From the AMOS Project to Start-up in Two Semesters
The AMOS Project is our flagship software engineering course that is intended to lead interested students to a start-up right out of school. We have devised a process that makes this as simple as possible.
A start-up needs a great team, an idea and a prototype, a continued stream of funding, a sales network and help, and supporting resources. We make these pieces of the puzzle happen in the following way:
- Great team. Well, that’s you. We form teams during the AMOS project and you figure out whether you actually are a great team. Not every AMOS project can lead to a great team; there is a fair bit of chance involved.
- Idea and prototype. That’s what you do during the AMOS project (in a first step). You are guided by industry that has a real need, and you create a prototype that you can show and that you can receive feedback for.
- Stream of funding. We help you find funding, in particular your first funding. We recommend EXIST funding, because it does not make you lose equity. Later we’ll introduce you to business angels and venture capitalists.
- Sales network and help. We are actively guiding your business plan and prototype development. Industry is very much interested in what you are doing, and we facilitate meetings with industry partners to learn about their needs.
- Supporting resources. Once you get started right out of school, you’ll need an office and supporting resources. You can probably work from home, but we also help you find a place at FAU or in an incubator.
A key aspect of this process is the EXIST program, a public program that funds start-ups at universities. A student team gets one year of funding (two years if you add FLUEGGE) to pay the rent and have money for necessary expenses. The money is a gift from the state, so the start-up does not lose equity to an outside investor.
To receive EXIST funding, the team needs to apply. It is critical that the proposed start-up has not yet been founded. You can only incorporate after you received the funding. For the EXIST application, you need to write a business plan and pass evaluation. We have a fair bit of experience of how these plans should look like and will help you.
This then leads to the time-line from “from AMOS to start-up” in two semesters. You take the AMOS course and decide whether you are a great team with a great idea. After AMOS, you have two more semesters to graduate. In these two semesters, you’ll have to write a business plan and evolve the software. Ideally, you do both hand-in-hand, where the business person on the team focuses on the business plan and the technical person focuses on the product.
We allow for a special case of Master thesis that supports this process. Ideally, you start with the business plan right after AMOS and evolve the plan and the product quickly to be ready for submission to the EXIST program after the winter semester. You use the final semester to write up your thesis based on the business plan and the product under development. We customize theses topics in such a way that they fit both the start-up and the Pruefungsordnung.
With a bit of luck, once you finish your degree program at the end of the summer semester one year after AMOS, you will receive the EXIST notification about your funded start-up. We will have the university resources and the network ready to accelerate you. Once funded, you can also found the company.
Of course, the real work starts only then. Customer development, product development, sales and marketing… it will be an exciting time and we are ready to help.