EIC Accelerator EIC Fund Investment Guidelines Summary and Investment Buckets

Version: December 2023 Note: This article contains a summary of the official EIC Fund investment guidelines and contains simplifications that can change the intended meaning in some cases. We recommend to download and read the official document. Introduction The EIC Investment Guidelines provide essential information to potential beneficiaries and co-investors regarding the strategy and conditions for EIC Fund investment and divestment decisions. This updated version includes definitions of qualified investors, descriptions of investment scenarios, and new clauses on follow-on investments and exits, ensuring support for high-potential startups and SMEs to accelerate growth and attract additional investors. This document applies specifically to the EIC Fund Horizon Europe compartment. Table of Contents Investment Rules 1.1 Investment Restrictions 1.2 Investment Objective 1.3 Investment Strategy 1.4 Compartment Investment Process Investment Guidelines 2.1 Target Company Development Stage 2.2 Type of Innovations 2.3 Protection of European Interests 2.4 Geographical Scope 2.5 Exclusions 2.6 Investment Size and Equity Stake Targets 2.7 Investment/Co-Investment Scenarios 2.8 Due Diligence Process 2.9 Possible Financial Instruments 2.10 Investment Implementation 2.11 Publication of Information 2.12 Monitoring and Follow-Up Investments 2.13 Follow-On Investments 2.14 Mentors 2.15 Intellectual Property Management Investment Buckets Annex 1. Definitions Annex 2. Exclusions 1. Investment Rules 1.1 Investment Restrictions The Compartment is subject to the Investment Restrictions set out in the General Section of the EIC Fund Memorandum. These restrictions ensure that the Compartment operates within the boundaries established by the EIC Fund, maintaining consistency and alignment with the overall objectives. 1.2 Investment Objective The objective of the Compartment is to invest in EIC Fund Final Recipients developing or deploying breakthrough technologies and disruptive, market-creating innovations. The Compartment aims to address a critical financing gap in the European technology transfer market. Despite significant grant funding for research and innovation projects in Europe, very few manage to attract further investment and reach commercialisation and scale-up stages. 1.3 Investment Strategy To achieve its Investment Objective, the Compartment may invest directly in equity securities or equity-related securities, including preferred equity, convertible debt, options, warrants, or similar securities. The Compartment provides the investment component of the EIC blended finance, subject to the maximum investment amount set by the EU Commission. Candidate companies apply to the EIC Accelerator through public calls for proposals published by the EU Commission. The EISMEA evaluates these proposals, and the EU Commission selects those to be supported with an indicative EIC blended finance amount. This support may consist of a combination of a grant and investment, grant-only, or investment-only support. In cases where European interests in strategic areas need protection, the EIC Fund will take measures such as acquiring a blocking minority to prevent the entry of new investors from non-eligible countries. This approach ensures that investments align with strategic priorities and protect European interests. 1.4 Compartment Investment Process The investment process involves several steps: Initial Assessment: Proposals selected by the EU Commission are channeled to the External AIFM for initial assessment. Categorization: Cases are categorized into various investment scenarios (Buckets) based on the assessment. Due Diligence: Financial due diligence and KYC compliance checks are performed on target companies. Financing Terms Discussion: Potential draft financing terms are discussed with the beneficiary and co-investors. Decision Making: The External AIFM decides on financing operations, approving or rejecting the operation. Legal Documentation: Upon approval, legal documents are prepared and signed. Monitoring: The External AIFM monitors the investments, including milestone disbursements, reporting, and exit strategies. 2. Investment Guidelines 2.1 Target Company Development Stage Eligible applicants under the EIC Accelerator include for-profit, highly innovative SMEs, start-ups, early-stage companies, and small mid-caps from any sector, typically with a strong intellectual property component. The EIC Accelerator aims to support high-risk projects that are not yet attractive to investors, de-risking these projects to catalyse private investment. 2.2 Type of Innovations The Compartment supports various types of innovation, particularly those based on deep-tech or radical thinking, and social innovation. Deep-tech refers to technology based on cutting-edge scientific advances and discoveries, requiring constant interaction with new ideas and lab results. 2.3 Protection of European Interests In strategic areas identified by the EU Commission, the Compartment will take investment-related measures to protect European interests. This may include acquiring a blocking minority, investing despite potential investor interest, or securing European ownership of intellectual property and the company. 2.4 Geographical Scope Eligible companies must be established and operating in EU Member States or Associated Countries to Horizon Europe Pillar III Equity component. The External AIFM may invest in the holding or parent company established in these territories, provided it meets all eligibility criteria. 2.5 Exclusions Investments exclude sectors incompatible with the ethical and social basis of Horizon Europe. These include activities related to harmful labor practices, illegal products, pornography, wildlife trade, hazardous materials, unsustainable fishing methods, and others as detailed in Annex 2. 2.6 Investment Size and Equity Stake Targets The Compartment’s investment ranges between EUR 500,000 and EUR 15,000,000 per company, targeting minority ownership stakes typically between 10% and 20%. However, it may acquire a blocking stake to protect European interests. Investments may be lower or higher than initially proposed based on due diligence findings and the EU Commission’s award decision. 2.7 Investment/Co-Investment Scenarios From the onset, the External AIFM will connect potential investee companies to the EIC Accelerator investor community to leverage co-investment opportunities. EIC Selected Beneficiaries are encouraged to seek co-investors, with financial and commercial due diligence potentially performed jointly with these investors. The EIC Accelerator aims to de-risk selected operations, attracting significant additional funding to support innovation deployment and scale-up. 2.8 Due Diligence Process The due diligence process focuses on governance, capital structure, business strategy, competition, market assessment, value creation, legal form, and jurisdictions. Compliance checks include anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism financing, tax-avoidance, and KYC compliance. Non-compliance issues may lead to the interruption or cessation of EIC support. 2.9 Possible Financial Instruments The Compartment primarily uses equity or quasi-equity investments, including: Common Shares: Ownership interest in a corporation, may be voting or non-voting. Preferred Shares: Hybrid equity with debt-like features, usually held by VC funds. Convertible Instruments: Debt instruments … Read more

