Aave Grants Update and Renewal

Authors: @HelloShreyas and @0xbilll

Overview

Aave Grants DAO has awarded 38 teams a total of $1.2m worth of AAVE since its inception in May 2021. This post outlines the progress Aave Grants DAO has made and proposes expanding the budget and scope of the program. Read the original proposal here.

We propose a budget of $2m a quarter to fund more projects that benefit Aave. We are also working on expanding the grants team, decentralizing decision making, and providing more post-grants support. Please respond to this post if you’re interested in being a grant reviewer!

Mission

AGD’s mission is to build a thriving ecosystem of contributors for Aave. We provide grants to projects, ideas, and events that benefit Aave and its ecosystem. We hope to be at the forefront of ecosystem development at Aave. Ensuring a constant influx of talented builders is critical to Aave’s growth.

Background and Progress

AIP 17 established Aave Grants DAO on May 4, 2021 with the goal of funding ideas and builders in the Aave ecosystem. The two quarter pilot program had a grants budget of $1 million and an operating budget of $250,000 per quarter. The pilot program has awarded $1.17m to 38 grant recipients and made the initial steps to put the grants process and the protocol in the hands of the community.

Besides providing $ support to grantees, we have also provided post-grant support where possible. This includes support with marketing, strategic advice, introductions to auditors, introductions to Aave genesis team developers, and AMAs with the Aave community.

We have led content for Aave DAO, including 17 issues of Aave News, 5 community calls, and 5 AMAs with grantees and the Aave community. We have also funded hackathons including ETHGlobal and Gitcoin’s hackathons.

Grants Awarded

Grants have been awarded to developers building to benefit the Aave ecosystem in a range of areas, including:

  • Protecting users - Cono Finance by Gelato Network, Aave Liquidation Notifier by Steven Li
  • Onboarding and attracting new users - Aave quests on Rabbithole, 2001 DeFi developing a mobile app for Aave, Blockchain Education Network enabling any student to participate in Aave governance
  • Increasing liquidity - Symphony Finance’s yield generating limit orders, and Sacred Finance’s privacy preserving DeFi protocol
  • Analyzing the protocol - a growth dashboard by Omni Analytics, community enabled analytics program by Flipside Crypto
  • Improving oversight and transparency - Safeguard by Tally

See a full list of grants awarded and amounts funded here and open RFPs here.

Particular success stories include:

  • Gelato launched Cono Finance which protects Aave users’ positions from liquidation
  • Scott Sunarto integrated token streaming with Sabiler to easily stream tokens to contributors
  • Symphony Finance launched their yield generating limit order product on Polygon in September and so far has executed over $4 million of order volume
  • Rabbithole helped onboard new users - their Aave quest was completed by 2,000 users in under 12 hours
  • Omni Analytics has built a detailed Aave-owned growth and analytics dashboard

People

The original proposal included 1 lead and 7 reviewers. Over the program the team brought on a designer, operations lead, and community manager.

  • Lead. Shreyas leads the grants committee. He has grown the team, overseen the distribution of grants, and will lead initiatives to begin the decentralization of the DAO.
  • Review Committee. The Review Committee is currently made up of:
    • Maggie Love - W3BCLOUD and SheFi
    • Corbin Page - ConsenSys Codefi
    • Calvin Chu - Independent
    • Aleks Larsen - Blockchain Capital
    • Imran Khan - DeFi Alliance
    • (Note that Nick Cannon (Gauntlet) and Jose Maria Macedo (Delphi Digital) have decided to step down from the grants committee due to time constraints. We really appreciate their contributions.)
  • Designer. Laura Sinisterra has created a brand identity, designed a logo, and produced content assets including POAPs and community flyers.
  • Operations lead. Neil Shroff has streamlined the application process, manages payments, KYC, and other administrative tasks.
  • Community manager. Bill produces a weekly newsletter (Aave News), maintains the Twitter account, coordinates external Aave events, and coordinates other community initiatives including four community calls and four community AMAs.

Compensation

  • Lead: $150 an hour with a 30 hour/week cap
  • Review committee: $150 an hour with a 10 hour/week cap
  • Designer: one-off based on specific design engagements
  • Operations Lead: $3.5k/month
  • Community manager: $6k/month

Expanded Proposal

Moving forward we propose renewing Aave Grants DAO with an increased grants budget of $2 million and an operations budget of $2 million per quarter. With the increased budget we will increase the number of larger community grants, fund non-developer grants including sponsorship and community events, and work to decentralize the grants process.

We propose keeping the current structure and makeup of the team (team lead, seven reviewers, designer, operations lead, and community manager) with the flexibility to add one or two more people based on need and as ad hoc tasks or events happen.

