Radicle Cohort Programmes

As some of you may know, Ruth (RuthD#5415), Jesper (LINDQUΞST#4280), and I have been working on a cohort programme for Radicle.

Below is a high-level proposal for the programmes and outlined benefits to the Radicle ecosystem.

We are proposing a programme (”Web3 Open Source Tooling Programme powered by Radicle”) that comprises of three modules:

The benefits to Radicle are categorised in two ways:

1. Awareness of Radicle
1. Radicle brand and support will be heavily marketed.
2. Generate some targeted content (blogs, videos, etc) by the participants of the programme which can be posted across Radicle channels and beyond.
3. Successful projects will spread the word about Radicle.

2. Contribution to Radicle
1. OSS and FOSS tooling projects that can add to the Radicle ecosystem.
2. Projects can be potential Radicle grant recipients.
3. Projects can help create strategic partnerships.
4. Fostering a strong developer community that can grow.

Learn: Two Week Onboarding Programme

Proposed launch*: January 2023

This programme will be an intense two-week crash course for junior-to-intermediate web2 and web3 developers who can use GitHub with ease. A blend of lectures, workshops and individual tasks will cement knowledge and experience.

This programme will work closely with the Radicle Dev Rel team in developing and delivering the content.

The goal of this time is to ensure that all the participants have a minimal technical footing (specifically in regards to open source tooling), understand the general challenges facing web3, and awareness of Radicles mission.

At the conclusion of the 2 weeks, participants who wish to take their knowledge further and ship projects can apply for the six week Build programme. If the participants do not wish to apply to the Build programme, they will hopefully remain active and productive contributors to Radicle, having understood its mission, values and challenges that it is trying to solve.

This programme will be offered every quarter and in the first instance, the live sessions will take place during timezones most convenient for staff and most of the cohort members (probably CET evenings).

In order to participate in this programme, applicants will need to demonstrate ease and agility with web2 and web3 concepts, coding and experience with building projects on GitHub, but it will not be exclusive and we expect an acceptance rate of ~80%. They will also need to articulate why they would like to take part in the programme, what benefits it would render them and that they are committed to the same mission and values as Radicle.

*Subject to change.

Build: Six Week Prototyping Programme

This six-week programme focuses on building a prototype of open source tooling projects.

Supported with weekly practical workshops, fireside chats, 1:1 mentoring, and lots of networking, participants will complete the six weeks with a prototype of an open source tool. They will also have a deeper developer understanding of the challenges in the web3 space and how to build solutions.

This programme will work closely with the Radicle Grants Lead. At the start of each Build programme, participants will be presented with a number of problem areas (as decided upon by the Radicle Grants Lead and the Core Team) that act as suggestions for proposed problems; these will closely align and support the overall Radicle strategy. Teams can also apply with a project idea that isn’t listed by Radicle and it is at the discretion of Radicle as to whether such a project will support Radicle’s mission and values. The programme will also align with Grants by delivering a workshop in the latter half of the programme about how to apply for a Radicle grant (and generally, other bid writing skills).

Applicants to the Build programme will be exclusive, however, they do not need to have attended the two-week Onboarding programme, but it will certainly provide some comfort to the shortlisting committee if they have. Each programme will have up to 20 participants, forming up to 10 small teams (formed by the participants themselves, not by the programme organisers).

Due to its nature, the Build programme will benefit greatly from Radicle Core Team members acting as workshop leaders, mentors and/or providing Fireside Chats. At least 50% of these activities should be delivered by Radicle. The remaining should be delivered by external partners who are directly affected and/or interested in the project ideas of that particular cohort.

This programme will be offered twice in 2023 and in the first instance, the live sessions will take place during timezones most convenient for staff and most of the cohort members (probably CET evenings).

Venture: Ten-week Accelerator Programme

In this 10-week Accelerator programme, Radicle is providing a space and a platform for teams and projects to connect and build together in a supported accelerated fashion. Teams will work together to build open-sourced tooling. World-class support and expertise will be provided on both technical and entrepreneurial/business fronts.

