My name is Maxim Kulgin and my company clickfraud engages in protection against click-throughs of contextual advertising in Yandex.Direct. In August 2022, we received a grant from the FSI, and I want to share my experience with a detailed analysis of our application to the fund. It seems that no one has done it yet … but we don’t feel sorry for it – use it for the benefit of your business!
Previously, two articles have already been published on this resource (part 1 and part 2), where I described in some detail our experience in obtaining a grant and I advise everyone who is interested to familiarize themselves with them before reading the material below, because. you will have much more understanding of the issue. After the publication of the articles, I received, I won’t lie, under a hundred personal messages with a request to show our application – I am correcting myself in this material.
However, since the topic of a grant from the state often “tickles” the imagination:) I will allow myself, before analyzing our application, to answer the most frequent questions that I receive from subscribers after the publication of FSI news in my Telegram channel (link at the end of the article). Questions and doubts, as a rule, are all typical.
So… let’s go through the doubts:
This is toxic money! Well, what can I say – 2 million rubles came to our account at Modul Bank (the grant is given in two tranches of 2 million for 12 months) and I report to you – the bank did not ask questions, the money is not radioactive, there are no cordyceps fungus spores on them ( they do not control our brain :), none of the clients (200+) turned away. By the way, thanks to the grant (including) we became a resident of Skolkovo, and this also does not interfere in any way, but rather the opposite. In general, it’s up to you, of course. I have not seen real venture investors in Russia for a long time, but I will simply keep silent about Western funds.
If you don’t, you will have to return the money! It sounds, sorry, like complete nonsense. You don’t think to buy a UAZ PATRIOT in the maximum configuration with the fund’s money, do you? It should be emphasized that the FSI gives money for R&D. In our case, we are conducting research on the development of a neural network that detects bots based on mouse movement (it is not so easy for a bot to repeat human movements in general, but on a specific site in particular).
So far, the results are not ideal (although they are already inspiring), but we still have 7-8 months to work. Based on the results of R&D, you write a report. Believe me, if you are really doing business, then it will not be difficult to draw up a document describing the actions taken. We already have about 50 pages of text, which is written in a calm mode, as the team works on the task.
4 million rubles is just a penny! Let me remind you that Moscow and St. Petersburg are far from the whole of Russia. You must have at least two applicants and you can spend ~330,000 rubles on payroll. per month. Taxes can be reduced a little by becoming a Skolkovo resident. Simple mathematics suggests that each applicant can receive ~ 90,000 rubles in his hands. during the year. If you look at the latest results of competitions from the FSI, you will notice that there are a lot of winners from the regions.
I can safely assume that 90,000 r. per month, this is a good income, which allows you to concentrate on R&D. In addition, in addition to Start-1 (a grant of 4 million), there is Start-2, etc., and there the numbers of grant support are different. See the fasie foundation website. ru. We will definitely try our hand at the Start-2 competition, where the grant is up to 12 million rubles. (requires co-financing, but we already have revenue) . Right now, for example, we can’t spend the fund’s money on marketing.
I don’t want to deal with bureaucracy! Everyone in the fund is very friendly and responds extremely quickly. Moreover, when we “blunted” in terms of correcting the application for signing the contract (it becomes an application), our curator helped and made the necessary changes himself. A lot of time has passed since the receipt of the money and we have never received a question-claim-request-complaint, etc. from the fund. Draw your own conclusions. You just need to meet their expectations and try to do high-quality R&D (they give you money for this).
Everything is decided only by family ties, without this a grant will not be given! Here you can advise to get acquainted with the number of approved applications for the year (for example, 2022) and you will understand that this statement is absolutely groundless. Do not be lazy, go to the FSI website – all winners are published openly for each competition.
It is very difficult to fill out an application, plus write a business plan and financial statements. model! It is a mistake to think that you will need to put in less effort to attract venture capital investments than a grant from the FSI. The only difference is that your share in the business is not diluted by new “passengers”, with whom there may be further difficulties (or may not be, as it goes, of course).
I hope I removed some of the doubts, and now let’s go through the application. Let me remind you that in addition to filling out the application itself, you may need to attach a project presentation (5-6 slides), a financial model and a business plan. We, I confess, were helped by a specialist (here is his Telegram), because when we applied for a grant (spring 2022), we already had a business running, there was revenue and a bunch of operational issues. We decided that everyone should do what they are strong in. But if you have to work from a “blank slate” and have time, then you can do it yourself – not “Newton’s bin”.
You fill out the application in the FSI personal account and for each section there are tips that I strongly recommend that you carefully study. All images below are clickable (to enlarge) and belong to a specific section on the site. I skipped some sections, because everything is trivial there (data about applicants, etc.). I will focus on the significant application screens.
I won’t comment on the screens, because the goal is to give you tips on self-filling – just open our screen, read (when Click image to enlarge and see everything) and customize for your business. Separately, I emphasize that we had a competition with an emphasis on AI (artificial intelligence), you will most likely have minor changes in the application.
Project data. It is necessary to describe the work (R & D), revealing the theme of the project (research, development, testing, testing, analysis, refinement, etc.) and ensuring the achievement of the requirements of the TOR.
Belonging to the field of AI, justification of compliance. Our competition was Start-1-AI (artificial intelligence), so the appropriate emphasis was placed. In fact, we are developing an AI algorithm.
Scientific and technical part of the project. I believe that the requirements for the hardware should not cause difficulties, I will not give.
Prospects for commercialization. It may be useful to have feedback from an interested client who is planning to implement your project. This is not a contract, but an expectation. I’m sure it’s not hard to get. You are not making a “spherical horse in a vacuum” are you?
Terms of Reference for R&D.
Design requirements for a scientific and technical product to be obtained as a result of the current R&D stage
Other requirements for a scientific and technical product (prototype, prototype) to be developed as part of the current stage of R&D
Additional documents for the project. We have prepared additional documents to increase the chances of receiving a grant. For each FSI competition there is a provision where you will find recommended and mandatory materials, and I strongly advise you to follow the recommendations, because everything affects the opinion of experts.
That’s all. I can only say from experience – do not be afraid, try. It may not work the first time, but the fund does not limit you from trying. If they refused, then you can request an official clarification, do “work on the bugs” and try again!
You can find more information in my personal Telegram channel “Russian IT business”- I write in it the whole “wrong side” that we encounter in the process of work, without embellishment. If I missed something – ask in the comments, I will definitely answer.