[RFC]: Fund, Launch the Nexus Mutual Grants & Accelerator Program

[RFC]: Fund, Launch the Nexus Mutual Grants & Accelerator Program

Co-Authored with @Dopeee


Currently, the Foundation and DAO teams are focused on increasing cover sales by 20x in 2024. To achieve this goal, we need more builders, risk experts, brokers, and underwriters to contribute to the Nexus Mutual ecosystem.

We want to launch a combined Grants & Accelerator Program with clear calls to action to fund one-off projects and emerging risk businesses with the capital they need to build on top of Nexus Mutual. With more teams building within our ecosystem, we can expand distribution, develop new products, expand into new markets, and improve our existing products and interfaces.

Below we outline the rationale, proposed funding request and committee structure, so we can discuss our proposal with the community.


The Nexus Mutual DAO Treasury is well funded, with more than $22m available to fund DAO team operations and other community related activities that support the Mutual’s growth, adoption, and awareness. In the past, the Mutual ran a grants program that was reactive in nature, where members waited for people to suggest ideas, submit proposals, and go through the governance process. Because the previous program didn’t provide potential grantees with any potential scope, guidelines, areas where we need others to build, etc., it didn’t result in long-term success.

With the Nexus Mutual V2 protocol, it’s easier to build on top of the Mutual, launch risk management businesses (i.e., syndicates), develop new products, distribute cover, etc. Now is the right time to launch a Grants & Accelerator Program, where we can provide funding to people who can help us improve discoverability and distribution; expand into new markets and reach new users; and upgrade our existing products and interfaces.

The program we’re proposing is proactive, with clear calls to action and RFPs for projects and risk businesses the Mutual needs to expand, grow cover sales/fees, and onboard more experts into our ecosystem. Our goal is to provide funding to teams and people who want to build on top of the Mutual and expand our ecosystem in ways we cannot do by ourselves. We want our Grants & Accelerator Program to attract talented people with great ideas/expertise who can benefit by building on top of Nexus Mutual and underwrite cover with our Capital Pool.

With our aggressive growth targets for cover sales, we want to move fast, fund great teams, and establish go-to-market strategies that allow us to start supercharging our cover sales, while ensuring we manage risk exposure. To keep the process agile, we want establishing a committee with the power to provide funding for grants and to teams in our accelerator program on a discretionary basis.

This committee’s core purpose will be to review responses to RFPs, select the best teams, and distribute grant funding effectively and quickly to individuals and teams working to expand distribution, sell cover, and develop new products within our ecosystem.

What is a Grants & Accelerator Program?

While many people are familiar with the concept of a grants program, many members may not be familiar with accelerator programs.

With a grants program, the goal is to provide one-off funding for a project or small initiative that benefits the Mutual. We intend to focus 1/3 of our resources to grants, as there are many smaller projects and initiatives where individuals and teams can receive funding and deliver within 1-3 months.

With an accelerator program, the goal is to collaborate closely with teams and provide ongoing funding for a longer period of time (6-12 months) to help promising businesses build on top of the Mutual, develop new products that can drive significant cover sale/cover fee growth and break into new markets. These teams would manage their own staking pool, run their own third-party frontend, and establish, or bring, their own distribution network to the Mutual. The most well-known and widely recognised accelerator program is Y Combinator. We intend to focus 2/3 of our resources to the accelerator program, which can have the most outsized impact on growth.


We propose to form a committee-run grants and accelerator program for an initial 18-month period. We request a maximum budget of $3m in NXM to fund the program, with $1m allocated to funding grants and $2m allocated to funding teams accepted to the Nexus Mutual Accelerator Program.

At this time, we are not requesting an operating budget, as all proposed committee members are existing contributors to either the Foundation or DAO teams. However, we are not opposed to adding an operating budget if there are community members with relevant expertise willing to serve on the grants and accelerator committee.

The committee will have the discretion to approve:

  • Individual grants of up to $100k
    • RFPs will be posted with suggested budgets outlined, with no single RFP representing more than the $100k maximum amount. Most grants will be significantly smaller than the maximum amount.
    • Teams can also submit grant requests for ideas outside of the suggested RFP board posted on the Nexus Mutual DAO website (WIP).
    • After a grant request is submitted the committee will review and respond within 14 days. The goal is to move quickly, while ensuring the process is competitive, so the committee provides funding to the team that can provide the most value to the Mutual.
  • Commitments of up to $500k per team upon being accepted to the Accelerator Program.
    • Teams accepted to the Accelerator Program will make a commitment to work closely with the Foundation and DAO teams for a set amount of time to build their business, develop any new product(s), and establish a go-to-market strategy. Funding will be contingent on these agreements, which will be available on the Nexus Mutual DAO website (WIP).
    • This program will have an open submission window, but only 4-6 spots are available. Because the Foundation and DAO teams will be committing time, resources, and funding to those accepted, this will be a more exclusive process, where only the best applicants will be accepted.

Funding for this program will be denominated in USD terms, with the initial request for a $3m provided in NXM and held in a dedicated 3/5 multisig. Should the price of NXM fall considerably, the committee may request additional funding through the NMDP process.

The grants and accelerator committee would provide quarterly updates to members to highlight the teams building within our ecosystem, the granted funded and outstanding RFPs, and gauge impact of the program over time. This program will also have a dedicated section on the Nexus Mutual DAO website, where anyone can read about the program, the grants funded, teams accepted into our accelerator program, outstanding RFPs, areas of interest, etc.