At the conclusion of the programme, teams will be in a position to pitch for VC investment (at the Demo Day and future pitches) with a firm understanding of how fundraising takes place and what is required of them to be as successful as possible.

Target profile

Our target persona for the Learn & Build cohorts are intermediate Web2 or Web3 Developers curious to learn more about open source code/tooling and build an OS project in a team.

What are their biggest pain points:

  • Time: Devs are in high demand
  • Knowledge: advancements change so quickly, especially in blockchain, that it can be hard to keep up

What are their biggest luxuries:

  • Demand: they get a lot of opportunities
  • Pay
  • Passion: they could really love it

What are their incentives to join the Learn & Build cohort:

  • A source of education to keep up with the latest trends from industry experts
  • A way to connect with like-minded individuals
  • To build their own project that potentially gets funded through Radicle grants (credibility)

Roadmap pre-launch

Image can be found here.

We have set our date of launch in January 2023, as we expect the inaugural onboarding to take a bit longer time than programmes launching in the future. Once the overall proposal has been approved, we foresee that we might have to make some alternations to the programme we have proposed, based on feedback from the community. Once we have fine-tuned the offering we will be able to start working on the marketing for the programme with different parties within Radicle. These are our proposed steps on the way to project launch:

  1. Approved Proposal with feedback
  2. Update programme offering based on feedback (2 weeks)
  3. Marketing plan for project (2 weeks)
  4. Launch marketing to target audiences to attract applicants (4 weeks)
  5. Detailed Curriculum (2 weeks)
  6. Team selection and coordination (2 weeks)
  7. Talent selection process (2 weeks)
  8. Finalise curriculum and lock in times with lecturers, mentors and administrators (2 weeks)

Roadmap post-launch

Here is a suggestion of how we imagine the different programmes to be launched over the course of a 12 month period.

Please note this could be subject to change and there is the potential to postpone the Venture programme to 2024, based on cohort performances.

We’re curious to hear your thoughts and feedback on the cohort structures!

Hey @maddybergen and @RuthD ! Thanks for writing this up and apologies for the delay in review. Here are some comments and feedback:

What types of lectures & workshops are we envisioning here? Is it specifically related to Radicle, or is it more general Web3 topics? If it’s more general, what topics would be relevant for the Radicle vision?

Who will be conducting the lectures & workshops? How will they be sourced?

“A prototype of open source tooling projects” is really vague — what does it mean? Is it an open-source prototype of a solution to one of the problem areas outlined by the Radicle Grants Lead and Core Team?

While this seems like a fun idea to explore, it seems too early to start building an accelerator program. Everything we do should be focused on adoption and development of the Radicle stack! Once there is more evidence of some product-market fit, I think it would make more sense to explore an accelerator program.

I think to move this proposal forward, we have to have a better idea of what “OSS and FOSS tooling projects that can add to the Radicle ecosystem” are. Without that, it’s hard for me to see the value of running our own cohort program — why wouldn’t we just lean into our hackathon strategy instead?

On that question, what is the value of running our own cohort program vs. just developing a more engaged hackathon strategy? Devs are in high demand and get a lot of opportunities, why not just increase our presence where they currently are?

@bordumb — what thoughts do you have regarding the way the cohort program can support the RGP and vice versa?

Looking forward to discussing these questions!


The mental model I have for recruiting contributors is something analogous to creating a “funnel” for recruiting.

If we look at old fashioned recruiting funnels, it goes something like this:

  1. Education (K-12 education, higher education)
  2. Apprenticeship / Internship work
  3. Part-time / Contract work
  4. Full-time work

So in terms of mapping that to Radicle’s ecosystem, I see it like this:

  1. Education: can be covered collectively by Cohort Programme with educating cohort members, RGP funding grants focused on educational, and EGF onboarding and educating community members like those developing on Radicle
  2. Apprenticeship / Internship work: analogous to Cohort Programme
  3. Part-time / Contract work: analogous to RGP
  4. Full-time work: this is essentially any contributing member to a “core” team

I’ll be the first to say that we’re not trying to reproduce traditional labor markets. But I do think it’s worth mapping that out.

