Fundraising Wins, RDI Summit in NYC, & Partnerships Announced

Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator
8 min readJun 20, 2024

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The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator is an internationally recognized, non-dilutive source of support for startups in the global blockchain ecosystem and now leads our 3rd pillar on community & entrepreneurship for the Berkeley Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence (RDI).
Also, UC Berkeley has been ranked the #1 university for blockchain in the US for two years in a row!

Fundraising Success

Celebrating our alumni’s successful fundraising efforts.

Ava Protocol Secures $10M Seed Funding to Enhance Autonomous Transaction Technology

Ava Protocol, formerly OAK Network from our 2022 cohort, secured $10 million in seed funding to enhance its operations and technology stack. The funding included an initial $5.5 million round and a subsequent $4.5 million seed+ round, backed by investors like Electric Capital, Shima Capital, and Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal. The capital will support Ava Protocol’s development of an intent-centric, event-driven Eigenlayer AVS for private autonomous transactions on Ethereum. Ava Protocol aims to launch its protocols as an Eigenlayer AVS and a Polkadot parachain this summer. Over 10,000 unique wallets currently use its testnet, conducting over 1,000 automated transactions daily.

To learn more about Ava Protocol visit their website.
Read more about the fundraising in this article.

Astar Network Secures $3.5 Million Investment from Sony Network Communications

Sony Network Communications announced a $3.5 million investment in Startale Labs, a Japanese blockchain firm founded by Sota Watanabe, who also created the Astar Network. Astar, from our 2020 cohort, is a multichain smart contract platform and one of Polkadot’s parachains. In February, Sony and Astar collaborated on a web3 incubation program. Astar also partners with major companies like NTT Docomo and Toyota. Sota Watanabe emphasized Sony’s potential in web3, aiming to develop a global infrastructure. Jun Watanabe, President of Sony Network Communications, highlighted the goal of creating groundbreaking web3 use cases and unseen value through this partnership.

To read more about what’s next with Astar Network’s partnership with Sony go here.
Read more about Sony’s investment in Astar and the blockchain here and here.
Visit Astar’s website to learn more about Astar.

Fundraising Efforts

This is dedicated to our alumni teams who are currently fundraising. If you are interested in learning more about a team’s fundraising efforts, please contact them directly.

Lulubit, the Coinbase of Central America, raising Seed Round

Lulubit, from our 2024 cohort, is launching the first crypto debit card in Central America. With a growing user base of over 21,000 in Panama and Guatemala, the company is expanding to Honduras and Costa Rica, aiming to become the largest crypto neobank in the region. Lulubit allows users to buy and sell crypto directly from their local banks and spend via their crypto debit card. Additionally, users can send remittances on-chain to Lulubit and withdraw to their bank accounts at lower rates than traditional methods. Launched less than a year ago, Lulubit has processed more than $1.3 million in volume in April alone, growing 36% month-over-month. Backed by Alliance, the leading crypto accelerator, Lulubit is currently raising a seed round to support this expansion. Venture capitalists are invited to join Lulubit in this exciting journey to revolutionize financial access in Central America. Your support can help them achieve their vision and drive the crypto revolution forward.

For more information check out this article here.
Learn more about Lulubit via their website and pitch deck.

Alfred Pay Works to Secure Funding to Pioneer Blockchain Payments in Latin America

Alfred Pay from our 2022 cohort, led by Diego Yanez, is revolutionizing payments in Latin America with innovative blockchain technology. The Miami-based fintech has generated $306K in recent revenues, processes 15,000 daily transactions, and handles 1.6M API calls per month. Partnering with Circle and Worldcoin, Alfred Pay facilitates seamless cross-border payments, bridging legacy systems with digital infrastructures. With plans to raise $4–5 million via SAFE, Alfred is well-positioned for growth. Digital currency adoption is booming in the region, making it an ideal environment for Alfred’s services. Their success underscores a shift towards innovative financial products.

Check out Alfred Pay at their website.
Read more about their fundraising in this article.

Fairmint is Building the Onchain Network for Equity

Last December, Fairmint (from our 2022 cohort) released Fairmint v2, the best tool for founders to issue and manage their equity, after obtaining their Transfer Agent license from the SEC. It is a hit with $300M equity already recorded onchain and a Roll Up solution selling like hotcakes. They are now entering phase 2 of building the onchain network for equity: obtaining their broker-dealer license to unlock monetization. In a market where companies stay private longer, they are building the open version of the DTCC ($2.2B revenue in 2023) to create the infrastructure for private equities (Think “Uniswap for Equity”).

