Stage 1 Exceptional Talent Application Rejected [Re-applying] [Endorsed]

After a rejection typing no longer sweets you. lol so please i’ll do edits later but this is a summary of my rejection letter.

Assessment panel feedback:

The applicant is one of several co-founders of cryptocurrency exchange platform *** where he
operates as CIO. He has applied for the Exceptional Talent route selecting Optional Criteria 1 (a
proven innovation track record) and Optional Criteria 3 (significant contributions made as a founder).

The applicant has demonstrated in this application that he meets the requirements of Optional Criteria 3.

His first business, ****, which he started when he was still an undergraduate, was acquired
after it had been operating for 8 years. The applicant does not state whether he made any financial
gain from that transaction. The business of which he is currently one of the co-founders, ***, shows
strong growth and it has been successful in raising investment.

Unfortunately, the applicant has not in this application demonstrated that he meets the requirements of either the mandatory criteria or Optional Criteria 1.

In terms of OC1, neither the applicant’s first company, ****, or his current company, ***,
operates in an innovative space. The applicant has included a document called “Evidence of
Innovation” in his pack but it is a list of links to media coverage about both companies. Incidentally,
several of the applicant’s pieces of evidence exceed the page limit recommended in the Tech Nation
guidelines. Other evidence provided to support OC1 are an overview of the applicant’s commits into
private GitLab repositories and some screenshots of product metrics and usage. None of this evidence
relates in any way to innovation. The applicant has not attempted to explain in his application if he has
acquired an innovation track record elsewhere and therefore he does not meet the requirements of OC1.

What do they mean by innovative space.

  1. I know i made mistake with the evidence of innovation. I used a previous applicate format from 2021 before i found this group. and was hoping it was going to work for me since it worked for him.
  2. Maybe i should have called it Media coverage instead.

In terms of the mandatory criteria, the applicant has provided the required 3 letters of recommendation.
Two are from college classmates and the third is from a person he met and had a conversation with 3
years ago at a blockchain conference. These are not credible providers of letters of recommendation.

Additionally, the letters simply repeat information provided elsewhere in the application.

LOR submited

  1. LOR from a Health Tech CEO (Product Based)
  2. LOR from a Agric Tech CEO (Product Based)
  3. LOR from another Health Tech VP/CoFunder (Product Based)

The LOR’s they stated how they know me and have detailed knowledge of my work. all the LOR’s contained the below information. so i dont know what they mean by they are not credible providers. Note all 3 LOR’s providers are tech nation endorsed already.

a. Be about your Global Talent application - you cannot use a letter that was written for another reason
b. Explain how the author knows the applicant; and
c . Knows the applicant’s achievements in the relevant field; and
d. How the author considers the applicant shows exceptional talent or promise; and
e. the contribution the applicant would make to the UK digital economy.

The **** incorporation documents identify 5 original shareholders of which the applicant is one of th
minority shareholders. No current cap table is provided to show how much of the company the
applicant currently owns post the investment raise. He is not CEO and neither does he appear to have
a significant role in the company. As mentioned previously, he does not report the sale price of
first company so we are unable to assess whether it was a significant outcome for the applicant. He does
not provide any of the other information and evidence we would expect to see from an Exceptional
Talent applicant. There is no media coverage of him as an individual thought leader, no speaking
engagements at significant blockchain conferences, no independent awards won, no sharing of code
via open source, no mentoring of other founders. We see no evidence of exceptional talent presented
in this application and for that reason the applicant does not meet the requirements of the mandatory criteria.

  1. How did they determine I do not have a significant role in the company. lol
  2. I did not think the sale price for the first company was that much of a big deal was hoping they would focus more on my recent startup that currently process over $10M in revenue annually and have a staff strength of 100 people.

We regret that for the above reasons we are unable to endorse at this time.

Document submitted

3 LOR’s
CEO of a health tech company (TechNation Endorsed 2021) Business raised over $1.5M
Co-founder of a Agric-tech business (TechNation Endorsed 2022) Raised over $100M
VP and Co-founder of a Health tech company Raised over $5M (TechNation Endorsed 2022)

Mandatory Document

  • Employment Contract
  • Salary Review Document
  • Techstars Accelerator Email Welcome Message (2020 Techstars Toronto Canada 2020)
  • Incorporation Doc and Incorporation Registration of Company

Evidence of Innovation - mostly links about my company i think this should have been called media mention. the title might have been misleading.
Gitlab Contribution Evidence - Screenshot to company private repo
Proof of Product in Market - Screen shot of App reviews, google analytics,

Employment Contract
Salary Review
Gitlab Contribution Evidence
They seem to be okay with my OC3.

1 Like

What are my chance of appealing or should i re-apply(I mean package my application better).

@Francisca_Chiedu @anyone that can assist.

What do they mean by this

They have quoted it clearly, as per guide line the LOR person must be knowing about your work for minimum 12 months period , which is clear that if they are your college classmates that is not valid .Doesn’t matter even if they are founder or CEO of any company. They must have worked with you in a company or observed you work closely through any official medium.( like university professors or PHD guides)

which means the same content is flowing in all the letters , you need to verify all the ROL and make sure they speak about three different work minimum. You can’t have same work mentioned in three ROL’s.

1 Like

Thanks @Ramesh87

I am currently working on a new application. Working on getting new Recommendation Letters and more evidence for MC and OC 1

Take your time and correct it don’t worry about the technation closing date.( they are accepting it still)
Remember to strengthen every aspect of the application don’t take easy that OC3 went through this time so next time it will go through again. Make sure you validate everything again as per guide line it matches.