We will continue to have both rapid grants and community grants as outlined in the original proposal.

  • Rapid grants: <$100k
    • Simple process to apply for a grant to AGD
  • Community grants: >$100k
    • Applicants post a proposal on Aave’s governance forum and Snapshot vote as a temperature check from the community
    • Based on feedback and discussion, the committee can decide to approve these grants

The increased budget will allow us to fund more community grants. For any larger grant, we will continue to solicit community feedback through a Snapshot vote as was the case with 2001 DeFi’s proposal to build an Aave mobile app.

We will also increase the scope of ideas funded to include sponsorship and community events, as so far we have only focused on developer grants. These will be with the goal of growing Aave’s brand in the ecosystem.

Decentralizing Grants

We would like to explore ways to decentralize the grants process by moving some grant decision-making power to grantees and active community members, such as active governance contributors and community call attendees.

Besides decentralizing Aave grants, we have also worked towards establishing a Developers DAO and a Risk DAO, focused on protocol development and risk assessment of the protocol, respectively.

Request for Feedback

We welcome and look forward to hearing feedback on our proposal and ideas you would like to see implemented within Aave Grants.

Finally, Nick and Jose will be stepping down from the Review Committee once a suitable replacement is found. They have both been valuable members who we thank for their contributions. If you are interested in filling out two spots on the grants committee, please reply to this thread with some basic information, including:

  • Describe your involvement in the Aave ecosystem
  • What skills/experience do you bring to the committee?
  • Can you commit ~5 hours a week?
8 Likes

Hi, I’m Kakashi, core dev at Symphony Finance. I think this is a great proposal. The grants really helped us in the early days. Apart from the funds, the grants team helped us out with marketing and intros. It’d be great if this continues and the grants DAO keeps supporting new and old projects. I would also like to see some support from Aave’s core team as well.

2 Likes

Hi, Luis (@gitpusha) here from Gelato. :icecream: :icecream: :icecream:

I support this proposal as I think the first wave of Aave grants proved to be very successful in fostering developer engagement on the Aave protocol.

Speaking for Gelato the grant helped us build the smart contracts, tests, and Gelato bot plugin to bring to many Aave users the first Automated Health Factor Management tool available on Polygon and Mainnet via cono.finance. Furthermore, we were able to hire auditors to ensure code safety standards were high.

The open smart contract and Gelato Network integration we built using the Aave grant money is now also available on the InstaDapp platform, so that now InstaDapp users can also activate their liquidation protections both on mainnet and Polygon.

2 Likes

Hello! I’m Alexis from JellyFi :octopus:

We received a grant in May and this has been very helpful for two reasons:

  1. It helped us move forward with the legal registration of the entity, SAFT edition, KYC process etc. It was a huge help as at this time we had no money and having the possibility to move forward on those subjects helped us raise faster.
  2. This point is a bit more speculative but I believe it helped us raise faster. The Aave Grants DAO and the Aave ecosystem have a great reputation and just receiving this stamp of approval in itself is already valuable.

This proposal is helping the ecosystem grow way more than we think and even small grants can prove to have tremendous positive effects. I’m looking forward to see what the next set of grantees will be building to help the Aave and DeFi ecosystem reach new heights!

2 Likes

@HelloShreyas - thanks for this comprehensive update and overview.

Aave Grants has benefitted multiple orgs, such as our own, and has the potential to encourage greater development in the ecosystem and product improvements for the Aave protocol.

For this reason, I would be interested in filling one of the two departures on the grants committee.

My involvement in Aave:

  • Governance Contributor at Flipside Crypto (a grant recipient, bringing CEA to Aave)
  • New User of The Month in Aave Forum (October 2021)
  • Active Voter in the AAVE Governance (flipsidecrypto.eth)
  • Personal user of the Aave Protocol and fully crypto native

My skills/experience:

  • DeFi Research @ Proxima Capital, a cryptocurrency market-making and arbitrage firm
  • Protocol Specialist @ Flipside Crypto, data analytics and BI for blockchains
  • Social Media @ Voyager Digital, a large cryptocurrency brokerage with $5B AUM

These past and present experiences has given me a range of knowledge, from a centralized brokerage to a Web3 analytics platform. I am skilled in Marketing, Market Research, and Governance, with exprience in community management, on and off-chain voting, financial analysis, and risk review. This diverse knowledge has helped DAOs identify new opportunities in the space, current product gaps or limitations, and different use cases, from institutions to retail investors.

I share a unique understanding of how Aave can boost TVL, on-ramp more daily users, and cement itself as a luminary in the space.

