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

EIC Accelerator: Empowering Breakthrough Innovations with Exciting Funding Opportunities!

Discover the Opportunities with the EIC Accelerator: Igniting Innovation and Growth! Discover a world of opportunity with the EIC Accelerator, an empowering funding program brought to you by the European Innovation Council (EIC), a key player within the Horizon Europe framework. This dynamic initiative is dedicated to uplifting innovative companies that are at the forefront of technological breakthroughs and scientific discoveries in the DeepTech domain. With the EIC Accelerator, your visionary project could secure up to €2.5 million in grant funding, complemented by the potential of an additional €15 million in equity financing. Let’s propel your pioneering ideas into tangible successes and shape the future together! Explore the Exciting Range of Technologies Eligible for EIC Accelerator Funding! Since its inception in 2021, the EIC Accelerator has proudly empowered a dynamic portfolio of over 400 beneficiaries, showcasing a vibrant tapestry of sectors from trailblazing capital-intensive hardware to revolutionary pure software ventures, all with an emphasis on the cutting-edge realm of DeepTech. With open arms, the EIC Accelerator embraces a wide array of technological innovations, provided they harmonize with EU policies, steering clear of military applications among others. What’s more, the EIC Accelerator annually spotlights certain pioneering technologies with its Technology Challenges, celebrating and accelerating the drive towards a brilliant, tech-forward future. Discover the Ideal Technology Maturity Level for EIC Accelerator Success! Elevate your innovative technology to new heights with the support of the EIC Accelerator! If your technology is at or beyond Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5, where it has already been validated in a relevant environment, you’re in an excellent position to apply. The EIC Accelerator champions the advancement of prototypes and proof-of-concept demonstrations, actively seeking to propel your breakthroughs from TRL 5 onwards. And that’s not all! The journey continues seamlessly with grant opportunities available for technologies that have achieved TRL 6 or 7, ensuring a smooth progression towards market readiness. For those outstanding innovations that have matured to TRL 8, the EIC Accelerator offers the unique prospect of pure Equity investments. Get ready to accelerate your technology with the dynamic and supportive backing of the EIC Accelerator! Explore the Exciting Funding Opportunities with the EIC Accelerator! Welcome to the dynamic world of the EIC Accelerator, where we supercharge innovative companies with a suite of funding options tailored to propel your business to the forefront of your industry! Dive into our generous Grants of up to €2.5 million to kick-start your ventures without giving up equity. Or, if you’re looking to bolster your growth with a significant capital injection, explore our Equity option with investments of up to €15 million, where the EIC Fund becomes a proud stakeholder in your success. Can’t choose between the two? Our Blended Finance combines the best of both worlds, offering up to €17.5 million in funds, ensuring you have the flexibility and resources to scale new heights. Choose the type and amount of funding that aligns perfectly with your company’s ambitions, and in those extraordinary instances where your vision requires an even broader financial canvas, we’re ready to discuss larger funding opportunities. With the EIC Accelerator, your business potential knows no bounds! Unleash Your Innovation: Start Your Applicant Journey! Discover the Trailblazers: Celebrating Recipients of EIC Accelerator Funding! Get ready for a thrilling opportunity with the EIC Accelerator! If you’re a dynamic for-profit company registered in one of our designated eligible countries, you’re in the right place to fuel your innovation and growth. But that’s not all – visionary individuals and forward-thinking investors are also warmly invited to join the ride! Just make sure you set up your company before the ink dries on the Grant Agreement Contract. Your enterprise should be an independent Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME), characterized by a vibrant team of fewer than 250 people, and robust financial health with a turnover of €50 million or less and a balance sheet total that doesn’t exceed €43 million. Come aboard and let the EIC Accelerator propel your business to new heights! Discover the Exciting Opportunities: All EU Countries Welcome to Apply for the EIC Accelerator! The EIC Accelerator presents an exciting opportunity for innovative companies and entrepreneurs across the entire EU-27, including 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, as well as their respective territories. This vibrant platform offers a gateway for visionaries from all corners of the EU to bring their groundbreaking ideas to the forefront and drive Europe’s innovation landscape into a bright and dynamic future! Discover How International Innovators Can Join the EIC Accelerator Adventure! We’re thrilled to announce that through our association agreements with Horizon Europe, a world of opportunities has been unlocked for companies and individuals in an impressive array of countries! If you’re based in Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Morocco, or the United Kingdom (Grant only), get ready to bring your innovative ideas to life with the EIC Accelerator. This is your chance to join a vibrant community of forward-thinkers and game-changers. Apply now and let’s shape the future together! Discover How the EIC Accelerator Can Propel Your Innovation Journey! Discover Your Potential: Unveiling Success Stories with the EIC Accelerator! Embark on an exciting journey with the EIC Accelerator, where every application is an opportunity to shine! While we cherish the competitive spirit, exact success rates for each of our three dynamic evaluation steps remain a well-kept surprise. Nevertheless, it’s estimated that a dazzling 5% of applicants or more move triumphantly from Step 1 to Step 3, demonstrating true innovation and potential. Keep in mind, success rates may soar depending on the EIC Accelerator’s annual budget and the spirited number of applications for each call-off. Plus, whether it’s an Open Call or tailored to Challenges, the chances to succeed can vary, highlighting that with the right idea and excellent execution, your project … Read more

