FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
We are happy to have a conversation with you and go over your questions about the difference Grant Engine can make in your company’s funding. Please review our FAQs and feel free to give us a call at (650) 937-9164.
Why is non-dilutive funding so attractive?
First, funds are used to reimburse fundamental activities that build value in your company: product development, human clinical trials, pre-clinical development and design efforts to advance your product roadmap. Second, you do not have to pay back these funds or sell equity to receive the money. Third, the act of architecting your development path, and leaning on Grant Engine’s expertise, improves the likelihood of success because you know the milestones and the steps needed to realize product development success.
Are your writers PhD's in my field? Do they have expertise in my field?
Yes, all of our lead and secondary writers have PhD’s.
We have deep expertise in the following: therapeutic pre-clinical & clinical development, diagnostics, medical devices, research tools and emerging technologies & solutions.
Our disease-focused expertise exists within: oncology, neurology, infectious disease & “super bugs”, respiratory, microbiome, Women’s health, Aging/Alzheimer’s, digestive/renal, dental, and deafness.
Disciplinary areas of focus include precision medicine, genomics, epigenetics, chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, proteomics, among other areas.
What makes Grant Engine so special? How do you have such a high win rate?
Grant Engine principals are company builders first and last. Previous companies led by the key principals have been built on grant funding. We know how to use non-dilutive funding to effectively build a company. This is valuable primary experience as to how non-dilutive funding is best utilized to build equity value. You can see more detail on our approach here.
There are a few key factors that go into our win rate being so attractive.
First, we have more demand than we have capacity to effectively deliver. Thus, we are selective about choosing clients.
Second, our process is exhaustive and very rigorous. We are very detailed in our work and this intensive research, expert writing & grantsmanship delivers winning applications.
Third, we have written hundreds of these grants over many years. Our longitudinal experience provides you with an understanding of what works, what does not, and what is needed to secure funding. To date, this experience is greater than what any given client has accomplished in their own business.
Fourth, we undertake External Review. This process is not matched by any other firm offering grant writing services. External Review is a proprietary process that leverages experts’ who sit on SBIR review panels. We undertake a conflicts-clear for each grant they review. The questions we ask those reviewers and the process by which we identify and recruit those reviewers are both proprietary to Grant Engine. Grant Engine always abides by the peer review model and ethics as outlined by the National Institutes of Health code of conduct found here. The values we and our reviewers abide by: 1) expertise, 2) transparency, 3) impartiality, 4) fairness, 5) confidentiality, 6) integrity, and 7) efficiency.
How much does this cost?
It is relevant to remember that while the initial portion of our fee structure is not insignificant we really only make money on success fees when a grant is awarded due to the intensive effort deployed to win the grant and the inclusion of resubmissions. We receive a success fee only when the notice of award is issued. When you win an award, we earn the success fee.
How does Grant Engine get up-to-speed on my technology?
We start with receiving relevant information for the product and company. Typically, this includes publications, preliminary data, technical presentation, investor presentation, and your business plan.
From this starting point, Grant Engine and you as the client co-create a Grant Thesis document. Grant Engine starts this process by creating a set of questions relevant for your company and product. Grant Engine brings its know-how and experience in winning grants and developing products and combines that with your expertise in the scientific domain. As the client, you add specific insights, nuanced differentiation, and relevant literature to the effort.
The Grant Thesis document takes approximately 1 to 3 weeks to complete and provides a roadmap for the entire grant effort. Salient elements of the Grant Thesis are the product’s design and intended use and the quantitative differentiation of your product against standard of care or state of the art.
Isn't it faster to just write the grant myself?
It can be faster to write the grant, but it is typically not faster to win an award. Much depends on your experience level, proficiency in writing SBIR grants, and awareness of what reviewers look for. Please keep in mind that SBIR and other company focused grants are quite different than academic grants, despite having the same scoring criteria.
There is a significant increase in probability of an award if you, as a client, are engaged & responsive to questions and actively contribute to the finished product. Thus, to plan for success, the amount of time needed from the client is not insignificant. Typically, it is between 30 and 50 hours of time for all members of the client team over 3 to 4 months. (This does not include government registrations!). We significantly increase your chances in winning the grant, which is why the extra time is worth it.
