Startup Competition Guide


Accelerators targeting blockchain startups

They include Block Chain Space and BoostVC while Synechron offers six blockchain accelerators

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
August 17, 2017
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For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

Here are some of the accelerators that are focused specifically on blockchain companies:

Image result for IBM logo

"The IBM Blockchain Founder Accelerator is a program designed to take new blockchain network founders from proof of concept or pilot to a production blockchain network by the end of 2017.

The goal of the program is to provide guidance, support and technical expertise to bring new blockchain networks into production and supporting an ecosystem of users and partners. The program targets not just technology, but the legal and business considerations of establishing new blockchain networks."

Investment amount: Tier 1 Program fee: $100,000; Tier 2 Program fee: $250,000; 

Program benefits: 

Tier 1: 

  • Design Thinking Workshop
  • Early access to the IBM Blockchain High-Security Business Network on Bluemix
  • Access to IBM’s pre-built blockchain software assets
  • Coaching and support from IBM developers and architects
  • Monthly learning sessions with blockchain experts
  • Potential to qualify for up to $120 thousand in Bluemix credits
  • Opportunities for co-marketing with IBM

Tier 2:

  • Design Thinking Workshop
  • Early access to the IBM Blockchain High-Security Business Network on Bluemix
  • Access to IBM’s pre-built blockchain software assets
  • Coaching and support from IBM developers and architects
  • Monthly learning sessions with blockchain experts
  • Potential to qualify for up to $120 thousand in Bluemix credits
  • Opportunities for co-marketing with IBM
  • 6 week MVP build out with the IBM Bluemix Garage for blockchain

Portfolio companies: None yet (Launched in May)



"Synechron’s Blockchain Accelerator for KYC builds on the industry’s progress and reinvents the existing KYC utility operating model to obtain critical mass, to reduce operating and compliance costs and to improve customer experience. The KYC utilities blockchain model of the future will deliver critical mass to multiply cost savings across the industry, which will in turn present the leading KYC utility with self-perpetuating market leadership. We are building the next-gen KYC utility on blockchain."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: Synechron’s KYC accelerator uses the core blockchain functionalities to completely reinvent the KYC utility technology architecture:

  • Blockchain’s distributed database enables permissioned nodes (the participating banks) to access, edit, contribute and validate corporate profile data in a trustless environment.
  • Blockchain’s smart contracts enable automation of industry standard KYC and AML controls and perform data validation checks.
  • The immutable, permissioned and distributed nature of the database removes the single point of failure for cyberattacks.
  • Private keys and encryption segregate and restrict client data to the appropriate viewers with data privacy and transfer laws enforced by code.

Mentor makeup: Tim Coates, Ashwini Thakur, Prasanna Sabnis, Danielle Keijzer


"The mortgage value chain is highly fragmented with various government organizations, real estate, financial and legal intermediaries involved. It is still predominantly paper-based, manual and prone to processing errors. Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the entire mortgage industry - financial institutions stand to gain from reduced costs throughout the mortgage value chain and more efficient interactions with suppliers, agents and customers. The early adopters also have the potential improve customer experience and retention and to win additional business from tech-savvy customers, who expect financial services to be simple, fast and transparent.

As a decentralized, contract-based transaction management system where loans and related payments and approvals are linked together; mortgage origination, initiation and execution is ideal for blockchain. A permissioned mortgage lending blockchain can dramatically reduce costs, fees and fraud; and improve efficiency, transparency and certainty along the whole transaction, for all parties."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: The Synechron Blockchain Accelerator for Mortgage Lending financial institutions how blockchain systems can decrease processing times and reduce errors, resulting in:

  • Reduced costs

By automating and securing the mortgage lending processes, a blockchain-based system co-ordinates and identifies the agents and intermediaries and could reduce operational costs, fees and fraud for financial institutions. We estimate savings of $177 million on a loan book of $97.7 billion for a typical mortgage lender.

  • Improved workflows

Blockchain technology is expected to reduce total transaction time throughout the mortgage value chain by 25%, to 30 days from 40. If national governments establish a blockchain-based title registry, this is expected to fall a further 25%, to 20 days.

