Next month we are going to officially complete the Beta phase of our trading bot platform Trality. We invested 1.5 years to write the code needed to come this far, to hold countless user interviews, do usability tests, organize hackathons and to talk to industry experts and traders all over the globe. We managed to onboard over 1000 users onto our platform and we grew our team to 5 FTEs, 3 Freelancers and 2 Advisors. All without giving out a single % of equity to investors yet.
How did we achieve this? With the help of the Austrian public grant landscape. In fact, to date, we have managed to obtain several grants for our startup, all of which equity-free. Today, as we are nearing the completion of our Beta, I would like to describe the first of these grants, the one that has truly gotten us off the ground - Innovation, a program by the Vienna Business Agency.
In the Fall of 2018, Christopher and Me quit our Jobs to start working on our idea for Trality full time. We envision a future where most aspects of our lives are going to be automated by bots and for automated, private investments there is going to be the one and only place. This is going to be Trality. This vision developed after we had experienced that, while professional traders successfully use automated trading, over 80% of private traders lose money due to emotional bias and lack of automation. So we decided to build the first true marketplace for trading bots that is available for traders of all levels of experience.
Before quitting our Jobs however, we decided to apply for an innovation grant from the city of Vienna (the Vienna Business Agency to be precise) in order to be able to finance our endeavor. Obtaining the grant would allow us to make to essential key hires for our project right from the beginning: an experienced backend developer and a talented quant. So why did we decide to apply for this program? 1) Because it supports startups in conducting innovative projects aimed at developing new products; 2) because it offers a generous funding rates of up to 45% of total costs associated with the project and 3) because it offers a high maximum funding amount of EUR 200k.
After writing a fairly substantive project description, filling out an online form and providing additional material such as a business plan, we were asked to present our startup in front of a jury and just a few days later we received the positive notification of having received the grant. Evaluation criteria focused, among others, on these core components: subjective and objective innovation value of the project, associated development risk, significance for the company and transparency of the business model.
Btw: I am more than happy to help you out if you are planning to apply for this Innovation grant as well. Send me an email to hello [at] trality [dot] com or find more details about the grant and its guidelines here.
We are very grateful for the Vienna Business Agency believing in this project and supporting us from the first minute on. This 6-figure grant enabled us to develop a beta version of a complex trading product (not exactly a build-an-MVP-in-two-months- kind-of-project), hire the key team members for the job, do significant hypothesis- and user-testing and even launch an initial marketing for the platform. Needless to say, the results of this project are only the beginning of our journey and we hope to be able to continue our journey well beyond the timeframe of this Innovation grant. We are definitively looking forward to it!
You can check out the results of this project and sign up to our Beta, while it is still offered completely free of charge: app.beta.trality.com