Obtaining Seed/Government Funding Your Custom Automation Project
The path to success for a manufacturing startup of complex, automated technology is never easy, no matter what the product. One of the earliest hurdles is obtaining the funding needed to realize your vision.
While it may not sound as intimidating as the darkly named Valley of Death, failing to get the initial funding you need can be just as devastating.
While we are engineers first, our Silicon Valley roots have provided us with experience and resources that go beyond engineering. Since 1983, we’ve helped numerous manufacturing startups obtain funding from both seed investors and government sources. Sometimes we can facilitate an introduction and we can always conduct a “Phase 1” to provide you a fixed price quote and roadmap that will help potential funders see a comprehensive plan and an appealing return on investment (ROI) opportunity.
Renewable Energy Technology Example
A renewable energy manufacturer recently came to Owens Design in need of help with obtaining Department of Energy (DOE) funding for development of their products. If the DOE liked what it saw, the agency would cover half of the manufacturer’s development costs.
As a result of the Phase I conducted with Owens Design, the DOE received the cost and timeline details they needed to approve and deliver the funding. With additional design and engineering support from Owens Design, the company landed a second DOE grant of $250 million to help them scale manufacturing.
What Is an Owens Design “Phase I”?
The Phase 1 from Owens Design is a process for identifying trade-offs, critical dependencies, requirement gaps, and best practices in custom automation project prior to detailed design, engineering and manufacturing. The Phase 1 provides the following:
- A concept model
- High level bill of materials
- Detailed specifications
- Project schedule
- Fixed price to design and build the prototype
This helps reduce change orders, unnecessary costs, and scheduling delays – particularly on projects including laser automation development.
For programs seeking seed money in the form of government grants (or VC funding), the Phase 1 process transforms a concept into a set of clearly developed specifications, renderings and a conceptual model with a prototype development schedule, a risk mitigation plan, a tool validation test plan and pricing estimates, among other deliverables.
In short, it’s the confidence builder that makes the case for your vision, backed by a comprehensive plan and the likelihood of solid return on investment (ROI).
Because of our deep experience with renewable energy—and the recent EV battery manufacturing boom driven by the Inflation Protection Act of 2022—manufacturers rely on Owens Design to quickly develop Phase I documentation, that can be submitted to the DOE or other potential sources of funding.
Owens Design also has extensive experience designing, engineering and manufacturing custom automation solutions for semiconductor manufacturers. We recently began working with U.S. and European-based semiconductor manufacturers to understand and take advantage of funding opportunities created under the CHIPS and Science Act.
Our work has connected us to many Silicon Valley investors, and we find great satisfaction in being able to make introductions that play a role in the success of our client and bring great ideas to investors. In addition to our Phase I expertise, such connections are part of our mission of support for technology entrepreneurs.
How Can We Help You?
Whether you need government grants or Silicon Valley connections, contact us. Share your concepts, challenges and opportunities, and we can help you prepare for and explore funding opportunities.