Give your self-sovereign identity solution a jump-start with our dedicated 12-week startup incubator.

 

The next cohort begins September 9th, 2019.

 

Accepted companies will receive $180,000 in funding to take their solutions to market.

Application Deadlines

Thank you for your interest in applying to the SSI Incubator.

The deadline to be considered for our Fall 2019 cohort has passed, but we are continuing to review applications for our Winter 2020 cohort.

Please feel free to request an application using the webform below.

Request an Application

 

The SSI Incubator is currently accepting applications from startups for the Winter 2020 funding cycle.

 

 

Building the Future of SSI from the Ground Up

SSI Incubator facilitates the creation of the next generation of SSI-based companies of all kinds, in all markets.

  • Build out a proof of concept with the world’s leading open source SSI technologists
  • Tangible takeaways: POC, product demo, pitch deck, community connections
  • Rapid prototyping on SSI technology, along with help from experts in the open-source code base community

Startups work directly with the nonprofit Sovrin Foundationa vendor-neutral leader in blockchain-based, self-sovereign digital identity.

  • Custom incubator curriculum covering all aspect of your business
  • Exclusive access to Sovrin Foundation executive leadership and their networks for mentorship and advice
  • Introductions to leadership and developers across the SSI vendor landscape

Participants receive the custom, comprehensive tools and resources they need to grow their specific SSI solution.

  • Funding to grow your business while working in San Francisco’s most premier office location
  • Business development guidance, including marketing and financial planning support
  • Join a global community of SSI leading companies
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What We Do

The mission of SSI Incubator is to facilitate the creation of the next generation of SSI-based companies of all kinds, and in all markets. The incubator provides industry-leading technological guidance and business development expertise that will strengthen the SSI community by building a robust, interoperable, and technology-agnostic ecosystem.

SSI Incubator brings together the most promising SSI early-stage companies in what will be the most exciting SSI collaboration in the world.

We’ll happily consider startups with nothing more than an idea. And we’ll consider companies that already have significant revenue from POC’s, pilots, or commercial SSI products and services.

As long as the startup is committed to innovating with SSI, we’ll consider companies solving problems from all industries, ranging from network enhancements to consumer or enterprise facing projects and everything in between. Our goal is to promote a diverse and interoperable SSI ecosystem.

 

Program Announcement

Frequently Asked Questions

Incubator

Q: Are only SF-based companies eligible to apply to SSI Incubator?

No, companies from anywhere are eligible.

Q: Do I have to implement SSI technology to apply?

The purpose of the incubator is to strengthen the SSI community by building a robust, technology-agnostic, and interoperable ecosystem. SSI Incubator was created to support the adoption and growth of SSI.

That being said, if you feel your company may not fit the mold exactly but you can articulate a connection to our mission of creating an interoperable identity ecosystem, feel free to apply and make your case.

Q: Do I have to own a company to apply?

Yes, you must be a founder of a company to apply. For our purposes, owning at least 10 percent equity makes you a founder. Please reach out if you feel an exception should be made.

Q: Do I need to live in San Francisco for the duration of the incubator?

Of course participants will come and go in order to meet with potential customers, attend events, and establish their global presence. We expect this; however, participating startups should plan on spending 12 weeks in San Francisco. While it is possible to commute each week (i.e., live at home on the weekends), we highly recommend residing in or close to San Francisco to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Q: Does the program offer housing?

No, but we can help identify housing options.

Q: Does the program offer investment?

Yes! SSI Accelerator LLC will invest $180,000 into your startup contingent upon:

  • Your being selected by the Application Review Committee to participate in the incubator
  • Your accepting the Application Review Committee’s invitation to participate
  • Your agreement to participate in the incubator’s program for the duration of the 12 weeks

The program’s cost is $30,000, which covers overhead, content, and staff – everything that participants will need to get the most out of their time in the incubator. Many successful incubators are structured this way. So the gross investment of $180,000 less $30,000 equals a net investment of $150,000 for startups to use to develop prototypes, hire employees, travel, or otherwise grow their businesses.

Q: How are decisions made?

After considering your team, your idea (including the problem you are solving, the market you will play in, etc.), and the landscape of other startups who’ve applied, the Application Review Committee will meet and discuss. The committee will decide who becomes a participant of the incubator.

Q: How can I make my application stand out?

Startups that show the following will stand out:

  • Strong team: While we will consider solo founders, it is extremely difficult to do everything it takes to start a business by yourself. A strong CEO is also an important element.
  • Technical talent: In the early days of a startup, having the necessary capabilities to build prototypes yourself without hiring or contracting out significant portions of the development is crucial to rapidly iterating and staying within budget.
  • Diversity: Diversity of thought, backgrounds, and experience are a plus.
Q: How can I take a closer look at SSI Incubator?

If you have further questions, please contact us at incubator@sovrin.org.

Q: How can SSI Incubator help startups get funding?

First of all, upon acceptance into the program, $180,000 will be invested into your startup. After paying for overhead and other fees, $150,000 will be left at your disposal to develop your company.