In terms of how I see the Cohort Programming contributing to RGP:
I see the Cohort Programme becoming a vital feeding program into grants OR core dev teams. It should help onboard and guide possible contributors towards contributing to grants, whether they join an existing project or create their own.

In terms of how I see RGP contributing to the Cohort Programme:
RGP should be able to help advise on curriculum. For example, helping review what sort of content would set cohort members up for success with grants. RGP should also participate later in the Cohort Programme by presenting the grants programme to cohort members. Those are the first things that come to mind. I’m definitely open to any other suggestions or requests for help.

The Cohort Programme has a lot of potential to help with both (a) recruiting more grantees and (b) act as a filtering mechanism to bring in high quality and relevant grant applications. Given how beneficial those 2 points are for grants, I see the existence of a cohort programme as being inherently beneficial to grants. That alone is enough incentive for us to pitch in and help as much as possible.

In terms of setting up incentives / aligning both of our groups, we could aim for something like:

  • 20% of cohort mentees going on to grant work and/or joining or contributing to core dev work (e.g. if there are 5 cohort members, 1 of them goes onto doing grant work or contributing to core dev work). This is more a goal for the Cohort Programme to stay aligned to the “recruiting funnel” model.
  • 5% of grants handed out go to cohort mentees (e.g. if there are 20 grants, 1 of them goes to a Cohort Programme member). This is more a goal for RGP to stay aligned with the upstream work being done in the Cohort Programme.

Hi @abbey - apologies for the delay in replying to you; we didn’t actually get any notifications of the comments on this post and so only noticed them yesterday! We really appreciate that you took the time to review and provide feedback on the proposal. Please see some responses below.

The workshops will focus on content aligned closely to Radicle, activities so far include:

  • Workshop 1: Why we need Open Source Software & Introduction to Radicle
  • Workshop 2: The Open Source Project How To (project management, revenue, ideation…)
  • Two fireside chats that feature builders involved and passionate about OS software
  • Project demos: Radicle to demo products and cohort members to share their projects

The outcome of the activities is to primarily onboard them to the Radicle ecosystem by educating them on Radicle’s mission.

A detailed overview of the Learn cohort can be found here.

A detailed overview of the Build cohort can be found here.

Presenters will be both internal and external speakers to be sourced through contributors’ and Radicles’ networks.

Maddy also runs Web3 VC cohorts so has an understanding of how to best find speakers.

The goal of the Build track is to get teams building solutions aligned with Radicle’s mission and then to get Radicle grant funding. In other words, we want to get products to a point where it makes sense for teams to apply for Radicle’s grants (we will be working closely with @bordumb to align this).

To determine the problems cohort members are solving throughout the Build cohort, we suggest working closely with @bordumb to come up with some first ideas, which we then present at a core team meeting and discuss and choose the problems as a collective.

We definitely agree with you and are not developing the Venture track any further than as an idea for a future roadmap. Aside from what is in the draft proposal, we don’t intend to take it any further for at least another year or two.

We believe that the cohort programme will add value as an effective tool to onboard contributors into Radicle’s ecosystem and would augment the work in the hackathon strategy. With a bit more time and intention, individuals can deepen their understanding of and be onboarded to the ecosystem effectively and they are able to build a Radicle network which improves retention.

Some further reasons we believe the cohort programme offers value alongside the hackathons include:

  • Another way to build awareness. The cohorts will also be regular and consistent and we have seen this pay off with something like Kernel.
  • Targets a new crowd that potentially don’t go to hackathons.
  • Works alongside the hackathon funnel to support more in-depth onboarding to Radicle. A potential track is that users first attend a hackathon and gain awareness on Radicle, and they can then complete the Learn cohort to gain a much more valuable insight into Radicle’s mission.
  • Radicle has the opportunity to build a powerful alumni network that advocate for the ecosystem.

If there are any other questions or comments, please do let us know. Thank you!

Thanks @bordumb - we agree and support all of this.