How Experienced Mentors Can Foster Web3 Business Ideas to Success

Learn about the advantages of being mentored in Web3, and meet some of the zkIgnite Mentors guiding some of the first ZK projects.

In the rapidly evolving world of blockchain technology, mentorship will play a crucial role in guiding aspiring builders and fostering innovation. The industry is young and estimated to have a compounded annual growth rate of about 60% over the next seven years — yet there are limited qualified mentors.

Moreover, blockchain is a broad industry with many sub-niches that require different types of expert guidance. One of the technologies disrupting the space is zero knowledge proof technology — known for its benefits of enabling scalability and privacy. The zkIgnite grant program is at the forefront of this mentorship-driven approach, aiming to bring together builders and industry leaders to develop cutting-edge ZK applications on Mina Protocol.

One of the most interesting challenges of zero knowledge proofs is to build business value from it.

Advantages of Being Mentored in the Web3 Space

Being mentored in Web3 can accelerate your learning, increase your chances of success, and provide valuable guidance as you navigate the decentralized future. According to TechCrunch, 33% of founders mentored by successful entrepreneurs went on to become top performers. Let’s briefly go over four of the top reasons you should consider finding a mentor if you’re building in Web3. 

  1. Knowledge and Expertise: Web3 regulations, cycles, and technology is constantly progressing. Having an expert in your corner that knows the best ways to work through those challenges let you gain valuable insights in the evolving Web3 ecosystem. 
  2. Guidance and Direction: Get strategic guidance on your roadmap, avoid pitfalls, and make informed decisions through the mentor’s experience and recommendations. This can save you time and resources. 
  3. Network and Connections: Tap into the mentor’s extensive network, opening doors to collaborations, partnerships, backers, and relevant industry contacts.
  4. Feedback and Validation: Receive constructive feedback, validation, and suggestions for improvement on your ideas and projects.

Here is what some Mina builders have shared after working with mentors from zkIgnite. 

“My experience working with both of my mentors has been highly enriching. Their assistance has helped me understand the challenges that my project presents and they have helped me find possible solutions to specific technical issues I was facing.” – Rafael Campos, zkIgnite Cohort 1 Builder

“My mentors have helped me a lot with brainstorming fresh ideas, testing my application, providing feedback, and much more!” – Arnout Quint, zkIgnite Cohort 1 Builder

“Our mentors have provided design and architecture feedback, pointed us to amazing resources, and have helped us be accountable to high-quality standards. It’s great to work with smart and admirable people like them in this process.” – Santiago Cammi, zkIgnite Cohort 1 Builder

Not every mentor is guaranteed to be a right fit for you though, so don’t give up if you haven’t found one yet. The Mina zkIgnite mentor program is always looking for ways to improve the experience for both mentors and builders!

Be Mentored in Mina’s zkIgnite Builders Program

zkIgnite is a builder’s program designed to help developers and entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into zero knowledge applications and bring the next million users onto Web3. There are three phases: propose, fund, and build. As part of the final phase of the program, funded projects are paired with mentors, and are given an opportunity to connect with industry experts and VCs, and ultimately start building.

There are two types of mentors: technical and business-focused. The mentor’s primary role is to support builders in navigating the complexities of starting their projects. Cohort 1 currently has 17 mentors from diverse backgrounds, bringing a wide range of qualifications and experiences to the table.

Although this can change in every cohort, each Cohort 1 mentor was paired with two builder teams, and every builder team was paired with two mentors based on their interests and needs. To get an idea of what kind of expertise zkIgnite mentors in Cohort 1 have, check out the table below. 

Technical mentorship can be in: Business mentorship can be in:
✅ Technical development including expertise in problem-solving, software, AI, blockchain, and developer tooling.  ✅ Legal and regulatory matters specific to the crypto space to guide you on risk mitigation, compliance, and governance
✅ Zero knowledge proofs and rollups, including in-depth understanding, and practical knowledge from founders and contributors of ZK projects. ✅ Web3 institutional knowledge from contributors of prominent projects to make connections, and give insights into common challenges in Web3 development.
✅ User experience (UX) design and product development, to provide insights on product principles, design applications, creative direction, and more. ✅ Leadership and entrepreneurship, from experienced leaders of various levels (C-suite, team leader, entrepreneur), to support in building and scaling teams with diverse skills.

Meet Some of the zkIgnite Mentors

The zkIgnite builders program is proud to have mentors that have consulted for Web3 projects such as Argent, Avalanche, Solana Labs, and much more. Expertise also spans healthcare, gaming, regulation, and zero knowledge. Let’s meet some of the brilliant minds helping Cohort 1 funded projects. Please note, that for privacy reasons, many mentors opted out of this blog feature.