Secondly, the incubator culminates in a SSI Demo Day where your startup will have an exclusive opportunity to pitch to the entrepreneurial community, including investors. Prior to SSI Demo Day, we will help you tailor your presentation and refine your pitch.

Finally, we can introduce you to investors in our network who we know are interested in the space as well as help you apply for grant funding for small business and research.

Q: Is there a fee for the incubator?

Each company will receive a $180,000 USD investment of which $30,000 will be paid back to SSI Incubator to cover the overhead, content, and staff responsible for operating the incubator.

Q: What are the dates for SSI Incubator?

SSI Incubator is currently accepting applications for the Fall cohort. It will take place in San Francisco, CA on September 4, 2019. SSI Incubator is 12 weeks long. Final pitch presentations will occur on November 21, 2019.

Although the regularly scheduled program will finish after the pitch presentations, the mentorship and network will not. We hope to remain in close contact with our startup cohorts into the future.

Q: What does the SSI Incubator programming look like?

The program is customized to make available leading experts who will instruct and train you on topics that matter the most to succeed in the emerging SSI landscape. Sessions will include customer discovery, market validation, understanding the SSI stack, open source code bases, game theory, decentralization, governance, marketing, financial management, SSI interoperability, and much more. We’ve also left a few sessions open so participating startups can select topics that are of special interest to the Fall cohort, and the SSI Incubator staff will utilize their network to find instructors.

Q: What exactly is SSI Incubator?

Self-Sovereign Identity Incubator (SSI Incubator) nurtures the development of the entrepreneurial community building business solutions based in some way on SSI technology by selecting the most promising group of startups and providing them with capital, mentorship, networking opportunities, technical expertise, and more. This will enable the next generation of internet identity to grow more rapidly than it otherwise could while promoting and supporting interoperability of solutions and increased community collaboration.

Q: What is an ‘incubator’?

An incubator is an organization that helps start other companies. Incubators generally seek out and assist entrepreneurs in developing their businesses (sometimes from as early as the idea stage) to become a successful venture through providing resources such as mentorship for business model, product, customer traction, technology, milestones, and company infrastructure. Many incubators invest a small amount of money in exchange for a small amount of equity. Many incubator programs also culminate in a Demo Day in which the participants present their businesses to investors, accelerators, and the entrepreneurial community who have resources to take the company into its later stages.

Q: What is my schedule going to be if I am accepted to the incubator?

Your schedule will be a busy one. It is no secret that starting a company is not terribly easy, nor is it known for its work-life balance. When you’re a part of the incubator, you will participate in workshops, events, and community meetings which are designed to increase your ability to execute on your business and prepare you to take investment and scale your venture. Outside of these workshops, we still expect you to accomplish the things you need to do for your business such as development work, sales and marketing, and more. Self-motivated, competitive types will do best in this environment.

Q: What is the application process?

Upon receipt of an application, SSI Incubator uses a three-step process to select* up to four startups to participate in the SSI Incubator program.

Step 1: The SSI Incubator selection committee reviews the application.

Step 2: The SSI Incubator selection committee determines which startups will advance in the application process and begins to conduct interviews with selected startups.

Step 3: The SSI Incubator selection committee makes its recommendations to the Application Review Committee on which startups to conduct a final interview with. The Application Review Committee meets you in person or via a virtual meeting. This committee will make its decision, and SSI Incubator will notify the applicants of the results via email.

*Selection decisions will not be made by Sovrin Foundation staff during any point of the application review process.

Q: When do I apply?

If you want to apply, please submit your application by 8 pm PT on July 31st.

We will evaluate applications as they are submitted giving a small advantage to early submissions.

If you miss the submission deadline, you should still submit an application. Since we review applications on a rolling basis, we still may interview and/or accept companies who apply late. Just keep in mind that the nature of a rolling application means the earlier you submit, the better your odds.

We will send invitations to selected startups participating in the Fall ‘19 cohort by early August.

Q: Where is SSI Incubator located?

This inaugural cohort of the SSI Incubator will take place at 717 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103 at the premier co-working space where incubator partner Hard+Yaka is based, in the heart of San Francisco, California. We chose this location specifically to offer participants the opportunity to work from a global hub of innovation, harboring a wide variety of international talents and businesses.

SSI Incubator Partners

Hard Yaka

Hard Yaka is an investment firm focused on digital identity, payments, and marketplaces co-founded by Greg Kidd, an initial investor and advisor for both Twitter and Square. Hard Yaka has investments in over 90 companies including Ripple, Coinbase, Robinhood, Dwolla, and globaliD, where Greg is the co-founder and CEO.

Sovrin Foundation

The Sovrin Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to administer the Governance Framework governing the Sovrin Network, a decentralized global public network enabling self-sovereign identity on the internet. The Sovrin Network is an open source project operated by independent Stewards and uses the power of a distributed ledger to give every person, organization, and thing the ability to own and control their own permanent digital identity.

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