The Ultimate EIC Accelerator Short Proposal Guide (EIC Accelerator Step 1 Proposal Template)

Unlocking Innovation: The EIC Accelerator Step 1 Proposal Template – A Guide for Startups and SMEs In the dynamic world of startup financing, the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator presents a compelling pathway for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to secure substantial funding. The Step 1 proposal template is a critical tool designed to facilitate access to up to €17.5 million in blended financing, which includes both grant and equity components. This article provides a detailed overview of the contents and usefulness of the EIC Accelerator Step 1 proposal template, which is tailored to empower startups and SMEs across the European Union (EU). The Essence of the EIC Accelerator Step 1 Proposal Template Official Proposal Template: The Step 1 proposal template serves as the official blueprint for applicants, meticulously designed to streamline the application process for EIC funding. It encompasses essential sections that require applicants to succinctly articulate their innovation, business model, and the potential impact of their technology. This structured approach ensures that all critical aspects of the proposal are covered systematically. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Focus: A pivotal part of the template is the emphasis on Technology Readiness Levels. Applicants must demonstrate their innovation’s maturity, which is crucial for aligning with the EIC’s expectations of market readiness and potential for deployment. Pitch Deck and Interview Preparation: The proposal template is strategically designed to help applicants prepare for subsequent stages of the funding process. It encourages a concise yet comprehensive presentation of ideas, which forms the backbone of the pitch deck and sets the stage for the interview process. How the Template Empowers Applicants Streamlined Process for Applicants: By providing a clear structure, the template demystifies the application process, making it accessible even to newcomers in the EU funding landscape. It guides applicants through a series of well-defined steps, helping them present their innovation narrative effectively. Designed for High Impact: The template focuses on high-impact innovations, prompting applicants to think critically about the market needs and the unique value proposition of their technology. This focus is aligned with the EIC’s goal to support projects that have the potential to scale up and achieve significant market penetration. Support for a Broad Range of Innovators: From professional writers and freelancers to consultants, the template serves as a resource that can be utilized by various stakeholders involved in the grant writing process. It provides a standardized framework that ensures consistency and quality across applications. The Financial and Strategic Impact Blended Financing Opportunities: The template effectively opens the door to blended financing opportunities, comprising a €2.5 million grant and up to €15 million in equity financing. This substantial financial backing is designed to accelerate the development and scaling of groundbreaking innovations. Equity Financing Insights: For ventures that are potentially non-bankable and where traditional funding mechanisms fall short, the equity option presented in the template is a game-changer. It offers a direct pathway to significant funding, crucial for aggressive growth and expansion strategies. European Commission and EIC Endorsement: Using the official template aligns projects with the strategic priorities of the European Commission and the EIC. It ensures that proposals are evaluated on criteria that reflect the broader objectives of EU innovation funding, enhancing the credibility and appeal of the projects. Conclusion The EIC Accelerator Step 1 proposal template is not just a document; it’s a strategic tool that can significantly enhance the chances of securing funding by aligning startups and SMEs with the critical elements sought by the EIC. It encourages clarity, conciseness, and focus, which are essential for passing the rigorous evaluation process. By leveraging this template, startups and SMEs can effectively articulate their innovation stories, demonstrating their potential to transform industries and scale new heights in the European market. EIC Accelerator Step 1 Short Proposal Proposal Template 1. Company Description Founding Story The inception of the company is traced back to its founding date, highlighting its origins as a spin-off from a notable research institute. This narrative details the collaboration between co-founders and the initial investments secured, illustrating a trajectory from a promising idea to an established entity. Such a foundation story not only enhances the company’s profile but also solidifies its position as a credible and innovative player in the tech industry, aiming to attract attention from stakeholders including the European Innovation Council (EIC). Mission and Vision The mission and vision of the company encapsulate its core objectives and the aspirational impact it aims to achieve on a global scale. The mission is crafted around solving critical industry challenges, leveraging innovation to improve efficiencies or address significant market gaps. This visionary approach positions the company as a forward-thinking leader committed to making substantial advancements in its field. The emphasis on transforming theoretical ideas into practical, market-ready solutions aligns well with the goals of the European Innovation Council, illustrating a commitment to not only lead in innovation but also to contribute positively to societal and economic growth. Company Achievements The company’s achievements are a testament to its growth and innovation, marked by significant milestones such as awards, financial successes, and technological advancements. These accomplishments are crucial in establishing the company’s credibility and highlighting its capacity to meet and exceed industry standards. Recognition from reputable bodies through awards and the successful achievement of critical technology readiness levels underscore the company’s potential and readiness for further growth. Such a track record is essential in building trust with the European Innovation Council and potential investors, positioning the company as a robust candidate for future opportunities in the European Union’s competitive tech landscape. Customer Relationships The company has nurtured robust relationships with a diverse range of customers, enhancing its market position and solidifying its reputation in the industry. These relationships are not just transactional but are enriched through collaborations, providing mutual benefits and strengthening the company’s foothold in the market. Highlighting the top customers and detailing the nature of these interactions showcases the company’s ability to maintain valuable partnerships. Furthermore, securing Letters of Intent (LOI) from these key stakeholders not only demonstrates their … Read more

