Sony taps Astar Network to launch Web3 incubation program

Global entertainment giant Sony has joined hands with blockchain innovation hub Astar Network to launch a Web3 Incubation Program dedicated to advancing relevant technologies, with a focus on helping promising startups gain initial traction.

The three-month-long incubation program will begin accepting applications on February 17 and will run from mid-March to mid-June. Overall, there will be 10 to 15 cohorts, and the process will be organized by Startale Labs, a Singapore-based company founded by Astar Network CEO Sota Watanabe.

Startale Labs creates the necessary dApps and infrastructure, such as wallets, lending and NFT marketplaces, for Astar’s WASM environment. It acts as the gateway for large enterprises to integrate with Astar Network and provides business consulting services based on its expertise in multi-chain protocol development.

The Web3 Incubation Program aims to convert promising ideas into minimum viable products regardless of their Web3 startup phase. Backed by Astar Network’s powerful ecosystem, the initiative will prioritize candidates working across DeFi, Web3 gaming & metaverse, and infrastructure.

On acceptance into the program, successful candidates will get additional support from Startale in the form of business strategy and tech support, leveraging Astar’s development, past consulting and R&D business expertise.

Apart from the benefits mentioned above, the program will also include learning sessions with global VC firms such as Dragonfly, Fenbushi Capital, and Alchemy Ventures; and Web3 companies, as well as business and technology strategy workshops. In mid-June, an offline demo day will be held at the Sony Group headquarters in Tokyo during Japan Blockchain Week.

Sota Watanabe, CEO of Startale Labs and Astar Network, said: “We are pleased to launch the Web3 incubation program with Sony Network Communications, one of the Sony Group’s companies, which has been involved in the NFT sector and other Web3 initiatives within the Group. We hope to share the knowledge and resources of both companies to provide value to the participants selected for the program and create new use cases and projects.”

Sony, a Japanese multinational technology conglomerate, has been interested in entering the growing NFT gaming field. Within the context, the company known for its PlayStation gaming consoles has set up a Singapore regional office to conduct contracted development and consulting business related to NFT products.

The joint venture with Sony is not the first time a Japanese giant is making its entry into the blockchain space or embracing Web3.0-focused technologies. To expedite the growth of Web3 in their native Japan, the smart contracts platform onboarded Japan’s top mobile carrier NTT Docomo to collaborate on mass adoption of Web3 as well as its social implementation.

NTT Docomo will invest as much as $4 billion on the next-generation internet technology as it seeks to take a leading position using its mobile infrastructure over the next 5-6 years.

Astra also onboarded Japan’s largest automaker, Toyota, to explore advances in the Web3 and create new experiences that will eventually be folded into concrete suggestions to improve the company’s operations.