  • Enhanced customer experience

Customers want to be served efficiently, securely and transparently in what, for many, is the largest transaction of their lives

The inherent identity, security and audit trail features of blockchain gives more control to buyers and borrowers, providing full visibility of progress and intermediary activities. The customer experience can be improved through:

  • Improved loan search and credit qualification checks and approvals
  • Faster asset appraisal, insurance and loan security
  • Easier document exchange, disclosure and due diligence
  • Reduced fees along the mortgage value chain
  • Increased certainty and reduced fraud during loan funding approval; cash transactions with sellers and intermediaries; and completion of asset and title exchange

Mentor makeup: Matt Shaw, Dennis Martens, Mahesh Patil, Sharad Sharma


"The Synechron Blockchain Accelerator for Smart Margin Calls brings instant, unanimous completion to the margin call portion of the derivatives lifecycle, minimizing drawn-out back-and-forth inconsistencies and disputes. The accelerator’s smart contracts, built on a Hyperledger private blockchain network, are embedded with the transaction valuation logic. The final contract can be validated by both counterparties, eliminating the need for back-and-forth communications."

Investment amount: Not specified 

Program benefits: Synechron draws on its extensive experience with FX trading operating models and technology to add intelligence to derivatives contracts using blockchain technology. Our business domain expertise is integrated with software development and user experience talent and resources.

As a Synechron Smart Margin Calls participant, you receive working code based on a privately hosted Hyperledger network that can be customized for your trading and collateral management systems. Synechron also has the resources to build large-scale, critical financial systems based on our code faster than smaller technology startups.

The collateral user interfaces are designed for a smooth experience to a complex workflow and also provide a basis for your custom application.

Wherever you are in your organization’s blockchain journey, Synechron can accelerate your progress from blockchain theory to production use.

Mentor makeup: Selwyn Halbertsma, Brian Fernandes, Vaibhav Shah, Tone Jospeh


Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: The Blockchain Accelerator for Trade Finance is a pilot ready, functioning blockchain application that provides working, usable code. As a client, you receive the working application hosted on a private blockchain on Ethereum.

The working solution provides a foundation for building a custom trade finance blockchain tailored to your production environment. The feature-rich user interfaces are designed for a smooth interactive experience to a complex workflow. Wherever you are in your organization’s blockchain journey, the Synechron Blockchain Accelerator for Trade Finance can propel your progress from theory to production.

Mentor makeup: Sandeep Kumar, Alexander van Tuyll van Serooskerken, Uday Chaudhari, Shweta Kadam


"Synechron’s Blockchain Accelerator for Insurance Claims Processing presents a scenario in which customers no longer submit a claim and insurers do not administer claims. The distributed database and smart contracts enable auto-execution of claims handling processes based on independent and trusted authoritative source data. Blockchain’s automation and objectivity will create an environment of trust for customers, insurers, asset providers and regulators. Operational costs including assessment, dispute resolution and payments will decline significantly, as will fraud losses. We believe blockchain, integrated with other emerging technology innovations, will reshape the insurance operating model in the next five years."

Investment amount: Not specified 

Program benefits: Customers want to be able to trust that their insurer will pay out when they suffer an insured loss. The Synechron Blockchain Accelerator for Insurance Claims Processing delivers trust via the following blockchain technology features:

  • Distributed database with customers and the insurer as nodes. The customer’s personal, contract and payment details can be updated directly onto the blockchain via the customer interface layer. Payments are executed via the blockchain wallet.
  • Smart contracts enable bespoke policy criteria coded into business rules to automatically execute based on authoritative data sources and the customer details.
  • Authoritative data sources produce independent, trusted and indisputable evidence.

Mentor makeup: Tim Coates, Han Hoogland, Haldhar Seth, Uday Chaudhari


"The blockchain buzz is the most intense in the payments space. But blockchain is not the missing piece for consumer payments. The payments innovation that banks can look to solve lie in any global payment transaction involving a currency conversion: global intra-bank transactions, remittances or peer-to-peer global money transfers, institutional payments such as global corporate payrolls or FX transfers through correspondent banking and SWIFT. Blockchain payment technologies like Ripple can add tremendous value in the global sphere by bringing multiday settlement cycles down to real-time, enhancing operations around global currency conversions, improving anti-money laundering data and more."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits:  As an open Internet standard for interbank transactions, Ripple can serve as a payment system, currency exchange and remittance network. Synechron’s Global Payments Accelerator consists of a complete suite of services and software that connects a financial institution to the Ripple network and enables the institution to use all of the network’s standard gateway features, including:

  • Linking a bank account with the Ripple network
  • Depositing money in a Ripple wallet.
  • Transferring money to another client using the Ripple network.
  • Converting from one currency to another during the money transfer.
  • Generating standard transaction reports, including Ripple fees and conversion charges.

