The Sandbox and Brinc Announce US$50M Open Metaverse Accelerator Program Funding for 100 startups

  • The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program will invest in 30 to 40 blockchain startups a year, helping to develop the open metaverse
  • The program will invest up to US$250,000 in each startup. Top performers will also receive SAND and LAND grants, along with follow-on investment
  • Accepted startups will have access to and support from high-profile mentors, including: Cathy Hackl (Futures Intelligence Group), Holly Atkinson (The Sandbox), Holly Liu (Kabam), Janine Yorio (Republic Realm), Leah Callon-Butler (Emfarsis), Manav Gupta (Brinc), Sebastien Borget (The Sandbox), Serena Tabacchi (Museum of Contemporary Digital Art), Susan Cummings (Petaverse), Yam Karkai (World of Women), Yat Siu (Animoca Brands), Yingzi Yuan (Metaverse Summit); plus others (read below).

The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming metaverse and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, has committed US$50M to Brinc, a leading global venture accelerator, for The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program, which will target 100 startups to enhance the open metaverse.

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With applications now open and the first cohort scheduled to start in Q2 2022, The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program is a dedicated track within Launchpad Luna, the accelerator launched in mid-2021 as a partnership between Brinc and Animoca Brands. The new program aims to accelerate 30 to 40 startups a year over a three-year period. The program will invest in, mentor, educate, and support the development of promising startups and projects while also providing access to potential partnerships and business development opportunities across the growing networks of The Sandbox, Animoca Brands, and Brinc.

The new program is looking for startups that can enhance the open metaverse, who will be evaluated on their traction, technical expertise, and ability to deliver unique experiences. Startups accepted into the program will receive an initial investment of up to US$250,000 each. The Sandbox will also provide further grants of up to US$150,000 in SAND tokens to the best performers, as well as LAND grants. Startups that demonstrate meaningful traction post-program can also apply for follow-on investment from The Sandbox, Animoca Brands, and Brinc.

The core directive of The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program is to support the launch of new startups that can contribute to the growth and expansion of The Sandbox ecosystem by building unique experiences and populating the platform with fresh creativity and new content. Pioneering blockchain startups in the fields of art, collectibles, culture, entertainment, gaming, media, content, and streaming, are encouraged to apply. Accelerated startups will be empowered to contribute to The Sandbox’s rapidly growing ecosystem and actively engage with its existing and growing user base.

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The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program will support the open metaverse built on shared values and through open, transparent, decentralized governance. This will replace the current paradigm of closed platforms thanks to powerful network effects, creating a more sustainable digital future.

High-profile mentors supporting the program — alongside Yat Siu (Animoca Brands), Sebastien Borget (The Sandbox), Manav Gupta (Brinc)include: Cathy Hackl (CEO of Futures Intelligence Group), Holly Atkinson (lead blockchain developer at The Sandbox), Holly Liu (co-founder of Kabam), Janine Yorio (CEO of Republic Realm), Leah Callon-Butler (director of Emfarsis and columnist at CoinDesk), Pavel Bains (co-founder of Bluzelle), Serena Tabacchi (director and co-founder of Museum of Contemporary Digital Art), Susan Cummings (CEO of Petaverse Network), Yam Karkai (co-founder of World of Women), and Yingzi Yuan (founder and builder of Metaverse Summit). Web 3.0 leaders from Altitude Games, Binance, Dragonfly Capital, Republic Crypto, and True Global Ventures will also provide mentorship.

The Sandbox metaverse aims to revolutionise how people interact in their day-to-day lives, including how users interact socially, shop, or consume entertainment. Recent partnerships with The Sandbox include Snoop Dogg, who owns virtual land in the metaverse and will give users VIP access to concerts, events and dedicated digital items; Atari, the pioneer of arcade games that has seen recent success as a global gaming brand with RollerCoaster Tycoon, who will introduce IPs from its portfolio to the Sandbox metaverse; and Skybound Entertainment, who brought The Walking Dead game experience to the virtual world.

Brinc continues to invest and support startups in the open metaverse, which represents the new digital frontier. Key areas of focus include entertainment, education, and inclusivity through a more equitable digital economy. The new program will support startups by integrating sustainability, inclusion, and equitability into their business models.

Partnership Commentary

Sebastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox and chairman of the Blockchain Gamer Alliance, said: “The Sandbox’s Metaverse Accelerator is a major expansion of our ongoing commitment to support the next generation of metaverse entrepreneurs. With imagination, ideas and hard work, startups from all over the world can realize their visions and drive societal impact by creating more opportunities for everyone. We’re especially eager to support underrepresented founders in their ambitions as they explore the infinite possibilities offered into The Sandbox ecosystem.”

Yat Siu, executive chairman and co-founder of Animoca Brands, said: “The open metaverse will not be owned by any single entity and thus presents an incredible opportunity to create a participatory and collaborative nonzero-sum environment based on openness, equitability, user governance, and digital property rights. We’re proud that our partnership with Brinc is powering accelerator programs that support founders to innovate in and scale up the creator economy.”

Manav Gupta, founder and CEO of Brinc, said: “We believe the metaverse is not just a destination but a new way of talking about an equitable and more sustainable future. For example, as digital experiences develop, we will find ourselves having fewer reasons to emit carbon to travel for work or play. We may even reduce purchases of physical world products (art, collectibles, merchandise, etc.) that usually have highly unsustainable means of production and are major contributors to climate change. New metaverse startups and Web 3.0 technologies have the potential to not only develop new ways to work and play, but also to democratize access to financial services, education and entertainment. We believe that for the metaverse to thrive, we need developers and content creators to thrive — and this accelerator provides the perfect platform to enable them to do so.”

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