What is the framework for the grants strategy and working with us?
We have a formal process for winning grant based on writing hundreds of grants that is 2x to 3x more successful than the national average. The process of “writing” a winning grant is best viewed through three equally important and overlapping/integrated activities: proposal planning, development and writing.
The grant thesis and getting up to speed on the technology is the planning element – this process answers ‘what is the need’, why is it important, why it is better than current approaches, how is it innovative, why the product will be successful and what are the long-term benefits. Some of these answers are obvious at the beginning; others need work by both the client and Grant Engine. Grant Engine takes the lead but communication between writer and client is critical – proposal planning is a collaborative process. This effective planning can be the most work!
Proposal development is the Aims and the science – defining the quantitative milestones and the critical steps that will get you to the goal of the proposal. Often our clients have experiments outlined and/or a suite of standard experiments/technology that they use. This part of the process requires comparatively less effort from the client than proposal planning, though the client should plan on setting aside quality and focused time for reading & editing drafts and addressing any specific technical questions from the writing team.
Proposal writing- this is principally Grant Engine’s responsibility. It involves clear organization of ideas, wordsmithing on the page, framing the product, team, environment as the most effective approach to successfully undertaking the project. This element of the process also involves keeping track of all of the important and necessary ancillary docs and ensuring a cohesive final package.
Importantly, successful companies have found it very beneficial to work with an external group after they have had initial success with non-dilutive funding. As such the intensity, expense and time required to secure non-dilutive funding can be outsourced to a proven and highly capable external group. As well, a series of non-dilutive funding applications further develops crucial product plans through the cogent development and presentation of proposal materials. Lastly, the company is leveraging silent dollars, retaining control of its own destiny, and building value concurrent or independent from selling significant equity.
What exactly is Grant Engines process for writing and submitting my grant?
After contracting, Grant Engine conducts a kick off call with you and your team to review the product and its differentiators, among other topics. Then, we set a schedule of milestones and mutual delivery dates for content creation and positioning.
From there we commence the project in earnest. We start with the Specific Aims page and the Grant Thesis document. Following a review with the Program Officer at the cognizant funding institute, we deliver a first draft and then a second draft of the grant. These are each project milestones. At each of these respective milestones you are asked to provide feedback and reviews to the Grant Engine team.
After writing the grant and incorporating your input and comments on two iterations, we then send out the grant for External Review. Once complete, these independent inputs are sent to the writing team who then complete a full rewrite and repositioning, as needed. Then, the grant goes to Quality Control for checking against 25 points. Lastly, our grants administration team loads and previews the grant for your approval prior to submission.
What are the steps to start the process? What information is needed from me to get started?
First, prepare what you envision as the end-goal of the grant. As in: what the product will be at the conclusion of the grant. Consider the steps you will need to take to accomplish this end-goal. If you have a specific aims page that is very helpful. Please assemble the aforementioned materials (publications & preliminary data; technical presentation; investor presentation; business plan) and reach out to us.
I am an Academic PI (Principal Investor) and have deep experience in writing and winning grants. Why do I need Grant Engine?
We have an excellent track record of successfully working with, and winning, grants in a company environment when an academic PI or scientific founder is involved. An essential ingredient of success is the mutual appreciation of the process of building a product for the marketplace and the required development effort. Building a product, and securing its associated grant-funding, is fundamentally different than hypothesis driven research, building new knowledge, and publishing in a world-class journal.
We value your expertise and success! This gives you a significant advantage over some companies. As well, please keep in mind that SBIR and other company focused grants are quite different than academic grants, despite having the same scoring criteria. Key differences include the necessity of quantitative end-points as development milestones, specific elements of rigor and reproducibility that reviewers are taught to look for, and industry support & collaborations, among others.
Do you have experience with the Military and Department of Defense?
Yes! About 1/3 of our work is with the Department of Defense including MRMC, DARPA, BARDA, DTRA, IARPA and others. Relationships matter here, and we have strong ties to key principals in this domain.