Allocating Financial Resources to Catalyze Groundbreaking Technological Innovations through the EIC Accelerator Program

Understanding the European Innovation Council Accelerator: A Comprehensive Overview of Its Purpose, Features, and Opportunities for Visionary Entrepreneurs The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator represents a pivotal component of Horizon Europe’s comprehensive suite of funding initiatives, meticulously designed to underpin cutting-edge companies that are at the forefront of exploiting radical technological advances or path-breaking scientific insights, collectively known as Deep Technology (DeepTech). With a financial framework that encompasses up to €2.5 million in the form of non-dilutive Grant funding and the potential for up to €15 million in Equity investment per individual project, the EIC Accelerator orchestrates a robust mechanism for propelling high-risk, high-impact innovations from concept to market realization. This strategic infusion of capital aims to catalyze the growth trajectories of start-ups and SMEs as they navigate the challenging phases of product development, scale-up, and market deployment. Comprehensive Overview of Targeted Technologies Eligible for Funding through the EIC Accelerator Program Since its inception in 2021, the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program has supported over 400 pioneering enterprises, spanning a diverse spectrum of sectors. This includes ventures engaged in the development of capital-intensive hardware solutions as well as those focused exclusively on the innovation and deployment of sophisticated software products, with a particular emphasis on Deep Technology (DeepTech) domains. The EIC Accelerator maintains an open stance towards a wide array of technological advancements and does not impose overarching technological constraints on its applicants. However, to remain consistent with EU directives, technologies with potential military applications are exempt from consideration. In addition to this broad scope for innovation, the EIC Accelerator program identifies and promotes a set of Technology Challenges on an annual basis. These challenges are designed to spotlight and incentivize progress in specific technological areas that are deemed strategically important and have high potential for societal impact within the European Union. Assessing the Maturity Level Required for a Technology to Qualify for the EIC Accelerator Program The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program specifically targets innovations that have achieved a minimum of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5, a stage characterized by the validation of the technology within an environment that closely mirrors real-world conditions. At this level, the innovation is expected to have progressed beyond theoretical stages, embodying a tangible prototype or a demonstrable proof-of-concept that substantiates its efficacy and potential. Applicants seeking financial support from the EIC Accelerator can apply for Grant funding if their technology has advanced to TRL 6 or TRL 7. At TRL 6, the technology must have been demonstrated in a relevant environment, showcasing its ability to function under conditions similar to its intended use. Further progression to TRL 7 indicates that the prototype has undergone system prototype demonstration in an operational environment, offering a more comprehensive validation of its performance and suitability. For technologies that have reached TRL 8, where the actual system has been completed and qualified through test and demonstration, the EIC Accelerator offers the opportunity to apply for pure Equity investment. This funding option is designed to support the final stages of technology development and scaling, facilitating the transition from an innovative concept to a market-ready product or solution. Exploring the Range of Financial Support Offered Through the EIC Accelerator Program The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator provides robust financial support tailored to the needs of companies poised for growth and market expansion. Qualified enterprises can access substantial funding through three distinct instruments: 1. Grant Financing: The EIC Accelerator offers non-dilutive grant funding of up to €2.5 million, allotted as a lump sum to support activities such as proof of concept, prototyping, system development, piloting, validation, and testing in real-world environments, as well as market replication. 2. Equity Financing: For ventures seeking a more substantial funding mechanism, the EIC Accelerator may provide equity investments reaching up to €15 million. This equity component is facilitated through the EIC Fund or its affiliates and involves a calculated exchange of capital for a strategic ownership stake in the applicant’s company. This allows for a more substantial financial backing, enabling scaling and significant growth without the need to repay the investment like a traditional loan. 3. Blended Finance: Companies that require a synergy of grant and equity backing can benefit from Blended Finance, featuring a combination of both types of funding, up to an aggregate ceiling of €17.5 million. This hybrid financing model is structured to leverage the advantages of grant funding together with the sizable capital infusion that equity financing offers, thus providing a comprehensive financial package. Applicants possess the flexibility to determine the financing model that most aptly aligns with their strategic goals and the scale of their innovation project. They can tailor their request to include the desired funding type (grant, equity, or blended finance) and specify the amount that reflects their needs. Moreover, in circumstances where the scope and ambition of the innovation project justify a larger investment, the EIC Accelerator is open to considering requests that exceed the standard funding ceilings. These exceptional cases are evaluated on their individual merit, ensuring that the most groundbreaking and disruptive companies have access to the capital required to reach their full market potential. Detailed Overview of EIC Accelerator Applicant’s Business and Innovation Background Eligibility Criteria and Types of Entities That Qualify for EIC Accelerator Funding Entities seeking funding through the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program must primarily be for-profit Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that are legally incorporated within a member state or associated country that is deemed eligible for participation. However, the framework also accommodates applications from individual entrepreneurs and investors, with the stipulation that a qualifying company must be established prior to the formal execution of the Grant Agreement Contract. To qualify as an SME under the EIC Accelerator’s guidelines, the enterprise must be autonomous, not linked to or partnered with larger firms that fall outside the SME categorization. The SME should have a workforce of fewer than 250 persons, and it must exhibit either an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million or a balance sheet total … Read more

