About the program (6)
Follow the link on the Apply page, fill out the form (be sure to put in your contact info and upload any deck you have). We will then get back to you within 5 days from your submission with an initial indication of interest, questions, or a request for additional information. Please make sure to include why you are passionate about building your business and the relevant skills of your team. It will also be helpful to let us know what type of assistance from CrossCoin will be most valuable to you.
In addition to completing the short application, an introduction from someone in our extended network will increase your chances of acceptance. We also are actively involved in matching free-lance developers to start-up teams, and so if you have a general interest in remittance, wallet software, or micro-payments but lack a specific business idea please also reach out and there is a possibility we can match you up with a team. We do not currently have any application deadlines but accept applications on a rolling basis.
Yes, you can. We are looking for smart people who are passionate about payments and cryptocurrencies, and are always happy to chat. That said, to apply without a idea, deck or team member, you need to be an engineer who has read and understand the Ripple protocol and has done at least one code snippet using it and uploaded that snippet to Github.
We also have a number of concepts which CrossCoin and Ripple are interested in developing. If you have technical and/or design talent, and are interested in building a company in the digital currency space, we want to talk to you.
All four of the partners. The idea is you are in the Accelerator offices most of the time and informally you have access to the CrossCoin Ventures team at all times. We will give you access to our schedules.
The official program is four months, which includes the office space, regular access to Ripple resources, and active support from the CrossCoin team and mentors. However, our model includes working with you informally after graduating from the program.
We are taking people as they are accepted in 2014. In 2015 we may move to a formal class structure, but will likely still maintain the opportunity for entrepreneurs to join when it makes sense for them, and not based on a set schedule.
We like to call it an informal formal program. We feel that one size does not fit all. We work one-on-one, not in a classroom setting. Our goal is to provide active support in team building, strategy, business development, and financing to help you make quick progress on your business. With that said, some structure is important to make sure you are hitting critical milestones during your active time in the program, and we will work with you to define relevant KPIs for your business.
We are interested in a broad range of projects that will help grow the Ripple ecosystem in some way. Some of the areas that we are interested in include:
- US <=> Africa, Latin America
- US <=> Asia (excluding Japan, China)
- Other non-US based remittance
- Consumer facing wallets
- Enterprise grade wallets
- Merchant solutions
- Multi currency and cryptocurrency tax, analytics, and management products
CrossCoin Ventures and Ripple Labs (6)
No. CrossCoin Ventures is a private investment company managing the Ripple Accelerator at arm’s length with support from Ripple Labs.
CrossCoin Ventures is running the Accelerator under an arm’s length relationship with support from Ripple Labs. However, Ripple Labs does not own any equity in CrossCoin Ventures, nor does Ripple Labs own any equity in the CrossCoin companies.
Any and all, if it helps! In addition to office space, we find that the main areas are technical, recruitment, regulatory, marketing, UI / UX design, and financing.
No. Ripple Labs does not own any equity in CrossCoin Ventures. Ripple Labs has no control of what companies CrossCoin Ventures invests in. Ripple Labs has no equity in any of the CrossCoin Ventures companies.
CrossCoin Ventures, LLC will be the actual investor. Ripple Labs will own no equity to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
CrossCoin Ventures owns the Accelerator, and manages it at arm’s length with support from Ripple Labs. CrossCoin Ventures is owned by its four partners.
Details on investment (7)
We do not take a board seat upon your joining the accelerator but do typically take a board seat (or board observership) if we make a separate investment.
If we do get a board seat, we also agree to convert it over to a board observer seat if you raise a preferred stock financing (which of course we will help you with).
We do not require you to sell us preferred stock. We prefer to get the same common stock you hold as founders so our interests are completely aligned.
The typical investment is a combination of XRP and cash to purchase restricted common stock in your company. We are happy to share further details on the logistics of the investment during an initial or follow-up meeting.
The range of ownership is consistent with other accelerator programs and varies from 3-6% of fully diluted common stock depending on the stage of the company and if you have received prior investment. In exchange, you receive active support from CrossCoin Ventures and Ripple Labs and you will also receive up to USD$50,000 of XRP. If we are actively involved in designing initial UI / UX mock-ups, recruiting team members, and providing interim CFO or CTO services we may ask for as much as 10% of fully diluted common stock.
It depends. It can be as little as $1 for those companies that do not require money to an average of $25,000 for the median case to as much as $50,000. However, the non-monetary value you get from your participation in the Accelerator should be much greater than the investment in cash and XRP.
Yes. We take common stock, not preferred stock or convertible notes which are currently how most angels and venture investors commit capital. We are also able to customize the program based on the company’s stage and capital raised to date.
CrossCoin Ventures, LLC will be the actual investor. Ripple Labs will own no equity to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
XRP is the cryptocurrency at the heart of Ripple. Instead of primarily acting as an alternative currency, XRP is used as a bridge currency in exchange transactions, and as a spam prevention tool. Ripple’s success to date has led to XRP having the second highest market capitalization of any cryptocurrency, after Bitcoin.