The Crucible of EIC Accelerator Innovation: Universities and the Birth of DeepTech Entrepreneurs

Universities have long been the birthplace of some of the most groundbreaking and transformative technologies our world has seen. Rooted in rigorous academic research and fostered by an environment of intellectual curiosity, these institutions are not just centers of learning but pivotal incubators for innovative entrepreneurs. Especially within the realm of scientific technologies, universities and research institutes stand at the forefront of what we now commonly refer to as DeepTech – technologies that offer profound advancements across various sectors including healthcare, energy, and computing, to name a few. The University-Entrepreneurship Nexus The journey from academic research to entrepreneurial venture is a path tread by many innovators. Universities, with their wealth of resources, including state-of-the-art labs, access to funding, and a network of like-minded thinkers, offer an unparalleled ecosystem for nurturing early-stage DeepTech projects. It’s within these academic halls that the foundational research takes place – often long before a market application is even considered. One of the key elements of this environment is the encouragement of cross-disciplinary collaboration. It’s not uncommon for a breakthrough in material science at a university to pave the way for revolutionary new products in the consumer electronics space or for biomedical research to lead to the development of groundbreaking medical devices. These technologies, born from academic projects, have the potential to address critical global challenges and pave the way for new industries. Bridging the Gap: From Academia to Industry However, the path from a university project to a successful DeepTech company is fraught with challenges. The process of commercializing scientific research requires more than just technical expertise; it demands a keen understanding of the market, strategic business planning, and the ability to secure investment. Herein lies the role of entrepreneurship programs and technology transfer offices within universities, which aim to bridge this gap. They provide budding entrepreneurs with the mentorship, funding, and business acumen needed to bring their innovations to market. Additionally, the role of public and private funding cannot be overstated. Initiatives like the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program offer critical support through grants and equity financing for startups that are navigating the treacherous waters of commercializing DeepTech. These programs not only provide financial backing but also lend credibility to the startups, attracting further investment and partnerships. Real-World Impact and the Future The impact of university-produced DeepTech innovations on the global stage is undeniable. From the creation of life-saving medical technologies to the development of sustainable energy solutions, these advancements are shaping the future. As we look ahead, the role of universities as incubators of innovation will only grow in importance. With the right support structures in place, the potential for these academic endeavors to transform into successful, world-changing enterprises is boundless. In conclusion, universities are not just centers of learning but pivotal cradles of innovation, nurturing the entrepreneurs who are set to redefine our world with DeepTech innovations. As these academic institutions continue to evolve, their potential to contribute to global economic and societal advancements is unlimited. With continued support and investment, the bridge from academia to industry will strengthen, ushering in a new era of transformative technologies. From Lab Bench to Market: The Funding Odyssey of University-Based Startups The transition from academic research to a successful startup is a daunting journey, especially for founders originating from fields such as chemistry, pharma, biology, and physics. These scientific entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges, chief among them being the arduous task of securing funding. Unlike their counterparts in more commercial sectors, scientists turned startup founders often find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to fundraising. The Fundraising Challenge for Scientific Entrepreneurs The core of the problem lies in the expertise gap. Scientists are trained to explore, discover, and innovate, focusing on the advancement of knowledge rather than the intricacies of business models, market fit, or investor pitching. This gap often leaves them at a disadvantage in a competitive funding landscape dominated by investors looking for quick returns and businesses with clear market applications. Moreover, the nature of DeepTech and scientific startups means they typically require significant upfront investment for research and development, with longer paths to market and profitability. This further complicates their appeal to traditional venture capitalists, who may shy away from the inherent risks and extended timelines. Grants: A Lifeline for Getting Started In light of these challenges, grants play a crucial role in the early stages of a scientific startup’s lifecycle. Funding mechanisms such as the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program become lifelines, offering not just financial support but also validation of the scientific venture’s potential impact. Grants from governmental and international bodies provide the essential capital needed to transition from proof-of-concept to a viable product, without diluting the founders’ equity or forcing them into premature commercialization strategies. Building a Bridge: The Role of University Incubators and Entrepreneurship Programs Recognizing the unique challenges faced by their scientific entrepreneurs, many universities have established incubators and entrepreneurship programs designed to bridge the knowledge gap. These programs offer mentorship, business training, and access to networks of investors specifically interested in DeepTech and scientific innovations. They aim to equip scientists with the necessary skills to navigate the funding landscape, from crafting compelling pitch decks to understanding the financial metrics crucial to investors. The Path Forward Despite the hurdles, the potential societal and economic benefits of scientific startups are immense. With their ability to address pressing global challenges through innovation, supporting these ventures is of paramount importance. Strengthening the ecosystem that supports scientific entrepreneurs, from enhanced grant programs to more specialized investor networks, is critical for their success. In conclusion, while the journey from university lab to market is fraught with challenges, especially in securing funding, there is a growing recognition of the need to support these pioneers of innovation. By bridging the expertise gap and leveraging grants as a springboard, the path forward for scientific startups is becoming clearer, promising a future where their transformative potential can be fully realized. Navigating Intellectual Property: A Guide for University Spinoff Founders The … Read more

