Our way to EXIST
At the end of 2016, we decided to apply for the startup grant EXIST to realize our project VIPFY.
The scholarship offers not only the financial support to focus on the product idea for an entire year, but also provides working space, excellent support in the development of a business plan and advice in legal matters.
The KWT supported us during the writing process of our EXIST - application.
The employees answered all our thousands of questions and supported us with tips and advice. We want to take this opportunity to thank KWT for their excellent cooperation. Your support enabled us to master the bureaucratic challenges of EXIST.
Our greatest challenge in preparing our funding application was to explain and introduce our product in a way that it was understandable even to those who are not familiar with either Cloud Service or SaaS.
In mid-2017, after about six months of reviewing our application, we were finally able to submit it. Two months later, we received bad news: Our application had been rejected, but with the possibility to revise and resubmit it. The reason for the rejection is still a mystery to us today, because the evaluation only contained positive feedback, and even in discussions with KWT and the project sponsor we did not receive any precise indications of what we should improve.
We, therefore, revised the application at our discretion and submitted it again at the end of 2017.
And this time it worked! Only about a month later, we received the longed-for confirmation: our application had been approved!
Naturally, we wanted to start working right away. Unfortunately, at that time the federal elections had just been taken place in Germany, and due to difficulties in the coalition negotiations, a new government had not yet been formed. However, since the funding for EXIST required official approval from the new government, we had to wait for the coalition negotiations, and our start with EXIST was delayed by several months.
In May 2018 we finally started with EXIST.
One Year EXIST
Our EXIST - funding ran from May 2018 to May 2019.
During this period, Pascal, Nils and Jannis could dedicate themselves entirely to our project VIPFY, and it was possible for us to develop a first basic version of our product.
Because of the funding, we were able to purchase the necessary hardware for the development, and we could visit several trade fairs where we made many valuable contacts and presented our product to potential customers and investors.
Furthermore, we gained additional human resources by contracting freelancing students, and we were able to take advantage of the help of a designer who created a corporate identity and advertising materials and advised us in the design process of our product.
Nevertheless, we had underestimated the bureaucratic effort during the sponsorship period. Spontaneous financial decisions are not easily taken during EXIST, because everything has to go through a long application and approval process first.
For example, it took several weeks to obtain the computers we needed for programming.
Moreover, we wanted to place advertisements on Google. We had planned and set aside the budget for this advertisement right from the beginning. But when we applied for the funds for the advertisement towards the end of our EXIST - year, they were rejected at short notice, because it was not possible to integrate the funding logos into the advertising.
An alternative advertisement could not be realized. The approval of the advertisement would have taken longer than the remaining period of our funding period. Therefore this part of our budget was lost.
All in all, EXIST gave us an enormous boost in the development of our product, and without financial support, our company's start would not have been possible. Therefore we are incredibly grateful that we were able to enjoy the privilege of the funding.
Nevertheless, it should not be underestimated how quickly one year of funding passes. Usually, it is not possible to develop a finished product within this time.
We are a young startup that simplifies and centralizes the increasing complexity of managing, billing and interacting with cloud services. Instead of having separate user management and billing for each cloud service, VIPFY unifies this, and each employee gets direct secure access to the services they need.
Try the VIPFY Business Suite for free.
VIPFY is supported by the CISPA Helmholtz Centre for Information Security and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.