As an optimist, you'd like to think you can spot an opportunity ahead of time and back your skill (and instincts) to be a part of something great, though in reality its not all that easy, and when it is sometimes the proverbial bus has left the station.
So now you've found the ESIC rules and our little directory, things appear to be looking up; tax savings, orderly criteria, collaboration and best of all, defined timelines.
Don't bet on it!
Lets look at that 6 year timeline... plenty enough to proof a good concept, secure the IP and close the right investment. Wrong!
For a start, 6 years tax years is the maximum, and after tax year 3, the income test amalgamates the prior 3 taxable incomes (making it harder to qualify). Then consider the yearly income and expenditure test, which is probably ok for years 1 to 3, however points are hard to come by as access to programs, awards or R&D takes time. Perhaps the Commercialisation Australia grant is the go as that income is exempted from the income test... though the grant process as the name suggests is only viable once your concept has had time to flourish.
The picture is starting to look a little less predictable now, and that's before you allow for other investors, VC's and funding alternatives.
We've already seen quite a lot of potential ESIC's skip, fail and fall foul of qualification due to mistiming and misinterpretation, and I'd hate to be the one explaining how I'd lost 20% of an investors money and doubled the tax bill, even before I'd had a chance to launch the business.
As it was, and always has been, there are known, knowns, and known unknowns, though we cannot know the unknown unknowns, and ESIC incentives are not hear to fix that.