Can you commit ~5 hours a week?

  • Yes

I welcome any feedback from the community and look forward to growing Aave Grants DAO.

7 Likes

This is great - thanks for your thoughtful response! Will message you to schedule a call.

2 Likes

Hello all,

I’m Eric from the Omni Analytics team. I wanted to briefly comment on how the Aave Grants DAO afforded us a fantastic opportunity and how appreciative we are. We received a grant to develop an Analytics portal and growth dashboard for Aave. We believe this not only helped the community see the tremendous growth of the platform, but it also gave us an opportunity to hone our skills, particularly in SQL queries, and to work with the Covalent API to help build out an R-based interface for analyzing Aave growth.

We’ve received some great feedback on it. Working directly with the team, we also identified the sources of some data anomalies that were only visible after the dashboards were created. This allowed the core Aave team to gain insights, and provides a platform for the future, where unexpected spikes in volume can be traced to specific events that occurred during various timeframes.

Lastly, we had a fantastic experience working with the team, and we believe there’s a lot more that can be done to expand on this work. This Aave Grants DAO made it all possible and we would love to see them continue to support new and old projects alike.

For those who haven’t seen our work, we have a thread up where we’ve provided development updates and screenshots / links. You can see that here.

3 Likes

Thanks for the proposal @HelloShreyas .
Considering the work done by the Grants DAO on the previous period, and the abundance of grantees, I think it is a good idea to increase the grants budget to $2m.
But I would like to know the rationale of increasing the operational budget from $250k to $2m per quarter, as that is already a big expense, considering that the people contributing to the Grants DAO is more or less in the same range.
Could the community get also an operational financial report of the operational side in the previous tenure? Basically a detailed recap of where all operational budget was spent, same as with the grants’ budget.

3 Likes

Nice work on growing the grants program @HelloShreyas and team!

It may be useful for the community to know # of applications received vs # grants given. This would help inform where future efforts should be focused, as well as serve as a ‘KPI’ to track the growth of the grants program.

Some rhetorical questions for the grants committee to consider:
How many applications are being received at the top of the funnel? How can we increase this? Are enough grants being granted, or are too many being granted? What is the status of grantees 3, 6, 12 months after receiving the grant? Is there a tangible impact on the protocol after these time periods? etc

P.S. I saw on the original proposal there was a “What does success look like?” section with measurable criteria. Maybe this is already posted somewhere that I’m not aware of? If so, can you link?

Appreciate your input, @eboado. To confirm - we are not increasing the operational budget from $250k to $2m. We only recommend increasing the total program budget from $1m to $2m a quarter. Our planned operational budget for the pilot program over 6 months was $250k and we spent about $130k. You can see the list of expenses outlined here and a list of grants given out here. I expect our max operational budget to be slightly more than last time but unlikely to exceed it. Our spending can be seen on the Aave Grants website (links above), but we will work on providing a concise, periodic report going forward on our spending. Happy to collaborate with you on making that report template so we can include items you think are most relevant.

1 Like

Thanks for the clarification @HelloShreyas, I would suggest to modify the description of this thread to not confuse anybody then, outlining clearly the cost of the updated program, both for grants and operationally, probably also including the amounts that the Grants DAO will receive initially, if some others at the end, and how a potential return of non-used funds will be managed.
About the reports template, was not finding the one you just linked, sorry for that. As general recommendation, I think it is pretty important to have as much transparency and granularity as possible on the budgeting (e.g. list of transaction done for all different expenses, hours allocated by all participants), for which at least personally I would be completely in favour if you engage some accounting person.

2 Likes

Good points. I will separate the operational costs of the program in the proposal. Agreed on engaging an accountant. I just reached out to someone who has worked on Aave reports before; we will put together a reporting template for the next round of grants.

1 Like

Hi Shreyas

Aave Grants has been developing the Aave community and ecosystem with success. It is fantastic to see the community growing with the weekly Aave News and the community calls. The grantees are building new features for users who can now use Cono’s health factor protection tool for example. It’s great to see the focus on culture and ecosystem growth. Big thank you to you and all of those of have contributed to Aave grants

After a semester of operations, it makes sense to spend some time evaluating the efforts. To then best strategies on how to continue growing the Aave community next quarter. How did we do? What could be improved? Where do we need to focus?

In the initial Aave Grants proposal, Aleks had formalised some success metrics which have been tackled well - would be great to review the performance across these criteria.

