The EIC Accelerator is a highly competitive grant by the European Commission (EC) and the European Innovation Council (EIC). It funds innovative startups with non-repayable grants of up to €2.5M and equity financing of up to €15M. Applicants can decide what type of financing they want to request with options being grant-only, grant-first, equity-only and blended financing (grant & equity).
The decision as to what type of funding should be selected is highly dependent on the projects Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) and the overall complexity of the anticipated developments. Due to the sophisticated 3-step application process which includes pitch decks, proposals, business plans, videos, in-person interviews and in-depth financial documentation, the following overview outlines the consultancy service of Rasph.
The first step of every EIC Accelerator project application is to identify if the company should apply in the first place. The EIC’s official requirements are quite broad but the high level of interest for the grant makes every cut-off very competitive.
We begin by performing due diligence and fully assessing the project for its innovation, technology readiness level (TRL), market impact, EU interests and overall suitability for the EIC Accelerator. Most companies who apply to the EIC Accelerator are not suitable for the grant and it is imperative that this step is performed diligently.
After the project has been assessed in-depth, we will start preparing the proposed developments. The start of this stage is marked by a Kick-Off Meeting (KOM) with the applicant’s team and EIC Accelerator experts as well as the sharing of the needed files.
The main purpose of this stage is the gathering of data which includes financials, business plans, technical documentation and all other relevant material. Every great proposal starts with an abundance of information and feedback from the company that is seeking the EIC’s grant and equity support.
Developing a strategy for the project and its presentation to the European Commission (EC) as well as European Innovation Council (EIC) is an imperative step after the initial project kick-off. In this phase, our experts will create a vision and high-impact narrative for the entire project which is aligned with EU policies, the official evaluation criteria and best-practises when it comes to the goals of the EIC.
In this phase, we will likewise develop suitable work packages, financial projections, market capture and all relevant aspects to assure that the project is displayed in a comprehensive and flawless manner.
Once the EIC Accelerator strategy has been developed, the following phase will focus on the quality of the proposal documents and the execution of the document creation. This aspect will be the bulk of the time needed for the application process since written, video, illustrative, financial and pitch materials will be prepared in this phase.
The main focus in this stage is the high level of quality for all prepared documents in addition to the ongoing refinement of the overall project strategy. Each deadline for the EIC Accelerator must be met in due time while the quality must match the high scrutiny faced in the evaluation process.
If the project is able to successfully pass all stages in the evaluation process and is invited to the face-to-face interview in Brussels (or remotely via a video call) then pitch practise will take the center stage. In this phase, our expert pitch coaches will be practising the interview with the successful applicants multiple times until they are ready for the final stage.
While the pitch itself already has very high chances of success compared to the previous stages, the practice sessions are essential in assuring that this critical stage is passed as well.
Success or Failure
The EIC Accelerator is a highly selective grant funding scheme where success is not guaranteed. Being successful in this process requires the careful following of all steps listed above and, of course, also requires a portion of luck.
The chances of success have historically ranged between 4-10% but some instances have seen funding rates that were higher or lower depending on the specific budgets and number of applicants per call. With professional writers and experts preparing the application, these chances increase dramatically but it will still be subject to the above-mentioned risks.
Under Horizon Europe (2021-2027), the success rates are expected to increase further due to the significantly higher budgets. A single call used to have approximately €150M available for all applicants but this number is now increased to €500M per deadline on average (values from 2021).
Whatever the result of the first submission to the EIC Accelerator is, Rasph’s team of experts will utilize the maximum number of refinements and resubmissions possible. We will not give up but keep applying to the EIC Accelerator until we reach our goal or are forced to halt due to the submission limit being reached.