Nimi Incubation Grant - DXVentures

Overview

Nimi was developed at the ETH Amsterdam hackathon, where it was among the 13 finalists.

The 5 hackers on Nimi were all DXdao contributors, namely (keybase handles): jpkcambridge, zett, adamazad, devviolet and dlabs.

We believe Nimi has vast potential and would like to undertake this journey together with DXdao. We would be thrilled to have the continued support of DXdao through a DXventures incubation grant in Nimi.

Nimi.eth

In its current form Nimi.eth acts as a decentralised social aggregator - allowing users to actually own and control their own Nimi page hosted on their own ENS domain. Currently, less than 1% of ENS addresses have a content hash set (source: https://dune.com/makoto/ens).

We want to change that!

Just this month (July 2022) over half of all content hashes set were through Nimi.eth - and quite frankly, Nimi currently is just a polished version of what we built at the hackathon.

We also launched a partnership with the eth.limo team - which by default, if the user has no content hash set, redirects them to a Nimi page which is pre-populated with POAPs and ENS records associated with that ENS domain.

Opportunity

Both identity and social media are still in its infancy in Ethereum. ENS is a great service on Ethereum, but it remains cumbersome for normies to onboard onto (setup metamask, KYC on an exchange, buy some ETH, connect to ENS, buy a domain, set records etc.). Even hosting content on your ENS requires some technical knowledge, hosting data somewhere (i.e. IPFS) and then setting the content hash correctly.

Web3 social is currently taking off with a number of projects launching recently, including Lens Protocol and apps built upon it. Nimi wants to play a central role in the web3 social media space and is positioning itself strategically to do so.

Nimi Vision

We see Nimi as the social aggregator / personal profile page in web3. Where users have full ownership of their web3 presence.

We want to be the default option to connect at conferences, rather than sharing Telegram QR code, sharing your Nimi QR code! We’re looking to implement additional functionality to enable such connections, including NFTs representing connections on-chain which could give access to further information (i.e. email address) based on degrees of connection - fully customizable by users themselves.

We also see a great opportunity in the creative space, most web3 artists today use linktree as the default link in their twitter bio. We see a vast opportunity in building Nimi into a product that suits the needs of creators much better. I.e. showcasing and being able to sell NFTs directly from your Nimi page!

Outside of the existing web3 user base, we also want to make it our mission to onboard new users into web3 and ENS - focusing on creating a user-friendly UI/UX experience.

DXdao <> Nimi

Nimi was born out of the ETHAmsterdam Hackathon we were attending on behalf of DXdao and there are a lot of shared values in this journey.

DXdao has long been one of the few active DAOs using ENS domains to host its DAPPs. Nimi is in a strong position onboarding individual users to hosting on ENS and increasing overall awareness of the possibility of hosting on an ENS domain and how to access the domains in a regular browser. Through the incubation grant, Nimi will be able to rely upon DXdaos expertise in web3 development, bizdev and marketing.

EDIT: “by relying upon DXdao expertise” we intend more in an advisory capacity i.e. being able to reach out to DXvoice / DXBiz once in a while to ask feedback on certain ideas / approaches, rather than expecting them to proactively be working on Nimi exposure and biz-dev.

We believe Nimi can also be a great opportunity to raise awareness of DXdao and its products. Nimi is targeting individual users who are active in web3 as its initial target audience. It’d be great to work together on exposure with DXdao, hosting twitter and discord spaces together, driving new Nimi users to checkout DXdao and perhaps even co-sponsoring conferences and events. We’re also open to any other suggestions on how we could raise awareness together.

Use of funds

Nimi will use the funds primarily to engage designers, UI / UX team and developers. We believe a user-friendly experience is a must have and want to add a lot of new features to Nimi. Naturally, we also want to increase the Nimi user base as well as add functionality for existing users which will require a strong marketing and awareness push both through conferences and online outreach.

