Introducing Colosseum

Introducing Colosseum

Colosseum launches to run Solana's hackathons, accelerate winning founders, and invest in the next generation of breakout crypto startups.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Colosseum!

Crypto is at an inflection point. Much of the promising experimentation has been confined to a small and often volatile corner of the internet, constrained by a lack of scalable infrastructure for developers and end users. In parallel, Solana has innovated substantially at the base layer to allow the next wave of crypto products to grow far beyond the existing market.

Colosseum’s mission is to consistently generate those waves by tapping into the immense well of global builder talent and empowering founders who have the ability to launch the next era of products that bring the world onchain.

Sign up today at

Colosseum is an independent organization composed of three integrated pillars:

  1. Hackathon: Colosseum will run 2-3 online hackathons per year for the Solana Foundation and the broader ecosystem. These online competitions have proven to be a crucible of innovation for the crypto ecosystem. Our five-week hackathon provides a level playing field for new teams globally to showcase their potential to build impactful products. Cofounding ecosystem teams have historically used Solana's hackathons as their initial engineering sprint to kickstart product development.
  2. Accelerator: Colosseum’s Accelerator is an online, five-week program specifically designed for Hackathon winners to immerse themselves in the Solana ecosystem. They will join an elite founder network, access a diverse customer base, receive 1:1 mentorship, and receive ongoing educational content. Accelerator cohorts will run directly following each Hackathon, consisting of a subset of winners in each batch. Participating in a Colosseum Hackathon and being selected as a winner is the only way to be considered for the program.
  3. Venture Fund: The teams accepted into the Accelerator program will receive a pre-seed $250,000 investment from Colosseum on founder-friendly terms. Additionally, Accelerator teams will receive assistance on a consistent basis as they continue to develop their products and raise future rounds of funding. The program culminates in a Demo Day where the founders will pitch to dozens of leading venture funds and get direct introductions.

For founders who are not accepted into the Accelerator initially, we encourage you to keep building. Developers often enter multiple Hackathons before being selected as a winner. It can take time to iterate to find the right product with the right teammates.

For founders who are accepted, Colosseum’s support doesn’t end after Demo Day. At Colosseum’s core is a founder and alumni community that you can rely on throughout your journey. Teams will continue to have access to all of the private tools, discussion boards, and other features included in Colosseum’s online platform.

The Colosseum Team

Colosseum is cofounded by Matty Taylor, Clay Robbins, and Nate Levine. Our team will be there for founders by supporting them through our hackathons, the accelerator program, and beyond.

Matty was the Head of Growth at the Solana Foundation, where he kickstarted the Solana hackathon program in 2020. Over the past three years, that program cumulatively resulted in over 60,000 participants, 4,000 projects launched, and $600 million in venture funding for winners. Top Solana ecosystem founders from Tensor, Squads, StepN, Jito, and dozens of other leading projects got their start through Solana Foundation hackathons. Matty previously worked at 0x Labs and Square.

Clay was a Principal at Slow Ventures, one of Solana’s first investors. He helped lead the firm’s crypto investing efforts and has been an active angel investor in the ecosystem through many market cycles. Prior to Slow, he was a product and growth-focused operator at 0x Labs and Square. Clay and Matty met on their first day working at Square, and are back working together for a third time after daily text threads weren’t cutting it. 

Nate was a Software Engineer at Stripe, where he worked most recently on their Crypto team. While at Stripe, he built developer tools and API infrastructure responsible for moving billions of dollars per day. Previously, Nate led engineering teams at LendUp, a YC-backed fintech startup. Nate and Matty went to college together, where they spent much of their senior year discussing Bitcoin.

Beyond support from our team, Colosseum has partnered with leading ecosystem developers and founders, many of whom were previous hackathon winners. Founders will receive extensive mentorship and guidance during the Accelerator program, and become part of an exclusive founder community.

Evolving Solana Foundation Hackathons

Solana’s hackathons started small, but have grown to be the largest recurring hackathons not only in crypto but in the entire technology space in terms of the number of participants, product submissions, and venture funding raised by winners. To give a sense of their impact, 80% of all venture-backed startups in the Solana ecosystem started in the online hackathons.

However, there is still a massive opportunity to scale ecosystem hackathons well beyond where they are today. Therefore, the Solana Foundation will be ending its internally managed hackathon efforts and is partnering with Colosseum to fulfill this vision.

We believe this is a positive step in decentralizing hackathons for the Solana ecosystem. Additionally, it allows Colosseum’s team to work more closely with peers in the ecosystem to further grow the hackathon platform.

With an independent team dedicated to running the Foundation's hackathons and integrating an accelerator experience for winners, Colosseum will substantially improve these global competitions and the outcomes for the teams that participate in them. There are a few key areas we are focused on initially:

  1. Online Platform: We attempted to use off-the-shelf services, as well as stitch together many separate components to run hackathons. Neither were effective solutions, as the Solana Foundation’s hackathons have evolved to the point where they are not administered like any traditional hackathon. Instead, we’ve built our own custom platform that streamlines everything from finding cofounders to discussing product ideas to submitting hackathon projects. Founders in our Accelerator will also get access to an exclusive set of features that will assist them as they kickstart their journey. If you’re a builder looking to join the next hackathon, create a Colosseum profile now.
  2. Collaboration: One of Colosseum’s goals is to embed the broader ecosystem directly into the competitions. Therefore, we are actively working with a cross-section of companies, ecosystem developers, and investors who can contribute to judging and sponsorship. If you’re interested in working with us, please get in touch.
  3. Support: There has been a lack of support for talented teams post-hackathon to help further their development, as well as assist with fundraising. Colosseum’s Accelerator fills that gap by selecting hackathon winners to join the program and help them early on in their startup journey. While Solana Foundation hackathons are first and foremost startup competitions, we understand that many participants are not interested in becoming founders. We intend to support that group of developers as well through our online platform and discussion forums.

Improving these hackathons is an evolving process and we want to work with the community to understand both the pain points and opportunities. So if you have any feedback, please reach out.

Get Started

If you’re an ambitious crypto developer, founder, or team interested in competing in the next Solana Foundation hackathon starting on March 4, sign up for a Colosseum account here. Registration for the hackathon will open on the platform in a few weeks.

We’ll be making platform upgrades and a few important announcements about the next hackathon soon, so be sure to follow @ColosseumOrg on X for updates.