A little over three months ago, we announced the beginning of KERNEL.
An experiment in building a highly curated community of talented builders in Web 3, the KERNEL Fellowship was designed to anchor towards the value of collaboration and serendipity at the earliest stages of building our Web 3 ecosystem.
What happened next was incredible. What started as a room of 200 strangers became a close-knit family of talented founders, ~50 new startups, and a plethora of shared conversations hard to find elsewhere in online social spaces. We were blown away — not only by the incredible caliber of participants, but by their eagerness to engage, help each other brainstorm and validate ideas, and pay it forward.
It’s early days for the 50 companies of the KERNEL Genesis Block (see just a few here), and we’ve already seen 4-5 successfully raise funding. Perhaps more importantly, they have a community behind them for the rest of their Web 3 careers.
Now we’re excited to announce: we’re doing it all again!
The next KERNEL Fellowship batch — KERNEL Block 2 will begin January 2021.
We’re accepting up to 300 new KERNEL Fellows into the community. Applications are open through 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 15th.
So what is KERNEL, anyways?
The KERNEL Fellowship is an 8-week program talented builders looking to build relationships, products, and companies in Web 3.
300 talented peers from around the world will join the KERNEL on Jan 2021 and will be surrounded by leading mentors from the Web3 community.
The KERNEL Syllabus
A unique part of the program is the KERNEL Syllabus. It lays out 16 Web 3 Lessons which we go through, two per week. It starts with Trust, and we meander through topics like Value, Freedom, before ultimately ending with Giving. Each week we’re joined by a guest speaker around these topics — think Juan Benet, Vinay Gupta, Vitalik Buterin.
Our goal is not to share information, but to build an environment for transformation. For KERNEL Fellows to genuinely learn together. To build new things. To meet people who may attend your wedding, or build a company with you for a decade. And perhaps more importantly, to know yourself better than when we started.
Supported By Gitcoin 🌳
The Gitcoin team is putting our full weight behind the KERNEL Fellowship. It is a community initiative, ultimately, aiming for broad support from those interested in it’s mission and it’s goals.
Our mission is to grow open source, and we’ve found a deep well of great open source projects and brilliant builders in the blockchain ecosystem in the past 3 years. We believe the future will be open source, and the blockchain community will have a large part to play in its development.
Over the course of 2 years, we’ve helped seed $5M in open source software development, mostly in the Web3 space. We have a network of 40,000 Gitcoiners who are hackers, founders, builders, and supporters of open collaboration.
The two paths we are best known for are Gitcoin Hackathons and Gitcoin Grant rounds, which ultimately led us to KERNEL.
During Gitcoin Hackathons, we’ve built 500+ projects alongside 3,750 unique hackers in the last year, many on their first journey into Web 3. The biggest one yet, co-sponsored by Coindesk and Ethereal, has seen 67 projects built in 3 weeks by some of the top up-and-coming developers in crypto.
In Gitcoin Grants rounds, 700+ projects have raised $2MM+ in funding over 5 ‘Gitcoin Grants’ rounds. These rounds have given early funding to projects now VC-funded projects like Uniswap and Optimism, and continue to fund core infrastructure projects like Prysmatic Labs and Tornado Cash. And many others!
The last round saw a record $492K allocated in 2.5 weeks. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, wrote a bit about it here.
With our experience in both hackathons and grant funding, we’ve noticed a few things.
- Lone Geniuses — we consistently come across ridiculously talented developers building genuinely amazing stuff in silos.
- Composability Is Real — The top companies in crypto are made up of founders who are idea machines. By matching them with talented builders, we can work together to build the Web3 we want to see.
- A Room For Newcomers — We need talented builders to join as we build an open internet. For the crypto-curious developer, designer, or builder who hasn’t joined the ecosystem yet, the home base you need is a KERNEL of smart, motivated people.
We want a room for each of these groups (companies, web 3 veterans, and talented newcomers) to easily meet each other and enable collaboration. We’ll be bringing these people together for Block 2, the second KERNEL cohort.
Expectations of KERNEL Fellows
One goal of the KERNEL Fellowship is to increase the likelihood that we succeed in improving the Web by ultimately, improving ourselves.
KERNEL Block 2, will be comprised of ~300 fellows from around the world. The program runs 8 weeks, with an expected commitment of 10 hrs per week. Successful applicants will be high capacity, extremely likely to succeed in web 3, and fully engaged.
The program will include eight modules, including deep dives into the history of blockchains, the Web 3 movement, decentralized finance, community building, and token economics. Twelve classic works in technology, open-source software, and finance will be reviewed and discussed.
Each KERNEL fellow is expected to read the materials for each week and contribute to building a Web 3 project over the course of the eight weeks. You are not required to apply with a project, but you can if you have one!
Companies who are involved will share design prompts and projects they’d like to see built with KERNEL Fellows and with the broader ecosystem. Here’s a sampling of the companies we’ve built with in the last 6 months.
Expectations of the cohort are straightforward
- Participate earnestly in the program 🙋🏻♀️
- Make friends with cohort mates 🎎
- Read weekly materials in advance of the Thursday firesides 📖
- Join the topical Juntos hosted industry leaders 👯🏻♀️
- Check out the great list of project suggestions 🚧
- Ship one end-product by the end of the 8 weeks 🚀
What you can expect from us
- Thursday’s Fireside Chats 💬 Each Thursday will be headlined by a session with web3 luminary.
- Weekly Juntos 🥘 Junto’s — a concept coined by Ben Franklin — are small conversations meant for candid, generative talks.
- Weekly Check-ins 📅 check-ins with fellows on their progress, their goals, and their interests.
- Funding Opportunities 💰 Funding via company sponsorships for specific projects and Gitcoin Grants.
While a project from each fellow is an expectation, the goal is to build lifelong relationships amongst the 100 members, the mentors, and selfishly, ourselves. And, perhaps, hundreds or thousands to follow.
If you’re considering KERNEL — we’d ask one question:
Is there a cost for the KERNEL Fellowship?
There will be a cost for accepted participants to attend the program. The $ amount is intended to generate commitment from successful applicants, not to be financially prohibitive. Scholarships will be available and liberally applied, so please don’t hesitate to apply, even if money is an issue.
What is the timeline for the program?
- Applications Open: Sept 18, 2020
- Applications Close: Nov 15, 2020
- Accepted Applicants Notified by Nov 29, 2020
- Kick-off Retreat: Jan 7th, 2020
- The End: March 4th, 2020
Please let us know! Fill this out to make a recommendation.
What constitutes an ‘end product’?
This is ultimately a choose your own adventure situation. If you have a product idea to build on an existing Web 3 startup, you can do it. If you want to write a report on the state of Web 3, you can do it. If you want to join cohort mates and iterate towards early PM Fit, we can help. If you want to knock out multiple sponsored projects during the course of the 8 weeks, we’ll pass them your way. It will ultimately be an individual adventure, supported by the best minds in the industry and great programming.
What inspires the program?