Financing Pioneering Breakthroughs through the EIC Accelerator

An Overview of the European Innovation Council Accelerator Programme The EIC Accelerator, an esteemed funding initiative under the auspices of the European Innovation Council (EIC) and integral to the Horizon Europe framework, is dedicated to providing substantial financial support to pioneering enterprises. This program focuses on organizations that are at the forefront of advancing technological innovations or harnessing the potential of scientific breakthroughs within the realm of Deep Technology (DeepTech). Eligible projects may receive up to €2.5 million in the form of grants, complemented by the option of equity financing up to €15 million, fostering the growth and scalability of groundbreaking ventures. Overview of Funded Technologies under the EIC Accelerator Program Since its inception in 2021, the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator has supported a diverse array of over 400 enterprises, spanning a multitude of sectors. These beneficiaries include ventures engaging in capital-intensive hardware operations as well as those dedicated to purely software-driven initiatives, with a strong emphasis on Deep Technology innovations. The EIC Accelerator maintains a broad technological scope with no overarching restrictions, provided that the proposed technologies adhere to European Union directives and do not support military applications or related fields. Furthermore, the EIC Accelerator underscores its commitment to advancing pioneering technologies by emphasizing specific Technology Challenges annually, thereby spotlighting areas of strategic interest and potential growth within the innovation ecosystem. Assessing the Technological Readiness Level for EIC Accelerator Eligibility The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator provides financial support for the advancement of technologies that have attained a minimum of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5, which is characterized by the validation of the technology within a pertinent operational environment. To qualify for funding, applicants are typically expected to have developed a prototype or established a proof-of-concept that substantiates the technology’s efficacy. Additionally, entities whose technologies have progressed to TRL 6 or 7 may seek grant funding to further their development. For technologies that have advanced to TRL 8, the EIC Accelerator may offer pure equity investment options to facilitate their market entry and scale-up. Overview of Available Funding Streams through the EIC Accelerator The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator provides financial support to enterprises via three distinct funding mechanisms: Grants of up to €2.5 million, which are non-dilutive and disbursed as lump sum payments; Equity investments of up to €15 million made by the EIC Fund or its affiliates in return for shares within the company; and Blended Finance, which amalgamates both Grant and Equity financing up to a maximum of €17.5 million. Prospective applicants have the discretion to select their preferred funding type and the corresponding amount that aligns with their business requirements. Under extraordinary circumstances, applicants may be considered for funding allocations that exceed the standard thresholds. Profile of the Applicant for the EIC Accelerator Programme Eligibility Criteria for EIC Accelerator Funding Recipients Eligible entities for the EIC Accelerator include for-profit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are duly registered within a qualifying country. Furthermore, individuals or investors may also submit applications under the premise that they establish a company prior to the execution of the Grant Agreement Contract. To qualify, these companies must adhere to the SME definition of the European Union, which includes maintaining a workforce of fewer than 250 persons and either an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million or an annual balance sheet total not surpassing €43 million, thereby ensuring the independent nature of the business entity. Eligibility Criteria: Participating EU Member States for the EIC Accelerator The EIC Accelerator programme extends its eligibility to entities and entrepreneurs across the entire European Union, encompassing all 27 member states, which include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, as well as their affiliated territories. This comprehensive accessibility ensures equitable opportunities for innovation and enterprise development throughout the Union. Eligibility Criteria for Non-EU Country Participation in the EIC Accelerator Program The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator confirms the existence of association agreements with Horizon Europe that enable entities and individuals from an established set of third countries to participate in the program. Eligible applicants from the following associated countries may seek funding: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo*, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Morocco, and the United Kingdom (which is eligible for grant-only participation). * This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. Determining Suitability for the EIC Accelerator Programme: Is It the Right Fit for Your Enterprise? Analysis of the EIC Accelerator’s Success Metrics and Approval Ratios The EIC Accelerator ensures transparency and fairness in its evaluation processes; however, precise success rates for each of the three distinct evaluation stages are not routinely published. Nonetheless, it is estimated that the cumulative success rate for projects advancing from Step 1 through Step 3 is at or below the 5% threshold. It is important to note that this rate is subject to fluctuation, influenced by factors such as the EIC Accelerator’s annual budget allocations, the volume of submissions per designated cut-off date, and the specific nature of the Call—whether it is an Open or Challenges call. Consequently, applicants may experience variable success rates in line with these parameters. Assessing Your Company’s Eligibility for the EIC Accelerator Program The EIC Accelerator prioritizes the endorsement of ventures that are at the forefront of innovation, characterized by disruptive technological advancements with a profound DeepTech foundation, or those of a significant scientific or technical nature. The EIC Accelerator’s mandate is to champion high-risk, high-potential enterprises that exhibit a clear strategy for market deployment. Historically, the EIC Accelerator has provided financial support to a diverse array of scientific breakthroughs, as well as software enterprises, Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, and even robustly capitalized firms with comparatively lower risk trajectories. Eligibility and Assessment Criteria … Read more

