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One billion SEK in continued funding – small grants with large effects

A woman and a man sitting at a table, and another woman standing behind them.
One of the projects that have received funding within the VFT program is Addressya, giving 4 billion people an address.
Published Nov 11, 2020

Startup and commercialization projects from KTH have been able on to secure over 1 billion SEK in follow-on commercial funding after having received grants in the funding program VFT-1. This represents an multiplier of over 30 times on the original funding.

Together with KTH Holding AB, KTH Innovation manages the funding program VFT-1 , with funds allocated from VINNOVA. Since 2012, 4-5 million SEK has been granted yearly to develop and validate innovative ideas from researchers, students, and employees at KTH. The funding is granted in tranches, starting from around 30 000-75 000 SEK. In total, each project can receive up to 300 000 SEK in grants.

One of the teams to get funding through the VFT program is KTH startup Addressya , aiming to give four billion people access to a functioning address.

- The VFT funding was invaluable in combination with business development support from KTH Innovation, says Karoline Beronius, founder of Addressya. We used the funding to iteratively develop our product and business model, and to validate the concept on-site in Uganda and Rwanda. In turn, this made us ready to bring in continued funding - in 2018 we received funding from Vinnova in the Innovative Startups program, and a while later our first investment.

Clear and positive effects

The results of an evaluation of the results and impact of projects from KTH that have received funding in the years of 2012-2018 show clear and positive effects on the chances of bringing new technology towards implementation and commercialization.

  • 250 projects have in total been awarded 30 million SEK between 2012-2018
  • In 52 % of projects a company has been formed
  • The funded projects have secured over 1 billion SEK in follow-on commercial funding: 67 companies have secured 692 million SEK in private funding, and 78 projects have secured at least 311 million SEK in public funding for commercial development. 
  • This represents a multiplier of 30 times the money invested in VFT-1
  • 54 projects or 21 % have entered national or international incubators or accelerators. Many have joined STING , a partner of KTH for incubation.
  • The program has enabled 20 % of all projects to initiate cooperations with customers, for example in pilot projects
  • In 14% of projects, the funding has enabled successful recruitments of external entrepreneurs
  • 48 % of all projects are still active

Supporting the first steps of commercialization

Funding in the VFT-1 program is directed to support and enable the first steps towards verifying and developing a solid business concept. This often includes analyzing market interest and need, developing prototypes, filing patents, building a team, or running pilot tests with customers. The goal is to bring projects closer to commercialization, make them ready for other investments, or make them ready for industry partnerships.

New funds in 2021

In 2021, KTH Innovation will receive new funding in the VFT-1 program. The money will be distributed among 60-80 new projects run by students, researchers and employees at KTH, and funding decisions will be done every other week

- This is a great program for researchers, students and employees who need funding for commercialization or creating impact in society with their ideas and research results, says Daniel Carlsson, project manager for the VFT-1 program at KTH Innovation. So far, we have reached very good results with these relatively limited means, which enable important activities that don’t fit in traditional research funding.

Text: Daniel Carlsson and Lisa Bäckman

Apply for funding

Do you have a research result in need of funding for commercial verification, get in touch with KTH Innovation on innovation@kth.se

Page responsible:innovation@kth.se
Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Nov 11, 2020