How to get funding for a startup or IT company in Kazakhstan?
Finding investments for a startup is one of the important problems for any founder, which always remains relevant. Startups and IT companies in Kazakhstan have the opportunity to raise funding in various ways: from investment funds, government organizations and through participation in various competitions. We figured out all the opportunities available in Kazakhstan.
International Technopark of IT startups "Astana Hub"
The Astana Hub Technopark presents a number of programs for both start-ups and already developed companies. The InvestDay event is held on a regular basis, where the best startups, leading business angels and venture funds from both Kazakhstan and foreign countries gather. In 2021, the technopark held 6 events, where startups from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, South Korea, Switzerland and the UK took part.
In addition, since 2021, the technopark has been financing the most promising projects under the Seed Money program in the amount of $5,000 to $20,000. To receive funding, you must pass a competitive selection and become a member of the Astana Hub. IT startups from Kazakhstan, the CIS and around the world at different stages can apply for funding: from prototype to scaling.
Also, within the framework of the Digital Bridge international forum, the Astana Hub Battle startup competition is held annually, where hundreds of IT startups compete for cash grants totaling $18,000.
Tech Garden, autonomous cluster fund "Park of innovative technologies"
Tech Garden is an accelerated program for the search, evaluation, training and development of innovative projects aimed at improving the business processes of enterprises in Kazakhstan. The fund's experts select innovative solutions that are promising for production and conduct an acceleration program for selected startup teams. As a result of the final demo day, the fund selects a technological solution for pilot implementation in an industrial enterprise.
Over the years of the foundation's existence, several waves of the acceleration program have been carried out. More than 3,000 startups from Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria, Poland, the USA, Norway applied for participation in it, 96 start-up companies were financed in the amount of about 990 million tenge.
MOST Incubator and MOST Ventures Fund
MOST Ventures Fund is a private venture fund in Central Asia that has been providing financial and non-financial support to IT entrepreneurs for more than 10 years, as well as conducting incubation and acceleration programs for the entire region. The fund focuses on IT startups building IT businesses for the international market and allocates up to $20,000 at the pre-seed stage, up to $400,000 at the seed stage, and up to $700,000 at the Series A stage.
Tech startups from all over Central Asia are being considered for funding. The fund positions itself as a sector-agnostic fund and considers different areas of IT companies. The fund's partners are Talgat Ismail, a venture angel investor with more than 20 deals in Kazakhstan and abroad, and Bakht Niyazov, a venture investor, founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Falconry Capital.
Venture funds QazTech Ventures and Quest Ventures
Since 2020, QazTech Ventures has completed two co-financing deals in the international venture funds 500 Global and Quest Ventures for $10 million each. Kazakh startups can apply for investments directly in these venture funds.
To receive funding, a startup must provide the necessary documents in the form of a pitch deck and fill out an application on the foundation's website. Each application is considered by an independent commission and, if necessary, supported by the support of the fund's mentors.
Also, with the support of QazTech Ventures, the Quest Ventures fund is conducting an acceleration program for start-up projects Kazakh Digital Accelerator. The program helps promote Kazakh startup projects to the global market and develops the digital ecosystem of Kazakhstan.
QazInnovations National Innovation Development Agency
The Agency provides grants for the commercialization of technologies for start-ups that are small businesses that have a prototype and have successfully passed any of the accredited acceleration programs. Sectors supported are: IT, FinTech, Green Tech, Space Tech, Electronics, Industry 4.0, New Materials, MedTech and BioTech, Robotics, Manufacturing. The grant amount at the first stage is not more than 20 million tenge, the maximum implementation period is 6 months, at the second and third stages it is not more than 80 million tenge, the implementation period for the second and third stages is 12 and 9 months, respectively. This type of grant obliges to co-finance the project from the applicant at least 10% of the implementation amount.