The Prototype Fund is a funding program of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) that is supported and evaluated by the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany.
Individuals and small teams (freelance coders, hackers, media artists, else) can receive funding in order to test ideas and develop Open Source-Tools and applications in the areas of Civic Tech, Data Literacy, IT-Security and Software–Infrastructure.

We believe that common good-software should be maintained and supported, and that Open Source practice helps to make Public Interest Tech sustainable. We aim to enable digital-social innovation from developer groups that bring a wide skillset to the development of technology.
Career changers are just as welcome to apply as longtime FOSS-contributors - we believe in life-long learning.
From idea to implementation, the Prototype Fund was (and is) led by a group of women who regularly collaborate with Tech, Security and other communities, organize and curate events and conduct research into social and implicit development environments. We are in steady exchange with communities about how, instead of just diagnosing the challenges, we can actively work towards change in the ecosystem. Prototype Fund itself is constantly evolving and adapting.

Without affiliation with a research institution or a for-profit orientation, it was almost impossible to obtain financial support in Germany so far for Individuals in the field of Code-Craft. We challenged and changed that state:
We support applicants with or without funding experience, in their application process and design our processes as unbureaucratically as possible and adapt them to the needs of independent Software Developers, Hackers and Artists.
We also offer coaching in the areas of finance, User-Centered Design and UX. The Prototype Fund brings together iterative software development and innovation research and links projects with existing communities and target groups.

To date, we have already funneled 3 millions to 81 projects in total(status after Round 4). The programme will be active for a total of 8 funding rounds until 2020.
At least 25 innovative projects can be funded in each cohort - each project receives a maximum of €47,500.
More details on terms and conditions can be found here.

Direct Mail-Contact with the Team: info-at-prototypefund-punkt-de.

Who is the team behind the project?

Please update this info under “Team Members”

Who finances the Prototype Fund?

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

Where does the idea of ​​Prototype Fund come from?

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


betterplace lab

Katja Jäger (scientific evaluation)


zero360 Innovation

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


Simply Secure

Ame Elliott (User Experience Design Coaching)


Rainbow Unicorn

Website & Design


Camera Libre


Who is the press contact?

Jessica Binsch coordinates media inquiries.

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