I can't find the new pricing on the website (everything is free trial / request a quote) but I remember the last time I saw pricing it was so much that I opted to kill the one Delphi-made product I had rather than upgrade. I'm using Xojo instead for my cross-platform RAD development now.
I'll repeat that: You can install a hundred times if you need. You do not have to buy or have a current subscription to install.
The license server counts installations and flags for verification after a certain number because it's quite common for people to install far more times (ie, for more people) than they actually bought. All that is required after you install a one-person license enough times to trigger the server asking questions is to contact us and let us know you really are using it legally. Then you're good to go.
I can't see students not needing DB access let alone 'early stage startups', without TDataSet et al, it would be effectively useless/worthless.
(we're STILL using D5 where I work)
that is ridiculous in 2020
and you only get that with the "enterprise edition"
"professional" only gets you embeded and localhost DB ?!?
I still have my old separate Firedac licence for an old project i support,
but anybody new coming to this mess will just have a good lough and move on.
You can use open source libraries like Zeoslib (https://zeoslib.sourceforge.io/) or mORMot (https://synopse.info/fossil/wiki?name=SQLite3+Framework).
I suppose it is not easy for you (as a tool supplier).