Grant

This proposal suggests DXdao fund Nimi with $150k in the form of an incubation grant. This is a new idea that goes down a path where DXdao can support new ideas and products that come from within with both financial capital and contributor resources.

Additionally, this proposal allows the Nimi core team to spend up to 40% of their time working on Nimi, any such change in time commitment at DXdao will be reflected in their respective worker proposal. Allowing the team to work up to 2 full days a week + weekends on Nimi, while still fulfilling their original responsibilities at DXdao.

I.e. If a contributor decides to spend 40% of their time on Nimi (2 days a week), they will submit their DXdao worker proposals at 60% compensation.

EDIT: if a Nimi contributor were interested to go FT Nimi, this would be announced to DXdao in a timely manner to allow for a smooth transition on both sides. The overall expectation is to keep at minimum a 60% time commitment to DXdao until end of 2022.

If passed, this proposal sends 150k USDC to the Nimi MS identified as: 0x4e675ceB415fC41700fb821fF3B43cE5C8B9a83B

This proposal also authorises the transfer of the Nimi.eth ENS domain ownership to the above MS.

Nimi also commits to using DXdao products in the future as the need arises i.e. DXgov, Swapr etc.

Looking forward to hearing feedback from the community!

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I think this is a great initiative and would be great to see further discussion with the rest of the DAO.

This can set precent for future DXdao products on how they are built / incubated internally, and then spun out/semi-out while still being supported and assisted by the DXdao, with value being accrued back to DXdao.

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I fully support DXdao funding Nimi with the incubation grant. From what I’ve seen and heard, Nimi has already managed to get some traction proving (somewhat) the demand. Furthermore, there seem to be ample opportunities to partner up with other industry leaders in the web3 social media space.

With that said, would it be possible to break down the $150k a bit more? What is the estimated runway? How much would be allotted to the developers in the core team versus other expenses such as marketing/design/branding, etc.? What would some of the key milestones for these $150k be?

Pretty excited to see where Nimi could go from here on out!

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+1

With that said, would it be possible to break down the $150k a bit more? What is the estimated runway? How much would be allotted to the developers in the core team versus other expenses such as marketing/design/branding, etc.? What would some of the key milestones for these $150k be?

The core team will not be receiving any compensation from the incubation grant. The funds will be fully used for product development and raising awareness of Nimi. Our goal is to build a product which users love to use - for that we want to make the UX / UI experience amazing, and keep adding functionality to the app on a rolling basis.

Some milestones we’ve set ourselves for this year are:

  • Nimi pages for DAOs
  • Making on-boarding for web2 users easier
  • Gasless Nimi page deployments
  • Nimi Connect (on-chain connections)

The funds will also be used to attend conferences / marketing / user acquisition. We are also currently in the process of applying to further grants which will allow us to onboard more Nimi contributors quicker and focus on growth.

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It would also be interesting to hear some comments about the estimated runway as well. I understand it’s still early in the planning phase, but a rough time estimate for how these $150k will be used should be viable to disclose. Is it meant to last one year? Half a year? And based on the time estimation and planned product development, maybe $100k is enough? Or maybe Nimi needs even more, like $200k?

I think what I am looking for is a visual roadmap with the milestones mentioned above set within specific time frames. Obviously, the roadmap is never set in stone (and more than likely prone to change) - but it should give the rest of the DAO a good overview of the initial goals set for Nimi and the time to achieve them with the allotted grant.

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I’d like to hear more about the business model you see for Nimi, and whether DXdao can expect to see a return at some stage or not?

If it’s not a project that’s expected to deliver a return and is purely a public good, then maybe this would grant proposal better suited to ENS Dao rather than DXdao.

Above section highlights plenty of value add for ENS and more so DXdao. So absent a value-returning mechanism I don’t think it’s a suitable allocation of resources for DXventures.

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Because this is a new type of situation for DXdao and DXventures, I helped create this idea of an Incubation Grant. This includes financial support but also includes additional forms of support which could be marketing, biz dev, governance, technical support, etc.

