Just the other day, I noticed a LinkedIn post by Patrick Thompson, my friend and CoinGeek contributor that now works full time as the Vice President of the Miami Block Dojo Deal Flow Department. His happy post stated that 2022 was a good year for the Block Dojo and confirmed the first Miami cohort would be commencing on May 6, 2023.
Just wait until Block Dojo Miami opens up with Cohort One on May 6th 👀 https://t.co/Na1cdxBhxj
— Patrick Thompson 🦍 (@CryptoAmerican) December 22, 2022
As I’m a huge fan of Thompson and the entire Block Dojo team, I wanted to kick off 2023 with some excitement for our readers by sharing the news from the best blockchain tech startup incubator around. Let’s hear from Thompson himself on what’s cooking in Miami, what he’s looking for in a Founder, and why this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for startups in South Florida.
Becky Liggero: Happy New Year, Patrick. It looks like this is going to be a big year for you and the Block Dojo Miami team! Can you start by elaborating on why 2022 was such a good year for the Block Dojo as a whole, as shared in your LinkedIn post?
Patrick Thompson: In 2022, Block Dojo accomplished a lot and exceeded the goals we set for ourselves in many areas. I really need to give credit to Block Dojo London here because they did a lot of the heavy lifting before Block Dojo (Miami) came to fruition around September 2022.
A few highlights are that the Dojo surpassed £22m ($26m) of new startup equity value creation, we had over 300 applicants apply for the first three cohorts of the program, and the highlight that probably has me the most excited is that the Dojo is beginning to have a network effect; in the sense that our alumni (startups that went through the program) are beginning to have success which is leading to other startups and investors having conversations with them about their business journey and how they did it. And all of them credit the Block Dojo for getting their businesses where they are today. This has been creating a very positive feedback loop which gives me the confidence that 2023 will be an even better year for the Block Dojo.
Becky Liggero: Yes! I love it! Well, we already know you have a Miami office opening up in 2023. When will this be taking place, and what details can you share?
Patrick Thompson: We’ll be opening our Miami office on May 6, which is the start date for our very first cohort; we’ve already accepted four companies into the cohort, and the capacity for each cohort is ten companies, so a lucky six more still have the opportunity to be part of the life-changing program that is the Block Dojo, all they have to do is have a strong business idea and apply here.
Becky Liggero: What an amazing opportunity for a startup. So what role do you play in all of this?
Patrick Thompson: Over at Block Dojo (Miami), I’m the Vice President of the deal flow department.
Day to day, I look at a ridiculous number of pitch decks, have conversations with startups about their business model/business ideas, and create, develop, and execute strategies or plans that result in more teams applying to the block dojo, more mentors and advisors wanting to be part of our program, and more investors getting excited about our investor lunches and investor showcase.
In many instances, I’m the first point of contact that people interested in joining the Dojo or helping the Dojo or its startups talk with.
Becky Liggero: Sounds like this is a wonderful role for you! We at CoinGeek, in particular Charles Miller, have spent a lot of time with Block Dojo London. Can you clarify the relationship between Block Dojo Miami & Block Dojo London?
Patrick Thompson: Block Dojo London was the very first office/program that Block Dojo launched. For that reason, there are quite a few elements of the program where the London office serves as the blueprint. For example, the curriculum for our Miami program takes a lot of inspiration from the London program.
Beyond sharing the same founder (Craig Massey) and the same chairman (James Marchant), we also share a few resources among offices. We are constantly communicating with our U.K. counterparts, sharing information regarding what we find works well, what we see doesn’t work, what we need to implement, what we need to remove, etc. Because there’s a good chance that if one of the offices finds a process, operation, or resource to be beneficial, the other office will experience the same benefits if they implement it as well.
Becky Liggero: I love that you will be working closely with London. So why did Block Dojo decide on Miami as the location for its second hub?
Patrick Thompson: Miami was a location that had a lot of gravity pulling us in; our research showed us that $2.8 billion in venture funding came out of Florida in 2021; that Florida experienced significant growth in population (15%) over the last few years and that 30% of those newcomers were coming from the tech sector and tech hubs like San Francisco and New York.
In addition, we learned that Florida has over 500,000 accredited investors and that many towns, as well as the mayor of Miami (Francis Suarez), are blockchain friendly and often offer support and incentives for tech startups.
These elements pretty much create the perfect storm for a business like the Block Dojo that gives startups the resources they need to build a successful business and thrive, like capital, potential hires, mentors and advisors, and more.
Becky Liggero: That’s great to hear, and with the South Florida Citadel right around the corner, you will be in good company! So for all those startups out there who are considering applying for your program, what would you like to see in a startup Founder & team?
Patrick Thompson: It’s definitely not one size fits all, and there are always anomalies, but the startups in a good position to succeed typically have a few features in common.
Usually, teams with both a CEO and a CTO are the strongest candidates. In the arena that we operate in, having a software developer is mandatory, so coming to the table with your engineer already in place will make your business journey a bit easier.
When there is a CEO/CTO duo in place, the team typically has an MVP created, which will also put them ahead of the pack; with an MVP in place, they can enter a beta testing phase and get market feedback at a faster rate which will ultimately validate the startup’s platform or service or let them know that they need to pivot.
Becky Liggero: Amazing pointers, thank you. Before we sign off, can you tell us why you decided to move to a startup incubator program in the blockchain space and what excites you about this opportunity?
Patrick Thompson: I joined the Block Dojo because it’s currently the best way to make a positive impact in the digital asset world and “traditional” business verticals.
In the blockchain world—or any business vertical really—there are a lot of armchair philosophers…people telling you how the space or industry should look or what changes are needed in the industry for it to be more successful, but their contributions end at the color commentary they provide. The Block Dojo is the exact opposite of that. The block dojo is all action. We don’t only have the philosophy for what a business should do to grow exponentially and acquire customers. We have the experience and help our startups execute to make it a reality.
As my colleague/executive director Kevin Jackson over in London says, “we take the startups from soup to nuts, the whole seven courses” when they walk in the door, they are very early stage, and then throughout our 12-week program we give them the resources and make the introductions that significantly increase their chance of being successful in the (business) world that they have created a solution for.
Becky Liggero: As I said before, what an amazing opportunity for both startups in South Florida and for you, Patrick! Looking forward to seeing you at the London Blockchain Conference with an update, and keep up the good work!
Watch: Meet the new cohort of Block Dojo entrepreneurs
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