The first round launched at the end of 2019. It backed small and medium firms with breakthrough ideas. This accelerator initiative funded selected businesses. Grants up to €2.5 million and financing up to €15 million were available. Non-refundable grants had a fast process while equity required more review before awards.
The 6th of January the Commission has announced the first round of direct equity investment through the new European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund.
Forty-two start-ups and small/medium firms will receive funding. Around €178 million in equity financing will be given accordingly. This will help breakthrough innovations in health, recycling, manufacturing and more. Among them, the French company CorWave is the first EU company in which the EIC Fund is investing. CorWave’s mission is to bring a new standard of care to patients with life-threatening heart failure. The overall €15 million EIC Fund investment has played a critical role by mobilising additional investors to unite behind the French SME, which led to a €35 million of investments in the fourth stage of start-up financing for CorWave.
The investment agreements with the other target companies are now being finalised, and will be announced shortly. A few examples of this first round of investments:
- Hiber (The Netherlands): an international satellite and communication company that provides global and affordable Internet of Things connectivity;
- XSUN (France): a solar aircraft company that designs energy-independent drones to be fully autonomous so they can operate without any human intervention;
- GEOWOX LIMITED (Ireland): a technological company that provides automated property valuations, leveraging high-quality open data and machine learning models;
- EPI-ENDO PHARMACEUTICALS EHF (Iceland): a pharmaceutical company focused on developing a proprietary portfolio of drugs to address the huge global burden of chronic respiratory diseases.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:
“Europe has many innovative, talented start-ups, but too often these companies remain small or relocate elsewhere. This new form of financing – combining grants and equity – is unique to the European Innovation Council. It will bridge the funding gap for highly innovative companies, unlock additional private investments and enable them scale up in Europe.”
The EIC Accelerator chose 293 firms for funding since December 2019, providing over €563 million in grants. The fund chose 159 of these companies to get new equity investments. The 42 companies announced today are the first of this group to successfully pass the evaluation as well as the due diligence process. The other 117 companies are in the pipeline to receive investments pending the outcome of the relevant process.
Due to its great success, the EIC Accelerator initiative will continue under the new Horizon Europe program with a double-step procedure. The Horizon Europe work programme will be shortly published alongside with the Accelerator official rules and calendar.
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