, and we thought auctioning off tokens on Gnosis Auction would be the first step to establish such a culture among other things we have done.
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Money markets represent now one of the most crowded DeFi verticals - how challenging was operating in a very competitive market when pitching investors? Any advice for founders wishing to stand out by their vision and their mechanics?
It is a competitive market because lending, in general, is a problem that has not been solved yet. Every investor asked how Silo and how different it is. But It is not only the innovation that got them interested. I think having a strong team that is committed full-time is something every investor takes seriously. My advice is, define the problem and present a vision of how you intend to solve it. Consider that most investors want to see refined visions and strong commitment from the team.
You onboarded very talented advisors with deep skin-in-the-game very quickly, such as Tyler Ward from BarnBridge, Sam from Frax, Santiago, Ameen from Reflexer, and others - why was it more important than onboarding VCs?
We’ve wanted to align with builders in the space because a money markets protocol like Silo can capture and distribute a lot of value through integrations. In the early stage of Silo, we need to focus on building and shipping products fast - we are validating and exploring. Having builders with skin in the game to lean on is invaluable. This is not to say VCs don’t deliver value, they sure do. That’s why we only accepted small contributions from a small number of people and planned to auction off tokens publicly so those who believe that DeFi needs secure money markets can join the community and align closely with the core team.
Last week 25 projects announced fundraising rounds:
Unicly ($10M) | The protocol to combine, fractionalize, and trade NFTs — with participation from Blockchain Capital, Animoca Brands, Ascensive Assets, 3Commas, and Morningstar Ventures.
InPoker | Online Poker 2.0 on Binance Smart Chain — with participation from VBC Ventures, Alpha Moon Capital, OIG Investment Group, Asteroid Ventures, CoinLab, Universe’s Gem, SS Ventures, Milky Way, BinStarter, Kommunitas, LightHouse, Gains Associates, Dreamboat Capital, Hafen, GemsLab Ventures, Poolz Ventures, AZer Capital, Crypto Fomo, MG Group, AMA Lovers Club, Coin TV Ventures, Token Hunter, DCI Capital, MoonCarl, IBC, Defi Invest, Cryptoiz, Automatic Venture Group, Q47 Capital, Gem Capital, and Dutch Crypto Investors.
TabTrader ($5.8M) | A trading terminal for crypto exchanges — with participation from BitMEX, Hashkey Capital, Spartan Group, SGH Capital, SOSV, and Artesian VC.
Neptune Mutual ($1.75M) | The first decentralized autonomous cover organization on Ethereum, BSC, Polygon — with participation from Fenbushi Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Huobi Capital, GravityX Capital, Hex Trust, Baboon VC, NVC Partners, Alphabit Digital Currency Fund, and OKEX.
Happy Land ($2.97M) | A blockchain gaming platform, inspired by the Texas countryside — with participation from AU21 Capital, HC Capital, ZBS Capital, Banter Capital, Kryptos, NetVRk, Kyber Network, Kyros Ventures, Gains, Good Games Guild, Maven Capital, and SMO Capital.
Panther Protocol ($22M) | Restoring the right to privacy and protect against a surveillance economy
Blockade Games ($5M) | A leading blockchain video game development studio. Using industry expertise, we are developing blockchain layer two infrastructure and gaming applications — with participation from Animoca Brands, Drew Austin, FlamingoDAO, Galaxy Interactive, Roham Gharegozlou, Keith Grossman, Meltem Demirors, Xsquared Ventures, Polygon, Alex Amsel, Mike Dudas, Christine Moy, Alex Atallah, David Finzer, Gabby Dizon, Tegan Kline, Angie Dalton, Jimmy McNelis, Viktor Bunin, Axel Adelman, Aurel Iancu, and Duncan Cock Foster.
MetaSoccer ($1.8M) | The first soccer metaverse where you can manage your own club and generate income while you play — with participation from "Play Ventures, DeFiance Capital, ParaFi Capital, DAO Maker, Kyros Ventures, Peech Capital, Metrix Capital, and ReBlock.
