Winning: We Won The JobsForNSW MVP Grant! Before, During And After...

Winning: We Won The JobsForNSW MVP Grant! Before, During And After...

> Winning: We Won The JobsForNSW MVP Grant! Before, During And After... Tat Banerjee [December 03, 2019]

DISCLAIMER: This blog post was updated after having a conversation with JobsForNSW. [3 Dec 2019]

Please check the JobsForNSW website for updates. The process covered below changes regularly and DO NOT rely on the below to be correct going forward. It was correct at time of publication, but talking to the JobsForNSW staff it is LIKELY to change pretty soon.

Earlier this year we put in an application for a Minimum Viable Product Grant from JobsForNSW, a NSW Government initiative.

In this blog post we are going to look at the entire process and work through our successful application. Specifically:

  • What is the MVP grant and where do you get more information?
  • What the grant process looks like and what information we had to provide to get the grant.
  • What the grant process was like, step by step, at a procedural level.

The point of this post is to provide information to anyone else within the Sydney/NSW startup ecosystem who is also looking into this grant and potentially applying.

Will probably do another post of the content of (a) the videotranslator.ai grant application itself, and (b) the progress report at the end.

We are also hoping to have a follow up post where we talk to one of the officers inside JobsForNSW to get a insider view into how the process works.

What Is The JobsForNSW MVP (Minimum Viable Product) Grant?

From the JobsForNSW website, Minimum Viable Product (MVP) grants are designed to support promising startups with the funds needed to progress from a proof of concept stage to a minimum viable product. The grants are aimed at startups that are yet to generate revenue to help them engage with a potential business customer, or channel to market, and create innovative solutions that address compelling industry needs or market gaps.

Link: https://www.jobsfornsw.com.au/funding/startups

How Much Money Can I Get From The JobsForNSW MVP Grant?

From the JobsForNSW website, An MVP grant is a matched funding grant up to 50% of approved project costs, to a maximum of $25,000.

Remember: You do not have to ask for the full $25,000.

In the specific case of videotranslator.ai we had a total project cost of $41,400.00. The idea is JobsForNSW is funding 50% of approved project costs, to a maximum of $25,000. Hence the amount we ended up getting for our project was $41,400 * 0.5 = $20,700.

Assuming We Get The Grant - What Is The Timeline For The Application Process?

From the JobsForNSW website, Successful grant applicants will receive 35% of the funding up-front and 65% after completion and validation of the MVP.

The exact sequence of events is provided below:

DISCLAIMER: SmartyGrants below is the old system - JobsForNSW are transitioning to a new system.

  1. You put in your application using an online system called SmartyGrants. The form itself is fairly straightforward - we did not use any external consultants.

  2. You get a notification saying your submission has been received. This is an email and looks like below. Note the blacked out telephone numbers and emails are public, but have been hidden to the JobsForNSW staff don’t get spammed. If you really need to reach them, get creative with Google.

    Winning: Submission Acknowledgement from JobsForNSW
    Winning: Submission Acknowledgement from JobsForNSW
  3. You get another notification saying you have been moved to round 1 of the selection process. Unless your application is terrible and you have not completed the form, you should get to here without too many issues. It looks like below:

    Winning: Round 1 Acknowledgement from JobsForNSW
    Winning: Round 1 Acknowledgement from JobsForNSW
  4. Once here JobsForNSW has an internal process. In another post we will talk about how that exactly works. For now, the application goes to an internal committee and either you get the grant or you don’t get the grant.

  5. In our specific case, videotranslator.ai got the grant - Winning! Also, on winning the grant you get notified by email. This looks like below:

    Winning: We Won!
    Winning: We Won!
  6. You will also get another email, from a person - that how you know :)

    Winning: The JobsForNSW team is working on your funding deed
    Winning: The JobsForNSW team is working on your funding deed
  7. Download the deed, and make sure you sign and return the contract.

    Winning: Get your pen out and sign the contract!
    Winning: Get your pen out and sign the contract!
  8. Sweet - the entire process took maybe 8 weeks - its a pretty quick turnaround.

Assuming We Get The Grant - What Do I Need To Know About The Deed?

The grant is fairly simple. That being said, there are a few things which are really important:

  1. The grant will cover the budget you put into your application. You really want to get this part right!

    Winning: Make sure your budget reflects what the project is about!
    Winning: Make sure your budget reflects what the project is about!
  2. Additionally, it is important that 80% of the Project Costs are within NSW. This does not mean if you pay Google Cloud or AWS or Azure you are in breach, it means that you can use a maximum of 20% of your budget on offshore resources. You also need to be aware that the duration of the projects is a maximum of 6 months.

  3. Don’t worry too much about being too specific - in private conversations, the JobsForNSW staff understand you are a startup and maybe not everything works out. They understand that you are trying to do something really hard, and not everything goes to plan always.

    Not Winning? If things go wrong with your project, talk to your advisor. Its ok, JobsForNSW understands that things go wrong sometimes
    Not Winning? If things go wrong with your project, talk to your advisor. Its ok, JobsForNSW understands that things go wrong sometimes
  4. Lastly, the deed will cover exactly what JobsForNSW will fund and its timing. This looks like so:

    Winning: Payment terms for your MVP grant
    Winning: Payment terms for your MVP grant
  5. You're good to go!

Assuming We Get The Grant - What Is The Timeline For The Project?

The main points to know:

  1. The payment is in two parts. The first 35% is pretty much immediate. You raise and invoice and that is it.

  2. The second part happens at the end of the project. You submit a report (using the same online application), have a meeting with your advisor, and then raise another invoice for the remaining 65% of the grant monies.. You get an email about this too:

    Winning: Progress report accepted
    Winning: Progress report accepted
  3. In the app, at the end of the process (I’m writing this post after we have finished) the payments will look like below.

    Winning: Three submissions in total after winning the grant, (a) 35% invoice, (b) Progress Report on completion, and (c) 65% invoice
    Winning: Three submissions in total after winning the grant, (a) 35% invoice, (b) Progress Report on completion, and (c) 65% invoice
  4. That is kind of it in terms of process.

Conclusion

We are super grateful to JobsForNSW. We did complete out prototype, filling out bits that did not work very well. We picked up a client (hopefully they will become a keystone client) during the project, and the client is super happy with our work.

Personally, we have not yet reached product-market fit, which I think of as having a scaleable sales process for your product at a good customer acquisition number (CAC), rather than product itself, but also think we are well on our way :) :)

Thank You

I spoke to some other folks at Fishburners for advice through the process and after. Would like to thank the folks below, you guys are awesome.

  1. David Cox at QAChef.

  2. Man LEE at Sana.

  3. Peter Boyer at Muster - a mate at Fishburners was curious about the MVP process. Hope you get the grant bud!

Check out the above startups - they are doing very cool technology stuff!