SCF#11 Startup Bootcamp – Why You Should Participate

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Calling all startups, entrepreneurs, and developers interested in building on Stellar, a layer-1 blockchain network for financial products and services, to participate in a virtual bootcamp from November 1-4 to kickstart and support their journey in the Stellar ecosystem. 

The bootcamp is hosted by the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), a non-profit that guides the development and growth of Stellar, as part of the Stellar Community Fund (SCF): an open-application grant program that distributes up to 24M XLM annually to Stellar-based developers, startups, and full-fledged companies based on community input. Developed by DFS Lab, the SCF#11 Startup Bootcamp uses a variation of the Design Sprint process that DFS lab has adapted to fit the unique needs of the Stellar community. Design sprints can shortcut the endless-debate cycle of product development and compress months of time into a single week.

DFS Lab and SDF partnered twice in the past year to host two successful bootcamps that onboarded African fintech startups onto Stellar. Now the focus shifts to accommodate SCF#11 candidates globally and in three major time zones through the SCF Discord. Participating developer(s) and companies joining the bootcamp will work with SDF, DFS Lab, and Stellar ecosystem members to define a problem, storyboard a solution, and develop a rapid prototype before getting feedback from the Stellar community. 

To participate, apply here to request your personalized submission form, indicate your interest in participating in the bootcamp, and complete all required fields of your submission form before the first submission deadline on September 25th at 11:59 PM PST. 

On the fence about submitting? Listen to success stories of previous participants to hear why you should apply:

  1. Attract new investors in the blockchain ecosystem

Stax, a universal money app developed by Hover Developer Services, Inc., participated in the first bootcamp in 2021 and was awarded $15,000 to make USDC on Stellar accessible to data-conscious smartphone users. After the bootcamp, they were able to raise over $2.2M for their seed round. 

“Stax participated in the DFS Lab and Stellar Bootcamp last year and walked away with a prototype and strategic relationship with Stellar. After the bootcamp, SDF expressed interest in supporting our plans to make USDC and other Stellar-listed assets broadly accessible to data-conscious smartphone owners. Stax is an offline payment super app—all your bank accounts, mobile wallets, and (soon) crypto in a single app that works without using mobile data. We plan to launch our non-custodial wallet on the Stellar network in the coming months, beginning in Kenya.” — Ben Lyon, CEO and Co-Founder, Hover Developer Services

  1. Shape products and services to set them up for success

LINK, a fintech that promises fast and cheap cross-border payments across Africa, was able to bring its products to life on Stellar in just one year. They participated in the latest bootcamp in April and was awarded with $50,000 in SCF#11.  

“The bootcamp was the highlight of the year for us here at LINK, as it really helped us understand what we were building and who we’re building for. Bringing up those hard but important questions about our product and figuring out the solutions really helped our team solidify our plan for the product and how we want to move forward. It gave us a sense of exposure to the big things others are building and the energy of the community was very positive. We came out of the program with a totally refreshed understanding and plan on how to move forward, so we’d definitely recommend it to others.” — Emmanuel Evarist and team at LINK

  1. Direct access to Stellar engineers, ecosystem partners and community

Smilepay is a peer-to-peer mobile app and USSD that helps African diasporas send money, buy airtime, and pay utility bills for friends and family in Africa, starting in the US and Ethiopia. Already building on Stellar, Smilepay participated in the 2021 bootcamp to help sharpen their product focus. They continued to build their products,participated in SCF#9, and eventually won their requested budget of $50,000 worth of XLM in SCF#10.

“For anyone thinking twice about participating, don’t miss the opportunity! Both Stellar and DFS Lab continue to be invaluable partners in our journey. Participating in SCF and the DFS Lab Bootcamp gave us access to expert mentorship, Stellar’s technical support and advisory, and the Stellar startup community. The grants we won in the bootcamp and SCF#10 helped us onboard third party services, pay our team and start the hiring process needed for our launch.” — Muluken Bekele, Founder and CEO, SmilePay

  1. Make lasting business—and talented connections

Fonbnk is a fintech company enabling mobile phone users to access the global digital economy. Not only were they a top performer in the 2021 bootcamp, but they have also recently received a Marketing Grant from SDF and been featured as an exemplary case study on stellar.org

“Since taking part in the Stellar and DFS Lab blockchain bootcamp in 2021, we’ve gone to work more closely with the Stellar Development Foundation, such as the Stellar Marketing Grant program. I was fortunate to take part as a mentor at the second DFS Lab bootcamp, working with a new cohort of startups and founders. Some of my mentees from the bootcamp have come back to me as potential partners for business in new markets where we can build with Stellar and Stellar USDC together. It is exciting to witness a growing network of projects in different African countries building on Stellar that could benefit from working together.” — Michael Kimani, Co-Founder and Head of Growth, Africa, Fonbnk

How to participate

Participate by filling out the SCF#11 application to request your submission form. Indicate your interest in participating in the bootcamp, and complete all required fields of your personalized submission form before the first submission deadline on September 25th at 11:59 PM PST. 

If your submission gets selected to participate in SCF#11 (and the bootcamp), we will reach out to you in the week of October 10th with more details on how to get ready for the bootcamp and introduce you to your facilitator(s)!

With applications still ongoing till September 25th for the #SCF virtual bootcamp, DFS Lab together with the Stellar Development Foundation will be hosting an info session for all teams planning to attend the bootcamp or yet to submit an application. 

This info session will take place on Friday, the 16th of September, 12-1 PM EST and will provide you the opportunity to learn more about the Stellar Community Fund, answer any questions you have concerning the applications or the bootcamp  and give you a sense of what to expect during the bootcamp.

You don’t want to miss it. Register here to attend.

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