Decoding DeepTech: Navigating the New Age of EIC Accelerator Innovation

In an era marked by rapid technological advancement and innovation, the term “DeepTech” has emerged as a buzzword synonymous with startups and the tech industry at large. But what exactly does “DeepTech” mean, and why is it pivotal for startups and technology sectors? DeepTech, or deep technology, refers to cutting-edge technologies that offer significant advancements over existing solutions. These technologies are characterized by their profound potential to disrupt industries, create new markets, and solve complex challenges. Unlike mainstream technology that focuses on incremental improvements, DeepTech dives deeper into scientific discoveries or engineering innovations to bring about radical change. The Essence of DeepTech At its core, DeepTech embodies technologies rooted in substantial scientific advances and high-tech engineering innovation. These technologies are often associated with sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, advanced materials, biotechnology, and quantum computing. The unifying factor among these is their foundational reliance on profound, substantive research and development (R&D) efforts, often resulting in breakthroughs that could take years to mature and commercialize. DeepTech in Startups and the Tech Industry For startups, venturing into DeepTech represents both a colossal opportunity and a formidable challenge. The development cycle for DeepTech innovations is typically longer and requires more substantial capital investment compared to software or digital startups. However, the payoff can be transformative, offering solutions to pressing global issues, from climate change to healthcare crises. The technology industry’s interest in DeepTech is driven by the promise of creating lasting value and establishing new frontiers in technology. Unlike consumer tech, which can be subject to rapid shifts in consumer preferences, DeepTech offers foundational changes that can redefine industries for decades. The Path Forward Navigating the DeepTech landscape demands a blend of visionary scientific research, robust funding mechanisms, and strategic industry partnerships. For startups, this means securing investment from stakeholders who understand the long-term nature of DeepTech projects. It also requires a commitment to R&D and a willingness to pioneer uncharted territories. The significance of DeepTech goes beyond mere technological advancement; it’s about building the future. By harnessing the power of deep technologies, startups have the potential to usher in a new era of innovation, solving some of the world’s most intricate challenges with solutions that were once deemed impossible. In conclusion, DeepTech stands at the intersection of groundbreaking scientific research and technological innovation. For startups and the tech industry, it represents the next frontier of discovery and disruption. Embracing DeepTech is not just an investment in technology; it’s a commitment to a future where the boundaries of what’s possible are continually expanded. The Unique Capital Dynamics of DeepTech: Navigating the Waters of Innovation In the burgeoning world of startups, DeepTech stands out not only for its ambition to push the boundaries of innovation but also for its distinct financial and developmental landscape. DeepTech startups, by their nature, delve into areas that are both capital-intensive and time-consuming, often focusing on hardware developments or groundbreaking scientific research that necessitates a different breed of investment: patient capital. The Capital Intensive Nature of DeepTech DeepTech ventures often require substantial initial investments, significantly higher than those of their software counterparts. This is primarily due to the hardware-intensive aspects of many DeepTech projects, such as in biotechnology, robotics, and clean energy. The development of physical products or the implementation of novel scientific discoveries demands not only specialized equipment and materials but also access to advanced research facilities. The Time Factor Beyond financial considerations, time plays a crucial role in the development of DeepTech innovations. Unlike software startups, where products can be developed, tested, and iterated upon in relatively short cycles, DeepTech projects often span years or even decades. This extended timeframe is due to the complex nature of the technology being developed, the necessity for extensive testing and certification processes, and the challenge of bringing groundbreaking innovations to market. Patient Capital: A Vital Ingredient for Success Given these unique challenges, DeepTech startups require investors who are prepared for a longer journey to return on investment (ROI). This “patient capital” is willing to support startups through the lengthy periods of R&D and market introduction inherent in DeepTech ventures. Such investors typically have a deep understanding of the specific industries and the potential impact of the innovations, enabling them to see beyond short-term gains towards the transformative potential of these technologies. Why Patient Capital Matters The significance of patient capital extends beyond merely providing financial resources. It includes mentorship, industry connections, and strategic guidance, all of which are crucial for navigating the complex landscape of DeepTech. Moreover, patient capital helps foster a culture of innovation where entrepreneurs can focus on breakthroughs that might not have immediate commercial viability but have the potential to create substantial societal and economic impacts in the long run. In conclusion, the journey of DeepTech startups is uniquely challenging, requiring more than just financial investment. It demands a commitment to a vision that transcends traditional investment timelines, offering the promise of revolutionary advancements. For those willing to embark on this journey, the rewards are not just in potential financial returns but in contributing to the advancements that could shape the future of our society. The Rising Attraction of DeepTech Investments: Unique Technologies and Higher Returns The investment landscape is witnessing a significant shift towards DeepTech, driven by its potential for higher returns and its inherent uniqueness. DeepTech companies, by their nature, delve into groundbreaking technological advancements, often protected by patents and intellectual property (IP) rights. This uniqueness not only differentiates them from the crowded space of software startups but also offers a layer of competition protection that is highly valued by investors. High Returns and Competitive Moats DeepTech investments are increasingly attractive due to the potential for substantial financial returns. The technologies developed within DeepTech sectors—ranging from biotechnology and advanced materials to artificial intelligence and quantum computing—have the power to disrupt industries and create entirely new markets. This transformative potential translates into significant financial opportunities for investors who are early supporters of such innovations. Moreover, the complexity and proprietary nature of DeepTech innovations … Read more

The New EIC Work Programme: Understanding the Elimination of the Rebuttal Process

