Frequently
asked questions

Intellectual property

When working with our clients we sign a contract where all the intellectual property to be generated during the R&D and engineering development belongs to the customer.

Yes. As a reputable company we make sure that all discussions with our clients and all information regarding your invention, idea and other proprietary information kept confidential. We are a highly professional design and engineering firm, so we’re very good at keeping your information strictly confidential! Please follow this page to request the free NDA template.

EnCata's business model is in delivering premium R&D, design and industrial prototyping services. I.e. we are not NOT owning any products, IP and we do not do volume manufacturing (mass-production) ourselves, which makes us different from OEM and ODM companies.

We follow LEAN approach in product and business development and we strongly suggest to file patents at least part-way through development. This is because patenting is expensive and early patents can become obsolete or irrelevant later in development phase. Typically EnCata's work generates lots of patentable opportunities for our clients, beyond their idea and technology and the best strategy is to file patents at TRL-7..8 (when ready to start batch production and marketing).

There is, however, another strategy: to use provisional patents which can be loose and are not to be disclosed to the public within 18 months, while cost below $500 each.
And of course, we keep your intellectual property confidential and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement in the first place. Further we suggest several third-party patent agents and lawyers to help protecting our client's IP.

Development: Hardware and Software

Whether you need to validate, evaluate or review your design, concept, 3D model, BOM, drawings our experienced manufacturing, mechanical and electronics engineers are ready to help.

EnCata engineering consultancy service will allow you to critically reassess your project and help reaching your goals keeping the process cost-effective.

TRL = Technology Readiness Level.
A methodology developed by NASA in the 1980s. TRL is a very useful framework that helps to ultimately define the current project stage and provide one with technology and engineering development roadmap. TRL methodology, however, does not necessarily suggest the number of prototypes that will have to be designed, but rather suggest a cohesive progress plan for any technology or hardware/software project or startup. Here are some references for additional reading, concerning TRL methodology employed by NASA and EU Research and Innovation programs:

NASA TRL description https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/458490main_TRL_Definitions.pdf
EU TRL description https://enspire.science/trl-scale-horizon-2020-erc-explained
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_readiness_level

EnCata develops integrated Hardware and Software solutions for a variety of industries. We are engaged in multiple domains like IoT, robotics, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, consumer products, special and R&D equipment, oil and gas sector, enterprise software, medical, finance sector and many other. This is possible since we have a multidomain expertise and product development with EnCata benefits from our cross-disciplinary approach.

Generally speaking, we are not allowing clients to work on EnCata's manufacturing premises.

What works is that EnCata can manufacture prototype parts and the startup team can assemble a prototyp in our MakeIT Center hackerspace as well as do other design and rapid prototyping themselves in the hackerspace. We operate this free-access space in Minsk and we are currently working on expanding its network across the globe.

Investment-related questions

No. EnCata is a service company (neither a product company, nor a mass-production OEM manufacturer) and works as a contractor for R&D, product development, engineering design and prototype manufacturing projects.

Our business model is in delivering high quality Research and Development services and low volume industrial prototyping.

Typically, early stage startups (at a pre-seed stage) use four sources of funding:

1) own money and FFF (so-called "friends, family and fools");
2) grant funding;
3) pre-seed angel investment / early stage VC funding;
4) accelerator investment.

In EnCata we can develop conceptual design sketches, mock-up prototypes and POC/POP (proof-of-concept/principle) prototypes that can be part of your investor's pitch and help you raise further funding for your startup.

We do indeed help with fundraising through our large business network. However, we typically recommend startups to our partner VCs after we have done some work for the startup and learned more about the team and their core technology. This feedback and recommendation is of great value to all of the friendly VCs as it saves them much time and effort for due diligence.

EnCata Marketing team together with GTP can provide fundraising-as-a-service in all other cases.