“Measurable criteria:

  • Growth in the number of grants applications received quarter-over-quarter
  • Growth in the number of projects, ideas, and events funded
  • Growth in community engagement (e.g. increased activity on forums, Discord, etc.)
  • Growth in Aave pools driven by applications funded via grants (e.g. increased TVL, borrow activity, and unique addresses due to apps funded by grants)

Subjective criteria:

  • Improved sentiment and goodwill within the community
  • Improvement to the Aave protocol’s brand and positioning in the market"

I would love to have an overview of how Aave Grants performed on these points as well as some details on the monthly operations. The initial budget was stretched to 2 quarters so it would be interesting to understand and adapt the new scope to reality. An accountant could help bring more transparency and figures to draft a detailed plan for the next quarter or year. Transparency brings trust which will help the community do bigger and better things together

The community calls have become among my favorite Aave Rituals. It’s been so incredible to hear Aave builders from all corners of the world. This bonding event is a fantastic way to increase the sense of connection within our DAO

I believe one of the objectives of the Aave DAO this quarter should be to grow active contributors. For this we need to continue helping members connect and build trust. We also need to find ways to encourage leadership within the community. This is already taking shape with the formation of Aave grants, Aave treasury working group, Aave Risk DAO… and we should continue to invest in the onboarding of community members and contributors.

One idea would be to continue focusing on strong connections with even more regular calls on DAO themes or office hours. For example:

  • Aave DAO onboarding

    • How to get involved with the Aave DAO?
    • What is the Aave DAO? Its values
    • How to get a grant?
    • Contributors / Working Groups hours
    • Builders hours
  • Aave protocol

    • How does the Protocol work?
    • Workshops (using the APIs, making AIPs, gitHub deepive …)
  • Grants applications review and follow up calls - could the community participate more actively in awarding grants with a specific snapshot space (decentralised grants)?

This last year, the Aave community has had a chance to work closely with the Index Coop with many shared contributors. Indeed the Index Coop has been incredible at building a solid community and onboarding tens of outstanding contributors to DeFi. The Aave DAO could take inspiration from the Index Coop internship program that helped grow a diverse community by facilitating the transition to web3 work. These interns would contribute to forum debates and help working groups such as AAVE tokenomics, the Safety Module or the Aave DAO treasury group.

As Aave Grants is 6 months, it’s great to see the team grow and organise. A roadmap for scaling the Aave ecosystem and foster the community would help to understand the path to growing the number of Aave DAO contributors and community. A clear view of the road ahead will make it more straightforward for the community to allocate more resources and for members to start participating more actively

2 Likes

Appreciate the positive words Alex. See below for a few comments including a breakdown of how AGD performed based on the original criteria set.

  • You bring up a bunch of great ideas (more workshops/calls, creating an intern program) and importantly mention the key to executing them successfully, growing active contributors. This along with decentralizing the grants process is something that has been top of mind. To give a taste of some ideas we are exploring:

  • Give the decision making power over awarding grants to previous grantees and other key community members

    • Potentially leverage Mirror’s write rate where relevant if we want to extend decision making power to the community
  • Setting up Pods with Orca Protocol to have independent teams make decisions within the general umbrella of AGD

  • We want to provide excellent post-grants support, including introductions to auditors, Aave team members, marketing support, and strategic advice wherever possible

  • As mentioned above, we will work to provide concise, periodic reports on spending going forward including getting an accountant involved.

  • Number of applications:

    • Q1: 113
    • Q2: 86
  • Number of grants given out:

    • Q1: 12
    • Q2: 19
    • Note that this does not include grants for hackathons, events, and sponsorships
  • Growth in community engagement on social channels from August 9th to today: Substack subscribers: 168 → 770 (+358%),Twitter followers: 3011 → 5317 (+77%), Telegram members: 370 → 654 (+77%)

  • Growth in Aave pools driven by applications funded via grants: think it is difficult / too early to attribute items like TVL, borrow activity, unique addresses due to grantees. We will make sure to follow this in the coming quarters.

3 Likes

Hi all, fairly new to Aave, we run a scholarship fund for college students who want to focus on blockchain/fintech studies, we are getting ready to launch the 2022 awards. Not sure if the community here may be interested in co-funding such a scholarship? TY

2 Likes

Hey @Prankstr25! Could you please apply through our website here? The main thing we look at is the benefit to the Aave ecosystem so be sure to include all the details and someone will have a look!

1 Like

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, submitted the form, and thanks for the consideration.

1 Like

hii there, i don’t know where should i type this message but can some one tell me …Is there any post for support mod in discord. Now i am working for ENS DAO ( Ethereum Name Service ). i have a full experience in support mod.
i am expecting ( 700-1000 $ ) per month

1 Like

I’m interested in being a grant reviewer

What steps do I need to take to do so?