EIC Investment Guidelines have been updated to provide more clarity to applicants and to reflect recent changes in the management of the EIC Fund. It will remain in place until the end of 2022.
The new set of EIC Investment Guidelines provides information to applicants and selected companies, as well as to potential co-investors. It explains in detail the investment process.
The revised guidelines cover the strategy and conditions under which the EIC Fund will make investment and divestment decisions. In addition, they provide an updated definition of a qualified investor and a description of possible investment scenarios. The Investment Guidelines ensure that EIC’s investments meet the objectives to support high potential start-ups and SMEs to accelerate their scale-up process and crowd in private investors.
Updated: 1st March 2022
What you should definitely know: EIC Fund investment process
Proposals selected by the EC and awarded an investment component are channeled to the EIC Fund for an initial assessment. Following this initial assessment, the cases are categorized in accordance with the various possible investment scenarios (“buckets”).
The European Investment Bank (EIB), as Investment Advisor, undertakes financial due diligence (unless performed by co-investors). In parallel, target companies undergo KYC-compliance checks.
The EIB discusses potential draft financing terms with the beneficiary and co-investors (if any), or advise the company in case of alternate investors. The EIC Fund examines the due diligence together with the structuring proposal from the EIB.
The EIC Fund decides on financing operations, which will either approve (sometimes with conditions), including the amount and terms, or
reject the operation.
Provided that the EIC Fund has approved the investment, the EIB guides the work of lawyers for each specific transaction leading to legal documents, which will be signed by the EIC Fund.
The EIC Fund oversees monitoring process, milestone disbursements, reporting and exit.
Of note: all decisions that are related to the investments have to be in accordance with these investment guidelines. Moreover, EIC Fund must be the agent making these decisions.
The new EIC Investment Guidelines are built on the experience from the EIC pilot (2019-20). They are applicable to the current transition phase of the management structure of the EIC Fund (companies selected for funding following Accelerator cut-offs in 2021 and 2022). During this period, the Investment Guidelines ensure business continuity and support to innovators.
In addition, during this transition phase, the Commission will appoint an external alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) to manage the EIC Fund. This transition phase should last until the end of 2022. Following it, a long term EIC Fund management approach will be put in place. Full details will be provided in advance.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has been the investment adviser of the EIC Fund over the pilot phase. EIB will continue to be so during the transition phase. A new advisory agreement with EIB will ensure the continuation of its role – performing due diligence, preparing investment decisions and monitoring and managing the portfolio of companies.
What are the next steps?
The Commission is assessing lessons learnt from the EIC pilot phase. Also, it is being advised by the EIC Board to identify the best options to implement EIC equity investments.
The objective is to put in place a sustainable and efficient instrument to make investment decisions, attract qualified investors and manage investments following the best market standards. All this while addressing EU policy goals. The long-term EIC Fund management approach should be ready for the 2023 EIC Accelerator calls. Moreover, it should remain in place until the end of the current Horizon Europe programming period in 2027.
Some background information
The EIC pilot phase (2018-20) launched in 2018, incorporating existing Horizon 2020 instruments like the SME instrument and Future & Emerging Technology (FET) program. It brought these funding schemes together in a single work program to directly support innovators across Europe.
The EIC pilot phase, together with the existing instruments, supported:
- Over 430 projects on Future and Emerging Technologies, involving over 2700 partners. These projects have generated over 3000 peer-reviewed scientific articles, over 600 innovations, and over 100 patents.
- Over 5700 start-ups and SMEs, who have raised over €5 billion in follow-up investments (3 euro for every euro from the EU budget) and, on average, more than doubled the number of employees in a 2-year period.
The EIC Accelerator blended finance support offers a unique combination of grants (up to €2.5 million) and investment in equity or quasi-equity (between €0.5 million and €15 million or more in certain cases through the EIC Fund).
The EIC Fund is a dedicated fund for investing in companies selected by the EIC Accelerator. Since its creation in June 2020, the Fund has invested in 78 deep-tech companies all across Europe. An additional 63 deals are approved for investment in the coming months. The total approved investment amount for companies selected during the pilot phase (2019-2020) is €637 million.
Moreover, around €3.5 billion of the EIC’s budget will go towards the EIC Fund for 2021-2027.
Considering the experience of the EIC pilot, the EIC Fund could potentially invest in around 600 promising start-ups and SMEs until 2027. By doing so, it would become the largest venture capital deep-tech investor in Europe.
The EIC aims to be a catalyser and strives for larger investment rounds. During the pilot, the EIC achieved a multiplier of 2.6-2.8 of private investments to the EIC’s public investments. Depending on the company and the innovation, co-investors alongside the EIC Fund may include Business Angels, Venture Capital funds, Impact investment funds, Family offices, Venture debt funds, National Promotional Banks or corporate venture arms.
Want to know more about the EIC Investment Guidelines?
In the upcoming articles, we will explore important aspects of the document.
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