Polygon Co-Founder Launches Web3 Fellowship Program

Sandeep Nailwal will invest $500,000 of his personal capital on a new cohort each year.

AccessTimeIconMay 15, 2023 at 3:31 p.m. UTC
Updated May 22, 2023 at 2:25 p.m. UTC

Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal and the venture capital firm he helped found, Symbolic Capital, announced Monday the launch of the new Nailwal Fellowship to provide early-stage builders with financial support in making the jump from Web2 to Web3. Nailwal is pledging his own money toward the $500,000 cohort of 10 builders selected each year.

The bear market has slowed investments in crypto startups to a near halt and created a riskier environment for potential builders to move into Web3. Those builders are the target of the Nailwal fellowship, which focuses on individuals rather than teams.

“It's not about funding a startup," Nailwal said during an interview with CoinDesk. "It's not a fund or anything. It's a fellowship, which will back individuals who are at a very, very early stage. Some of them might not even have an idea, and they just want to explore.”

Nailwal Fellows will each receive $50,000 in grant money and mentorship through Symbolic Capital, including access to their founder and investor networks. If a builder happens to found a company within one year after their cohort ends, Nailwal and Symbolic Capital will request a $50,000 Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) and token warrant, which essentially ensure the investors can get equity on the most favorable terms, according to the website.

The program is open to all Web3 builders, regardless of age or geography. There will be optional in-person coworking and networking opportunities in New York, San Francisco, Dubai, and India for those who want to participate. The Nailwal Fellowship will accept applications from May into early June each year. Interviews will be conducted in late June to find the 10 participants for that year’s cohort, which will run from August through January, according to the website where builders can apply.

Symbolic Capital launched last year and announced a $50 million fund in August for backing early-stage Web3 projects.

UPDATE (UTC 17:32): Update corrects subheading to clarify that the money comes exclusively from Nailwal and not Symbolic Capital.

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Brandy Betz

Brandy covered crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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