Synechron also helps you integrate Ripple infrastructure into your existing payments flows to improve a bank’s payment process.

Mentor makeup: Selwyn Halbertsma, Uday Chaudhari, Anand Lalye


"Block Chain Space is a focused startup accelerator for talented visionaries creating disruptive solutions to real-world problems using blockchain technology.

Blockchains are tamper-proof, immutable, time-stamped, transparent ledgers whose applications have the potential to improve many aspects of our lives."

Investment amount: $70,000 per team for 5-15% equity

Program benefits:  Crews get support from industry experts and mentors versed in a wide range of topics such as regulations and compliance, cryptography, information technology, public speaking, branding, client acquisition and channel activation, ļ¬nance and fundraising.

Mentor makeup: Alex Puig, Jean Louis Carrara, Joe Lee, Joel Cano, Pierre Wolf, 

Portfolio companies: 


"The Blockchain Trust Accelerator, created by New AmericaThe Bitfury Group, and the National Democratic Institute, is committed to advancing Blockchain technology through responsible, innovative and cutting edge pilot projects."

Investment amount: Not specified 

Program benefits: 

  • Trust Accelerator's online portal collects ideas and pilot proposals
  • Pilot proposals are evaluated by a review team for their probability and maximization of success, feasibility of implementation, and opportunities for scaling-up and partnership; the highest ranked proposals are connected with governments and funders
  • Trust Accelerator oversees the successful deployment of pilots
  • Trust Accelerator conducts regular reviews to ensure that projects meet key performances indicators and are positioned to scale
  • Feedback and performance reviews shared with partners and the public; information on future opportunities is collected and disseminated to potential stakeholders 



"The blockchain is one of the largest technological breakthroughs in the past many decades. We have only scratched the surface as to where the opportunities lie. Having the ability to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another over the internet safe and securely is something that can change all industries."

Investment amount: Boost invests up to $50k in exchange for 7% of the company

Program benefits: We give our companies a place to live & work, an unparalleled network, and time to focus on their startup. We are deeply committed to helping educate and accelerate entrepreneurs as they build a technology company.

Mentor makeup: Tim Draper, Sean Percival, Jens Christensen, Meron Gribetz, Bill Barhydt

Portfolio companies: Veem, Ripio, Stampery, Wyre, Unocoin, JoyStream


"Project aimed at solving important social and economic problems of public institutions in Poland co-financed by the National Research and Development Centre. The total value of the project is 2.8 million euro."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • The functioning of the accelerator and of teams will be supported by the participants of the “Blockchain and cryptocurrencies” Stream functioning under the Paperless & Cashless.  Teams will receive a support in the form of a different advice (technical, business, law, marketing, PR, science) by mentors and experienced cryptocurrency startups.
  • An access to specialized data center to authorize blockchain transactions will be provided.
  • In addition, startups will have the opportunity to use advanced knowledge of blockchain technology, including our own software solutions.


"In cooperation with Deutsche Bank, this program is dedicated to innovative startups working on blockchain based business solutions."

Investment amount: $20,000 seed investment for 3-6% equity, with a possibility for further investment from the H-FARM Investment fund at the end of the program.

Program benefits:  The program connects startups with leading industry partners willing to collaborate with innovative ventures. Selected partners organize dedicated advisory sessions and specific activities with each startup, while considering possible pilots, business development agreements, investments.

You can attend workshops held by our experts covering key themes such as Business Strategy & Development, Communication & Marketing, Coding & Dev, UX & Design, Legal & Fundraising. You also meet with entrepreneurs, investors, managers and business leaders from our international network.

During the program you never walk alone, we provide a full-time dedicated team that works closely with you. The team is made of: Accelerator Director, Program Manager, Program Assistants & Operations Manager. These people take care of your stay and organize weekly meetings to monitor your progress.

While staying here you only have to focus on your business. You have space for the whole team with access to all the necessary infrastructure (WiFi network, meeting rooms,…). We also offer amazing food all day long in our restaurant and accommodation on our Campus to each team member. 

We make your startup’s life easier by giving you access to hundreds of great perks, free or discounted services. The value of these offers is more than €450.000.

We are one of the key members of the GAN (Global Accelerator Network). Once a startup takes part into our acceleration programs, it gains access to GAN Services: remote mentorships sessions, tech partners, temporary desk space in other Accelerators. You also have visibility to international investors.

Portfolio companies: Antlos, BauZaar, Depop, Gek, Indigo

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