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How to Find Funding for Your Project

It is quantic time that we investigate options for financing your projects. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to fund a new business idea or just a side project, there are options at all levels. For instance, there are microgrants up to $5000 for small side projects. For bigger business ideas, you have recurring grants, government funds, and crowdsourcing options. You can even go with advertising on your projects, sponsorships, and selling relevant merchandise. The final step is to look for venture capital, of course.

Resources

You can find the analysis of most the funds and grants listed in the article as a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOX3IU_OSig

In addition to what is listed below, the video analyzes different funding types like advertising on your project, sponsorships, selling relevant merchandise, and getting venture capital. Analysis is done from a Senior Software Engineer’s perspective, but it applies to any project. If you want to read the comments or leave a comment, do so under the YouTube video. If you want to contribute to the article, make a pull request on GitHub.

My following article will get you started on your first step in pitching your project:

Crowdfunding

The concept has been around for a while and can at times be the spark that makes a project take off. There are different models, the traditional crowdfunded project asks for funds given some budget and project proposition. If the project reach the donation goal you can receive extra benefits apart from the actual product. Other models are more focused on the community, where members of the community pitch in a certain amount of money per time unit, e.g. once a month.

Grants

A grant is a sum of money given by an organization or governments for special purposes like funding business ideas. Lets start with them.

Fast Grants - Fast Funding for COVID-19 Science

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

AwesomeFoundation.org

Gitcoin

PSF Grants Program

Tyk’s Side Project Fund

Clojurists Together

Unitary Fund

Open-Source Focused

More individuals, organizations and companies are starting to realize the potential of open source. An important question is obviously how projects can be funded to enable individuals to subsist and work on open source full time. This document aims to be an open guide to funding of open source projects.

A list of funding opportunities that follow the grants model. This type of funding is usually carried out in batches, i.e. the fund in question release a certain amount of money each year and it’s spread out over multiple projects. Grant funding often allows you to plan and execute projects over a longer period of time.

Open Technology Fund - OTF

From their webpage:

The Open Technology Fund utilizes available funds to support Internet freedom projects that empower world citizens to have access to modern communication channels that are free of restrictions, and allow them to communicate without fear of repressive censorship or surveillance.

OTF funds projects through the following funds: Internet Freedom Fund, Core Infrastructure Fund, Community Prototype Fund, Rapid Response Fund, Labs

RIPE NCC Community Projects Fund

From their webpage:

The RIPE NCC will provide EUR 250,000 per year to support projects of value to the operation and resilience of the Internet, with a focus on tools and services benefitting the technical community in our service region.

The service region for RIPE NCC is made up of over 75 countries, which is one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIR). See https://www.ripe.net/about-us/what-we-do/ripe-ncc-service-region for more information.

Horizon 2020 :eu:

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over between 2014 and 2020. You need a consortium to apply. See Holger Krekels talk at 32c3 (link below) for a more detailed description.

InnovationsFonden :denmark:

InnovationsFonden or Innovation Fund Denmark invests in both large and small projects and they don’t require any stake in the project nor repayment. They have three different programs targeting the whole range from large scale research projects to smaller enterprises and entrepreneurs down to talented individuals within the research space. Funds can be anything between 50k to 5M DKK depending on the size of the project.

InternetFonden :sweden:

InternetFonden is a Swedish fund run by Internetstiftelsen i Sverige or IIS, which administer the Swedish .se TLD. Parts of the earnings from selling .se domains goes to various projects that benefit the development of internet in Sweden and one of them is InternetFonden. Since 2004 the fund has financed 323 projects for a total of 65M SEK (7.7M USD/7.1M EUR/5.2M GBP). Applicants can be companies, organizations or private people as long as they have a Swedish organization number or social security number.

Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS)

Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) is a grant program specifically focused on supporting the Open Source and Free Software movement, with an initial allocation of USD $1 million.

Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII)

The Core Infrastructure Initiative, or CII, is a multi-million dollar project to fund and support critical elements of the global information infrastructure. It is organized by The Linux Foundation and supported by companies like Amazon Web Services, Google and IBM. CII was formed as a response to the Heartbleed security crisis; however, the Initiative’s efforts will not be restricted to crypto-related issues in the long term.

SIDN Fund

From their webpage:

SIDN Fund stands for ‘a strong internet for all’. We provide financial support to ideas and projects that aim to make the internet stronger or that use the internet in innovative ways. By doing so, SIDN Fund wants to help increase the social impact of the internet in the Netherlands.

Similarly to InnovationsFonden, SIDN also funds projects on different levels. Smaller projects - Pioneer projects - can receive a maximum of 10k EUR and larger projects - Potentials projects - up to 75k EUR.

Knight Foundation

From their webpage:

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

Sloan Foundation

From their webpage:

The Sloan Research Fellowships seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.

and:

These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. The 2018 Sloan Research Fellows will receive fellowships in the amount of $65,000

NLNet Foundation

From their webpage:

The foundation “Stichting NLnet” stimulates network research and development in the domain of Internet technology. The articles of association for the NLnet foundation state: “to promote the exchange of electronic information and all that is related or beneficial to that purpose”.

NLnet does not directly benefit from the undertaken projects, and all developments are published as Open Source.

Current submission(s):

From OTF mailing list:

NLNet is seeking proposals requesting between €5,000 and €50,000 for projects for Privacy and Trust projects “aimed at providing people with new instruments that allow them more agency - and assist us with fulfilling the human need of keeping some private and confidential context and information private and confidential.” This effort is part of the EU’s Next Generation Initiative (NGI), which seeks to “re-imagine and re-engineer the internet for the third millennium and beyond to shape a value-centric, human and inclusive society for all.”

Additional Guides:

Guides on QuanticDev website that is related to this subject:

Sources:

This guide is mainly assembled from:

Suggestions for more sources is welcome.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are more funding options for your project ideas than you can ever imagine. However, you need to work on your ideas and make sure that they are realistic and sustainable. I am sure that the funding providers are getting bombarded with fraud attempt all day every day. Just don’t look like one of them and you should be good. Put in the effort to prepare your pitch deck and present your ideas nicely. The obvious first step in pitching your projects is to create a website. I have a detailed article on how to set up a free website with GitHub Pages. If you want to check it out, the link is in the resources section above. After your project is in a basic presentable format, you can start applying for grants to bring your project to life. If your project becomes a success, you can look for further funding to make it into a commercial success.

In general, I would recommend looking for funding after developing your project as much as possible. This massively increases your chances of getting attention. Also, Investors love it when they see a potential success in their hands. Good luck in your project journey and let me know of your failures and success so I can feature them in an article or a video.

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” - Steve Jobs