You have good chance of getting endorsed next time .All the best.


This is a thorough feedback, if you can address the gaps and show substantial evidence you may be eligible for endorsement. I think the first mistake you made is using an application that was used in 2021.The bar keeps going up. Based on what you have submitted, your evidence list is not sufficient for exceptional talent. Email invitation from Tech Stars is different from getting a reference or recommendation letter stating why you are exceptional and your achievements during and after the program. You could have shown screenshots of news clippings about your work that mentions your name to show you are recognised for your work. Salary review and employment contract could have been merged as a single evidence even at that, we have seen that they don’t place so much weight on high income compared to speaking at high profile conferences, Open source contributions and news clippings plus having a strong public profile. These days being a founder doesn’t translate to being exceptional.
For OC1, you didn’t show the traction the product made through revenue. Screenshot of Google analytic could have been added with revenue information just to show you have good customer traction. As for the emphasis on the sale of your previous company, I believe the assessor just wanted to see if there are achievements that could be considered outside what you provided.

I honestly don’t see what you want to base your appeal on, the only value you may get is other feedback or comments the previous assessor may not have covered which you can use to further strengthen your application but if you have other evidence to address the gaps in your application, you may want to do a fresh application.
Also look for solid recommenders.


@Francisca_Chiedu Thanks so much for the feedback.
For OC1. I did show traction the product made through revenue and also added screenshot to our google analytics and reviews from app stores. But it was a 4 page document instead of 3. :neutral_face:

My next application i’ll try to restrict all evidence to just 3 pages.
My employment contract, Incorporation Document are more than 3 pages is that also a red flag.

So i am currently working on a new application kindly assist in reviewing

RL 1 CEO from a Fintech company A (Former co-founder)

  • Can i re-use this for MC1

RL 2 CEO from another Fintech Company B

RL 3 CEO from another Fintech Company C

  • (I’m thinking of replacing one of the RL companies and use someone from a different sector.

Mandatory criteria.

MC 1. Reference Letter from former co-founder who now runs his own start up company processing over $100M in transaction volume monthly.

  • Talk about how during his time at my company how he was able to learn from me and my leadership skills in accelerating the growth of my company and how he learnt so much from me which lead him to start his own company

MC2. Reference letter from my Co-founder (CEO)

  • Describing how i have been able to use my leadership position to contribute to the growth of the company

MC3. Shareholdings of current Company, Employment Contract, Salary review letter, current Captables.

MC4: News Clipping

  • Only one major article that mention my name and wrote about how I am being tasked to build the company blockchain infrastructure that will power other exchanges and investment platforms looking to incorporate crypto. (Is Techpoint a good source).
  • My first company got acquired but no mention about how much it was acquired. It was flagged on my first application. Do you think just mentioning the acquisition amount when explaining the news clipping is enough or i have to show evidence of acquisition. This was a long time ago in 2019 and the company that acquired my previous company also got acquired last year so i can’t get a reference letter from him.

Criteria 1

  • Repeat MC3

  • Proof Of Product in Market

    • Explain my responsibilities and leadership as the Co-founder and CIO of my company and how i lead the core blockchain engineering team
    • Screenshot of App in Apple and Playstore
    • Screenshot of App stores reviews
    • Screenshot of Google Analytics Audience from Aug 2022 to March 2023
    • Screenshot of Visitors by country from Aug 2022 to March 2023
    • Screenshot of Revenue traction made from Aug 2022 to Feb 2023
  • Reference letter from CEO of another company using our API to build his product.

Criteria 3

  • Documentation on product designs or architecture diagram

    • I will be describing how I built and designed our core blockchain infrastructure which is the current backbone of our business/product.
    • I will be showing screenshots of architecture diagram and documentation from our private notion account
  • Gitlab Contribution to current company code

    • Screenshot of gitlab profile overview page showing contribution and activity
    • Screenshot showing other projects outside the core application i have contributed
    • Screenshot showing my contribution to our core application, Over the last 4 years. A total of 613 Commits to our core production application
    • Screenshot showing a merge request made by me to our repository staging and production branch

@Francisca_Chiedu @Ramesh87 @Yusuf_Adebanjo @alexnk @ask4jubad @May

Is it okay i merge everything inside a single file and also. add an additional document explaining the documents.

Hi @Mors_E , looks better now but am afraid you still lag in MC especially speaking events.
Now days they see that as mandatory part to prove you as global leader for which is the reason it is part of MC and OC2.
Consider to add speaking events if you have any.

All the best.



  1. Can i use my current Co-founder/CEO for LOR and MC
  2. I have an award from Technext. Blockchain leadership award 2021. But no media mention. It was just a recognition. Can i provide reference letter for this.
  3. What do you guyz think about my MC4
  4. Can i use MC3 for OC1.

Q1: I plan to ask my co-founder/ceo for a reference letter that would be added to my MC. - is this okay?
Q2: Can i use my CEO of a company that was my former co-funder for one of my LOR or get someone neutral.

@Ramesh87 @Francisca_Chiedu @alexnk @May Advice please

Better to use them for impact OC3.

Thanks. @Francisca_Chiedu

What do you think of the below.

and also

I am already gathering evidence and LOR’s

I have an article from Africa Business Insider under the leaders category. Can i use this for MC or OC1.

How else can i show innovation aside Proof of Product in market and Proof of Traction

Both looks ok what is their qualification are they are industry leaders and having good public profile ?

Yes they are @Ramesh87