ICO Pools — what do they look for in a token sale?

So you have an upcoming ICO and you’d like to get the attention of ICO Pools and investment syndicates. But what exactly are they looking for?

You’ve read up on what ICO Pools are and decided you’d like them to consider your project for a groundbreaking business on the blockchain. But you want to make sure that your concept impresses right from the get-go. Let’s take a look at how.

It all starts with the team

This is the big one: your team. The success of a company depends greatly on the team running it — and ICO Pools know that. They’re looking for people who have run successful companies before or have worked at big name enterprises, people with years of experience in their industry and people who have experience in blockchain. They don’t want to see what looks like a bunch of amateurs who’ve just rocked up with an idea and are hoping to cash in.

What can you do?

If your team looks weak on paper then it’s time to beef it up a bit. Not only do you want people with impressive résumés who can give your project a shine but you also want their advice. Find people who can really give that to you in the areas where you’re lacking. And be careful. Avoid those who seem to almost be “professional” ICO advisers — advising tens of companies at the same time. They’re unlikely to be able to give your project the individual attention it needs.

An impressive team is important. But don’t fake it

Work hard on your community

Pools are looking for projects that will capture the imagination and the enthusiasm of a large number of people. They want projects that can build buzz and chatter. So how can they review that? Well, they check to see what sort of hype is already being generated around both the project and, more importantly for them, the ICO. They want to see token buyer excitement — of the sort that leads to public sales selling out within hours.

How can you make this happen?

You should start community building. What many ICOs do is they “buy” their community using airdrops and bounty hunts. This is relatively easy but carries disadvantages: expensive community management, low engagement from users just in it for the bounty, lack of quality feedback and, importantly, ethical issues around essentially paying for a contrived community so people will buy into your idea.

There’s a better way. Start first by creating a community around the product. Use their feedback to refine your idea where necessary. Make your top users moderators to help you with community management. Harness your early adopters to spread the word. And then enthuse that community around their chance to become an early token holder. Get them talking about it on telegram and you’ll nail the inevitable how many people are there on your telegram chat question.

Plan your road to profitability well

Your hard cap is probably the first element of your tokenomics that an ICO Pool will look at. It’s what, in part, decides how quickly you’ll need to become profitable. So plan that run-up well. Do you want a big hard cap with many years provided for before you need to turn a profit? It may seem tempting, but high hard caps can currently be a turn-off for many investment syndicates and lower hard-caps are preferred. Why is that? Well, there are several reasons:

  • A company with a high hard-cap can be hard to manage; too much money, too many side projects, not enough direction.
  • That shorter run-up to profitability will often result in a more efficient business
  • A lower hard-cap normally means a smaller token supply and low supplies are generally more attractive to token buyers

Many high hard-cap ICOs have come unstuck. Plans yours well and you’ll impress the Pools.

Get something you can show off

Impressing a pool just on the strength of an enthusiastic community and a low-hardcap is possible, but it becomes a whole lot easier if you have a working prototype of your product that you can demo. Not only will this look good on your social channels and help immensely with building your community, but it will also give that all important indication that you can meet deadlines and produce.

You want something to show off

And finally … understand what the pools want

When it comes down to it, ICO Pools want to work with ICOs that will end up being successful. Yes, they want favourable bonuses and discounts, but that won’t count for much if the token bombs. Their job is to find tokens whose utility will be maintained or increased. Some Pools will look at every indicator they can find to help them asses your project. They will produce detailed internal documents, normally spreadsheets, listing tough questions.

And your project will be scored according to how well it answers those questions. For example:

Does this ICO meet an existing market need?

They have a rabid community who can’t wait for it to arrive. 9/10

Does it have a competitor advantage?

They already have a working prototype, none of their competitors do. 9/10

How favourable are the token economics?

They have a small hardcap that fits theirs goals and gives them a realistic run-up to profitability. 8/10

At Block Influence, we work with our clients to make sure they have answers to all the questions the pools might throw at them. And there are many:

What are the Pool Bonuses / Discounts ?
Are KYC and AML required?
What dates are you aiming for in each of your rounds?
What is your PR plan?


Lots of questions: Our client briefing document on the “tough questions”

What next?

We’d suggest you get started on your community right away — use them to validate your market need and start turning them into your most loyal supporters and evangelists. Then get working on ensuring you’ve got an answer to all the difficult questions investment syndicates will be throwing your way.


This article was originally pubished on medium.com, please join the discussion there now.