Please read before applying.
Who are you guys?
What is Vesess Alpha?
This is a grants programme for Sri Lankan school and university students that promotes entrepreneurship in engineering. We have drawn inspiration from similar programmes from other countries and organizations, and adapted them to fit the local context. The result is what we hope would be a uniquely Sri Lankan initiative to support the next generation of technology entrepreneurs.
Who can apply for Vesess Alpha?
Alpha grants are open to any Sri Lankan student, age 19 or older, of a university recognized by the UGC, at any level of study (undergraduates to PhD candidates).
Can teams apply, or is it only open for individuals?
In addition to individuals, we also accept teams of up to 3 members. Please note that the grant amount will remain the same regardless of whether it’s an individual or a team.
Am I good enough to apply?
Do you have sufficient programming knowledge and experience to handle the project you’re proposing? Then you are good enough to apply. You don’t need to be enrolled or specializing in a computer science or IT degree programme.
Do you only accept engineering/coding projects?
Though we are open to proposals from all domains, the project requires to have some amount of engineering/coding effort involved. We encourage interdisciplinary projects.
How big should the project be?
You should be able to complete the workload of the project in 2 to 3 months.
I’ve already been working on this project for a while. Is Vesess Alpha appropriate for me?
Yes, you can apply with a project that is already underway. However, in order to improve your chances of being selected, please submit a clear plan of what you intend to achieve during the programme duration.
We are a startup. Is Vesess Alpha for us?
This depends on the stage you’re in. It might be a good fit for very early stage startups, to focus on some specific problem, obtain mentorship from an experienced team, and receive free money for coffee and pizza. If you have raised capital and/or already have traction, it probably makes little sense for you.
How much is a Vesess Alpha grant?
The university grants are Rs. 100,000 each, and the school grants are Rs. 50,000 each.
How is the grant offered?
Grants will be disbursed in 3 stages: at initiation, at 6 weeks, and at completion, as 25%, 25% and 50% of the full amount respectively. The second and third installments of the grants are disbursed subject to an evaluation of the work carried out till that point.
I don’t really need the money. Does it still make sense to apply?
Yes. Money is only a small part of the Vesess Alpha programme. The true value is in the mentorship you will receive from the Vesess team.
What is the selection process?
The Vesess team will evaluate the applications and announce the accepted projects. During evaluation further clarifications might be requested from the applicants. No third party organization or individuals will be involved in the selection process.
Do you offer funding for startups?
Vesess Beta is our seed capital fund to make early stage investments in promising startups. It is open to all Vesess Alpha grant winners (and at the moment, only to them), and aimed at helping Alpha alumni to take their projects to the next level. We plan to invest up to Rs. 2 million per startup, in exchange for a modest amount of equity.
How are projects evaluated?
We expect a weekly update via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, before EOD (SLST) each Friday. This update should explain, in sufficient detail, the work that has been done (or even not done—life happens sometimes) during that week.
What happens if I fail to send the weekly update?
We will deduct Rs. 5,000 from your grant for each late submission. If it is not received by the EOD following Monday, we will consider it an omission and deduct Rs. 10,000.
Copyrights and Ownership
Who retains the copyrights to the project?
If the project is your idea, we do not require any transfer of copyright or ownership of any sort. If it is a project that we have listed, the ownership will be transferred to Vesess at completion.
Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
No, we won’t sign an NDA. As Chris Sacca says, “ideas are cheap, execution is everything.” We are an honest and forthright team and our record over the years reflects this, but if you have any doubts, it’s best to not apply.