Seed Money programme:
Financing of IT start-ups from the Astana hub
 
Funding of up to KZT 20m ($47,000)
for IT start-ups from Kazakhstan, the CIS and worldwide under the revenue share model, as well as free workspace, expert advice, training and PR support

 

 

 

                                     

 
Apply

The holder of Seed Money receives

Funds for product development, marketing costs, salaries, equipment purchases, etc.

Tax benefits as a member of Astana Hub

Free workspace in Astana Hub and access to the co-working zone for up to 6 months

Advising, tracking and training by leading experts

PR support and promotion in Astana Hub media channels

Access to local and international investors and business angels

Involvement in the Techpreneurs accelerator program

Quality networking and community from over 500 IT companies

Techpreneurs - IT start-up accelerator programme

Holders of Seed Money funding automatically participate in a programme to provide ongoing support
for the development of IT start-ups at various stages
Learn more

Funding is provided under the revenue share (equity free) model

The model implies an obligation to pay 2% of the project income, where:

+1% - payment within 3 years of disbursement (as part of the funding programme)

+1 % - payment of fees (as an Astana Hub participant)

 

In this case, the team retains 100% of the startup's equity. Astana Hub receives only royalties from revenues.

Minimum requirements for projects


01

IT component

The applicant's IT project must comply with the priority activities of Astana Hub

See a detailed list of priority activities of Astana Hub at the link.   

02

Stage of the project

An IT project must be at one of the stages: MVP, Product / market fit, Scale.

See the detailed description of each stage in the Funding Rules at the link.

03

Team

The team must consist of at least 3 key members.

Applications are accepted at the stages of

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

First version of the product, prototype, first users and sales

Product/market fit

Availability of customers/users and regular sales

Scale (Scale stage)

Positive unit economy of the product in the sales channels

The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is not created to test technologies, but to test in practice whether users need such a product, whether the hypotheses underlying the business model are correct.

The main goal of MVP is to minimize the time and effort spent on testing how the market reacts to the idea.

For example, the Groupon service was just a rudimentary open-source website at its launch. All of Groupon's services were provided via email. Social functions, a full-fledged email newsletter, automation, and a mobile app were all developed later, when it became clear that group buying was in demand.

Amount of funding

Up to KZT 5,000,000

Minimum Viable Product

Submission period is over

from August 2 to October 2

Participate

Up to KZT 10,000,000

Product/market fit

Submission period is over

from August 2 to September 11

Participate

Up to KZT 20,000,000

Scale

Submission period is over

from August 2 to September 4  

Participate

Selection procedure


01

Filing an application

Applicant submits an application with documents on the Astana Hub platform before the deadline for review for formal compliance.

02

Diagnostics of the application

Experts conduct technological, financial, economic and legal diagnostics of the IT start-up and provide recommendations to an independent panel.

03

Primary selection

An independent commission conducts an initial selection of applications. Selected IT projects will be invited to an online presentation (pitching).

04

Pitching and evaluation

The applicant presents the IT project to the members of the independent committee at the appointed time.

05

Commission decision

An independent commission conducts a vote, which results in a ranking of IT projects. The leaders of the ranking become Seed Money recipients.

06

Conclusion of an agreement

Seed Money holders must become participants in the Astana Hub tax regime and enter into a funding agreement.

Documents for consultation

FUNDING REGULATIONS

Detailed description of Seed Money's terms and conditions for funding IT start-ups

DOWNLOAD

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

Detailed description of the required content for the commercialisation strategy

DOWNLOAD

FILLING INSTRUCTION

Step-by-step guide to completing the online application for funding

DOWNLOAD

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

Full list of documents required to be attached to the application

DOWNLOAD

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can apply for funding?

    The applicant can be either an individual or a legal entity. There are no restrictions on the country of residence, i.e., an applicant may be a resident of the Republic of Kazakhstan as well as a non-resident.

  • Who can get funding?

