Variant Founder Fellowship: Meet Our 2023 Cohort

Watch the project demos from our first class of founder fellows


Variant is always looking for ways to catalyze more innovation and exploration in crypto at the early stages. 

While there are many startup accelerator programs out there, we felt early-stage web3 founders needed a tailored curriculum that deals with topics unique to them, including incentive design, community building, and protocol architecture. 

Thus, the Variant Founder Fellowship (VFF) was born: a 12-week, cohort-based educational program for early-stage founders in crypto. 

From nearly 400 applications, we welcomed 24 projects. These founders spent the summer putting their business plans through the paces, from crafting go-to-market strategies to mapping out back-end infrastructure. 

Our extensive Variant Network meant the fellows had access to exclusive guest lectures and firesides from some of the top players in the space: Uniswap founder Hayden Adams went in-depth about building at the product and protocol levels; former Polygon president Ryan Wyatt spoke candidly about business development tactics; former Eventbrite chief product officer Casey Winters unpacked best practices from web2 growth and onboarding; and half a dozen prominent founders dove into emerging infrastructure considerations. 

VFF fellows brainstormed with each other, the Variant investment team, and our portfolio founders, receiving feedback that helped them reevaluate and strengthen their projects.

The experience culminated in our first-ever VFF Demo Days on September 6 and 7. Below, you can watch each project’s demo and learn more about what they’re building.

If you’re interested in applying to join our next cohort of Variant Founder Fellows, stay updated here.

Congrats again to our 2023 fellows! 



Capsule is an NFT marketplace for kids, teens, and the young at heart to collect customizable digital cards from their favorite character artists and influencers.

Founders: Stephanie Carroll, Frankie Li



Chroma is building a full-stack solution for launching and managing DeFi lending markets.

Founders: Jack Longarzo, Tim van Scherpenzeel, Aaron Xie



Clave uses biometric authentication to turn smartphones into hardware wallets.

Founders: Doğan Alpaslan, Rafi Ersozlu



Dawn is building an Ethereum wallet to help people use apps in the fewest number of taps.

Founders: Isaac Rodriguez, Tom Waite



Latin America-based Digito lets users sign onchain transactions and real-world documents with the same private key.

Founder: Amhed Herrera



Doormat is a key management system for crypto power users.

Founder: Trevor Aron



Born out of an investment club, Forum is an all-in-one app for co-owning crypto assets with friends.

Founders: Peter Ferguson, James McComish


Future Primitive 

Future Primitive innovates on the ERC-6551 standard (token-bound accounts) to turn every NFT into a smart contract wallet. 

Founder: Benny Giang



HashCurve is a platform for community-managed prediction markets.

Founders: Jack Kim, Kristof Lommers, Boris Skidan, Viktor Smits


Heimdall Labs 

Blockchains need more versatile compliance solutions, so Heimdall Labs is developing a decentralized protocol for crypto projects to implement their own policies onchain.

Founders: Nikhil Raghuveera, Jesse Sawa



Mezzanine combines the benefits of companies with the best aspects of DAOs to bring corporate governance onchain.

Founder: Graham Novak



Neynar lets devs read, write, and own data from web3 social protocols.

Founders: Rish Mukherji, Manan Patel



Restaurant-owned co-op Nosh connects eateries directly to drivers and consumers, cutting out delivery platform intermediaries.

Founders: Gleidson Gouveia, Mike Perhats



Using natural language processing, Pathfinder is building a human-focused interface for discovering and interacting with onchain applications.

Founders: Cody Born, Isaac Wooden



Ponder addresses the backend pain points of rolling your own indexer or stitching together out-of-the-box APIs.

Founder: Kevin Koste



Poolshark is building advanced tooling for DeFi traders to get the most out of AMMs.

Founder: alphakΞY


Probably Something 

Probably Something creates tools to make complex web3 ecosystems understandable to anyone.

Founders: Natalie Meurer, Beth Nakamura



Rocko streamlines the DeFi borrowing process so users can get the best loan for them.

Founders: Jason Camp, Thomas Harrison



Embracing identity curation, Seam is building a web3 social media app that is both nostalgic and new.

Founders: Katy Atherholt, Nick Confrey



Shield streamlines incident responses to help web3 companies quickly get back on track post-hack.

Founders: Emmanuel Udotong, Isaiah Udotong


Studio X 

Studio X is building an onchain crowdfunding platform that leverages NFTs to get artists upfront capital.

Founder: Pooja Nagpal



Via onchain clubs, Troops is forging a new path for collective web3 social accounts.

Founders: Nico Gallardo, Kevin Tjiam



Turbo wants to improve the experience for indie game devs by making an easy-to-learn toolkit and marketplace.

Founder: Josiah Savary



This post is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investment and should not be used in the evaluation of the merits of making any investment decision. It should not be relied upon for accounting, legal or tax advice or investment recommendations. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by Variant. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, Variant has not independently verified such information. Variant makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This post reflects the current opinions of the authors and is not made on behalf of Variant or its Clients and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Variant, its General Partners, its affiliates, advisors or individuals associated with Variant. The opinions reflected herein are subject to change without being updated.