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Revenue Projections Should Match SBIR/STTR Commercialization Plan

May 2nd, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

As you go about preparing the revenue projections for your SBIR/STTR proposal, be aware that reviewers will make two assumptions about your revenue projections: 1) they’re based on guesses, and 2) the numbers are over-estimated.

Typically, they are correct 99+% of the time. So your goal is not to convince them that yours are “conservative” projections, only that they are consistent with your commercialization strategy and your business model. Let me illustrate with some examples:

  1. If you plan is to license your technology, your Revenue Model will typically include license fees and royalties, but not product sales.
  2. Developers of complex or specialized software often enter the market by using their product to provide services to their customers, who eventually purchase the product for in-house use. In these cases the Revenue Model might include service fees that eventually convert to subscription revenue or product sales. Also, software customers often pay annual maintenance-and-update fees equivalent to 10-20% of the initial purchase price.
  3. If the commercialization plan involves joint product development with a strategic partner, pre-negotiated success fees (sometimes referred to as “milestone payments”) are often paid to the junior partner as part of the partnering agreement. If the senior partner will also be responsible for marketing and sales, it typically pays annual license fees and royalties to the junior partner.

Reviewers want to understand how soon the innovation will begin generating revenue, what types of revenue, and how the revenue stream will grow. So, for each category of revenue you expect to generate: 1) estimate when it will begin, and 2) project its annual growth. Whether you have one revenue category or ten, the bottom line will be Total Annual Revenue for each year of your Revenue Model.

chart 2
Don’t forget grant or contract revenue from SBIR awards. If you include your Phase II award, by definition you will be indicating that the revenue projections begin with the project start date. Typically in real-life, revenue does not increase smoothly from year-to-year. This will be especially true if your projections are “front-loaded” with Phase II SBIR/STTR awards.

Finally several watch-outs:

  1. Describe your assumptions in sufficient detail that the reader can understand how the revenue figures were calculated.
  2. Five-year projections are sufficient but, if necessary, you can go to seven years.
  3. If your projections show minimal revenue in the early years, the financing plan should explain how the Company will support its operations during that period.
  4. Equity or debt funding does not belong in the revenue projections. Describe it in the financing plan.
  5. Confirm the requirements for your agency. Most require only a Revenue Model. However, NSF for example, requires that the Commercial Plan include a projected P&L (i.e., revenues and expenses). In addition, they reserve the right to request Cash Flow and Balance Sheet projections.

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Michael Kurek, PhD, Partner, BBCetc

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Four Tips to Prepare for DoD’s New Solicitation

April 19th, 2016 | by Becky Aistrup

The Dept. of Defense (DoD) will pre-release its SBIR 2016.2 and STTR 2016.B on April 22 when components participating in the solicitation will issue the topics for which they seek proposals. If you think your technology might have an application for a DoD component and topic, here are four things you should be thinking about

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FINANCING PLAN A KEY PIECE OF SBIR/STTR COMMERCIAL PLAN

April 19th, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

SBIR Program Managers know that their awardee companies will need resources beyond the R&D funding their programs provide in order to successfully commercialize their innovation. In the Commercialization Plan the reviewers expect to see a clear description of the resources the applicant Company expects to need and a credible plan for obtaining those resources. The

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Determining Salaries in NSF SBIR/STTR Projects

February 17th, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

One question frequently asked by clients preparing SBIR/STTR proposals is “how do I determine salaries for my project team members”? The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires applicants to align salaries to wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and describes the process in the NSF SBIR Salary Validation Guide. The process is

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After Six Years of SBIR/STTR Blogging, Our 24 Faves

January 6th, 2016 | by Jayne Berkaw

At BBCetc, we are constantly challenging ourselves to develop blog content that will be useful and instructive to our clients and readers. In pondering new topics we thought it might be interesting to see what we’ve posted over the past nearly six years (our first post was March 8, 2010!), and after taking a look,

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Our TOP 10 Tips for SBIR/STTR Success

December 28th, 2015 | by Jayne Berkaw

As we look forward to 2016, the time seems right to once again share our Top 10 Tips for SBIR/STTR success. We arrived at these tips through long experience with the proposal preparation and submission hick ups that we see regularly and that can lead to great consternation (or worse) for SBIR/STTR applicants.  So start the new

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Technical Advisory Board Can Lend Insight and Credibility

December 1st, 2015 | by Becky Aistrup

A Technical Advisory Board (also known as a Scientific Advisory Board) can provide significant advantages to your start-up business when you are in the process of seeking funding from equity investment or non-dilutive funding such as SBIR/STTR grants. Most businesses create advisory boards when there are subject areas where objective expert outsiders can enhance the

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How do I know if NIH is interested in funding my project?

November 12th, 2015 | by Andrea Johanson

The NIH is one of the ‘easier’ federal agencies to apply to because every year it issues an Omnibus Solicitation, requesting investigator-initiated topics. This means that rather than telling you exactly which projects they will fund, the NIH asks you, the investigator, to come up with the ideas. As long as these ideas are related

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What do a federal grant and robot cockroaches have in common?

October 14th, 2015 | by Lisa Kurek

A recent essay by Lisa Kurek, BBCetc Managing Partner, NPR affiliate Michigan Radio’s “The Next Idea.” All it takes is one new innovation or one new successful company to change the economic fortunes of an entire city or region. More often though, it’s the cumulative effect of many new innovations and successful companies that create

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Build Your Team to Build Your Company

September 11th, 2015 | by Lisa Kurek

At BBCetc, we love the passion and intensity of entrepreneurs who are developing amazing technologies even as we try to harness their enthusiasm and keep their feet planted on the ground. Part of our job is helping them understand that participating SBIR/STTR agencies are seeking more than a great idea; they want to see a

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