    A legal entity that has been registered as a participant of the Astana Hub and selected in accordance with the Seed money funding programme. In case of a positive decision of the Independent Commission, the applicant has 30 (thirty) calendar days to establish a legal entity (in case the applicant is an individual) and to register the legal entity as a participant of Astana Hub (in case it is not such prior to submission of the application). In the case of an application by a non-resident of the Republic of Kazakhstan, before establishing a legal entity in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the non-resident manager must obtain an IIN.

  • Is an EDS and IIN required for the applicant to submit an application?

    EDS and IIN are not required to apply for funding. If the applicant is a non-resident of the Republic of Kazakhstan, subject to a positive decision of the independent Commission, the Head of the legal entity to be established in the Republic of Kazakhstan will be required to have IIN at the contract stage.

  • How do I become a participant of the Astana Hub Technopark?

    Details on registering as a participant of the Astana Hub Technopark.

  • How much is allocated to finance the project?

    The amount of funding is allocated depending on the stage of the project:

    - MVP (minimum viable product): up to KZT 5,000,000;

    - Product/market fit: up to KZT 10 000 000;

    - Scale: Up to KZT 20,000,000.

  • What is Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

    The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is not created to test technologies, but to test in practice whether users need such a product, whether the hypotheses underlying the business model are correct. The main goal of MVP is to minimize the time and effort spent on testing how the market reacts to the idea.

    For example, the Groupon service was just a rudimentary open-source website at its launch. All of Groupon's services were provided via email. Social functions, a full-fledged email newsletter, automation, and a mobile app were all developed later, when it became clear that group buying was in demand.

  • What is Product/market fit?

    Product/market fit is achieved from creating a value proposition and cannot be created from point amendments to the product - e.g., design/colour changes etc. The three components of PMF are Customer (you know who needs your product), Problem (you solve the Customer's specific problem) and Solution (the Customer is willing to pay for this Solution).

    You research your customer and move iteratively, you've got paying customers, they make repeat purchases and continue to use your product regularly and maybe even recommend it to their friends. These are clear signs that you have found Product-Market Fit. Customer Retention Rate is the best Product/Market Fit metric.

  • What is Scale (scale stage)?

    Scale (scale stage) is the time when the startup needs to convert the hypothesis testing process into a managed growth pipeline. By this point, the startup has ideas about which channels work. The startup feels confident in managing conversions and customer retention.

  • What criteria are imposed on the recipient of funding?

    One of the main criteria for funding recipients is the relevance of their project to priority activities in the field of information and communication technology. Additionally, depending on the stage:

    At the MVP stage:

    - Availability of completed results of scientific and technical activities, an experimental prototype product or an initial prototype (MVP);

    - Formation of a team of at least 3 (three) qualified specialists.

    At the Product/market fit stage:

    - the availability of a finished product;

    - the project team should consist of no more than 7 (seven) people, including a project manager with business experience (at least three years), able to conduct market research, a financier, narrow project specialists (less is allowed, depending on the scale of the project).

    The team may have more members, but no more than seven (7) persons within the project may be funded.

    At the Scale stage:

    - availability of a finished product;

    - the project team should consist of no more than 7 (seven) people, including a project manager with business experience (at least three years), able to conduct market research, a financier, narrow project specialists (less is allowed, depending on the scale of the project). The team may have more members, but no more than seven (7) people are allowed to finance the project.

    - Availability of a profit or loss calculation; 

    - marketing plan for product promotion and customer description; availability of main sales stages.

  • What is a priority activity?

    The list of priority activities in the field of information and communication technologies was approved by Order No. 37/НҚ of the Minister of Digital Development, Defence and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, dated April 11, 2019

  • What counter-obligations are foreseen for projects that have received funding?

