The European Innovation Council of the European Commission selected 65 innovative startups and SMEs to receive funding of 363 million euros for groundbreaking innovations. Each company will receive a combination of grants and equity investments of up to 17 million euros, to develop and expand its pioneering innovations in the fields of healthcare, digital technologies, energy, biotechnology, space and others. This is the first set of companies to be funded under the fully-fledged Accelerator instrument of the European Innovation Council (EIC).
“The EIC Accelerator instrument is a unique European financial instrument of the European Innovation Council. It supports the development of top-class innovations, attracting private sector investors, and offers a portfolio of services to support their expansion.With the European Innovation Council, we aim to put Europe at the forefront of innovation and new technologies by investing in new solutions to the challenges we face in health, environment and society,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
“The companies were selected on the basis of a new two-stage process, established under Horizon Europe. Applications are rigorously evaluated by external experts, followed by an interview with a jury of experienced investors and entrepreneurs,” the European Commission said in its announcement.
Among the selected companies are the Dutch Sensius BV, that developed a thermotherapy system to treat head and neck cancer without negative adverse consequences.The French Alice and Bob, that instigated a new type of quantum hardware self-correction for the manufacture of the first commercial quantum computers in the world with fault tolerance. The Lithuanian UAB INOVATYVI MEDICINA, which developed a smart, sensory, remotely controlled robotic system, which allows to perform an endovascular process without exposure to harmful X-rays. Finally, the Norwegian Bluegrove AS, which has introduced the most advanced solution for monitoring and forecasting salmon welfare in order to care for the welfare of the fish.
The 65 successful companies are established in 16 countries. The demand for equity financing through the new EIC Fund was particularly high, 227 million out of a total of 363 million euros, are expected to take the form of an investment component.
It is noted that the EIC Accelerator instrument offers start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises grants of up to 2.5 million euros together with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from 0.5 million to 15 million euros. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from various business acceleration services, which provide access to leading expertise, companies, investors and stakeholders in the ecosystem.
Two rounds of direct equity investments took place under the EIC pilot this year, in January and June, where 111 highly innovative startups and SMEs received over 500 million euros to expand breakthrough innovations. Among them, there were two “unicorn” companies.
This year, under Horizon Europe, a new application procedure has been introduced, easily open to startups, under which businesses can submit their ideas at any time for an immediate rapid assessment. Successful businesses are invited to prepare a complete application, benefiting from free business coaching. Complete applications are then evaluated on regular deadlines, approximately every 3 months.
Since March, more than 4,000 startups and SMEs have sent their ideas, of which 801 submitted full applications at the first deadline of June 16, 2021 and another 1,098 at the second deadline of October 6, which are now in the process of being evaluated. The results for this second set of companies of the EIC Accelerator will be announced by the end of the year and the deadline is expected in early 2022.