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NEAR, an open-source platform aimed at accelerating the development of decentralized applications, has announced the launch of their first India focussed NEAR India Accelerator program.

Woodstock Fund, a DLT-focussed multi-asset investment fund, and Fracton Ventures, a prominent Web3.0 focused Japanese investment and development platform, have joined the accelerator as investment partners and Go-to-Market access Partners respectively. The NEAR India Accelerator aims to nurture and identify upcoming Indian startups that want to innovate in the blockchain space, build impactful products that solve real-world problems, and strengthen India’s blockchain prowess in the global ecosystem.

Through the accelerator, NEAR Foundation and Woodstock Fund will cumulatively offer up to US$200k in funding along with mentorship from global experts in the blockchain and startup space, go-to-market access to the NEAR and Woodstock Fund’s expansive ecosystem along with marketing support to innovative startups with impactful solutions built on the NEAR protocol for real-world problems. Fracton Ventures will provide Go-to-Market support in Japan and will open up opportunities for the participating startups in the Japanese blockchain and investment ecosystem.

NEAR is first and foremost a community for entrepreneurs and creators, and the startup ecosystem in India has quickly become a leading source of blockchain innovation and entrepreneurship. I have no doubt that some of the leading ideas and transformations across industries will emerge from India in the years to come, so launching the NEAR India Accelerator program was the obvious choice for our community,” said Erik Trautman, CEO of NEAR Foundation.

“India’s startup ecosystem is already solving some of the most critical issues facing the country today, and with this accelerator program, we aim to highlight these efforts and empower up-and-coming entrepreneurs to bring new ideas to life and to propel India forward as a powerhouse in global blockchain-led innovation,” he added.

Open to Creators Innovators Startups and Developers

Spanning three months, the accelerator program is open to creators, innovators, startups, and developers from all over India working on projects that are past the proof-of-concept phase to build unique and creative products utilizing digital assets and blockchain technology. The NEAR India Accelerator will be interspersed with meetups before the closure of registrations which will be followed by a two-week-long boot camp for selected registrants.

The startups that make it through a boot camp will be invited to pitch at the demo day for up to US$100k in funding. The inaugural meetups of the NEAR  India Accelerator will be directed towards providing adequate support, mentorship, and knowledge to help the participants build their business solutions on the NEAR platform. The Accelerator will focus on startups with cutting-edge ideas, relevant blockchain use cases, and a committed team.

The accelerator program is launched in partnership with Lumos Labs, an innovation management firm specializing in running technology open innovation programs in India. The entries will be judged by a distinguished panel of industry leaders and subject matter experts on three primary aspects of problem selection, solution innovation, and impact achieved. The registration window will be open from May 4 – June 20, 2021, which will be followed by 3 rounds of filtration with 50 teams shortlisted in the first cohort, 15 teams in the second, and finally five teams in the final cohort that will present their solutions in the Final Demo Day.

Anyone with an interesting blockchain use case can apply for the program.

NEAR

NEAR is a decentralized development platform that is built on NEAR Protocol, a public, sharded, developer-friendly, proof-of-stake blockchain.  It is a highly scalable, cost-effective platform for developers to build decentralized applications on. This platform is specially designed to provide a decentralized, ubiquitous ground floor for other developers to build their applications on. Through its India accelerator, NEAR has decided to open up its expertise and provide support to the creative minds in the Indian tech startup ecosystem.

The platform accelerates the development of decentralized applications overcoming high fees and slow speeds with its fast, scalable, low-cost, and climate-neutral blockchain protocol. NEAR was recently awarded the Climate Neutral Product Label from the South Pole. One transaction on NEAR consumes about 1300x less carbon than a similar transaction on other chains.

Woodstock Fund

Woodstock is a multi-asset emerging technology fund house currently focused on investments in blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) with emphasis on four areas – Infrastructure layer, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), Web 3.0 protocols, and Tokenization (both fungible and non-fungible). The company works with portfolio companies to help them scale and grow their ecosystem globally. It has made early-stage investments in pioneering DLT companies, such as, Elrond, Covalent, Terra Virtua, Propine, and Band Protocol among others.

Fracton Ventures

Fracton Ventures is a network of experts, investors, and developers who co-create the future of Web 3.0 as contributors rather than just supporters. Their current activities include a commitment to DAO as a corporation (community participation, co-development, planning/design), educational and research activities in the Web3.0 area, and expansion of existing Web3.0 products into and from Japan. They also provide opportunities for upcoming projects in the Web3.0 space to connect with potential Japanese investment groups and support early product and business development needs.

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