Operational questions (3)
The Accelerator is mission critical for both CrossCoin Ventures and Ripple Labs. Our focus is to help you get as much as possible out of the Accelerator experience, and we will work hands-on with you to build your business. While you will have a primary contact at both CrossCoin and Ripple Labs, there is no gatekeeper and you will have informal access to all of our team. With that said, here is a schedule of when CrossCoin partners are generally available for office hours at the Accelerator. Of course, we are also available at all hours via email, skype, and mobile.
- You must currently be in the CrossCoin accelerator program
- You must sign a sublease
- You must carry renters insurance (quite inexpensive)
Yes, unless you put together a team that can work full time on your idea.
Other general questions (2)
CrossCoin is currency agnostic and hopes to invest in an ecosystem that will make exchanging any unit of value for another unit of value as easy as sending an email or loading a web page. We are big believers in the Ripple vision that payments will be transformed to be global, distributed, instant, and free. The Ripple open source, distributed payment protocol enables free and instant payments to merchants, consumers, and developers with no chargebacks and in any currency, from dollars to yen to bitcoins. In addition to running the Ripple Incubator, our partners also invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency companies.
Absolutely! We love Bitcoin too! We see Ripple as a perfect enabler of cross currency transactions using Bitcoin, in fact this was one of the motivations in its development. We are excited about the entire digital / math-based / crypto currency space in general, and we are committed to supporting ideas across the spectrum.
Ripple for Entrepreneurs (7)
If you’re interested in starting a gateway, we recommend having a developer review the code for gateway servers: https://github.com/ripple/ripple-gateway
Just remember that you will be responsible for managing compliance issues in each jurisdiction and establishing a relationship with a bank (or other licensed entity) willing to accept fiat deposits from your customers (i.e get a partner with licensing in the each end of the payment corridor you are thinking about).
Ripple plays a critical link in supporting the growth of cryptocurrencies because it can serve as a bridge for transferring value from any digital currency, e.g. Bitcoin, Litecoin, PeerCoin, to any fiat currency, e.g. Dollars, Yen, Pesos, to any corporate loyalty point, e.g. mobile phone points, Starbucks points, frequent flyer points. This bridging function will be absolutely critical for the entire cryptocurrency space over the next 3-5 years, as cryptocurrencies are still relatively niche, and there needs to be a way to move funds quickly from one system and into the other.
Significant opportunities exist for developers in this space. Ripple is an open protocol with a strong developer community and excellent developer resources, enabling a virtually limitless range of development possibilities.
Ripple Labs created the Ripple Protocol (“aka Ripple”) and remains focused upon enabling and helping inspire cutting edge developers and financial institutions to build upon the Ripple Protocol to create exciting and beneficial applications and financial tools. Ripple Labs continues to contribute to the development of the protocol’s coding including: SDKs, APIs and free consumer applications.
The Ripple Protocol by comparison, is an open-source software system that makes the fast and efficient exchange of “currencies of value” possible between parties. The Ripple Protocol is the distributed payments protocol that enables the virtually instantaneous exchange between any kind of currencies of agreed upon value (fiat currencies, loyalty points, gold). Similar to how the Internet allows the instantaneous movement of information, the Ripple Protocol and network allows for a similar ease of exchange between agreed upon currencies of value.
There are are a range of available resources:
In the future, if Ripple Labs were to disappear entirely, the Ripple protocol would continue to exist and to be available as a platform for community initiatives.
Several of the Ripple developers were part of the core Bitcoin development team in the early days, and when they launched Ripple they made several improvements to fix what they saw as fundamental flaws in the bitcoin protocol:
- Faster payment system – Ripple supports transaction confirmation in several seconds, whereas Bitcoin is typically 30 – 60 minutes.
- Better governance – Ripple has a strong sponsor which provides an effective balance of transparency, developer support, and leadership. In contrast, Bitcoin is run by unknown pool of mining operators (“The Mining Oligarchy”) and decision-making tends to be political due to lack of structure.
- No block chain bloat problem – At present the Bitcoin block chain is 20 GB and growing; it is not clear what will happen once we hit a 100 GB or 200 GB blockchain. The Bitcoin devs are already limiting the inclusion of transaction meta data, by limiting OP_RETURN from 80 bytes to 40 bytes, which limits the use of the bitcoin protocol for smart contracts. In contrast, Ripple uses a consensus mechanism and holds running balances, mitigating this issue. Many of the smartest devs in the space see the Ripple approach as the most elegant and scalable.
- No control by an oligarchy. One of the reasons Bitcoin does not fix its problems it that a fix requires the buy-in of miners. Miners are the firms who validate Bitcoin transactions and mine new Bitcoins. Because of economies of scale, there are less the 12 major mining pools left of which 70% of mining is done by three pools. These pools will not update the bitcoin protocol in ways that hurt their investment in mining equipment.
- Use of energy for mining. Bitcoin mining has horrible environmental issues around it’s use of electric power needed to mine.
We love Bitcoin too! We can see it potentially evolving as a store of value for the space, i.e. a “digital gold”. We see Ripple as a perfect enabler of cross-currency transactions of all kinds using Bitcoin, in fact this was one of the motivations in its development. We are excited about the entire digital, math-based, crypto currency space in general, and we are committed to supporting ideas across the spectrum.