Good news for entrepreneurs and startuppers that want to realise their business ideas in the Old Continent: in December 2020 the European Commission arrived at the end of the last funding round in the pilot phase of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator: it selected 38 promising start-ups that will benefit from acceleration services and blended financing sources: a grant of up to €2.5 million each to support the development of their innovation, and for 19 of them, direct equity investments from EIC Fund of up to €15 million, too.
The initiative can be considered a breakthrough, as it is the first time the Commission has made direct equity or quasi equity investments in startup companies, with ownership stakes up to 25%.
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 first company to receive a direct equity investment is the French CorWave, operating in the healthcare sector: thanks to the €15 million EIC Fund investment, the startup will be allowed to scale up its innovative solutions (improve the lives of those with advanced heart failure, reducing by half severe complications and the need for rehospitalisation). Under the EIC Accelerator started its journey in 2019, almost 300 companies have been selected for funding, and a first group of 42 companies passed the due diligence process and evaluation in early January 2021. The program is destined to continue within the framework of the next research and innovation programme Horizon Europe (2021-2027), and it will be featured by simpler applications, more funding opportunities, and more supporting services.
Here you can read the full European Commissioner note.