ChessMonitor receives Startup Grant

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ChessMonitor receives Startup Grant

Thanks to the the EXIST Business Start-up Grant, provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action of Germany, ChessMonitor receives €100k in funding.


May 31, 2024


  • ChessMonitor is receiving a startup grant allowing accelerated development of features.
  • No changes for existing users, but some new features will be only available for paying users.
  • Check out our plans to unlock new features and support future development!

Today I share a big announcement with you! ChessMonitor is receiving a startup grant for one year. This means that I, Thomas, can work on ChessMonitor full time for the coming months. In addition, another chess player, Ivan, is joining me on the marketing and business part.

The Journey so far…

This project started in 2020 when I felt that chess was lacking good analytics tools. I’ve worked on ChessMonitor over the past years in my free time and often struggled to add features because of work, family and other life priorities.

Last year, I decided that I want to allocate more time to ChessMonitor and looked into opportunities to work on the project full time. I submitted an application for the EXIST startup grant, that thankfully was accepted a few weeks ago.

€100k Startup Grant

The grant is funding the project from March 2024 until February 2025 allowing us to concentrate on product development and to form a proper business around ChessMonitor. In total, we receive about €100k which includes (pre-tax) scholarships for Ivan an me to cover basic living costs, as well as money for expenses like servers. I hope we are able to accelerate the development and provide you with more features in the next months.

Grant No 03EGTNW016, March 2024 to February 2025
Grant No 03EGTNW016, March 2024 to February 2025

What will change?

This means that I’m finally able to focus on the development of ChessMonitor as my main job. But it also means that I’m aiming to make ChessMonitor profitable. Therefore, some of the new features will only be available to paying users. That said, there are also some free features introduced (like the new rating averages). But we will cover the details on that in another post.

For now, there will be no changes for existing users, but in the long run there might also be changes for existing users (looking at you, guy with 15 linked accounts…). But as I can now put more time into ChessMonitor, you can also expect more new cool features.

Why not stay free?

The basic functionality of ChessMonitor will remain free and I plan to add more features over time. However, the computing and storage requirements for some of the “big ideas” make it necessary to ask for compensation, as I don’t want to keep paying for everything with my money (as I did in the past).

Now you might be looking over at Lichess and propose why it’s not possible to take donations. As someone who has done multiple Open Source projects in the past, I can tell you that projects like Lichess and Wikipedia are the outliers, not the norm. It is hard to build a financially stable base for an open source software product. And again, I don’t want to keep paying for the project from my personal money… To make this more than just a side project for me, there has to be some financial stability.

Our Github profile is currently empty, but that will change soon…
Our Github profile is currently empty, but that will change soon…

However, that doesn’t mean we won’t do Open Source. In fact, I plan to open source an important part of ChessMonitor in the coming months!

How much is the subscription?

The goal is to turn ChessMonitor into a successful and profitable project so that we are able to continue working on it even when the funding period ends. We have a bunch of ideas and features that we are actively working on.

The price for the Plus subscription is currently at $5.90 per month (when paid annually). We also have a plan for clubs and coaches. Prices will increase in the future (for new users) with more features being added. So you can basically “lock in your price” now if you believe in the project. We would be happy to welcome you on board! ❤️

Head over to the Pricing page to see all details.

If you are a chess school or a chess teacher and want to discuss the best use for your students or club members, feel free to reach out to us! We are interested in partnering up with coaches and clubs!

And if you don’t want to pay, that’s (of course) also fine. The free plan is here to stay! If you want to support us anyway, feel free to spread the word, tell your local chess club about ChessMonitor or simply join our Discord server or the reddit community. We are happy to discuss ideas and hear your feedback!

New to ChessMonitor?

ChessMonitor is an analytics platform for chess players. We are working hard on improving it.

Here are some things you can do right now: