Blockchain Projects Incubated By Blockway Ventures and Binance Alliancebr>
Blockway Ventures is a blockchain advisory firm based in the UK that specializes in guiding companies that are looking to establish an initial coin offering (ICO). It recently set up a strategic partnership with Binance Labs, the blockchain technology incubator program for the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Binance Labs acts as an incubator for businesses that are in the pre-ICO phase, with the potential to significantly disrupt their respective sectors. Services provided include funding and advisory services. The partnership leverages the expertise that the Blockway Ventures team has across the startup space.
“We believe identifying and nurturing good projects is critical for the healthy growth of the blockchain-enabled world,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. “Partnering with Blockway Ventures is a solid step towards that goal. We look forward to being facilitators of the entrepreneurs working hard and pushing the envelope forward.”
The partnership will involve shared due diligence on startups that apply to work with Blockway Ventures. This will enable Binance Labs to more quickly select the most promising businesses from across the space. There will also be co-investment where the teams’ views are aligned.
BlockTribune talked with Imran Rahim, a partner at Blockway Ventures.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How did this project begin?
IMRAN RAHIM: So, basically we’ve been representing a few different ICO projects so we met with the co-founders over here. We called them over to Manchester in London. When we’re there, we’re discussing the states of the industry and so on and so forth. We’ve been doing this relationship up for three months and they wanted some sort of exposure to European projects and it was quite a nice match, really with their position in Asia and our expertise in the European market.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: So are you making any specific recommendations on companies, or do you just present them all of the clients and allowing them to choose?
IMRAN RAHIM: Yes, we’re presenting specific recommendations. So we’re almost like the first line due diligence. So we get sent about 90 projects every month. And then we have an internal matrix scoring system. And then our top projects we send for a potential co-investment.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are the elements that go into a successful pass-along?
IMRAN RAHIM: The team is absolutely crucial. So we want to see ideally execution experience in the team. The second thing we look for is a very strong block chain and crypto user case. So, we don’t want wanna see projects where blockchain has been shoehorned into doing an ICO, basically. And the third thing we look for is existing tech. So, what have they built so far? And if they score well on those three, there’s a whole bunch of other sort of criteria that we look at, but those are the big three that we’d consider, most importantly.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Are there any upfront costs to working with you and/or Binance?
IMRAN RAHIM: With Binance, no. With us, there is. There’s usually an engagement fee, because of the volume of the projects that we get sent. We usually have an engagement fee, we are flexible on that. So, if we come across projects that maybe don’t have the budget, but they have an amazing product, we will handle them without fees, and take our fees on the back end, on a contingent basis. But usually, there’s an upfront fee involved in working with us.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: And how much is that?
IMRAN RAHIM: Around $20,000.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. So, are there any ongoing financial commitments from the companies that are working with you or the Chinese?
IMRAN RAHIM: No. So we take on all the risk. So, that’s why we do such thorough due diligence. Because, you know to be honest, there’s not many ICO’s out there that can afford to pay $20,000. That’s just to show a little bit of commitment to make sure it’s not some kid in his bedroom. But beyond that note, we take on all the risk and all fees are contingent on them having a successful token sale.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. Are there any sectors that are of any particular interest to you right now?
IMRAN RAHIM: Yeah. So we like in particular infrastructure projects. And so, very large interesting new block chains are very likely to score quite well with us. And also, anything that helps the ecosystem grow out, anything that helps pull more people into crypto, is definitely a big plus for us.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How are you dealing with the ongoing issues of regulation? I mean, right now it is very murky. What’s your take on what’s going on, and how is that impacting what you do?
IMRAN RAHIM: Yeah, it is. And you know, we’re starting to see this sort of regulatory arbitrage. Where businesses are setting up in directions that are more friendly and sort of hopping from one place to another. So, it’s really crucial that the starts that we’re working with are thought … They actually have a strategy on things like domicile, legal tax.
So we don’t want projects that are looking to avoid legal regulators. We want the project to show an understanding of the regulatory climate, and for them to have an answer for how to deal with it.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: So in other words, the country that you’re domiciled in, the companies have to be compliant with whatever regulations that are there. You won’t take anybody from Malta, or Gibraltar, Bermuda?
IMRAN RAHIM: It’s very unlikely, it depends on what stage the projects are. So, occasionally we get projects where they haven’t really picked the domicile. So they’re looking at options, and we get involved in the advisory piece around that. So in those instances, certainly we will guide them on which domicile would be appropriate for them. But it’s very unlikely, I mean it hasn’t happened before. Where there’s a project in a particular domicile, and we will move that domicile.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Are there any countries that you feel particularly apt for this sort of thing?
IMRAN RAHIM: Yeah I mean, the sot of the strong ones are the obvious candidates that we’re seeing. So Gibraltar, Malta is obviously the emerging one now, so there’s a lot emphasis on what Malta can offer with obviously finance, and OKX, and other projects that are announcing that they are going to look at Malta seriously.
And within the Asian markets, most people are still using Singapore. But it’s changing sort of rapidly. I mean, even if you look at something that been had a lot of negative press concerned with it, like Korea. Actually, we’ve got an office in Korea, and were quite close to the Korean market. The regulators there actually don’t want to ban it, in sort of a Chinese style outright ban. They wanna embrace it, but they just want to understand it first.
So, you know. I think certainly Korea and others will come back into play over the next sort of three to six months.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Well speaking of Korea, they raided their largest exchange. Did that roil the market there?
IMRAN RAHIM: Yeah, it did. I mean, the more these things happen, the more people get used to fact that … To coin a phrase, it sorts of fake news that’s affecting the market. So, with the Korean exchange that got raided, and there was a follow up announcement that, you know, the government came in to no financial irregularities, I think was the phrase they used. So, it appeared that everything was in order.
So I think the more this happens, the quicker the markets are able to shake it off. But certainly it did cause a few ripples in the market.