Avocado Guild ($18M) | A play-to-earn guild that aims to unlock life-changing opportunities and rewarding experiences for its community members — with participation from Animoca Brands, Solana Capital, Three Arrows Capital, QCP Soteria, Polygon Studios, Hashed, PNYX Ventures, MEXC Exchange, LD Capital, Kenetic, and Algorand Foundation.
Bitlocus ($2.7M) | DeFi Investments platform for fiat-based investors — with participation from DAO Maker, Double Peak, Evangelion Capital, AU21 Capital, DWeb3 Capital, Kyros Ventures, LD Capital, Banter Capital, GBV Capital, Basics Capital, and Wings Ventures.
Celsius Network ($350M) | A blockchain-based lending platform that is accessible through a free mobile app.
Silo | A non-custodial lending protocol to borrow against any crypto-asset — with participation from Joey Santoro, Sam Kazemian, Santiago R. Santos, Tyler Ward, Regan Bozman, Sherwin Lee, AiRTX, Don Ho, Emile Dubie, ShapeShift, and Ameen Soleimani.
Syn City ($8M) | The Mafia metaverse — with participation from "Justin Kan, A&T Capital, Hack VC, Animoca Brands, Spartan Group, Santiago R. Santos, Goat Capital, Project Galaxy, iAngels Technologies, Jordan Momtazi, Do Kwon, Luke Wagmana, Elliot Wainman, Alex Becker, Paul Menchov, Kieran Warwick, Longling Capital, Hyperedge Capital, Shima Capital, Kain Warwick, and KSI.
Gama ($6M) | A narrative-based Web3 platform — with participation from Collab+Currency, Synergis, A&T Capital, Shima Capital, Sfermion, Artist Capital, J17 Capital, Lattice, Vera Li, and FutureMoney Advisory.
Staking Rewards ($3.2M) | The leading data provider & research platform for yield-generating digital assets — with participation from Galaxy Digital, CoinShares, Digital Currency Group, 1kx, and Sygnum Bank.
Busha ($4.2M) | Nigeria’s leading crypto exchange — with participation from Jump Capital, Cadenza Ventures, Blockwall, CMT Digital, Greenhouse Capital, and Raba Capital.
Void Protocol ($375k) | Financial privacy for the Terra blockchain — with participation from SkyVision Capital, 0x Ventures, GT Capital, ThorStarter, a41 Ventures, Smart Stake, and Riviera Capital.
Swan Bitcoin ($6M) | A place to buy Bitcoin with your bank account using automated savings plans — with participation from Mimesis Capital, TEN31, Xoogler Ventures, Plan B Ventures, Lightning Ventures, HCM Capital, Baron Davis, CJ Wilson, Matthew Dellavedova, Austin Hill, and Dan Matuszewski.
C3 Protocol ($3.6M) | Cross-margin trading across derivatives and spot markets — with participation from Arrington XRP Capital, Jump Capital, ParaFi Capital, Mechanism Capital, Borderless Capital, Node Capital, Digital Currency Group, GoldenTree Asset Management, Cumberland, and Blockchain.com.
Talis Protocol ($2.3M) | The first DAO protocol connecting to the real world — with participation from ParaFi Capital, Arrington XRP Capital, Benson Oak Ventures, GCW Capital, and Blocbits.
Royal ($55M) | Building a music platform that makes it easy to invest in artists and earn royalties alongside them — with participation from Paradigm, Founders Fund, Connect Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, The Chainsmokers, Crush music, Kygo, Nas, Logic, Stefflon Don, Joyner Lucas, and Disclosure.
Polemos ($2M) | A global ‘Play-to-Earn’ Guild focused on player education and competitive play within leading NFT games — with participation from Delphi Digital, QCP Soteria, Framework Ventures, and DeFi Capital.
GRIID ($525M) | A vertically-integrated bitcoin self-mining company that owns and operates a growing portfolio of bitcoin mining facilities — with participation from Blockchain.com
MoonPay ($555M) | A financial technology company that builds payments infrastructure for crypto — with participation from Tiger Global Management, Coatue Management, Blossom Capital, Thrive Capital, Paradigm, and NEA.
Fancy Birds | Fly, race, win and earn — with participation from Merit Circle, Yield Guild Games, Polemos, YGGSEA, and Framework Ventures.
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