    The recipient of Seed money funding pays 2% of the project implementation income, where: 1% payout within 3 years of disbursement (under the funding programme) +1% payout of fees (as an Astana Hub participant). As a result, the payout of the IT start-up will be an amount of 2% of the annual income, payable on a quarterly basis. In this case, 100% of the equity of the startup remains with the team, Astana Hub receives only the aforementioned deductions from the income.

    Also, after receiving the funding, the IT startup undergoes compulsory training in the Techpreneurs accelerator business programme. The programme involves trackers/experts with whom the IT startup needs to interact while implementing the project.

    There are other obligations such as proper use of allocated funds, submission of annual, quarterly reports, etc.

  • Who decides whether to grant funding?

    The decision to grant funding is made by an Evaluation and Selection Commission, composed of independent experts with extensive experience in IT project management.

  • What is the timeframe for processing and deciding on the application?

    Total processing time: up to 38 working days.

  • How can I check the status of my application?

    The status of the application shall be updated in the applicant's personal account on the Portal. When the Commission takes a decision, appropriate notifications are sent to the applicant's personal account.

  • What documents are required to apply?

    1) the commercialisation strategy according to Annex 2 to the Funding Regulations;

    2) Terms of Reference for the products to be developed;

    3) project presentation;

    For legal entities: 

    - Copy of the Articles of Association, decision of the supreme body on the application, on authorization of the head or other authorised person to sign the documents related to the application and receipt of funding;

    - Information about absence (existence) of debts, registered in the state revenue service;

    - Copies of the preliminary contracts and (or) agreements, including license agreements, for the equipment delivery (if any);

    - Technical specification for development of the software product specifying, apart from requirements for the software product, the required specialists, their number by specialisation with description of types, volumes, terms and payments for their work;

    - Business proposals for the equipment to be procured and alternative proposals in a minimum of two;

    - Commercial proposals for the services and/or works to be procured for the project at least two.

  • How long will the application process last?

    Applications are accepted according to the timetable depending on the stage of the project:

    - MVP (minimum viable product): from 2 August to 18 September;

    - Product/market fit: from 2 August to 4 September;

    - Scale: from 2 to 21 of August.

  • What is the difference between Seed Money funding from Astana Hub and innovation grants from Qazinnovations?

    Astana Hub Technopark finances exclusively IT projects within the list of priority activities, allocates funds according to the revenue share model, which implies income distribution through payments of 1% over 3 years, and along with financing provides comprehensive support for IT startups (free workspace, expert advice, training, PR support, access to the community, etc.).

    In turn, National Agency for Innovation Development QazInnovations JSC provides innovation grants for technology commercialization on conditions of co-financing (in the amount of not less than 10% of the requested amount of funding), as well as the availability of a certificate of successful completion of acceleration programs.

  • What language should I apply in?

    The application and the documents attached to it are formed and attached at the choice of the applicant in Kazakh, Russian or English. When submitting documents in Kazakh or English, Astana Hub can provide their translation into Russian.

  • Can I apply if the project is at the idea stage?

    In order for the project to meet the requirements for participation in the Seed Money program, it is necessary to develop the project to the MVP stage. This can be done by participating in the IT start-up acceleration program - Techpreneurs. As part of the Techpreneurs program, Astana Hub provides continuous support in the development of IT startups at different stages.

    Detailed information and application via link.

  • If the startup is unsuccessful, will the funds need to be refunded?

    The recipient of financing may be required to return in case of non-utilization and / or inappropriate use of funds for the entire period of the project. If the work was carried out in accordance with the schedule and the allocated funds were spent for the purposes indicated in the cost estimate, then no refund will be made.

    In other words, if you sent all the funds to the development of a startup, but the startup did not become successful, then no one will demand a refund. Refunds will only be required if the money was not spent as intended.

Do you have any questions?

Contacts for consultation by telephone: +7-747-094-02-37

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ANDREA GRUBER

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ANDREA GRUBER

You will be treated and looked after exclusively by me!

ANDREA GRUBER

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ANDREA GRUBER

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