Committee Members

We propose a committee of five (5) members: one (1) lead and four (4) reviewers. The committee lead will dedicate a significant amount of time to organise the program, conduct outreach to potential builders/risk experts/teams that may be a good fit for the grants/accelerator program, market and create awareness around the program, coordinate with the rest of the committee to review submissions in a timely fashion, etc.

The proposed reviewers will be as follows:

  • Dopeee (@Dopeee) | Member of the Business Development team. Proposed Committee Lead.
  • BraveNewDeFi (@BraveNewDeFi) | Head of DAO Community team/Contributor to the Product & Risk team.
  • Roxana Danila (@rox) | Head of Engineering team.
  • Rei (@Rei) | Head of DAO R&D team
  • Hugh Karp (@Hugh) | Founder

As a requirement, any alternative committee reviewer candidates should possess either engineering, insurance, actuarial, product, or insurance broker/sales expertise.


Our priority for 2024 is 20x cover growth, and the following grants and accelerator program guidelines will create the foundation for and directly facilitate this level of cover growth.

The Grants Program will focus on the following priorities for grants:

  • Legal and Regulatory
  • Technical Product Improvements
  • Improving the User Experience
  • Distribution and Marketing
  • Integrations and Composability

The Accelerator Program will prioritise submissions for teams who are:

  • Building new risk businesses into areas outside of the Mutual’s existing product offerings
  • Developing new cover products with risk frameworks and technical expertise outside of the existing Foundation and DAO teams
  • Bringing an existing distribution network with the business they can build on top of the Mutual

What will success look like?

This program will be measured primarily based on growth in cover sales ($ volume and # sold), cover fees, and membership numbers. Other metrics aren’t as easily quantifiable, such as improving existing products, risk controls, and user interfaces, but the end result of such improvements should be growth in these core metrics.

Once Q4 2024 concludes, the grant and accelerator program can be measured by the Mutual’s overall growth in cover sales and cover fees.

Timeline for Review

The proposal will be open for review for the next two (2) weeks before it’s eligible to move to an NMDP. Since this is a large request for funds and a novel program within the Mutual, we encourage ALL members to review and provide feedback.

This program can have a significant impact in sales and revenue growth for the Mutual, but we want members to be involved in establishing this program.

If any members want to be considered for a role on the committee, please:

  • Share why you’re interested in contributing to the committee
  • Outline the skills/experience you would bring to this committee
  • Indicate your weekly availability to review submissions and discuss with the committee

As a reminder: any alternative committee reviewer candidates should possess either engineering, insurance, actuarial, product, or insurance broker/sales expertise. This is a core requirement for a role as reviewer.

Proposal Status

  • This proposal is open for review and comment

Great idea to restart a grants (& accelerator) program.
Good to see that this iteration is incorporating learnings from the first version.

1 question/suggestion:
→ what platform is the team considering to manage the program?
(own development vs third-party?)

I noticed a few teams having some success with the use of 3rd-party platforms (see ‘DAO tooling’ space) to manage their grants program.

I see mostly benefits:

  • fast implementation (no need to reinvent the wheel)
  • helpful to structure the steps and various milestones mentioned in the doc
  • potential additional distribution channel (exposure to other communities)

I have Gitcoin Grants Stack in mind, but I think there are a couple others out there too.


The insurance industry is driven by partnerships and niche ecosystems.

Nexus Mutual is no different - the protocol will grow because of other businesses building on-top and from collaboration.

My biggest takeaway from the last year is that practically nothing in insurance gets done alone. Everything involves 10x the number of parties that you’d expect, because of the different tranching of risk and the layers of risk sharing / reinsurance.

I knew that already, but it’s just been emphasized time and time again.

This program directly supports the growth of that ecosystem, and will bring in or grow from scratch the parties that are necessary.

Agreed. Grants programs and incubators sort of have a cold start (chicken and the egg) problem and the mistake of the previous program was not actively and aggressively searching for parties who fit the needs of the program.

It was too passive.

A lot of my time is going to be spent actively contacting potential partners and working through the problems myself to ensure that we can be confident that they are the right group for the job.

Those are the reasons why having the funding pre-approved and set aside for this program is critical. It allows us to take this approach of dedicating time and resources to finding and recruiting the right counterparties.

The hardest part of a grants or incubator program is outlining specifically what problems exist and the potential solution that we’re desiring, and then finding the people to solve it.

Ideating the solution, at least enough to ensure you’re looking for the right counterparties, is probably 80% of the struggle.

Recruiting is 19%, and then the admin is like 1%.

I’m interested in tooling that supports the recruitment, less so on the admin side. Having said that, I don’t expect than any tooling will have a significant impact on recruitment. All of our experience here is that you have to be extremely outbound and proactive to get the best results there.


I’m not as convinced that you need a third-party platform to manage a successful grants program. While some use the Gitcoin Grants stack and some use Charmverse, the programs that have been successful have full-time people dedicated to their programs. While Safe uses Charmverse, they have a dedicated committee, clear calls to action, and aggressive marketing, which all have contributed to their success.

Aave Grants has been successful, and they’ve used a Notion-based website to advertise their CTAs and grants scope. My takeaway is, as @Dopeee said, you get out of a grants program what you put into it.

Dopeee is going to dedicate a signficant amount of time to this program, as will I. I’m convinced this is the key to unlocking 20-50x in growth over the next year or so.

With that in mind, Charmverse and Gitcoin Grants help with discoverability for people who are looking for grants to build. What we’re looking for is a more focused subset of builders who have an idea but lack capital and infrastructure to get their idea off the ground. For one off grants, I think we can manage outbound CTAs to reputable teams and use our existing network to reach builders.