Though it is not currently the main focus of DXdao, I think it is very useful for DXdao to learn how to create, support, and launch new products into the space in a responsible manner that allows DXdao to benefit from success stories.

These successes can lead to awareness of DXdao and its products, growth in the usage of its products, financial gains and more.

I imagine a future where DXdao kickstarts these products, incubates them and then helps them to use Aqua for a token generation event, form a liquidity pool on Swapr and use Carrot to do smarter liquidity mining, all while practicing governance with DXvote.

I could see there being a value-returning mechanism along the way.

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In that case, value-returning mechanisms would hinge on a token generation event after incubation that uses DXdao products.

So we’d need to confirm;

  1. Whether the Nimi team foresee a token for the project in the future, and what the value proposition is for that token.
    No token, then no value returning premise. Likewise if the token were an afterthought poorly attached to the protocol, the value premise is essentially nil. fees.wft is a perfect example of this, as useful as the website might be DXventures wouldn’t dream of giving them $150,000 for 25% of their token supply!
  2. What % of the total supply they can commit for DXdao in return for the $150,000 incubation grant.
    Self explanatory.
  3. A commitment from the Nimi team that they will use these DXdao products for and after their TGE.
    If for example they decided at a future date that traction of Aqua or Swapr was too low and would hurt their token so use say Balancer for TGE and Sushi for liquidity, then the value returning premise collapse.

That the Nimi idea comes from DXdao contributors and was conceived on a DXD funded hackathon means it’s very likely that their commitment to DXdao products is firm. However I also think that as this is the first DXventures grant coming from our own contributors it needs to be more well considered not less so, so that we’re not biased and are correctly judging the merits of the proposal.

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Isn’t the mkt cap of WTF $1.8m making 25% worth $450k - a nice return?

Fair enough, just threw out WTF out there as an example of a blatant cash grab token. Didn’t bother to check the max supply.

Though volume has dried up on the token and on-chain, you’d only get $28.6k if you were to liquidate 25% of the max supply.

Pretty sure we still wouldn’t be doing $150k for 25% unless the DAO took a sudden hard turn towards degen! :sweat_smile:

Well, it was 100x higher back in January and 10x higher back in February.

$180m making 25% worth $45m

you might want to choose another token :wink:

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If Nimi has a cashgrab token without a value proposition, is likely to trade at an FDV of $180m, and we don’t have to do any lockup/vesting so we can immediately dump; then I’m fully in favour of the proposal !

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:joy::joy::joy:
Y’all are awesome

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I personally am in favour of a shift towards the incubation model for DXdao; I think it has a lot of benefits and allows for more objective checks and balances over product market fit and traction. However, I think we’d struggle to compete for the best opportunities if we stipulated usage of current DXdao products (Swapr in particular, I don’t think others have even been completed to be able to assess their competitiveness in the market). I think projects knowing where to find these products is great, but frankly if my primary aim as a new project is to set myself up for success, gain as much traction and awareness as possible, then narrowing in and giving full commitment to a suite of products that are yet to gain significant traction themselves would hamper that, and I fear that we’d be left with a market for lemons scenario where we are only left with opportunities available to us where the founders have displayed poor decision making acumen upfront by committing to use DXdao’s products over others with more traction during such early stages as searching for investment.

I think the product squads of these DXdao products have pushed forward some great work, upheld commendable values with regards to decentralization and integrity, and are extremely talented, but if discussions are tending towards this new incubation style model for DXdao, then we have to acknowledge the reason behind that, a lack of traction for said product(s), and not enter it with any ‘baggage’, just lessons and experience.

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Congrats on the hackathon and related project development. I know @adamazad has been working long weekends on Nimi, and I’m excited to see where he takes it.

That said, incubation grants of this nature usually come with conditions:

  • a 10-20% placeholder in the project’s first equity investment round is given to the the incubator as a condition to the grant.

  • If the project does not intend on doing a pre-seed or other equity-based investment round and there is a token issuance, the same 10-20% allocation would apply to the token supply.

