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EIC Accelerator Advisory Service: Access €2.5 Million Grants & €15 Million Equity

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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.

What Does the Applicant Training Include?

All Needed Templates

The applicant Training Program contains all the necessary templates to write Step 1 and Step 2 of the EIC Accelerator. The templates contain detailed instructions in the form of text and video to make the writing a linear and straightforward process. Templates are an important part of any grant application since they greatly facilitate the writing process and allow applicants to focus on what is important without being distracted by trying to construct their own templates and structures.

Step 1 Templates

Step 1 includes 5 GoogleDoc and GoogleSheets templates shared through GoogleDrive for the main proposal text, the video scripting, the project overview (acronym, title, abstract, etc.), a reference guidance and a team table collection. These templates can be directly used for the writing process whereas all documents can be shared with all team members to delegate and speedline the process.

Step 2 Templates

Step 2 includes 6 GoogleDoc and GoogleSheets templates shared through GoogleDrive for the main proposal text, Letters of Intent (LOI), the Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis, the Data Management Plan (DMP), a company overview and an elaborate budget planning document which uses formulas to automatically calculate the final budget and financial metrics. All document templates use a simplified approach to prioritize efficiency over complicated structures and to effectively minimize the workload.

Step 3 Coaching

The preparation for the Step 3 pitch and interview is hands-on through personal coaching sessions to develop the most impactful training approach for each EIC Accelerator applicant. It includes the scripting of the pitch as well as in-depth Q&A sessions to prepare the interviewee for the scrutiny faced in the 45-minute interview. Based on years of experience, the coaching will cover all essential aspects regarding the technology, innovation, financial health, governance and company background. It further includes 2 additional templates for the pitch scripting and a final checklist.

Detailed Written and Video Instructions

All provided templates are enhanced through video training whereas 90+ modules break down every essential aspect of the writing process. These modules are referenced throughout the Step 1 and Step 2 templates to directly inform the writing process. This allows applicants to benefit from direct experience and gain a clear insight as to how each section or annex has to be written to enhance the chances of success. It further allows applicants to delegate more easily since multiple staff members can work in parallel on different proposal sections, thereby outpacing any consultancy or grant writer who typically operate with a single individual writer.

ChatEIC AI Assistant

For OpenAI subscribers, all EIC Accelerator Training participants gain access to ChatEIC, a custom GPT using OpenAI’s GPTs functionality. The AI assistant has access to all training content and is able to advise, structure and even draft proposal sections for each applicant. While it is not recommended to fully rely on it for the writing process, it is a powerful assistant that can turn a lengthy writing process into a shortened and collaborative task with results being achieved significantly faster.

Using ChatEIC

ChatEIC has the ability to read uploaded documents such as pitch decks, grant applications, business plans, white papers and other files which allows it to extract useful information and structure proposal sections. It can likewise answer questions regarding the writing process which simplifies the overall grant writing approach and can supplement or even replace the use of video guidance. Depending on OpenAI policies, certain usage restrictions might apply in terms of the number of prompts per hour.

Why Choose the Applicant Training?​

Who Knows Your Company Best?

After having worked with consultancies, many companies have two major complaints: (i) The quality of the work was not as expected and (ii) they ended up having to write a lot of the proposal by themselves anyway. This is due to the nature of the grant writing industry where even large consultancies outsource most of the writing process to freelancers. These freelancers will often be underpaid, feel little responsibility and are frequently exchanged during the project. This leads to inconsistent work quality which is impacting applicants. As a result, applicants often have to take responsibility and write sections for the writers so that they get it right. It is a fact that no one knows your business better than you and your team.

Work At Your Own Pace

A major benefit of utilizing the EIC Accelerator Training Program is that applicants can work at their own pace. They can assign any number of team members or work individually to write the proposal over whatever timeline works best for their business. Due to resubmission cycles and changing EIC Accelerator cut-off dates, the general timeline is often unpredictable. Using a Training program is the ideal solution to align the schedule with standard business operations instead of being bound to the schedules of external consutlancies.

Expert Guidance and AI Writing

The EIC Accelerator Training Program is designed by a successful EIC Accelerator consultant, Stephan Segler, PhD. He has directly written winning EIC Accelerator proposals and has guided applicants throughout the entire application process including video production, pitch scripting, interview preparation and due diligence. With in-depth insight, the Training Program contains an unprecedented amount of nuance. Additionally, the AI assistant ChatEIC can provide live feedback and support for applicants on a 24/7 basis for OpenAI subscribers.

Collaborative Writing

The EIC Accelerator Training is designed for collaboration. By using GoogleDrive to host documents and providing instructions separately for each individual proposal section, it allows all team members to work in parallel to prepare a proposal much faster than consultancies could. By removing the knowledge barrier when contracting an external consultancy and by compartmentalizing the writing approach, the application process is streamlined. All team members can log in to the respective video training platform simultaneously as well as access all GoogleDrive templates and ChatEIC.

Previous Success

With previous EIC Accelerator successes ranging from AI over battery technology to recycling, the Training Program is based on diverse experience in key software and hardware areas that can be applied to any project. It contains detailed information on different Technology Readiness Level (TRL) considerations for MedTech or pharmaceutical technologies, examples from different industries and includes varying references to different types of business models. In summary, the EIC Accelerator Training is suitable for all types of projects.

Who Can Access the Applicant Training?

The EIC Accelerator Training is generally available to all eligible applicants who fulfill the requirements outlined above. Since the EIC Accelerator is a high-risk program, every applicant has to decide if the €17.5 million funding program is worth the time investment. To gain access to the Training, it is necessary to provide information on the EIC Accelerator applicant such as the online profile, company data and representatives to facilitate the screening process and ensure that the company meets the general eligibility requirements for the EIC Accelerator. The Training Program is only available to for-profit applicants who wish to apply for the €2.5 million Grant and/or €15 million Equity funding provided by the EIC Accelerator for their company but is currently not accessible to consultancies or government institutions.

New Startups

Many beneficiaries funded under the EIC Accelerator are new companies that are only a few years old and bring a new technology to the market.

Established Companies

Since the SME definition is broad, the EIC Accelerator often funds larger companies including those that have already raised significant funding and seek to develop a new technology next to their existing products.

Spin-Offs

The EIC Accelerator funds a variety of companies that are spin-offs from other businesses, Universities or research institutes or are based on the unique technical expertise of the founders.

Pricing

Request Access to the EIC Accelerator Training

Submit your data below for the first eligibility screening and to join the EIC Accelerator Training Program. You will be contacted by us if you meet the requirements to apply for the €17.5 million EIC Accelerator funding program. If you meet the requirements, you will receive a contract for signature followed by the access to all training materials, credentials for the training platform and access to ChatEIC.

More Questions?

Contact Stephan Segler, PhD

    Rasph - EIC Accelerator Consulting
    en_US