Web3 community funded it’s own startup, introducing yWhales

8 min readSep 2, 2022

The Silent Illuminati of Web3

Life is good for John Doe in the summer of 2030.

37, rocking his favorite joggers while he sips down his iced latte, 3 shot venti, 2 pump vanilla with oat milk. He’s finished work for the day, reviewing design decks for his latest apparel line from his beachfront office in Venice and is strapping on his Oculus Rift headset to enter his safe space 😎- a virtual tradeshow in the metaverse with access exclusively granted to owners of a picture of a whale 🐳.

Interested? We’ve raised $5 million at an $80 million valuation entirely from our network to build this reality 🙌.

You heard that right, $5m of real Ben Franklins completely self-sourced from our private Web3 community during the heart of a bear market 📉— not a single dollar of external capital taken (no VCs, PEs, Angels formally involved here). The strength 💪 of Web3 communities is here and we just proved that.

So, how did we get here?

The Problem with Web3

Let’s be honest, Web3 is very, very flawed right now and has a lot of similarities to the American Wild West with regulation lacking and no safe way to explore. Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the difficulties surrounding mainstream adoption today:

  • ⚠️ ️Scams/Hacks: Losses from scams soared to a feverish height of $14 billion in 2021 and the problem hasn’t stopped. Recent notable examples include the Nomad Bridge ($190m) and Slope Finance ($8m) hacks.
  • Trusted Education Source: Where do we go today to understand how existing brands and organizations have already started to leverage Web3 capabilities? Crypto Twitter? Discord Communities? Web3 LinkedIn? Substack Articles? Reddit?
  • 🔍 Hidden Motives: Whilst there’s an abundance of content surrounding Web3, the motivations behind its publication is often flawed. Whether it’s an outright scam or just trying to pump an individual’s holdings, there’s very few places to learn about the space with an unbiased coach.
  • 💸 Flipping Mindset: The current culture around Web3 is largely short-term oriented. People are promised wealth beyond their wildest dreams with investment opportunities that “only go up”. This has led to a lack of long-term conviction, dumps on retail, and the destruction of viable projects due to their treasuries collapsing.

We believe there’s one common solution to a lot of the problems tormenting Web3 right now: Education 📚. From helping people understand how to safely store their seed phrase to being armed with the awareness of what to look for in crypto scams, we believe there’s a lot yet to be done.

These issues have plagued Web3 since the beginning but they’re still just as prevalent, impeding adoption for everyone from college students to seasoned business executives and institutions. While volume and the number of returning buyers stayed reasonably high during the first few months of the crypto crash, we’ve witnessed the number of new wallets flat-lining since September ’21 (≈ 8k per day).

To help with this and to accelerate our vision, the fulfillment of our seed funding round has validated our belief that a strong community is an imperative part of a Web3 company’s value proposition and for businesses in the future.

We hope to fix 🔨 a lot of the problems highlighted above and provide a go-to space under one domain with reliable information and top-class educational content.

What is yWhales?

In short we’re a community, but we’re a little different than the rest. Sound like the typical Web3 sales pitch 👀? Well let’s explain.

yWhales is NOT a regular consumer platform. Instead, we’re an exclusive, gated forum comprised of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and executives from across the globe who are all centered around the belief that Web3 will shape the future of how we live, work, and play.

Our mission is to serve as an educational mechanism for our 1,300+ members as they explore, identify, and adopt Web3 capabilities for their new and existing businesses through our four entities: Communities, Ventures, Solutions, and Labs.

yWhales has now been hosting yDeFi Sessions 💹 & Fireside Chats 🔥 for the past 1.5 years with some of the world’s leading experts, providing a safe and fertile ground for our members to learn about the rapidly evolving ecosystem.

Straying further from the typical DAO playbook, we’ve required all our members to meet certain professional experience requirements and to be fully KYC’d 🔑. This has allowed us to create a far more transparent community where members are able to speak freely without a sense of fear that comes from anonymous groups. As a symbol of this you can see all of our full-time team members here.

Having all these requirements and high-calibre individuals sounds great right? But it also sounds a little like a group of Monopoly characters snobbishly sipping $500 whiskey radically chanting NFTs & Metaverse plays.

That’s not who we are. The company has been built on the core philosophies of Web3: community-led and built on foundations of education, collaboration, transparency, and ethics to set the direction of the organization for years to come. In time we hope to open this community to more and more amazing operators.

