New Builder Grants Program - Trial

Builder Grants - Trial

Core Issue: A lot of potential Nounish builders are not sure where to begin their work but are excited by the ecosystem - I know this because I was there just a month ago. The only place we actively incentivize them with ideas is Prop House mandated rounds. Otherwise, they must figure out problems themselves and then ask for money, a barrier that could prevent them from ever contributing.

Solution: Allocate funding to acquire new top-tier builders and let them explore the Nouns ecosystem pre-idea.

Trial Run

  • 1 grant = 4 ETH for 1 month of part-time exploration - over-paying slightly is critical to attracting talent that may not otherwise come to us
    • Context: a lot of the builders we are trying to attract are making > $150,000 in their day jobs
  • 10 builders (40 ETH) in fist trial run
  • 3 people on operations multi-sig (mrtn, jihad, looking for 3rd)
  • Transparency (see operations)


  • Excluded - anyone who is actively working on a Nouns-funded project already (small grants, regular prop, prop house, etc…)
  • Must be working / exploring something while on grant, or will be revoked
  • Generally technically/product oriented - contract eng, full-stack eng, design, product
  • Operations team members not allowed to get a grant


  • Fully transparently run by 3-person team
  • Application process to vet builders, transparent public reasoning on accepting each builder
    • One of the slots can be decided by Nouner vote
  • Conduct check-ins and help builders find ideas, connect them to Nouners
  • Goal is to get each builder submitting an on-chain or Prop house prop by end of month
    • This will also help improve the builder onboarding process outside of the grants


But what if the builders take the money and don’t do anything? This is similar to everything in Nouns already - there’s a social contract to uphold, someone could always disappear after receiving 200 ETH on-chain. We can setup the grant via Sablier to revoke if a builder goes MIA, however. Additionally, if we can attract even half of the builders to stick around, the “acquisition cost” of those builders I’d argue is way higher - successful companies pay at least five figures to attract top talent.

What will they build? The first round will not have a particular mandate but future ones could be structured closer to Prop House mandated rounds, where there is a theme.

Why not just run this on Prop House? Decisions are not always best made by large committees. Prop House rounds do not allow for deep conversation and analysis of candidates. A transparent, small committee allows for depth and betting on candidates who might not otherwise get a shot (i.e. people who aren’t good at writing a description on prop house but would be amazing builders).

Why not just run this through NSFW / Small Grants? Small Grants has a great reach in terms of breadth, but there’s an opportunity to create programs that are more focused on depth, in this case builders. This can be a test of more opinionated sub-pods

Asking for:

  • Feedback!
  • The 3rd member of the operations team
  • Help getting this on-chain!

I think it will be helpful to share your backgrounds + more info regards to operations.

Other than that, I am fully supportive of the more grants programs with narrow scopes. Both mrtn and jihad are proven builders and I don’t doubt that their expertise and passion for the ecosystem makes them well suited for the job.


Ive felt this problem myself and have a handful of friends who currently experience the same hurdles.

Very keen on exploring ways to solve this and happy that I’m not alone in noticing this bottleneck.

Im not sure the proposed solution is it, though?

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Glad you’re thinking about it too! I’m not really attached to this solution, I’m more interested in solving the problem than anything else.

Would love to chat through other solutions / options if you have any. What are your concerns with this one - is it the process or price point?

For context, here’s how I view trade-offs of exploring this specific solution -

  • Best Case Scenario: We get 5+ long-term builders out of this, great ROI on the 40 ETH, and we scale with small tweaks.
  • Mid-Case Scenario: We get a couple solid builders, but it’s unclear whether this is the best way to tackle this problem space. Decent ROI on the 40 ETH and we explore a different solution or make big changes. We’ve used our 40 ETH well and learned along the way.
  • Very Worst Case Scenario (pretty unlikely IMO): We get 0 real builders or output out of this and wasted 40 ETH. We iterate and explore a completely different way to tackle it. We learn but “lost” 40 ETH.

Ill DM you and will bring thoughts back here later for visibility :pray:

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That sounds fantastic. I mean, the possibilities of building with Nouns are endless, but the process of starting the execution makes it a little difficult.

There is an invisible barrier that separates the new great builders from the builders who are already building for the Nouns, an already approved prop can be significantly improved by a new builder, a new prop


Very Worst Case Scenario (pretty unlikely IMO): We get 0 real builders or output out of this and wasted 40 ETH. We iterate and explore a completely different way to tackle it. We learn but “lost” 40 ETH.

The DAO has enough money to fund this off yield, not principal. Why not do that and completely protect the principal?