MetaBUILD Mentorship Series, Episode 4: Ecosystem Support

Maria Yarotska
Hackathon Coordinator, NEAR.

October 24, 2022

According to an old saying, it takes a village to raise a child – and it sure takes a global decentralized community to build a Web3 startup.

At our latest mentorship meetup, we invited those who represent NEAR locally to talk about the support our hackers can get from their local community members. Cameron from Banyan Collective, Yuliia from NEAR UA, Claudio from NEAR Hispano, Lilian from NEAR Kenya, Ida from NEAR Balkans and Robert from NEAR China joined our weekly AMA to spread the word about all of the amazing things built by the most seasoned NEARians.

Here’s a quick recap of these communities, and some useful links from our local community leaders, you can also listen to the Space's recording below!


Banyan Collective:

Cameron: Our local events never stop. We have two events every single week in New York City, we just came from Austin where we sponsored a big hackathon, and soon we're going to have a large presence at San Francisco blockchain week. Our target market are developers and founders, and our job is to bring more top tier talent into the ecosystem.

We are here to provide the top of the funnel for people to come in, get trained on exactly what they want to do, and get the support they need. Although we don't run a formal product lab right now, our ultimate goal is to provide whatever projects need, whether they need audits, introductions to investors, or early employees. 

The United States is the largest capital market in the world, there’s a lot of amazing engineers here, and we really want to provide that footprint for NEAR. Bear market is the time when real builders stick around, and we’re here to support them.

  • Based in: USA
  • Website | Twitter | Telegram
  • Main focus: Scaling NEAR through activations, meetups and hackathons in the most strategic American cities
  • Famous for: NEAR Hacks (and a merch store coming soon!)
  • Next big thing: Check out,, for the latest updates.


Yuliia: We’re not your usual venture builder studio supporting some external projects. We have our own in-house professional team who can build up a product from an idea to, hopefully, a unicorn. Right now we have three projects on the fundraising stage cooking in our product lab. One of my favorite projects is WOMBI. It connects web2 and web3 analytics identifying channels and geographies that bring the best users while keeping their privacy. We’re looking for and validating new ideas all the time.

  • Based in: Ukraine and Portugal
  • Website | Twitter | Telegram
  • Main focus: Venture builder studio and NEAR focused events to engage Ukrainian and Western European audience
  • Famous for: Hire Unit with a special pricing for the NEAR native projects providing full cycle employment services for those looking for developers
  • Next big thing: Collaboration with Ukrainian Pavilion at WebSummit in Lisbon

NEAR Hispano:

Claudio: As my co-founder Lucio from Metapool says, why are people complaining about the bear market? You should come here live in Argentina we have an extremely unstable coin for a fiat currency. In countries like Venezuela, blockchain can and is solving the day-to-day problems of the people with fintech solutions. Hackathons like MetaBUILD are a great learning platforms, because the best way to learn is to build, and if something goes wrong, you just have to rinse and repeat. For our community, more hackathons are coming in the next couple of months!

That's why Claudio and the NEAR Hispano hub are focusing on Web3 developer education and creating the next wave of builders that can start addressing these local issues where blockchain can make a direct impact.

  • Based in: Mexico
  • Website | Twitter | Telegram
  • Main focus: Bringing blockchain education to the Spanish speaking communities 
  • Famous for: Collaboration with Platzi – the largest educational platform in LATAM
  • Next big thing: 150 scholarships for Spanish speaking developers from the LATAM region given out by NEAR Foundation. Click to apply.

NEAR Kenya:

Lilian: We've found that there's a gap between education and the connection to opportunities either on the continent or around the world. Thankfully, as the official regional hub for NEAR in Africa, we are uniquely positioned to be able to connect those individuals that we encounter. We want to take full advantage by bringing these two together through a dev shop that we've developed. 

We just want to invite anyone who is based in Africa or wants to recruit the local developers to come to us and use that platform to be able to access them.

  • Based in: Kenya
  • Twitter
  • Main focus: Looking after the NEAR projects built all across the African continent
  • Famous for: Dev shop initiative that helps developers learn and find the new job opportunities

NEAR Balkans:

Ida: When we started back in April, we realized that before hosting a NEAR hackathon we have to actually build awareness of the technology. We partnered up with universities and the biggest Web2 companies to organize educational meetups. We collaborated with the influencers to organize some BD (business development) meetings and spread the word about what can be built on NEAR and how we support the builders.

Now we’re hosting local meetups to help the developers connect and find out how they can collaborate. With this new community, we stick to the test-and-learn approach where we can immediately adjust when something is or is not working. Meanwhile, we have our product lab with an in-house team building amazing projects for the NEAR ecosystem.

  • Based in: Serbia
  • Website | Twitter | Telegram
  • Main focus: Developing ecosystem and community in the Southern and South-Eastern Europe through education and meetups
  • Famous for: Educational platform for the developers who want to get certified on NEAR

NEAR China:

Robert: The newest crypto regulations in China are forcing some teams to move to Singapore or any of the more crypto friendly countries. Still, a lot of talented developers are staying in China, and the community is still quite big and diverse. We attend all of the largest local conferences to spread the word about NEAR and the opportunities for builders.

  • Based in: China
  • Website | Twitter | Telegram
  • Main focus: Supporting the key priorities of NEAR, Aurora and Octopus ecosystem in Korea and China
  • Famous for: Office Hours and NEAR Certified developer course in Chinese

Thanks for tuning to another

Meet the first-ever

Web3 Startup


All the tools you need to build, launch, and grow your Web3 startup.