Where yWhales is Today

Our internal engagement has exploded 💥 since the first Fireside Chats 1.5 years ago, flourishing into something entirely unexpected, with experienced executives across countless industries sharing how Web3 is already revolutionizing their industries and forecasting where it will go next.

Built on the core belief that DAOs are going to revolutionize how businesses interact, we’ve built a structure that can truly represent our conviction and supercharge the growth of our community:

“The future of Web3 will be written by global communities. They won’t recognize the borders of traditional nation states, with influencers similar to if not greater than current Fortune 1000 companies. These communities of engaged, passionate individuals will redefine the global economic landscape.” Jay Steinback, CEO yWhales

Our organizational structure has enabled us to flip the traditional business model on its head 🙊, raising funds from our strongest members and enabling them to participate in the upside as we build a flywheel around the four key pillars of the business:

👪 Communities

This is the ❤️ of the business and where yWhales was conceived. Communities will provide executives and entrepreneurs with education and collaborative opportunities, including everything from podcasts to live events and focused working groups. It’s what makes yWhales special.

💡 Solutions

If the last 1.5 years has taught us anything, it’s that we’ve seen many great companies struggle to properly connect with their customers and community (RIP Discord). Solutions was born after recognizing the organization could help brands navigate ⛵️ the murky waters and design solutions that would resonate well with their communities and wouldn’t be seen as short-sighted or extractive.

Solutions serves as a trusted Web3 advisor, providing domain, business, and operational expertise to clients who aim to blueprint their own Web3 futures. The Company has already built a multi-disciplinary team of advisors comprised of industry, strategy, and technology experts who provide advisory and consulting services to new and existing businesses — helping traditional enterprises capitalize on new Web3 opportunities.

We built Solutions because we weren’t happy with the help brands were getting in Web3 👎. Whilst many technical development agencies exist, there has been no real attempt to utilize real industry executives to build a new, hybrid management consulting model. We’ve got the perfect 👌 group to start this, where our members, all industry executives with their 10,000+ hours ⌛️of expertise will be utilized as “yWhales Advisors”, paired alongside crypto natives to implement a new consulting model the world has yet to experience.

🔬 Labs

This is our playground and our mad scientist’s lab. Labs will leverage the company’s network of developers, designers and advisors who know how to build, run, and scale 📈 successful startups, deploying both capital and resources at our own ideas. Within labs we’ll be placing 80% of our focus on yWhales projects and 20% on community projects.

But we couldn’t let everyone else have all the fun and sit on the sidelines could we? We’ve been busy buidl’ing 🚧 behind the scenes our vision of a digital “Worlds Fair 🎈” — the first B2B metaverse platform with tools, metrics and entertainment to showcase cutting edge companies and to help shepherd traditional Web2 business as they embark upon their journeys into the frontiers of Web3.

💰 Ventures

The discovery blueprint for Venture is changing — funds need to innovate to provide more than just capital. Talent is globally distributed and information travels faster now, more than ever, at any point in history. Identification of generational changing opportunities today requires an ability to have access to unparalleled deal flow. yWhales has it 🎯. When you have 1,300+ individual networks with their 1st and 2nd degree connections that want to seize these opportunities, you simply supply them with a mechanism to deploy capital and their experience needed to nurture those investments in their growth. In essence, yWhales has a 1,300+ deal team with decades of individual domain expertise covering over 40+ industries. We’re excited to be piloting this rocket 🚀.


Unfortunately we’re not a DAO quite yet 😞. Given the current lack of clarity in DAOs legal status and recognition it seems the market isn’t quite ready. For the time being, we’ve built the company our community needed and are waiting for the day we can hand over the reins.

Whilst the team are all incredibly bullish on a Web3 future, we’re realists. We see that there’s still a meaningful amount of work 👷 before the widespread mainstream adoption of Web3 can occur.

The past two years have ushered in a new era of innovation that has helped demonstrate significant market demand for applications such as decentralized finance and NFTs. However, for the most part these companies have been more akin to Napster — a technology driven project, moving fast and breaking things rather than a commercially viable technology business like Spotify.

With less speculation in the bear market we hope to see the missionaries continue to build with an eye towards more responsible consumer protections and a greater legal foundation 👏.

Today, we’re launching publicly with the hopes that this community can scale to the next 100,000 users to help more entrepreneurial optimists keep safe and create a truly impactful community.