5 Reasons Why You Should Apply to Crypto Startup School

If you’re considering applying to a16z’s Crypto Startup School, applications close this Friday, October 20.

As an alumnus, here’s my experience and 5 reasons why you should submit an application.

1. Funding

For Bello, the 12 weeks were quite rewarding.

As a hackathon passion project, we ran Bello on $20k in grants for 10 months before having any capital to our name.

This was peak FTX, funding dried up, and Ellie and I were in the dark trying to get any fuel to bring our vision to life.

CSS was a major light for us.

2. Advice

We loved our experience so much that we documented nearly every week going through the accelerator on Bello’s podcast and blog.

We got to work directly with or learn from god-tier brains like Jason Rosenthal, Chris Dixon, Brian Armstrong and so many others who had years of experience and wisdom to answer critical questions and save us time on decisions made.

Here’s week 1’s recap:

3. Working closely with a16z crypto

One of the most beneficial parts of CSS was working closely with the a16z crypto team for a dedicated period of time. Each member specializes in their own area of expertise.

For example:

  • You have questions on pricing? Go to Jason and Maggie.

  • GTM? Pyrs is your guy.

  • Protocols? Hit up Ali.

  • Marketing and social media? Schedule time with Ish.

  • Legal? No one is better than Miles.

  • Fundraising? Any crypto investment parter or GP, but specifically Arianna.

  • Hiring? Just schedule some time with the internal talent team or the heads of talent at Uniswap and Coinbase.

  • Want to figure out how to architect your brand? a16z brought in a top 10 design and brand agency for teams to meet with and consult them on this area.

Plus so much more.

The amount of time and money you save just being able to navigate through the CSS grapevine is invaluable for an early-stage company.

We tried our best to milk every second of it, and you should too.

4. Talent

Your first few hires are key.

We were able to leverage a16z’s name as a vehicle for talking to some of the most talented engineers.

In fact, we made our first hire during CSS.

Leveraging their talent network was super helpful in understanding platforms to promote, industry comps, and negotiations, to name a few.

5. Paying customers

Entering CSS we had a bunch of free users actively using Bello, though we never attempted to charge them.

Leaving CSS we had gotten leads for larger accounts and a proper business model in place to implement.

This was a major win for Ellie and me and allowed us to rethink how we build Bello in the future.

With the help of a16z, we got intros to valuable contacts and leveraged their name to open doors within and outside of their network.


It was quite the experience, to say the least, and we’re proud Bello’s roots are an extension of CSS.

Out of the five, the three biggest value adds were:

  1. Funding

  2. Signal for quality talent

  3. Paying customers

What else could an early-stage startup want?

Consider applying if you haven’t yet. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain:

And if you do get in, we have a group chat with our cohort that we’re looking to grow.

DM me for access.

Good luck!

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