Building global blockchain ventures — Ian Arden’s founder story from Ukrainian roots
By Ian Arden, Founder and CEO of Mempool Ventures, milestoneBased and Applicature
According to a 2022 Chainanalysis study, Ukraine is among the top three countries in terms of cryptocurrency adoption. The country also ranks as top in the world according to the percentage of the population that owns cryptocurrencies according to one United Nations report. So it stands to reason that a vibrant local blockchain ecosystem has been built that helps inspire and propel many local founders to build ventures that grow to play a role in the global crypto industry. I am happy to be one of those entrepreneurs and proud that my ventures are helping the startup funding ecosystem globally, especially during this crypto winter.
A few years after University at NUKMA in Kyiv where I studied computer science, I worked as a developer to build one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges. That was in 2010 at the early stages of my founder’s journey and only two years after bitcoin’s invention; I have started many ventures since then and mentored other founders to scale their blockchain companies as well. My own companies today have global customers and operational footprints mostly based in the UAE and USA. Our collective teams of over 100 skilled developers, project managers, marketers, account managers and investor relations professionals, are located in Ukraine and around the world, and I am pleased to say the vast majority of them have proud Ukraine roots. Three of my ventures have a focus on funding and accelerating early-stage companies.
I started Applicature, a venture builder and accelerator over five years ago and we’ve helped scale hundreds of companies for partner clients as well as incubating and bringing to market many of our own ventures. Two ventures in our portfolio exist to directly serve in the startup funding ecosystem; these are milestoneBased and our venture capital firm, Mempool Ventures. In our current crypto winter cycle, both of these ventures play a critical role helping genesis-stage companies raise funding through us and our network of investor partners. Collectively and through Applicature, we are able to provide critical mentorship, access to a valuable network of partners, and services such as MVP development and community building to help them scale. Investors and fund managers working with Mempool Ventures or milestoneBased get the opportunity to help distressed companies during these challenging times through our network of talented founder teams.
milestoneBased is the first company to use DAO and smart contract tools for automated management of collaboration and funding between crypto investors and founders. A startup lists their roadmap goals and funding requirements on the platform. Crypto VCs on the platform can quickly assess companies and allocate smaller cheques towards an MVP or a critical feature development, which offers better capital efficiency. The platform offers so many other benefits of decentralization such as accountability and security benefits, and aims to fix a broken and haphazard existing funding process in the VC world that has existed for years.
During the current crypto market crisis, milestoneBased recently launched a grant campaign to assist crypto startups with funding. The application phase for the fourth quarter of 2022 is currently underway, with up to $20,000 USD in grant aid available for top startups.
milestoneBased is a part of the Applicature blockchain startup accelerator ecosystem. This means that startups can receive a full range of services from partner companies and many perks. And we have a crypto VC firm as part of this network also.
Our venture firm Mempool Ventures, started in 2021 and grew out of the successes we had initiating company investments that achieved considerable returns through Applicature. Mempool Ventures draws on deep technical skills and the experience our team has gained scaling past companies. The venture firm has launched a number of funding initiatives and one of them is the Crypto Winter Warriors acceleration program. We have a fund to support promising crypto startups in their early stages of development that find themselves in difficult financial circumstances.
The Mempool Ventures team collaborates with the best crypto projects that have undergone extensive analysis and verification. When LP investors such as family offices invest in a fund or initiative through Mempool Ventures, they can be assured that a thorough analysis of potential investments has been done, including our exclusive AppScore system that provides a 360 degree analysis on all aspects of business model, tokenomics, team, community building, financials etc.
A key initiative currently in the planning stage is Mempool Reloaded — an exclusive conference geared to bring together 50 experienced HNW and private investors to reflect on fund strategies and current opportunities in crypto. The conference takes place at a resort on an island near Abu Dhabi and promises to be a mind, body and soul experience for reflection, learning and networking that will take place over five days in March, 2023.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territory began, our Applicature teams have been donating to many relief causes and starting some of our own. We launched Rise Up-Women in Blockchain, an initiative with a group of partners focused on providing Ukrainian women free education and career training, including scholarships for blockchain training for developers directly funded by us. Our great partners include ConsenSys Academy, CryptoChicks and C4. We need to do our part to help Ukrainians faced with hardships during this unfortunate time including young women in our industry facing struggles in their career due to the war. Ukrainians are a strong nation of free people capable of great discoveries and innovation as demonstrated by our high blockchain adoption. We invite more Ukrainian women in blockchain to check it out and apply via the link above as it runs till February, 2023.
Applicature is a venture builder and accelerator that helps companies with blockchain development, tokenomics, company launches, marketing and funding. Since 2017, the company has worked with over 300 founders helping them scale their companies.
Mempool Ventures is a crypto VC firm that works with genesis-stage companies leveraging a team with experience and strong tech backgrounds. Mempool Ventures is engaged with multiple funds and funding strategies currently focused on crypto winter opportunities, LP opportunities, and UAE investor ecosystem initiatives.
milestoneBased is a collaboration platform for startups and investors that fixes a broken VC funding system enabling startups to easily fund their roadmap milestones. It leverages the power of decentralization including a DOA and smart contract tools for accountability, transparency, security and better capital and process efficiency.