FUNDING

Catalytic capital for design and engineering solutions

The Autodesk Foundation funds organizations scaling innovative solutions to climate change and inequality.

Image courtesy of Bridges to Prosperity

How we support innovators

We strive to catalyze the growth of our portfolio through a combination of financial capital and in-kind support. We align our capital with outcomes, supporting both nonprofit and for-profit entities around the world.

Funding

  • Our funding ranges from $100,000 to $1,000,000, with most commitments falling between $150,000 and $300,000.
  • For nonprofits, we generally provide unrestricted grants and evaluate renewals at the end of each funding period.
  • For startups, we initially invest at the seed or Series A. We participate in follow-on rounds dependent on the progress of the company.
  • We work closely with each organization to leverage additional Autodesk technology and expertise to accelerate and scale their work.
  • $9.7 million

    In fiscal year 2022, the Autodesk Foundation’s portfolio of nonprofits and startups received an aggregate of approximately $9.7 million in funding to scale impact innovations.

    Image courtesy of AMP Robotics

Impact opportunity areas

We fund organizations for whom Autodesk’s unique expertise, technology, talent, and position within industry can accelerate growth across three impact opportunity areas defined below.

Electric aircraft flies over waterfalls

Energy & Materials

We invest in innovators scaling early‑stage technologies that have the potential to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the transition to a decarbonized economy. We focus our investments on sectors where Autodesk’s design and engineering expertise is particularly beneficial, such as renewable energy, electrification of transportation, building and industrial energy efficiency, materials innovation, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

Learn more about how low-carbon innovations can fight the negative impacts of climate change.

Image courtesy of Ampaire

Children smile crossing a bridge

Health & Resilience

We invest in innovators scaling technology‑based solutions that improve resilience in low-resource communities most vulnerable to climate change. We focus our investments on the built environment, agriculture, energy access, and water and sanitation, where design and engineering-based solutions are critical levers for building community well-being and economic prosperity.

Learn more about how design and engineering can increase community resilience and climate change adaptation.

Image courtesy of Bridges to Prosperity

A woman working with thread to produce fabric

Work & Prosperity

We invest in innovators preparing workers to thrive in the era of automation. We focus our investment on programs, research, and technologies that consider access and inclusion, deliver in-demand skills, and lead to quality jobs, especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Learn more about how equity-driven, human-centered solutions can prepare the workforce to thrive in the age of automation.

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What we look for

We evaluate funding opportunities based on the impact potential of the solution, the viability of the organization, model and market, and the value of Autodesk Foundation’s additionality.

Impact

  • Alignment with impact goals

    We take a thesis-driven approach and therefore only consider an organization if it is working within one of our impact opportunity areas.

  • Potential for scale

    We fund organizations that have a viable, resource-efficient pathway to scale and an intention to do so on a meaningful timeline.

  • Impact measurement

    We fund organizations that commit to measuring impact to establish accountability, inform decision-making, and evidence impact.

Viability

  • Team

    We look for diverse teams that demonstrate technical and sector expertise, and share our commitment to building an equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for all.

  • Technology

    We aim to catalyze innovation, scalability, and accessibility of technology for good. We emphasize solutions relevant to our expertise in design and engineering.

  • Market and business model

    We look for evidence that the solution is valued by the target customer, and that there is a cost-effective and scalable model for delivering impact.

Autodesk additionality

  • Financial additionality

    We focus on solutions where our flexible, risk-tolerant, and patient capital can be most catalytic at the organization-level and in the innovation ecosystem.

  • In-kind resources

    We only fund organizations for whom we can add significant value beyond financial capital, most commonly through our Autodesk technology and talent programs.

  • Ecosystem engagement

    As a corporate philanthropy, we evaluate how our position within industry can spark connections to key stakeholders and accelerate large-scale adoption of innovation.

Funding selection process

To best serve our portfolio, we only bring on a handful of new organizations each year.
Below are the steps in our application process, and what innovators should expect along the way.

The first step to be considered for Autodesk Foundation funding is to complete our Discovery Form. We review every Discovery Form submission and aim to get back to organizations within three weeks. We encourage organizations to first explore our website to learn more about our funding approach, criteria, and the organizations currently in our portfolio before completing the form. We estimate it takes 5-10 minutes to complete.

We schedule introductory calls with those organizations that work in our impact opportunity areas and meet our general selection criteria. In this step, we focus on getting to know the innovator, the solution they're developing, and where the Autodesk Foundation could add value. We know that an innovator's time is precious, and we strive to determine potential fit for our portfolio within a few conversations.

Each year we invite a small selection of organizations to fill out our Application for Funding.
Formal due diligence begins when the innovator submits their application and typically takes 1-2 months. In addition to a detailed review of the application materials, we speak with references and have several deep-dive conversations with the innovator to discuss outstanding questions and to explore opportunities for Autodesk Foundation additionality.

If at the end of the due diligence process the Foundation approves funding for the organization, we collaborate to outline organizational milestones, engagement goals, and impact metrics for the funding period. Once the resulting agreement is complete, funding is disbursed as soon as possible, typically within three weeks (grants) or based on the investment round timeline (investments).

Additional resources

We encourage innovators to explore other resources outside of funding, including software donations, pro bono and volunteering engagements, and Technology Center residencies.

  • Autodesk donates software to nonprofits and startups using design for environmental and social good through its Technology Impact Program.

  • Autodesk employees apply their expertise to support nonprofits and startups addressing pressing social and environmental challenges.

  • The Outsight Network offers residents complimentary access to a global innovation community, subject matter expertise, and data-enabled fabrication workshops and studios.

  • Get started with discovery

    Think Autodesk Foundation investment is right for you? Complete the Discovery Form.

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