In the dynamic landscape of European Union (EU) funding, the European Innovation Council (EIC) has introduced notable changes under its 2024 Work Programme, directly impacting the application and evaluation process for funding. Among these adjustments, the elimination of the rebuttal process stands out, signifying a shift towards a more streamlined and independent assessment of proposals. This article delves into the implications of this change for startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) seeking EIC Accelerator funding, aiming to demystify the new approach and offer strategic guidance for applicants. The Shift Away from the Rebuttal Process Historically, the EIC Accelerator application process allowed applicants to address and “rebut” comments from previous evaluations in subsequent submissions. This rebuttal process enabled organizations to refine and improve their proposals based on specific feedback, theoretically increasing their chances of success in future rounds. However, under the 2024 EIC Work Programme, this mechanism has been removed. Consequently, there is no longer a structured avenue for applicants to incorporate improvements from previous submissions directly in response to evaluator comments. Independent Evaluation of Proposals A significant change accompanying the removal of the rebuttal process is the approach to evaluating proposals. Evaluators will no longer have access to any previous submissions or evaluation reports from earlier rounds. This ensures that each proposal is assessed independently, solely on its merits and in alignment with the standard Horizon Europe evaluation criteria. This change aims to level the playing field, ensuring that all applications, whether from first-time submitters or those reapplying, receive an unbiased review. Incorporating Improvements in the Narrative While the structured rebuttal process has been phased out, applicants retain the ability to refine their proposals based on past feedback. Improvements and enhancements can still be included in the narrative Part B of the application form. However, it is important to note that there is no specific format or section designated for this purpose. Applicants must therefore seamlessly integrate any adjustments into the overall proposal narrative, ensuring that the improvements are coherent and enhance the proposal’s overall quality and feasibility. Strategic Implications for Applicants This modification in the EIC’s evaluation process necessitates a strategic pivot for applicants. Startups and SMEs should focus on crafting a robust and compelling proposal from the outset, integrating continuous improvement as a core strategy rather than relying on specific feedback loops. Applicants are encouraged to: Conduct thorough self-assessment: Prior to submission, critically evaluate your proposal against the EIC’s criteria and objectives, identifying areas for enhancement without relying on external feedback. Leverage professional support: Engage with consultants, professional writers, or freelancers experienced in EU grant applications to refine your proposal, ensuring it aligns with the EIC’s current priorities and standards. Emphasize innovation and impact: With each proposal evaluated on its own merits, highlight your project’s innovation, market potential, and societal impact, making a compelling case for EIC funding. Conclusion The 2024 EIC Work Programme introduces a paradigm shift in how proposals are evaluated, with the removal of the rebuttal process underscoring a move towards more independent and merit-based assessments. While this change challenges applicants to adapt, it also opens opportunities to present their innovations in the best possible light, free from the shadow of previous submissions. By embracing a strategy of continuous improvement and leveraging professional expertise, startups and SMEs can navigate these changes successfully, positioning themselves strongly for EIC Accelerator funding.

Understanding Submission Limits for the EIC Accelerator under the 2024 Work Programme

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator is a cornerstone of the EU’s commitment to fostering innovation and supporting startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in bringing groundbreaking ideas to market. With the introduction of the EIC 2024 Work Programme, significant updates have been made to streamline processes and clarify the rules surrounding the submission and resubmission of proposals. This article aims to elucidate the new submission limits, offering a clear guide for entities aiming to secure funding through this competitive programme. Simplified Submission Rules The EIC 2024 Work Programme has introduced a more straightforward approach to the submission of proposals, addressing feedback and aiming to make the funding process more accessible. From the start of 2024, entities are allowed to submit up to three unsuccessful applications across any stage of the process and for any form of support. This includes: Short proposals Full proposals Challenge-specific calls Open calls Grant only Blended finance (combinations of grant and equity) Equity only This simplification means that applicants have three chances to secure funding, regardless of the stage or type of support applied for, before being precluded from further submissions under Horizon Europe’s EIC Accelerator. Resubmission After Rejection A noteworthy aspect of the new rules is the provision for resubmission following a rejection at the full proposal stage. Applicants who do not succeed at this stage are permitted to resubmit their proposal directly to the full proposal stage, bypassing the short proposal phase, provided they have not reached their three-application limit. However, direct resubmission to the interview phase is not allowed under any circumstances. Practical Examples To offer clarity, the Work Programme outlines several scenarios: After one rejection at the full proposal stage (whether during the remote evaluation or the interview), an entity may submit two more full proposals. Following two rejections at the interview stage, an entity is still eligible to submit a full proposal and could potentially be invited for a third interview. If an entity has been rejected once at either the full proposal or interview stage and once at the short proposal stage, they are entitled to one more submission at the full proposal stage. It’s important to note that the counter for unsuccessful applications resets to zero on 1 January 2024. This reset offers a fresh start for entities that may have previously reached their submission limit, providing new opportunities for funding under the Horizon Europe framework. Implications for Applicants These updated rules aim to balance the EIC Accelerator’s competitive nature with the need for flexibility and multiple opportunities for funding. Applicants should strategically plan their submissions, taking into account the feedback received from previous applications to strengthen their proposals. Engaging with professional writers, consultants, or leveraging the EIC Accelerator’s official proposal template can enhance the quality of submissions. Furthermore, applicants should remain mindful of the submission cap, prioritizing the refinement and improvement of their proposals with each attempt. The opportunity to resubmit directly to the full proposal stage after rejection is a significant advantage, allowing entities to address feedback and improve their applications without starting from scratch. Conclusion The EIC 2024 Work Programme’s simplified rules on submission and resubmission signify a positive step towards making EU funding more accessible to innovative enterprises. By understanding these regulations and strategically planning their applications, startups and SMEs can maximize their chances of securing the vital support needed to bring their innovations to the European and global markets.

