The Sandbox and Brinc announce $50M Open Metaverse Accelerator Program funding for 100 startups
The Sandbox, a decentralised gaming metaverse and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, has committed US$50M to Brinc, a global venture accelerator, for a new program targeting 100 startups to enhance the open metaverse.
The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program is a dedicated track within Launchpad Luna, the accelerator launched in mid-2021 as a partnership between Brinc and Animoca Brands. Applications are now open, and the first cohort is scheduled to start in Q2, 2022.
The new program aims to accelerate 30 to 40 startups over three years. The program will invest in, mentor, educate, and support the development of promising startups and projects while also providing access to potential partnerships and business development opportunities across the growing networks of The Sandbox, Animoca Brands, and Brinc.
The program is looking for startups that can enhance the open metaverse, and they will be evaluated on their traction, technical expertise, and ability to deliver unique experiences. Startups accepted into the program will receive an initial investment of up to US$250,000 each. The Sandbox will also provide further grants of up to US$150,000 in SAND tokens to the best performers, as well as LAND grants. Startups that demonstrate meaningful traction post-program can also apply for follow-on investment from The Sandbox, Animoca Brands, and Brinc.
"The core directive of The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program is to support the launch of new startups that can contribute to the growth and expansion of The Sandbox ecosystem," says The Sandbox co-founder and chairman of the Blockchain Gamer Alliance, Sebastien Borget.
"Pioneering blockchain startups in the fields of art, collectables, culture, entertainment, gaming, media, content, and streaming, are encouraged to apply. Accelerated startups will be empowered to contribute to The Sandbox's rapidly growing ecosystem and actively engage with its existing and growing user base."
He says The Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program will support the open metaverse built on shared values through open, transparent, decentralised governance. He says this will replace the current paradigm of closed platforms thanks to powerful network effects, creating a more sustainable digital future.
Several high-profile mentors are supporting the program. Recent partnerships with The Sandbox include Snoop Dogg, who owns virtual land in the metaverse and will give users VIP access to concerts, events and dedicated digital items. Atari, the pioneer of arcade games with recent success as a global gaming brand with RollerCoaster Tycoon, will introduce IPs from its portfolio to the Sandbox metaverse. And Skybound Entertainment, which brought The Walking Dead game experience to the virtual world.
Brinc continues to invest and support startups in the open metaverse, representing the new digital frontier. Key focus areas include entertainment, education, and inclusivity through a more equitable digital economy. The new program will support startups by integrating sustainability, inclusion, and equitability into their business models.
"The Sandbox's Metaverse Accelerator is a major expansion of our ongoing commitment to support the next generation of metaverse entrepreneurs," says Borget.
"With imagination, ideas and hard work, startups from all over the world can realise their visions and drive societal impact by creating more opportunities for everyone. We're especially eager to support under-represented founders in their ambitions as they explore the infinite possibilities offered into The Sandbox ecosystem."
Yat Siu, executive chairman and co-founder of Animoca Brands, says, "The open metaverse will not be owned by any single entity and thus presents an incredible opportunity to create a participatory and collaborative non-zero-sum environment based on openness, equitability, user governance, and digital property rights. We're proud that our partnership with Brinc is powering accelerator programs that support founders to innovate in and scale up the creator economy."
While Manav Gupta, the founder and CEO of Brinc, says the company believes the metaverse is not just a destination but a new way of talking about an equitable and more sustainable future.
"As digital experiences develop, we will find ourselves having fewer reasons to emit carbon to travel for work or play," he says. "We may even reduce purchases of physical world products (art, collectables, merchandise, etc.) that usually have highly unsustainable means of production and are significant contributors to climate change.
"New metaverse startups and Web 3.0 technologies have the potential to not only develop new ways to work and play but also to democratise access to financial services, education and entertainment. We believe that for the metaverse to thrive, we need developers and content creators to thrive - and this accelerator provides the perfect platform to enable them to do so."