Polygon Co-Founder Starts $500K Web3 Fellowship Program

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Symbolic Capital, a fund that Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal started, announced today the launch of a Web3 program that will provide ten individuals $50,000 each to explore and implement ideas in the next iteration of the internet.

Called the Nailwal Fellowship, the program will run every year from August ‘til January and accept people from all ages and walks of life. Nailwal will be personally investing $500,000 into the program each year, enough to pay the $50,000 amount to each accepted individual.

While the program will accept applicants from any background, a preference will be given to people with technical skills and the ability to create tangible products and decentralized applications, also known as “dApps.”

According to the text on the Nailwal Fellowship’s page, Symbolic Capital has created the Fellowship to provide individuals with the resources necessary to pursue bold ideas in Web3, without the need to worry about a paycheck. The fund expects individuals to pursue their ideas free from other responsibilities: People accepted to the program cannot work a job or be in school.

”I’m extremely fortunate to be at a point in my career where I’m able to think about the change in the world I want to catalyze,” Sandeep Nailwal told Rarity Sniper.

“For me, that is through leveraging my position of privilege in this space to support and invest in the future of web3. My mission is to bring the next billion users into this space. The only way that you will bring the masses to web3 is through building products that people will actually use.”

Nailwal added that the only way to build those types of products is by having the best developer talent building in web3. ”With the Nailwal Fellowship, I am lowering the barriers to entry for the best developer talent in the world. Whether you have been too scared to leave your cushy job in web2 or have not had access to the resources to take the leap of faith and start building in web3, the Nailwal Fellowship will provide you with the support you need to take that next step.”

Although the program will be 100% remote, the creators hope that they can hold occasional meetups around the world. The exact role Nailwal will play beyond providing the money for the grants is currently unknown. However, program participants will receive bi-weekly calls with the Symbolic Capital team to receive input on their projects.

While there is no expectation that people accepted to the program will start a company by the end of the Fellowship, Symbolic Capital requests favorable terms on equity for any Web3 company a Fellow starts within one year after the cohort ends. Interested persons can apply on the Fellowship’s website between now and early June to join the cohort.

Symbolic Capital Funds Projects that Solve ‘Pressing Needs’

According to the text on its website, Symbolic Capital strives to fund projects that solve pressing issues in the Web3 space. Among the companies that it has funded include Nillion, which provides new internet infrastructure, and Cubist, which helps developers focus on products rather than permissions.

Nine months ago, it raised $50 million to fund Web3 startups, especially those in emerging markets like India and countries in Southeast Asia. Much like with the Nailwal Fellowship program, the Symbolic Capital fund focuses on companies that are delivering products that have real-world value, with an emphasis on those building decentralized applications.

Some of the areas the fund concentrates investments in are the creator economy, NFT consumerization, the metaverse, zero-knowledge proof applications, interoperability, and companies bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3. Those familiar with Polygon will recognize the last area. The blockchain is known for appealing to companies looking to make the jump between Web2 and Web3.

Time will tell who emerges from the Nailwal Fellowship cohort to do great things in Web3. Rarity Sniper certainly will be here to report back if someone does.

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