You can reach out directly at thibauld@fairmint.com to dig this opportunity further.
Learn more about Fairmint by checking out their pitch deck. Use passcode BerkeleyX

Alumni
Announcements & Milestones

Nodle Network Partners with Koi Finance to Boost DeFi Adoption on zkSync Era Mainnet

Nodle Network, part of the 2020 cohort, has partnered with Koi Finance to promote DeFi adoption among Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Network (DePIN) users. The Nodle token is now available on zkSync Era mainnet, enhancing scalability and reducing transaction fees. Nodle’s partnership with KOI Finance aims to simplify DeFi participation, broadening its reach among DePIN users. The Nodle app will integrate with zkSync this summer, enabling users to join the Nodle network, which leverages smartphones as nodes for real-world applications. This collaboration underscores Nodle’s commitment to advancing blockchain innovation and enhancing financial inclusion in the DeFi space.

For more details visit the Nodle website.
Read more about this partnership on Mirror.

Glacier Recognized as a Top AI Project on BNB Chain, Advancing Data Ownership and Innovation

Our 2024 Cohort team, Glacier has been featured among the Top Three AI projects on the BNB Chain, underscoring their dedication to advancing data ownership for AI. With 5,000 daily active users on BNB Greenfield, Glacier offers scalable blockchain infrastructure for AI applications, focusing on data storage, indexing, and processing. Their core components — GlacierDB, GlacierAI, and GlacierDA — enable verifiable computing and efficient data management. Glacier VectorDB excels in managing vector data and supports real-time data generation. Additionally, Glacier aids GameFi and SocialFi developers by integrating game metadata and social connections into blockchain applications. This recognition highlights Glacier’s commitment to empowering users and advancing AI technology.

Read more about it in this article.

Acurast Partners with Xcavate to Revolutionize Real Estate Tokenization with Decentralized Cloud Computing

Acurast, from our 2023 cohort, is a unique serverless, decentralized cloud computing platform, and has partnered with Xcavate to enhance real-world data access for real estate tokenization. Acurast’s decentralized Cloud DePIN allows anyone to become a computing provider using their mobile phone, providing a robust and confidential compute layer. This integration will enable Xcavate to bring verifiable off-chain data to its protocol, boosting capability and flexibility. Acurast’s platform offers trustless, affordable, and confidential compute access, setting it apart from traditional cloud computing solutions and addressing the growing demand for Web3 use cases.

To learn more about this partnership read this article.

Supra and Astar Alumni Teams Collaborate

Two of our alumni teams, Supra (from our 2021 cohort) and Astar (from our 2020 cohort), are collaborating to enhance dApps on Astar Network. Supra price feeds are now accessible on Astar Network, providing secure, on-demand Oracle price feeds for smart contracts, reducing costs and enhancing flexibility. Astar, a prominent player from Japan, serves as a web3 gateway for enterprise, entertainment, and gaming projects, driving global adoption of web3 with an ecosystem powered by Polkadot, Ethereum, and Polygon AggLayer. Additionally, Astar collaborates with Shibuya City on Web3 initiatives and partners with major companies like HAKUHODO and Deloitte Tohmatsu to expand its ecosystem.

RDI & BBX Events

Berkeley RDI Hosting Summit In New York City this August

Join Berkeley RDI in NYC on August 6, 2024, for the Summit on Responsible Decentralized Intelligence — Future of Decentralization & AI. This event gathers researchers, innovators, and thought leaders to explore the intersection of decentralization and AI, promoting responsible innovation for humanity’s future. With diverse backgrounds in AI/ML, security & privacy, game theory, economics, and decentralization technology, attendees will foster cross-disciplinary discussions. Last year’s summit drew over 1,000 in-person attendees and 8,000+ live stream views. Register for in-person or live stream participation. That same week, also in NYC, is the Science of Blockchain Conference 2024, August 7–9, co-organized by Berkeley RDI, IC3, and Stanford CBR.

Blockchain Innovation Forum Now on YouTube!

The Blockchain Innovation Forum is now available on our RDI YouTube channel! The insights from leaders at Protocol Labs, Aptos, Circle, Visa, Electric Capital, Paradigm and more are definitely worth a listen! Whether you missed the event or want to revisit some of the panel discussions, you can watch all the sessions at your convenience.

Find the panels, keynotes, startup pitches and lightning talks by researchers here.

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Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator Newsletter
June 2024

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Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator

A partnership between Berkeley Engineering’s RDI & SCET, Blockchain at Berkeley, and Berkeley Haas