[S19 Proposal Amended] Grants Stack

S19 Proposal: Grants Stack

Grants Stack TL;DR

Grants Stack is an app built on the Allo Protocol that Gitcoin publicly launched in June. The product was internally trialed in an Alpha/Beta process in H1 23 to run Gitcoin Grants rounds. Our focus has now shifted to external adoption and growth.

We’re still early in our growth curve but excited by the reactions from our initial partnerships. Our focus in S19 will be accelerating our growth in the Web3 quadratic funding grants market, and validation and growth of our product in the Web3 direct grants market.

S19 Goals

We’re carrying over the goals from our S18 update – 13 QF rounds, 5 direct grants rounds, and 8 self-serve QF rounds.

13 QF rounds (Run through PGF)

  • Status: Achieved, 15/13 rounds completed
  • More info: We ran 15 QF rounds through the beta program in May. Additionally, we prioritized the top pieces of user feedback from the beta program and built features to respond to that feedback for GG18, including multi-round checkout, donation history, and matching estimates.
  • What we learned: the needs and feedback of our internal grants managers are definitely diverging from external grants managers. Moving forward, we’ll need to be very thoughtful about how we weigh internal vs external needs. @Viriya has an excellent take on this in her EthCC comments.
  • What’s next: We’ll support GG18 with shipping the features mentioned above, a dedicated bug resource on engineering, and new internal processes/testing for round calculations catered to advanced users. Moving forward, we’ll look to decrease the features that are explicitly built for GG rounds vs self-serve users.

5 Direct Grants rounds

  • Status: Not started (0 out of 5 direct grants rounds). I anticipate we’ll finish with ~3 direct grants rounds.
  • More info: We built a direct grants product in S18 through a partnership with Bootnode. We created a 12-week, $210k partnership to build out an MVP of this product that has been demo’d to the Safe Grants, Graph Advocate DAO, and MetaMask Grants DAO with positive feedback (3/3 would use.) This product will be released in late August.
  • What we learned: We were not as well-positioned to take on a build out of our app as we thought – with an early-stage front end and the emergence of Allo v2, we wound up revising the original architecture a number of times. In retrospect, we would either not have taken this on or not built it on-chain and integrated with Grants Stack. That said, we appreciate Bootnode’s partnership, and I’m still optimistic about adoption and will be focused on onboarding beta users over the next month.
  • What’s next: We’ll roll out the MVP of this product by the end of the month and hope to onboard beta users quickly. Our plan is to dedicate one engineering resource towards supporting this product. We will dedicate someone from our existing team as we validate the use case and understand future work to be done, and after we’ve validated that we’ll look to hire a new engineer to staff this full-time.

8 Self Serve QF rounds

  • Status: On track, 4 / 8 rounds completed (Metacamp, Green Pill, Citizens, Geo Web)
  • More info: Many of these rounds were completed by round managers who are already familiar with Gitcoin. They’ve been incredibly helpful and generous with their time in the testing process (thank you especially to @umarkhaneth @shawn16400 @krrisis + @owocki ).
  • What we learned: We were nervous to launch the product externally – it’s still early and not without bugs and UX challenges. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reception of our early users and external demos – in the words of one of our first partners, Graven from Geo Web, “It’s been a solid round! We recruited/will fund a few new builders that we’re excited to see where they go. Pretty good engagement from contributors […] Overall, we’re really excited.”
  • What’s next: We have a big focus on GTM and accelerating adoption of self-serve QF. We’ll also be focused on product features that make it easy for new grants managers to onboard and get started.

What’s Next?

You can read more about the investments we’re making to achieve our goals and what’s on our roadmap at the links below.

Strategy: S19 GS Strategy - Google Docs

Roadmap: Grants Stack Roadmap - Google Sheets

S19 Budget Request

S19 plan at the beginning of the budgeting cycle was $859,116. As originally proposed, Allo + Grants Stack had a combined S19 budget of $1,199,066 (not including reserves). When the teams split (more here), the workstream leads reviewed team costs and came up with a rough budget split — Allo’s portion of the original S19 budget was calculated as ~28%, or $339,950.

We’ve adjusted the remaining Grants Stack budget to $542,515, a reduction of 37%. In addition to the team split, we’ve had some substantial personnel changes on the team. We let go of 7 contributors in June through performance-related cuts and a RIF (RIF background.) Though painful, these reductions have resulted in a lean and high-performing team that I am sincerely proud to be part of.


Grants Stack is requesting $542,515 for S19, excluding reserves and rolled over amounts.

Budget 2023.08 Budget 2023.09 Budget 2023.010 Total S19
Total GS Budgeted Spend 175,838 175,838 190,838 542,515
33% Reserves 180,838
Past Season Treasury Balance 187,566
Total S19 Request 535,788

Budget evolution:

S18 (original budget) S18 (actuals) S19 (original budget) S19 (revised ask)
Grants Stack Budget $1,302,517 $884,238 $859,116 $542,515

Budget Breakdown

Grants Stack is staffed by the following team:

Core contributors (8):

  • Andrea Franz (engineering lead)
  • Bhargav Aparoksham (engineer)
  • Josef Vacek (engineer)
  • Max Mirra (engineer)
  • Melissa Neira (product designer)
  • Meg Lister (product lead)
  • Michelle Ma (product manager)
  • Mo Boudra (engineer – currently on parental leave)
  • Engineer (TBD – see notes on direct grants. Salary budgeted for Month 3 only.)

Part-time or shared contributors (4):

  • Kevin Olsen (engineering)
  • Lolu Olaoye (support)
  • Sorana (operations)
  • Yuki Ling (support)

Our cost breakdown is as follows:

S18 (original budget) S18 (actual spend) S19 (original budget) S19 (updated budget)
Contributor Salaries $641,560 $602,530 $641,560 $421,949
Contracting (Direct Grants, Dev Ops, GTM incentives, design) $556,081 $228,618 $107,680 $57,000
OpEx (Software subscriptions, gas, audits, travel, professional development) $104,875 $53,089 $109,875 $63,566
Total $1,302,517 $884,238 $866,616 $542,515

Closing thoughts

Grants Stack will remain as a free product for at least the majority (if not all) of S19. That said, we’re eager to roll out paid plans and features to drive revenue and reinvest in our growth. I have started thinking about potential pricing models and will welcome feedback as they are developed.


I’m going to vote in favor of this budget.

I think Meg has done a great job leading the team and the exceptional and talented devs and designers have really set us all up for success in GG18. There have been some tough decisions made and I don’t think that’s the end of them, but I’m confident in this team’s ability to navigate the different paths of product development and create a truly, high value product that folks can’t help but want to use.

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