Ultimate Guide to Mastering Your EIC Accelerator Interview Preparation: A Step-by-Step Action Plan

Preparing for an interview, especially for high-stakes scenarios such as the EIC Accelerator pitch, requires a strategic and well-thought-out approach. This guide distills the wisdom from our knowledge sources into a comprehensive, actionable bullet-point list to ensure you’re fully prepped and ready to impress. Pre-Interview Preparation Understand the EIC Rules and Objectives: Familiarize yourself with what the jury looks for and the specific criteria of the EIC Accelerator. Script Your Pitch: Prepare a word-for-word script for your pitch. Practice until you can deliver it naturally within the 10-minute limit. Refine Your Q&A Skills: Dedicate a significant portion of your preparation time to practicing for the Q&A session, which can be up to 35 minutes long. Know Your Application Inside Out: If you didn’t write the application yourself, study it thoroughly. Understand all numbers, strategies, and partners mentioned. Practice Makes Perfect Engage in Pitch Practice: Utilize professional writers or consultants to extensively practice your pitch. Simulate the Interview Environment: Practice with rapid-fire questions and immediate follow-ups to simulate a high-pressure environment. Prepare for All Team Members to Answer: Ensure all team members are accustomed to answering questions smoothly and cohesively as a unit. Day of the Pitch No Operational Tasks Before the Pitch: Focus solely on the interview; no distractions. Revisit the Big Picture: Go through your presentation slides, focusing on the key messages and visions you want to communicate. Handling the Q&A Session Expect Rapid-Fire and Follow-Up Questions: Be prepared to answer quickly and concisely. Practice with a stopwatch for timing. Develop Standard Answers: Script out responses to highly likely questions and those identified as critical during practice sessions. Adopt the Right Demeanor: Practice maintaining a composed and confident demeanor, regardless of the question’s difficulty. Mock-Jury Practice Create Stressful Questioning Sessions Internally: Use mock juries within your team to ask challenging questions and provide immediate follow-ups. Integrate Critical Questioning: Select mock questioners who can play the devil’s advocate, applying pressure through interruptions and difficult questions. Final Tips Understand and Articulate Your Unique Selling Points (USP): Be clear on what sets your project apart and be ready to articulate it compellingly. Prepare for Unpleasant Experiences: Sometimes, interactions can be stressful or unpleasant. Prepare mentally for such situations. Avoid Red Flags: Do not give the jury any reason to reject you. Stay away from topics that could lead to negative scrutiny. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll not only boost your confidence but significantly increase your chances of success in any interview scenario, particularly in high-stakes environments like the EIC Accelerator pitch. Remember, under pressure, you won’t rise to the occasion; you’ll fall to the level of your training. Prepare accordingly.

Unveiling the Latest EIC Accelerator Results: A Comprehensive Analysis (November 8th 2023 Cut-Off, February 2024 Release)

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program stands as a system of support for startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Europe, aiming to fuel innovation and technological advancement. With its latest results published on February 28th, 2024, the EIC Accelerator has once again demonstrated its commitment to fostering groundbreaking projects with a total budget allocation of €285 million. This analysis delves into the distribution of grants and blended financing, the success rates across different stages, and the geographical spread of the winning companies. Funding Breakdown: A Closer Look at the Allocation In the latest funding cycle, the EIC Accelerator has supported 42 companies, showcasing a diverse range of financing options tailored to meet the varied needs of Europe’s innovators. The distribution of funding types is as follows: Grant First: 12 companies (29%) were awarded grants as an initial funding step, highlighting the EIC’s flexibility in supporting early-stage innovations. Blended Finance: Dominating the funding landscape, 26 companies (62%) received blended finance, combining grants and equity to provide a robust backing for ventures ready to scale up. Equity Only: A single company (2%) secured equity financing, underscoring the EIC’s role in taking a stake in promising enterprises. Grant Only: 3 companies (7%) received grants without the equity component, focusing on projects with specific needs that can be met with direct funding. The Path to Success: Analyzing the Success Rates The EIC Accelerator’s selection process is rigorous, designed to identify projects with the highest potential impact. The success rates at each stage of the application process are as follows: Step 1: Approximately 70% of applicants pass this initial stage, though exact figures are not disclosed. Step 2: Only 22% of projects make it through, reflecting the increasing scrutiny applications undergo. Step 3: The final step sees a further narrowing, with a 17% success rate. Combined Success Rates: The cumulative success rate for applicants passing through Steps 2 and 3 is a mere 3.9%, while the overall success rate across all three stages is approximately 2.7%. Geographical Diversity: A Pan-European Impact The latest round of funding has benefited companies from 15 different countries, showcasing the EIC Accelerator’s pan-European reach. Germany leads the pack with 7 companies funded, followed closely by France with 6, and Spain and Sweden each with 5. Other countries with successful applicants include Finland (4), Italy (3), Israel (2), Netherlands (2), Norway (2), and several others with one company each, demonstrating the EIC’s commitment to fostering innovation across the continent. Conclusion The EIC Accelerator’s latest funding results highlight the program’s critical role in supporting the European innovation ecosystem. With a total budget of €285 million, the program has backed 42 companies across a wide range of sectors and countries, underlining the diversity and potential of Europe’s technological landscape. As the EIC Accelerator continues to evolve, its impact on fostering groundbreaking projects and scaling up SMEs is undeniable, making it a cornerstone of Europe’s innovation policy. With meticulous attention to supporting diverse financing needs, rigorous selection processes, and a commitment to geographical inclusivity, the EIC Accelerator is paving the way for a more innovative and resilient Europe. As we look forward to future rounds of funding, the results from February 2024 serve as a testament to the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that thrives across the continent. Funding Data Type of Funding Grant first: 12 companies (29%) Blended finance: 26 companies (62%) Equity only: 1 company (2%) Grant only: 3 companies (7%) Total: 42 Companies Budget Total Budget: €285 million Cut-Off Date and Results EIC Accelerator Step 2 cutoff date: November 8th 2023 Publication of results: February 28th 2024 Success Rates Step 1: (approximately 70% since results are not published) Step 2: 22% Step 3: 17% Step 2 & Step 3 combined: 3.9% Step 1 & Step 2 & Step 3 combined: (approximately 2.7%) Funded Countries There are 15 different countries among the funded companies. Germany: 7 companies France: 6 companies Spain: 5 companies Sweden: 5 companies Finland: 4 companies Italy: 3 companies Israel: 2 companies Netherlands: 2 companies Norway: 2 companies Belgium: 1 company Bulgaria: 1 company Denmark: 1 company Ireland: 1 company Portugal: 1 company Slovakia: 1 company All 42 EIC Accelerator Winners from November 8th 2023

