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Exclusive Interview with Ella Zhang on How Binance Labs Can Help Indian Blockchain Startups.

Binance, the largest crypto-asset exchange by adjusted volume has a venture arm under the name “Binance Labs”. We reached out to Ella Zhang, head of Binance labs to understand more about the platform and how developers from India can benefit from the several programs running under Binance Labs.

CCI: What is Binance Labs and who are the people behind it?

Zhang: Binance Labs is the venture arm of Binance and an initiative to incubate, invest, and empower blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, projects, and communities. The goal of Binance Labs is to enable BUIDLers to reach their goals faster by building efficient & sustainable projects which can add value to the the blockchain ecosystem and help it grow.

CCI: What is the Binance Labs Incubation program that the website directs to?

Zhang: Binance Labs Incubation Program seeks to identify talented early-stage startups and help their projects achieve product-market fit. For this season, we’re expanding the program across five continents. We’re currently seeking blockchain startups with huge potential around the world, and convening them for a 10-week on-site development and mentorship program. The Indian startups if selected have the option to go through the chapter in Singapore, or one of the other locations offered: Berlin, Hong Kong, Lagos, San Francisco or Buenos Aires. The Binance labs Incubation Program provides all the resources, from fundraising, PR & Marketing, Business development. 

The selected teams for Season 2 of the incubation program, starting in March, will receive the following support:

  1. Seed funding
  2. Mentorship from thought leaders in the crypto and startup industries
  3. Access to an extensive network of industry leaders and advisors
  4. Guidance in terms of various parts of startup building, such as legal matters, recruitment, technical execution, marketing, and fundraising, among others.

Applications close February 28, 2019 for Season 2. We encourage blockchain developers with innovative ideas to apply! (Read on to learn about how to apply).

CCI: How was season 1 of Binance Labs Incubation program?

Zhang: Season 1 of the Incubation Program was a humbling and rewarding season. From the start, we had over 500 quality startups apply to be part of the program, which was based in San Francisco. The 10-week program was a great learning experience and culminated in BUIDLers Day, where the first batch of eight teams pitched to more than 150 investors. In the first season, we had teams such as SafePal (developing affordable hardware wallets), Akio Labs (obtaining insights from blockchain data), Nym (building a secure, private future for the Internet) and more. 

CCI: What is Binance Fellowship Programs and how is it different from the Incubation Program?

Zhang: This is the first year we are introducing the Binance Labs Fellowship Program. This program is an initiative to support the open-source development of key building blocks of the blockchain stack from the Primitives such as consensus to the Application layer for payments, remittances and more. These fellows also stand to benefit from monthly stipends, mentorship via Binance portfolio leaders and advisors, and visibility via Binance’s marketing network. In addition, they get access to tools and connections from the OSS community.

CCI: What are the core areas of focus both for the Incubation and Fellowship Program?

Zhang: Binance Labs Incubation Program aims to be the strongest network of BUIDLers in blockchain, and the Fellowship Program supports open source blockchain developers and researchers. Both programs are working toward enabling and building a sustainable blockchain ecosystem and network.

CCI: How can the Indian Blockchain startups benefit from Binance Labs?

Zhang: Binance Labs provides blockchain projects with a holistic resource pool to enable BUIDLing. The selected Indian Blockchain startups can leverage the complete pool of resources with an access to retail customer base of Binance with 10 million plus users across the globe to realize their potential and goals. We have had an eventful 2018 for Binance Labs, where we supported 21 blockchain projects, including 13 startups that received direct investment and 8 startups nurtured via the inaugural season of the Binance Labs Incubation Program, and now we would like to help grow the blockchain ecosystem in India.

CCI: Describe the application process and evaluation criteria both for Incubation and Fellowship Program? 

Zhang: Startups/teams can start by visiting our website and completing the application at These applications will go through an intensive review process which requires an interview and consensus reached among all members of the Binance Labs team, to make an offer. The deadline for applying to the Binance Labs Incubation Program is fast approaching, we would like to suggest the teams to send their application now

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