Raising Venture Capital vs. applying for Grants

Attracting funding is one of the most challenging tasks for companies that are active in Life Sciences and Health. Whether you are a young startup looking for seed funding, or an established company looking for venture capital, non-dilutive funding from grants seldomly cover the entirety of your capital requirements.

How to raise Venture Capital

Besides providing your company with the required capital, investors that provide dilutive funding will also contribute valuable business knowledge and experience. It is therefore important to find the right match. However, finding the right investor for your company can be a challenging and time-consuming process, where you often need to redirect precious time and resources away from your core business activities.

To secure dilutive funding, you need a solid and convincing business proposition for investors. From initial pitch decks, to business plans, to R&D planning and budgets, there are a lot of documents you need to prepare. It’s important that you translate your proposition into a comprehensive data room that will contain all the documentation investors require during their due diligence.

How to apply for a grant

Grants, subsides and loans are non-dilutive funding options. Even though Venture Capital can be a good way to fund your activities, there are situations when this is not the preferred option. Some of the reasons to choose a grant are described below.

Retain company ownership

Grants don’t require selling shares to investors, allowing you to keep your company shares while funding your activities.

Overcome the “Valley of Death”

Start-up companies can struggle financially through certain phases of their development, due to high risks and low possibility of raising venture capital. With grants, companies can mitigate these risks and flatten the financial valley by obtaining critical cash for their development.

Get recognition

Grants are highly competitive and obtaining certain ones (such as SME Instrument) can be a real “seal of excellence” for your company as well as a reflection of high quality for your team, product, service or technology. When you are recognized by a funding agency such as the European Commission, you become instantly more attractive to potential partners and investors.

Enroll in interesting partnerships and opportunities

Grants are great opportunities to come together with partners and collaborate in research and development activities. Most grants require multiple participating partners, and it’s an opportunity to network with Key Opinion Leaders in your field, as well as with different companies (private) and research institutions (public entities).

How to apply for a grant

The first thing you need to do when you want to apply for a grant is to find which opportunity is the right match with your goals and ambitions. There are hundreds of grants, subsidies and loans available, which can be overwhelming at first glance. We have summarized some of the most interesting opportunities in our Funding Helpdesk. However, if you’re feeling lost, we can help you find the right grant through our Strategic Funding Advice service.

When you have chosen the right opportunity, you need to start building your consortium of partners that are relevant to the proposal, as well as writing a competitive grant application. You need to think of what kind of partners would be best in addressing the funding problem of the grant call, and look within your network to find those most interesting. Catalyze offers a large network of potential partners in life sciences and agro-food areas, both private and public, in more than 20 different countries.

When you are ready to write your proposal, you need to not only pay attention to all the administrative requirements, but strive also to compose a convincing and cohesive project. As mentioned before, grants are extremely competitive so simply filling in the required information is not enough. You need to make sure your proposal accurately and in-detail addresses the problem in the grant call, and does so in a way that convinces the reader to grant you the funding to solve it.

Applying for a grant with Catalyze

Catalyze can guide you through your non-dilutive funding journey, helping you to obtain the critical funding you need to bring your company to the next level. From finding the right opportunity to expertly drafting your project idea, finding the right partners, writing a convincing proposal, and project delivery, we can help you get the funding you need to make impact.


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