SOSV reveals new blockchain start-up accelerator in New York

23 Oct 2018

Image: © mrcmos/

New accelerator will harness the strength of the Cardano blockchain ecosystem.

SOSV has joined forces with Emurgo to fashion a whole new accelerator that will foster new start-ups focused on blockchain.

Emurgo is the commercial venture development arm of the Cardano blockchain ecosystem.

The new dLab-Emurgo start-up accelerator and venture studio will focus on distributed ledger technologies including DLT protocols, blockchain infrastructure, decentralised applications and distributed ledger technologies.

‘The era of ICO hype is over, and it is past time to build start-ups of the utmost quality with proper governance and management to achieve the radical changes we all hope and know can be achieved’

The new blockchain accelerator joins SOSV’s coterie of successful start-up accelerators, including Hax (hardware), RebelBio and IndieBio (life sciences), Chinaccelerator (Asian market entry) and Food-X (food tech).

“Blockchain and its attendant technologies have the potential to radically change the ways we think about trust, money, work, assets, data ownership and more,” said Sean O’Sullivan, SOSV founder and managing partner.

“But, like other deeply transformative technologies, we’ve seen both hope and hype thus far. dLab is a deep-technology programme that builds and nurtures high-potential founders and start-ups who have the talent and ambition to build the critical building blocks of this ecosystem along with the first-to-market killer apps.

“The era of ICO (initial coin offering) hype is over, and it is past time to build start-ups of the utmost quality with proper governance and management to achieve the radical changes we all hope and know can be achieved,” O’Sullivan said.


In recent weeks, we reported that SOSV’s IndieBio is to establish a new accelerator in New York, most likely Manhattan, after it secured $25m in funding from New York State.

The new dLab-Emurgo accelerator programme is designed to be protocol-agnostic and multidisciplinary, and start-ups focused on any variant of distributed ledger or blockchain technologies are welcomed to apply. Emurgo’s partnership means that start-ups building for the Cardano ecosystem will receive several material advantages, including access to Cardano development and policy partners.

“Cardano has taken an exceptionally thoughtful research- and design-driven approach to the development of their third-gen blockchain, with a multilayer protocol and a consensus algorithm that’s been peer-reviewed by leading academics,” said Nick Plante, programme director of dLab.

“We believe that this level of technical scrutiny and the focus on formal verification will be a requirement for many mission-critical applications. Together, we will work to expand Cardano’s reach and use cases, while ensuring that start-ups have their choice of robust, scalable networks on which to build.”

Ingenious solutions

Applications are now open for the first dLab-Emurgo programme, starting at SOSV’s Manhattan offices in January 2019. Within weeks of the application deadline of 30 November, five start-ups will be selected to participate in the programme.

As part of the programme, each start-up will receive three-and-a-half months of intensive programming; seed capital investment of up to $200,000; a further $600,00 worth of free partner services and perks; as well as legal, HR, marketing and technology services.

In addition to the five selected accelerator start-ups, dLab will also award five research and technical fellowships, providing funding for a full calendar year to explore new topics in decentralisation and distributed ledger technologies.

“I’m deeply excited about the launch of our joint accelerator with SOSV. The blockchain industry is still in nascent stages and we can do no better than to actively and deliberately support the very best of teams, tackling the most debilitating of problems with the most ingenious of solutions,” said Manmeet Singh, CIO of Emurgo.

“Though countless blockchain teams have raised insane funding, they’ve ignored the fundamental nature of building a start-up or a business, which hasn’t changed. Our partnership with SOSV is aimed at bringing this mindset back to fundamental realities and help realise the genuine potential of this technology. By helping establish the dLab dedicated blockchain programme, we expect many new opportunities to launch on the Cardano ecosystem, and also to the broader blockchain technology landscape.”

Startups, entrepreneurs, researchers and developers can apply for the dLab-Emurgo programme now by visiting

Disclaimer: SOSV is an investor in

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years