Unveiling the Future of European Innovation: A Deep Dive into the EIC Work Programme 2024

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Work Programme 2024, detailed in the document, outlines its comprehensive strategy and components designed to foster innovation within the European Union. Here are the main components and highlights: Strategic Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): The EIC aims to support breakthrough technologies and companies critical for achieving the green and digital transition, ensuring open strategic autonomy in critical technologies. It has set six strategic goals, including becoming the investor of choice for high potential startups and entrepreneurs, bridging financing gaps for deep tech companies, supporting high-risk technologies, increasing the number of European unicorns and scale-ups, catalyzing innovation impacts from European public research, and achieving operational excellence. Overview of the 2024 Work Programme: The Work Programme organizes its funding and support across three main schemes: EIC Pathfinder: For advanced research to develop the scientific basis for breakthrough technologies. EIC Transition: To validate technologies and develop business plans for specific applications. EIC Accelerator: To support companies in bringing innovations to market and scaling up. Each scheme is augmented with access to Business Acceleration Services, providing expertise, corporates, investors, and ecosystem actors. Main Changes of the 2024 Work Programme: Adjustments, improvements, and simplifications have been made based on feedback and the reduced budget. These changes include the introduction of a lump sum cost model for most calls, reinforced measures against economic security risks, and adjustments in eligibility and funding criteria across different schemes. Key Features of EIC Support: A blend of financial and non-financial support is offered to accelerate and grow EIC innovations and companies. This includes proactive project and portfolio management, a tailored approach to proposal evaluation, policies on open access and Intellectual Property rights, and measures to ensure economic security. Collaboration with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): The document outlines the increasing collaboration between EIC and EIT to strengthen the European Innovation Ecosystem, including shared services, the Fast Track process, and the new innovation intern scheme. Outlook for 2025 and Future Years: Future strategies and potential new synergies are discussed, including the possibility of increased budgets for larger investments through the EIC Fund in key focal areas. Glossary and Definitions: The document concludes with a detailed glossary and definitions section, explaining the terminology and acronyms used throughout the Work Programme. These components collectively aim to support the European Union’s strategic objectives in innovation, research, and technological development, emphasizing high-risk, high-gain research, and breakthrough technologies with the potential for significant societal and economic impact. 1. Strategic Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) In a landmark move to propel European innovation into the future, the European Innovation Council (EIC) has laid out a bold vision with its Work Programme 2024, focusing on identifying, developing, and scaling up breakthrough technologies and companies that are pivotal for the EU’s green and digital transition. This vision is underpinned by strategic objectives designed to ensure Europe’s open strategic autonomy in critical technologies, fostering a vibrant ecosystem where high-potential startups and entrepreneurs can thrive. The programme’s ambition is not just to bridge the financing gaps faced by deep tech companies but to position the EIC as the investor of choice for visionary ideas, thereby influencing the allocation of private assets in support of these innovations. At the heart of the EIC’s strategic vision are six ambitious goals, each accompanied by clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that aim to measure progress and guide the implementation of the programme: Becoming the Investor of Choice: The EIC seeks continent-wide recognition, attracting high-potential startups, entrepreneurs, and innovative researchers, with a special emphasis on underrepresented groups such as women innovators and those from less developed ecosystems. Crowding in €30-50 Billion Investment into European Deep Tech: By addressing the critical financing gap, the EIC aims to leverage its fund to significantly impact the deep tech ecosystem, fostering a climate where private investment flows more freely to support groundbreaking innovations. Supporting High-Risk Technologies: In areas critical for society and strategic autonomy, the EIC is committed to taking calculated risks to support the most promising deep tech opportunities from the earliest stages to commercial scale-up, ensuring Europe’s independence in key technologies. Increasing the Number of European Unicorns and Scale-ups: The EIC is on a mission to nurture the growth of European startups and SMEs to match and surpass their global counterparts, fostering an environment where European innovations can lead on the world stage. Catalyzing Innovation Impacts from European Public Research: By building partnerships across the EU, the EIC aims to commercialize the best ideas from the research base, creating a fertile ground for startups to scale up and make a global impact. Achieving Operational Excellence: The efficiency, agility, and responsiveness of the EIC’s operations are designed to meet the high expectations of applicants, investors, and the market at large, ensuring a smooth path from innovative idea to market success. These strategic goals are not just ambitious targets but represent a comprehensive blueprint for Europe’s innovation landscape, aiming to create a fertile ecosystem for breakthrough technologies that will define the future of the EU’s economy and society. Through a combination of financial and non-financial support, the EIC is setting the stage for a transformative impact that extends far beyond the immediate horizon, ensuring that Europe remains at the forefront of innovation and technology. 2. Overview of the 2024 Work Programme The 2024 European Innovation Council (EIC) Work Programme represents a pivotal stride towards fostering innovation and technological breakthroughs within the European Union. Structured to address the critical needs of the green and digital transition, it leverages over EUR 1.2 billion in funding, orchestrating a comprehensive strategy to empower researchers, startups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Here’s an in-depth look at its structural overview: EIC Pathfinder, Transition, and Accelerator: The Three Pillars The Work Programme is ingeniously segmented into three primary funding schemes, each tailored to different stages of innovation and development: EIC Pathfinder: Dedicated to advanced research, the Pathfinder is the birthplace of scientific exploration aimed at developing the foundational elements of breakthrough technologies. It encompasses both open calls for any field of scientific inquiry and targeted challenges addressing specific, strategic interests of the … Read more

