The Prototype Fund is a funding program of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) that is managed and evaluated by the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany.
Individuals and small teams (of freelance coders, hackers, UX designers and more) can receive funding in order to test their ideas and develop open source applications in the areas of Civic Tech, Data Literacy, IT Security and Software Infrastructure. We aim to keep innovation processes as well as infrastructures open and accessible.

We believe that Public Interest Tech should be maintained and supported with public funding, and that open source practices can help to make technology more sustainable. We enable freelance developers that bring a wide skillset to the development of software and digital-social innovation.
From idea to implementation, the Prototype Fund is led by a group of people who regularly collaborate with different communities in tech, security and design. We consider the Prototype Fund itself a prototype: It is constantly evolving and adapting.

We support applicants with or without funding experience with their proposal and design our processes with as little bureaucracy involved as possible.
We also offer coaching in the areas of User-Centered Design, UX Design, project management and communication. The Prototype Fund brings together iterative software development and research and links new projects with existing communities and target groups.

To date, we have already distributed 4,8 million € to 118 projects in total (status after Round 6). The program will be active for a total of 8 funding rounds until 2020.
Approximately 25 projects can be funded in each cohort, and each project receives a maximum amount of €47,500.
More details on the terms and conditions of our funding can be found here and in our FAQ.

Contact the team via email: info-at-prototypefund-dot-de.

Who is the team behind the project?

Find the current team here:

Who finances the Prototype Fund?

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Where does the idea for Prototype Fund stem from?

We were inspired by the work of the Knight Foundation in the USA and adapted the program to Germany accordingly.


zero360 Innovation

Simon Höher & Friederike Korte (user-centered design coaching and communication)


Simply Secure

Ame Elliott, Eileen Wagner & Molly Wilson (User Experience Design Coaching)


Rainbow Unicorn

Website & Design


VAYM Productions


Who is the press contact?

Email: Patricia Leu via

Logo: Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Logo: Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland