The EIC Community Platform gathers the largest innovation community of its kind in Europe. It is an ensemble of people working across all fields and disruptive innovation areas
Through the EIC Community, corporates, procurers, investors and other partners can access 5500+ quality stamped companies and more than 408 innovation-driven research teams from all around Europe. This one-stop-shop for start-ups and technology projects enables partners to save money and resources on scouting, communicating and evaluating start-ups and scale-ups.
Moreover, co-investing alongside the EIC fund can de-risk investment rounds into companies which would otherwise be considered too risky.
To this day, the EIC community consists of:
- The innovation community providing SMEs, start-ups, and small mid-caps the necessary funds and means to scale up, reach the market and generate the impact needed for Europe’s recovery;
- The investment community including Business Angels, Venture Capitalists, Corporate VCs and other investors. The EIC provides a pipeline of de-risked deals, and a highly capable co-investment partner. This helps ensure the crowding-in of private investment in early stage, high-risk start-ups;
- The scientific community including researchers and universities. They can benefit from access to IP advisory services that aim to support European start-ups and SMEs involved in EU-funded collaborative research projects.
Partnering with Corporates
The Corporate Partnership Programme links EIC-funded innovators to large corporates in order to collaborate and develop new business models and opportunities.
On the one hand, innovators obtain scale, resources, sales channels, connections and forge new business opportunities. On the other, corporates can identify new emerging technologies and have access to great ideas that can positively impact their business.
The quality of the start-ups we have seen in our collaboration with the EIC has been very high. The European Innovation Council’s selection procedure enables us to access high level innovation throughout Europe and select projects according to our own criteria, capacity and needs.
CEO of Caixa Bank Payments & Consumer
Similarly, the Buyers Partnership Programme links EIC innovators to public and private buyers.
Utility companies, hospitals or cities have a lot to gain from EIC-funded deep tech innovations that can help raise living standards of citizens. EIC beneficiaries have met over 100 public and private procurers at procurer events and 5% of the SMEs sealed a business deal within 12 months of the event.
“The EIC scouts cross border talent with innovative ideas, which is extremely useful for us at FUNKE. … I have seen many cutting-edge ideas from the EIC start-ups that are worth exploring.”
CPO of FUNKE Mediengruppe and Chair of the Board of BME
The EIC also gives the opportunity to the most promising companies to access new markets, through Oversees Trade Fairs outside Europe.
So far, 4,700 business meetings have been held generating over €26M in business deals. Additional services from which innovators can benefit include: specialised business coaching, advice and specific tools to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions, a dedicated Women Leadership Programme and lastly, access to other ecosystem partners like the European Institute of Technology (EIT) and other accelerators, incubators and start-up studios.
Partnering with investors
The EIC Fund bridges the critical financing gap faced by deep-tech companies that want to bring their technologies to the market and scale them.
Its investment strategy is to provide long-term capital in the form of equity or quasi-equity in start-ups selected by the EIC Accelerator. It aims to crowd in other investors, further sharing risks, and is developing a large network of capital providers and strategic partners suitable for co-investments and follow-on funding.
The Investors Partnership Programme: the EIC connects its beneficiaries with investors through pitching events. It has a database of more than 400 investors, including Venture Capitalists (VCs) and business angels. Moreover, it collaborates with organisations or stock exchanges like Nasdaq or Euronext, Innovate UK and BPI France.
A “Deep Tech” interlude
Since 2014, the EIC has developed a strong track record in attracting, funding and investing in:
- Innovations in highly promising deep tech sectors including health, digital and cleantech;
- A diverse range of talent–in particular, women innovators–to build up deep tech companies;
- Start-ups and SMEs from a wide range of countries–including all 27 members of the European Union as well as a number of third countries.
The EIC measures its success through:
- Crowding in private investment: EIC Accelerator companies have raised a cumulative €9.6 billion in follow on investments.
- Scaling up: the EIC Accelerator portfolio of companies now includes 91 “centaurs” (valuation over €100m) and 2 “unicorns” (valuation over € 1 billion). The total valuation of the EIC portfolio of companies is now around € 50 billion.
- Women leaders: in 2019, the EIC Advisory Board set an annual target of 35% of women-led start-ups to be funded by the EIC Accelerator. In 2020, it reached a total of 22% of start-ups with a female CEO which marks a significant improvement on 2019 but with further progress needed.
On that latter note, the EIC Pathfinder projects–which involve an average of 25 people per project–have a significant impact on shaping the careers of the scientists involved, in particular women.
In total, 31% of the researchers in the EIC Pathfinder projects are women. EIC Pathfinder projects can help boost the career of women in deep-tech domains, enabling them to lead big, international teams, to shape future technological advancements and thus becoming leaders and role models for others.
Overall, a major priority has been the role of EIC Programme Managers to proactively support the follow up of emerging technologies into potential innovations, through spin-outs, IPRs, collaborations and other pathways.
An overlook on the Women Leaders
In 2020, the EIC introduced a pilot to ensure that at least a quarter of the companies invited to the final interview phase of the selection process were led by a woman (CEO or equivalent).
This led to a marked increase in women-led start-ups supported by the EIC: 22% of the companies in 2020, compared to 15% in 2019. Moreover, women represent 50% of the Jury Members that recommend EIC funding and 42% of the business coaches that advise and mentor EIC supported start-ups.
Despite this progress, the participation of women in deep-tech innovation remains low and the EIC Advisory Board has called for further measures to be taken.
In 2021, the new WomenTech.EU scheme was launched to support early-stage female founders in deep tech. In addition, a Women Leadership Programme was introduced to mentor a cohort of female CEOs in the EIC portfolio.
“The Women Leadership Programme helps to address the gap of fastscaling female led start-ups on their path to growth and impact. With only 1-2% of venture money going to female-led start-ups in Europe, the programme also prepares female leaders for more effective fundraising for their companies.”
Founder, Managing Partner – EXPERIOR VC Co-founder – European Women in VC
Connecting Academia to Business
The EIC Business Acceleration Services also support early-stage beneficiaries on their journey from the lab to the market. Innovators have access to tailor-made support from world-class coaches as well as concrete business tools and training sessions to transform their ideas into successful businesses.
Innovation Training Workshops provide hands-on guidance to EIC-funded scientists to capitalise on their research. These workshops cover a wide range of topics including commercialisation, leveraging business opportunities as well as pitching and presenting innovative ideas. A total of 179 innovators from 90 projects have participated in the nine workshops so far.
The EIC Pathfinder Bootcamp is an intensive course in business and entrepreneurship to help researchers transform their ideas into products. The 28 participants of the first event came from 21 projects and took part in a mixture of interactive lectures, group assignments and pitching practice.
Joining up the innovation community
In 2021, the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and the EIC agreed to build on their strong synergies in the area of innovation. One practical benefit will be a new “Fast Track” procedure to enable promising start-ups and SMEs created within the EIT to rapidly access the selection process of the EIC Accelerator and benefit from its Business Acceleration Services.
To learn more, you can read our recent article about the achievements highlighted in the EIC Impact Report 2021.
Source: EIC (2021)
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