Strategies for applying to Deep Funding

Author: jan Published: April 27, 2022

What strategies are there when applying to Deep Funding, and which one is best for you?

When writing your proposal, keep the conditions of Deep Funding in mind: The goal of Deep Funding is to grow our decentralized AI platform. The most straightforward ways to accomplish this are:

  • Developing an AI service that will be hosted on our platform 
  • Developing a solution that utilizes AI services that are already available on our platform.


What is the right phase to apply for Deep Funding?

The question to ask yourself (and to articulate to the community) is: “How does my project in its current phase help grow the platform?”. We have seen a number of projects that are really great ideas, but are not yet ready to implement AI. Sometimes an app needs to be built, a user base needs to be created and data needs to be collected before there is a fertile ground to successfully apply AI algorithms. So what is the best approach if your project (idea) is at this stage? There are 3 options:

  1. You could start with the development of the solution without adding AI and without applying to Deep Funding.
    This is a good choice if: your solution will already have viable utility without AI.

    If you are in need of funding there are alternative sources, such as Cardano’s Catalyst. In your proposal you can explain your vision and the future role of AI in your product. In a next phase, with the basic solution developed, you can apply for Deep funding to develop the desired AI tools. Because you already have a working solution the credibility of your team and project will be much higher. Additionally, at this stage you may have a better idea of the exact AI needs and will be more effective in developing the right solution. All this will make your chances of getting awarded on Deep Funding much higher!

  2. You could develop the basic solution and any AI requirements in parallel.
    This is a good choice if: Your product absolutely relies on the AI component.

You can still apply to other funds besides Deep Funding for different parts of your solution, but if you are submitting to multiple funds in parallel, make sure that your Deep Funding proposal is still viable if those funds are not awarded to you. You may also submit a proposal to deep funding that combines AI development and other software development. E.g. you can assign 100K to app development and marketing and 50K to AI development. In that case you are making both the Ai as well as the solution that utilizes it.

  1. You can separate the AI from your main solution and develop it independently.
    This can be a good choice if: The AI service is a primary part of your solution and offers distinguishing functionality that is also of value to third party software.

    In fact this is the best scenario and best case for using our platform. While developing AI services for your own needs, you are creating an extra source of income from other entities that are making use of your same AI. 


What pool should I target for my proposal?
In Round 1 there are two pools. Both have the same size, but Pool A is maximized to proposals up to 150K. Pool B is maximized to proposals with a maximum of 40K. In case of an equal number of proposals in each pool, pool B gives better chances of getting awarded but the awarded amount will be lower. 

If you are in need of a higher amount than 40K, but are not super confident that your proposal will stand out enough from the competition to get awarded, you can consider splitting your proposal into two or more separate proposals in pool B or a bigger one in Pool A and a smaller one in Pool B. The main guidelines for these actions are:

  • Ensure that all your separate proposals are viable by themselves. If the other proposals are not awarded, will this proposal still meet the requirements of helping to grow the platform? (This would be an issue if one part is all about the AI and the other about the frontend. While the AI on itself may still help the platform, the frontend solution will not, unless it can utilize another AI already on the platform. In that case it might be judged technically as not eligible for voting.
  • Be transparent: Describe how the different parts make up a bigger solution, and how they would operate on their own.

If in next rounds there will be more pools or different kinds of pools, the principles outlined above will still apply. We don’t advise to wait until the latest moment in order to strategically choose the pool with the best rewards/applicants ratio. Your visibility will be reduced, and your project may be ignored when the voting process starts. And you will miss out on extra publicity and community feedback.


Applying to multiple rounds

This can be a very successful strategy. You can apply for a small award in the first round with a relatively high likelihood of success. If the scope is equally modest you should be able to create your deliverables in a short time as well. This will give you great visibility in the community, and a lot of trust and goodwill when you are applying in subsequent rounds later on.
Also, from a product development perspective this makes a lot of sense. You can start with a Proof of Concept that has some expected rough edges. In a next round you can apply for a higher amount and develop a more mature ‘productized’ version of your solution. This approach will not only increase your chances of being awarded, it may bring a higher total value of funding,  and most likely bring new and unexpected insights that will improve your final product. A lot of ‘wins’ to take advantage of!


Not having the right team in place

Your team (or your personal capabilities, depending on the scope of your project), is a major success factor of your project. Except in rare cases, SingularityNET will not be able to provide you with the missing resources, even if you have the funding for it. AI R&D capabilities can be especially scarce. So what to do if you have a great idea but are missing some crucial capabilities in your team? This can be anything from software development,  AI, UX, to legal advice and more. We currently offer 2 options on our portal:

  1. By submitting your proposal you will get access to our ‘Community Experts’ and have the ability to create requests for work you need to have done. If your project is appealing and credible, there may be community members that will seize the opportunity to become part of it. You can negotiate any conditions and possible rewards with them without interference from SingularityNET. 
  2. You can create a draft proposal in our ‘sandbox’ environment. See how it resonates and if there are likeminded people with additional skills or a network that can help you build out your plans, so you can apply in a next round. 

At the moment of writing both these options are still in a startup phase. But interesting projects have the power to attract and inspire the right people!


Final advise

Regardless of all strategies above, the main point is to submit! This sounds rather obvious, but in this case done is better than perfect. There is a risk in overthinking and over engineering your proposal. Time of our community members is limited and many of the subtleties that you are adding to your texts and images may pass them by. Another risk from making the proposal bigger and more sophisticated, is that in the end you will lack the time to finish it and submit it. A better approach might be to start with the main proposition, and mention in the text e.g: “Breakdown and Milestone plan to be added later”. Do however give attention to the parts you are submitting! It’s better to submit half the content in a good condition than all of it but clumsily, full of errors and incomprehensible. That would show little respect for the reader and voter and will drastically decrease any chance of getting awarded. So, use the tooling in the portal to create good crisp texts that describe clearly what the main concepts are and what concrete products you will be delivering. Having submitted the main parts of your proposal will make the remaining steps less daunting and ensure that the community can already take notice, and give feedback. 


Remember that this is a decentralized fund, and that it’s the community members that voluntarily take the time to review what you and many others have written, give feedback and finally give their vote. Write your proposal for them. This is a widely varied group of people, so do not presume any prior knowledge of your domain or the technology you will be applying. Be detailed enough to make your proposal credible, but always be respectful of their time. In most cases less is more. 


We hope you are inspired by these strategies and are looking forward to seeing your exciting project proposals submitted on!


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