Considering that the DXdao treasury funded the five hackathon participants to attend this conference and now the Nimi team is asking for a 150k grant to fund the project, a 10-20% allocation in equity or tokens (or both) should be promised to DXdao.

I also agree with the above comments re: providing better specifics on runway / a more clear roadmap. Any data on traction is a plus.

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Thanks for everyone’s feedback. I will probably have a biased opinion here, as I’m one of the original hackers at Nimi.

I really think the incubation grant approach can be a very interesting approach for DXdao, regardless of whether or not Nimi receives one. It provides funding from the DAO, while still having market pressure to deliver products and being able to raise funds externally from the DAO.

However, if DXdao wants to incubate successful projects I believe it must be competitive with the market. I think requesting up to 20% of the project for 150k (750k valuation) is far from competitive. I’m not sure where the 10-20% figure comes from, but the average accelerator takes 5-10%. Ycombinator, arguably the most famous accelerator, gives $500k for 7% - which of course dilutes with future raises.

Looking closer at the web3 space LongHash invests $200k for 4% + an uncapped convertible note of $300k (for selected projects). Another example of a project spinning out of a DAO is CowSwap spinning out of GnosisDAO - after full development of the product in-DAO with all the team’s salaries paid by the DAO it spun out with GnosisDAO receiving 10% of total token supply.

With all that said, I’m personally very excited to explore a possible incubation grant which is mutually favourable. The Nimi team has already received funding offers (at over 10x the valuation of 750k), but we have intentionally not entertained those offers because we wanted to come to DXdao first. We believe the DAO can add significant value and also recognise that Nimi was born out of a hackathon we would have likely not attended if it weren’t for DXdao.

I also think the DXdao community appreciates that some investment terms are preferable to be kept private, rather than be disclosed on a public forum - as has been the case with previous DXventure grants. The team is more than happy to share those details with anyone interested - feel free to reach out to me directly!

On a separate note, I believe the DAO should clarify what happens if a project is created during a hackathon which the DAO paid for. In this specific case DXdao paid a stipend to attend Devconnect week in Amsterdam,. A few contributors decided to apply to the hackathon and spend the weekend hacking (22-24th April) - others spent the weekend enjoying Amsterdam (which is totally fine!). The stipend was paid regardless of whether or not a contributor was hacking.

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:upside_down_face: I clearly remember Wayne and I at the OG Council. Schedule · Devconnect
Many of us also recently attended EthCC Paris, and didn’t visit the Eiffel tower, because we’re not tourists.
I’m saying this, so people reading this don’t get the wrong impression.

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Certainly didn’t meant to imply everyone else was having tourist days. Apologies if it came across that way.

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I like that DXdao doesn’t have much process. I like that DXdao doesn’t have contributors signing IP assignments or non-competes. There is nothing preventing the Nimi hackers from leaving DXdao if they wish, raising money, and pursuing their ambitions. And it should be this way, a free world.

What I hope is that all DXdao contributors see value in their relationship to DXdao and other contributors, value in their reputation, and value in DXdao’s support even beyond DXdao itself. And as others have stated above, this could be a great example of how DXdao can incubate and/or spin off projects. We have the opportunity here to set a standard for how this should be done. And I don’t think this has to involve more process or rules, but rather leading by example.

Personally, I think a fair approach would be to take a benchmark of popular incubators, see what valuations and allocations are typical, and then give DXdao something that is comparatively a little bit better in acknowledgement of the origination of the team itself being out of DXdao. For example if the benchmark is 5%, then I think would be great if DXdao got 6 or 7%. Dave has cited some examples here, but would probably be good to have some research done by DXdao members not biased by being Nimi contributors. For example, I think maybe Cowswap is a low example given what Gnosis put it. Since I was also on the Nimi hackathon team, it shouldn’t be me though either.

Looking forward to seeing this get fleshed out and hopeful it can inspire both Nimi contributors and all other DXdao contributors and community members.

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