Andreesen Horowitz Rolling Out Free School for Crypto Startups

Are you tech savvy and thinking about starting your own cryptocurrency company? Powerhouse private venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz, commonly shortened to a16z, may have just the program for you.

On November 8th, a16z’s general partner Chris Dixon unveiled the firm’s new Crypto Startup School (CSS), a seven week program that will kick off next year in February.

Notably, the VC firm will charge no tuition to entrants and will not be asking for equity to partake, either. In explaining what participants could expect, Dixon said:

“The lectures will be in person in Menlo Park, Cali., and afterwards we’ll be putting videos of the event along with curriculum materials online. The program is completely free. There is no charge and we don’t take equity. The curriculum is meant to supplement — not replace — the many other excellent programs and resources that help founders learn about building tech startups.”

The setup is poised to be a win-win situation for a16z and its students. On the one hand, participants will receive an excellent, accelerated curriculum that will help them build out their own blockchain enterprises. On the other hand, a16z will benefit from a wider, more robust cryptocurrency ecosystem within which to make later moves and investments as the firm sees fit.

“We think that sharing the most important lessons we’ve learned could accelerate the development of existing projects, and inspire more talented people to join the space,” Dixon added.

And speaking of lessons, the CSS program will cover lots of ground in short order. Though the curriculum is still set to change, the tentative course outline is set to cover a range of topics, including cryptoeconomics, applicable business models, blockchain computing primitives, user experience topics, governance, fundraising, and the fledgling arena’s current regulatory environment.


Meet One of the School’s First Mentors

On the same day as the Crypto Startup School announcement, Spencer Noon, head of DTC Capital, commented on his participation in the initiative as one of its inaugural mentors.

Noon, a respected analyst and investor in the space, said in a Medium post that the “timing for CSS couldn’t be more perfect,” insofar as the cryptoeconomy was fundamentally as promising as ever while still being down relative from its latest January 2018 peak:

“Given how today’s prices are clearly under-indexed on fundamentals, entrepreneurs are now presented with a golden opportunity to create an outsized impact in an industry that is poised for mainstream adoption in the coming years. Because of this, I believe that starting a crypto project is perhaps the highest-leverage bet that tech entrepreneurs can make today—and CSS is the perfect jumping-off point.”

Beyond Noon, other notable experts from the cryptocurrency space are also slated for the school’s first round of mentors, including but not limited to Arianna Simpson, Linda Xie, Jill Carlson, Nick Tomaino, and Haseeb Qureshi. For his part, Qureshi recently made waves for co-writing an article in which he and his co-author made the case that Etheruem had become “unforkable” due to the rising prominence of its biggest decentralized finance apps.

Crypto Work Opportunities Abound

You definitely don’t have to start a business to find work around cryptocurrency. And such work is acutely on the rise according to a new study from Indeed, a jobs search engine firm.

The company found that cryptocurrency and blockchain-centric jobs listings increased by 26 percent between 2018 and 2019. During the same span, Indeed discerned that searches for these same types of jobs declined by more than 50 percent, indicating the need for workers in the space has recently outpaced the amount of available laborers therein.

As for the blockchain jobs that have recently been most in demand, Indeed found the three most sought positions were for software engineers, senior software engineers, and software architects.

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