As I sit here writing the last part of the blog post, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Crystal City just across the Potomac river from Washington, D.C. It feels a bit surreal considering the path we’ve been on to get here.
This started with the discovery of the grant about nine months ago. When we applied it was just two of us working from home. Now Emil and I are in D.C. to attend our three-day grant conference which includes a brief presentation. Our SGNT team now also sits at 10 people working hard together to make the company a success.
Back in July when the grant was due, we worked hard through the weekend to get everything ready to submit. The application was due on a Tuesday, but we still had a hurdle to cross. With everything ready to go, we were still stuck waiting for our account to get activated so we could submit. We had a feeling submission would come down to the wire, so Emil prepared our “emergency submission plan” to submit our application as fast and smoothly as possible.
Tuesday rolled around and our account still wasn’t on. Finally, an hour before the grant application was due, our account finally came on! Emil and I logged into the system and worked together to get all the materials submitted. Normally this process takes and hour or two. As I recall, we got our materials entered into the system and ready to submit in less than 30 minutes.
With everything in the system and ready to go, we went to submit and got system errors! We scrambled to figure out what was wrong and managed to get our application submitted and accepted right before the cut-off!
That’s when the waiting began. Throughout the fall we began building our team and started taking on private funding. With or without the grant, we were determined to move forward and build our technology. During this period, we were in communication with the NSF to answer any questions and go through the vetting process. Everything was going well, and finally at the end of the year we were told we were recommended for funding!
The government shutdown at the end of 2018 did delay things for us a bit, but the NSF was great in communicating and working around it. We’re excited for the conference this week and looking forward to wrapping up our Phase I and applying for our Phase II! I’m confident that the skills and dedication of our team will maximize our chances at getting that Phase II!