Karol Podufalski

Karol is an early Mina Community member that has been building with Mina zkApps for over 1.5 years. He has a plethora of experience in blockchain, cryptography, energy systems, DeFi, developer tooling, and last but not least, mountain biking! Karol is known to have taught several zkApp workshops and is familiar with how to solve common problems quickly, providing technical expertise that is helpful for early teams.

What they have to say about zkIgnite: “Mina is currently at a very crucial moment of growth when creating tooling for the developers is incredibly important. I am glad to see many builders tackling this challenge and looking forward to seeing how I as a developer can leverage those tools in the future.”

Mario Zito

Mario is an accomplished senior software developer and architect that boasts over 30 years of experience. He has founded three thriving companies and is a NEAR-certified developer and architect, with an impressive background in mentoring small developer teams and junior developers. Mario’s superpowers are his remarkable ability to set product objectives, keep teams motivated, and deliver results with limited resources.

What they have to say about zkIgnite: “zkIgnite builders have a broad range of experiences, from people just trying to learn ZK, to people who have strong cryptographic foundations. Because the ecosystem is early, the tooling being built such as playgrounds and off chain storage will make a great impact, especially on the ample variation of zkApp use cases being worked on.”

Marko Lazic

Marco has 2 years of experience developing applications for the Ethereum ecosystem. During that period he has worked on multiple interesting projects, conducted research, and audited code.

What they have to say about zkIgnite: ZK is ultimately leading us towards a more private and secure future. I think that the chosen proposals to be built are strong. Projects are seamlessly using ZKPs and with proper realizations, it can definitely bring many users and developers to Mina – no doubt! If anything, I think builders in many cases do not utilize knowledge and time with their mentors enough.”

Connect on Telegram: @lqzic

Raidas G

Raidas is an expert in the Mina Protocol tech stack. He was in the top seven of the zkApp beta testers program, mentored zkIgnite cohort 0 participants, received funding for their zApp during zkIgnite Cohort 0, and built a mina-node-dashboard. As a respected Mina community member, Raidas cares about the success of other teams and is excited to see more community members and ZK use cases on Mina. 

What they have to say about zkIgnite: I’m excited about preserving personal/private data where appropriate like in zkIgnite projects such as RankProof, zkHumans, flexSecure. The tooling being built in the program is super and I am keen to communicate more with these builders! I’ve seen improvements in the Oracles tutorial, database, zkCLI, and the upcoming L2.”

Robin Sarfati

Robin is the CTO at Tekkare, a company developing an open innovation platform and data analysis for healthcare. With a successful project now used by two Fortune 500 companies, Robin has experience in creating business value and delivering it alongside building and mentoring teams. He also has built experience with ZKPs after co-founding a ZKP-based project on Avalanche. 

What they have to say about zkIgnite: “Some projects are pushing the limits and are helping identify the limitations that have to be overcome for real-world applications. There is a great diversity of profiles in the program, some of which are highly experimented in development and building at great speed.  It is great to see the motivation and I am looking forward to seeing even more teams with more experience in the future.”

Are You Building a ZK Project?

zkIgnite supports builders beyond just mentorship pairing! The first phase includes weekly workshops, team building, brainstorming sessions, proposal writing support, feedback cycles, and more for builders creating zkApps or zkApp tooling. In the second phase, community electors vote on projects to receive up to 500k USDC and 500k MINA. 

You can see some business ideas that came out of cohort 1, see draft proposals from cohort 2, and even sign up to be notified early once Cohort 3 is announced.

Want to Become a Mentor?

Whether you’re technical or not, zkIgnite builders need your help! A variety of skills and backgrounds are needed to guide participants in building their business with ZK applications. Selected mentors are also eligible for a token grant of 3000 MINA. Apply by August 13th to become a part of the esteemed group of mentors and help shape the future of ZK technology.

  1. Login to or create a zkIgnite account
  2. Then apply to be a zkIgnite cohort 2 mentor

The next mentors will be assigned to cohort 2 funded projects. You can check out some of the draft proposals in progress here. 

About Mina Protocol

Mina is the world’s lightest blockchain, powered by participants. Rather than apply brute computing force, Mina uses advanced cryptography and recursive zk-SNARKs to design an entire blockchain that is about 22kb, the size of a couple of tweets. It is the first layer-1 to enable efficient implementation and easy programmability of zero knowledge smart contracts (zkApps). With its unique privacy features and ability to connect to any website, Mina is building a private gateway between the real world and crypto—and the secure, democratic future we all deserve.

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