Web3 startups will soon have a new local resource to turn to for help.
W3 Studio (pronounced We Studio), is launching as a non-profit venture studio to bring capital and community building efforts to diverse and overlooked founders building in the Web3 space.
Behind the studio is president Brian Zwerner, a fixture in the Atlanta startup scene. While launching W3 Studio, he also serves as a founder and investor at the intersection of sports, tech, and entertainment.
During his time scaling Beyond The Game Network from 2018 onwards, Zwerner and his team became intimately aware of the pain points diverse founders face in the startup and venture space. Specifically, there was a real need to get capital into the hands of these founders.
“While mentorship and advice was really helpful, what the diverse builders we were meeting in Atlanta needed the most was cash,” he told Hypepotamus.
Zwerner believes such a venture studio can help the nascent Web3 community in Atlanta begin to grow in a new, more purposeful way.
Getting W3 Studio off the ground
Black, Latin, and women founders are historically underrepresented in all tech verticals. When it comes to internet-based startups, minority founders have often struggled to raise necessary venture funding to scale an idea. The studio will look to fill an important gap in the market and help diverse founders get early-stage capital, which often comes from friends and family.
The reality, Zwerner said, is that the foundations the internet and the Web2 (the internet we are all familiar with today), is largely male dominated.
“We’re still at the very early days of Web3. If we get on this now, there’s a chance that it can be built differently and feel differently. The ultimate winners in this sector aren’t determined yet,” he added.
So why launch something like this now? According to Zwerner, we are in the early stages of Web3 and there is still time to create the tech vertical in a more inclusive, more accessible space.
Leaning heavily into decentralized technologies and token-based economics, Web3 is set to drastically change the worlds of media, entertainment, sports, and gaming. All of those areas are central to the State of Georgia’s economic development, making Atlanta a perfect place for such a studio, added Zwerner.
“20 years ago, if you’d said I don’t need a website and I’m going to stay off the internet…you’d have gone out of business. 10 years ago, if you said that I don’t need a social media account…. Well, you’ve either capitulated or you’re out of business. I think over the next decade, the same thing is going to happen [in Web3]. There won’t be Web3 companies and not Web3 companies. Everyone will utilize these new tools to engage community, engage fan, and bring an audience closer,” added Zwerner. “ I think we’ll see this big move of data moving off of individual servers and onto blockchains payments moving outside of the traditional payment rails and moving to these crypto payment rails. Everything is just cheaper, more scalable, more secure, if done in the right way.”
W3 Studios will be nominally hosted at the Atlanta Blockchain Center up in Buckhead, a space launched in 2022 to grow the overall Web3, crypto, and blockchain communities of Atlanta. The current board is made up of Marlon William (Atlanta Blockchain Center), Asante Bradford (Georgia Department of Economic Development), and Christy Brown (previously of Launchpad2X and now CEO at Dr. Noze Best).
Grants up to $200,000 will be available to founders. Applications will open soon and interested founders can keep checking the website for more information, according to Zwerner.