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The EIC Accelerator provides funding for Innovation, DeepTech and Disruptive Startups

Non-Dilutive Grant
Equity Funding

Funding Disruptive Innovation

What is the EIC Accelerator?

The EIC Accelerator is a funding program by the European Innovation Council (EIC) and part of Horizon Europe. It funds innovative companies that are leveraging technological breakthroughs or scientific discoveries (DeepTech) with €2.5 million in Grant and/or €15 million in Equity financing per project.

Which Technologies are Funded?

Among the 400+ beneficiaries since 2021, companies range over many different industries including capital-intensive hardware or pure software businesses with a focus on DeepTech. There are no general technology restrictions for the EIC Accelerator as long as the technologies are aligned with EU policies (i.e. no military applications, etc.) but there are Technology Challenges that highlight certain technologies every year.

How Mature Must a Technology Be?

The EIC Accelerator funds technologies that have reached at least Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5, defined as “technology validated in relevant environment“. Generally, the EIC expects a prototype or proof-of-concept of the technology to exist. It is also possible to apply for Grants if the technology has already reached TRL6 or 7 and for pure Equity at TRL8.

What Type of Funding is Available?

The EIC Accelerator funds companies through Grants (up to €2.5 million), Equity (up to €15 million) or Blended Finance (a combination of Grant and Equity up to €17.5 million). Grants are non-dilutive and lump sum funding while Equity presents an investment by the EIC Fund or related parties in exchange for company ownership. An applicant can decide the type and amount of funding they wish to apply for. In exceptional cases, larger funding amounts can be requested.

Applicant Profile

Who Receives Funding?

EIC Accelerator applicants are for-profit companies that are registered in an eligible country but it is also possible for individuals or investors to apply to the EIC Accelerator as long as a company is founded before signing the Grant Agreement Contract. The companies must qualify as an independent Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) with a staff headcount <250, turnover ≤€50 million and balance sheet total ≤€43 million.

Which EU Countries Can Apply?

The EIC Accelerator is accessible to companies or individuals in all EU-27 countries such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, including their territories.

Can Other Countries Apply?

Yes, there are association agreements with Horizon Europe in place which allow companies or individuals in the following countries to apply: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Morocco and the United Kingdom (Grant only).

Is the EIC Accelerator for Me?

What are the Success Rates?

The success rates are not explicitly published for all 3 evaluation steps but it can be assumed that the total success rates from Step 1 to Step 3 are 5% or below. Depending on the annual budget of the EIC Accelerator program and the number of applicants per cut-off as well as the type of Call (i.e. Open vs. Challenges), the success rate can be higher or lower.

Does My Company Fit?

The EIC Accelerator generally prefers highly innovative and disruptive technologies which often have a DeepTech, scientific or otherwise technical base. It generally seeks high-risk and high-reward businesses that plan to bring their technology to the market. In the past, the EIC Accelerator has funded many scientific innovations but also pure software companies, SaaS solutions or even well-funded companies that present lower risk profiles.

Should I Apply?

It is up to each company to decide if they wish to apply to the €17.5 million EIC Accelerator financing. Important considerations are the risk-profile based on the program’s success rates, the time to apply and the ability to stay persistent during the process. The EIC Accelerator is ideal for companies that have a sufficient runway of at least 6 months and are not in need of immediate funding while actively engaging investors and other funding sources to diversify their approach.

How To Apply

How Do I Apply?

The EIC Accelerator uses a 3-step evaluation process. All 3 Steps must be cleared in succession and all companies that have passed Step 3 will receive their respective funding. The submission process is performed on the EU’s Funding & Tenders Portal where documents must be uploaded to the respective cut-off deadlines. Each submission receives evaluations and comments as part of the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) as well as a GO or NO GO rating.

How Long Does It Take?

There is no standard timeline for EIC Accelerator applications. Some companies can be successful in under 6 months while others can apply over the span of 2 years or more if they receive rejections and/or skip deadlines due to time constraints. Additionally, the EIC Accelerator often has  2-4 deadlines per year which can impact the timeline and planning of the respective submissions.

When Can I apply?

Step 1 of the EIC Accelerator is continuously open and companies can apply at any time. After Step 1 has been passed successfully, applicants can apply to Step 2 which generally has 2-4 cut-offs per year. After Step 2 has been passed, companies are invited to a Step 3 face-to-face interview that is usually conducted through a video call within weeks of the Step 2 cut-off.

What if I Get Rejected?

The EIC Accelerator follows a “3 strikes, you’re out” approach to rejections. If a company has accumulated a total of 3 rejections across all the Steps then they will not be eligible to re-apply with that specific project or a very similar one until the end of Horizon Europe. In contrast, this means that every applicant has multiple chances to improve their proposal and be successful over time. It is common for funded projects to receive rejections along the way.

The Application Process

Step 1: The Short Application

The Step 1 short application consists of a 12-page written proposal, a 3-minute video pitch and a 10-page pitch deck in addition to standard online form fields. It generally takes 2-4 weeks for new applicants to prepare all documents. After the submission, 3 out of 4 evaluators must provide a GO rating for the project to move towards Step 2.

Step 2: The Business Plan

The Step 2 business plan consists of a long written proposal of 50 or more pages as well as annexes such as a 3-minute video pitch, a pitch deck, financial documents, a Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis, a Data Management Plan (DMP), Letters of Intent (LOI), Curriculum Vitaes (CV) and others in addition to standard online form fields. It generally takes 6-8 weeks for new applicants to prepare all documents. After the submission, 3 out of 3 evaluators must provide a GO rating for the project to move towards Step 3.

Step 3: The Interview

The Step 3 interview consists of a face-to-face interview via video call or in-person in Brussels, Belgium. It includes a 10-minute pitch by the invited applicant followed by a 35-minute Q&A session with the EIC Jury members. The pitch uses the submitted Step 2 pitch deck while the panel is generally consisting of 5 jury members in addition to EIC and European Investment Bank (EIB) representitives as well as EIC Program Managers. The preparation for the interview takes 2 weeks and all jury members must provide a GO for the applicants to successfully receive the EIC Accelerator funding.

What Happens After I Get Funded?

Depending on the requested funding, the due diligence for the Grant and Equity funding begins. For the Grant, the preparation of the Grant Agreement Contract (GAC) is initiated which requires the applicant to upload different company documents including financials, Ultimate Beneficiary Owner (UBO) and other registration documents. For the Eqity, the due diligence is conducted through the EIB which will be in direct contact with applicants and the applicant’s co-investors. The Equity financing is generally provided as a direct equity injection, convertible note or similar modes but, ideally, the EIC Fund prefers to invest with the applicant’s own investors in a larger funding round.

Successful Clients

Electronics & Engineering

Grant agreement ID: 190173163

Increasing the efficiency, sustainability and lifecycles of battery systems through advanced module-level power electronics

AI & Software

Grant agreement ID: 190120980

A Digital R&D team member, automating scientific knowledge handling, allowing European R&D to increase their speed of innovation

Robotics & AI

Grant agreement ID: 190116067

Automated Lithium-Ion battery upcycling process using robotics and computer vision to deliver sustainable energy storage at scale

Chemistry & Energy

Grant agreement ID: 190155898

Automated production process for next-level redox flow battery stacks and modules following a revolutionary different and cost-optimised production approach

Need Financing?

Contact Stephan Segler, PhD, to discuss the EIC Accelerator and the application process.

    Rasph - EIC Accelerator Consulting