EIC Accelerator Resubmissions: The Good, The Bad and The Randomness

Navigating the EIC Accelerator: Understanding the “3 Strikes, You’re Out” Rule The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator is a pivotal funding mechanism under Horizon Europe, aimed at startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that are pushing the boundaries of innovation. With a blend of grants and equity, it represents a critical opportunity for groundbreaking projects to come to life. However, navigating the application process is no small feat, especially with the stringent “3 strikes, you’re out” rule in place. This policy mandates that applicants can be rejected a maximum of three times in any of the three steps of the evaluation process. Once this limit is reached, reapplication is barred until the conclusion of the current Horizon Europe work programme in 2027. The Three Steps of EIC Accelerator Evaluation Short Application: The initial step involves a written application and a pitch video. It’s the first hurdle where your project gets screened. Full Application: Successful projects move on to submit a detailed proposal, outlining the innovation, impact, and implementation strategy. Interview: Finalists are invited to pitch their projects to a jury of experts, the last chance to convince before funding decisions are made. Implications of the “3 Strikes” Rule This rule underscores the competitive nature of the EIC Accelerator and the importance of meticulous preparation. It’s a clear message that only the most compelling and well-prepared applications stand a chance. This policy also encourages applicants to critically assess their readiness and the potential of their innovation before applying, potentially saving time and resources for both the applicants and the evaluation committees. Strategies for Success In-depth Preparation: Before applying, ensure your project aligns with the EIC’s priorities: high impact, innovation, and market potential. Professional Support: Consider engaging consultants or professional writers who specialize in EIC applications to enhance your submission. Feedback Utilization: If rejected, use the feedback to strengthen your project’s weak points before reapplying. The Horizon Europe Framework The current work programme, Horizon Europe, runs until 2027, setting the timeframe for this rule. It’s a period rich with opportunities but also limitations, as the “3 strikes” rule makes clear. Applicants must navigate this landscape with strategic foresight, ensuring their innovations are not just groundbreaking but also meticulously presented. Conclusion The EIC Accelerator’s “3 strikes, you’re out” rule is a critical factor for applicants to consider. It emphasizes the need for excellence in every aspect of the application, from the innovation itself to the way it’s communicated. As we move through Horizon Europe, this rule will undoubtedly shape the competitive landscape, pushing companies towards not just innovation, but excellence in articulation and strategy. Maximizing Your EIC Accelerator Proposal with the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) The journey to securing funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator can be arduous, with each application step scrutinized by expert evaluators. A crucial tool in this journey is the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR), provided after every rejection. This report is not merely a notification of unsuccessful attempts but a goldmine of constructive feedback directly from the evaluators’ perspectives. Understanding the ESR The ESR offers a transparent view into the evaluators’ comments across all proposal aspects, including excellence, impact, and implementation. This feedback is invaluable for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your submission. Step 1 Feedback: In the first step of the evaluation, your proposal is reviewed by four evaluators, providing a broad range of insights into the initial impression your project makes. Step 2 Feedback: The full application phase involves three evaluators, or four in cases of closely contested rejections. This stage offers a deeper dive into your proposal’s details, assessing how well it aligns with the EIC Accelerator’s objectives. Leveraging ESR for Success Actionable Insights: Each evaluator’s comments guide you in refining your proposal, highlighting areas for improvement in clarity, impact, and feasibility. Tailored Revisions: By addressing specific critiques, you can tailor your resubmission to directly confront previous shortcomings, enhancing your proposal’s appeal. Strategic Approach: Understanding recurring feedback themes allows for a strategic overhaul of your proposal, ensuring that every aspect, from innovation to market strategy, is robust and compelling. Conclusion The ESR is a critical feedback mechanism that, when used wisely, can significantly increase your chances of success in future EIC Accelerator applications. By thoroughly analyzing and acting on evaluator comments, applicants can transform their innovative projects into winning proposals that align with the EIC’s high standards for excellence, impact, and implementation. Remember, every piece of feedback is a step closer to securing the support needed to bring your innovation to the forefront of European industries. The EIC Accelerator Rebuttal Process: Turning Rejection into Opportunity The path to securing funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator is fraught with challenges, one of which is the possibility of rejection. However, the EIC Accelerator offers a unique rebuttal process that not only allows applicants to respond to evaluator comments but also provides a platform to correct misunderstandings and strengthen the proposal based on valid criticisms. The Essence of the Rebuttal This process is more than a mere appeal; it’s an opportunity for dialogue. By rebutting the comments of previous evaluators, applicants can directly address any false assessments and elaborate on the aspects of their proposal that may have been misunderstood or underestimated. This direct communication is crucial for setting a positive tone for the resubmission, making it a strategic tool for persuasion beyond the written proposal itself. Strategic Advantages Clarification: It allows applicants to clarify points that may have been misinterpreted, ensuring that the proposal is evaluated on its true merits. Improvement: Valid criticisms become opportunities for refinement, allowing applicants to improve their proposals based on expert feedback. Engagement: The rebuttal process creates a dialogue between applicants and evaluators, personalizing the application process and potentially swaying future evaluations in their favor. Navigating the Rebuttal Process To make the most of this opportunity, applicants should approach the rebuttal with a constructive mindset. Acknowledging valid criticisms while diplomatically addressing any inaccuracies can demonstrate professionalism and a commitment to excellence. Moreover, this process underscores the importance of resilience in the face of rejection, encouraging applicants to view setbacks as … Read more

Rasph - EIC Accelerator Consulting