Bridging the Gap: Aligning Startup Timelines with Lengthy Grant Application Processes

Introduction In the fast-paced world of startups, time is a crucial factor. Startups often rely on speed and first-mover advantage to establish themselves in the market. However, they face a significant challenge when applying for grants like the EIC Accelerator, where the application process can span months or even years. This article explores the disparity between the rapid timelines of startups and the lengthy grant application processes, and suggests ways to mitigate this mismatch. The Time Disparity Dilemma Rapid Startup Pace: Startups typically operate on accelerated timelines, aiming to develop and launch products quickly to capture market opportunities. Delays can mean missing critical windows of opportunity or falling behind competitors. Lengthy Grant Processes: Grant programs, on the other hand, often have lengthy evaluation and approval processes. From submission to final decision, it can take several months or more, which is at odds with the fast-moving nature of startups. Impact on Planning and Strategy: This disparity can significantly impact a startup’s planning and strategy. Waiting for grant funding can delay product development, market entry, and other critical business activities. Financial Strain: The uncertainty and waiting involved in long application processes can also create financial strains, especially for startups that are reliant on grant funding to progress their projects. Strategies to Navigate the Timeline Disparity Seek Alternative Funding Sources: While waiting for grant outcomes, explore alternative funding options like angel investors, venture capital, or crowdfunding. This can provide interim financing to keep the startup’s momentum. Parallel Processing: Work on grant applications in parallel with other business activities. Don’t put all activities on hold for the grant; instead, continue developing the product and exploring market opportunities. Robust Financial Planning: Develop a financial plan that accounts for potential delays in grant funding. This might include budgeting for longer development timelines and seeking bridge financing if needed. Leverage Fast-Track Options: Some grant programs offer fast-track or expedited options for promising startups. Investigate these possibilities and apply where eligible to reduce waiting times. Maintain Flexibility: Stay adaptable and ready to pivot. If the market or technology landscape changes during the application process, be prepared to adjust your business strategy accordingly. Conclusion The long application times of grants like the EIC Accelerator pose a significant challenge for startups that need to move quickly to capitalize on their first-mover advantage. By exploring alternative funding sources, maintaining parallel business processes, planning financially for delays, seeking expedited grant options, and staying flexible, startups can better align their fast-paced nature with the realities of lengthy grant application processes.

Crafting a Winning Strategy for EIC Accelerator Applications: Why Prioritizing the Written Proposal is Key

For startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) eyeing the lucrative funding opportunities offered by the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator, a strategic approach to the application process is essential. This includes the EIC Accelerator Video and the Pitch Deck, integral components of the application. However, the key to a successful application lies in prioritizing the written proposal before delving into these visual and oral presentations. The Importance of a Structured Narrative The written application is the cornerstone of your EIC Accelerator application. It forms the foundation upon which your entire proposal is built. By focusing on this aspect first, you create a comprehensive and cohesive narrative that guides your video and pitch deck. This structured approach ensures that all components of your application are aligned and convey a consistent message. Challenges of Revising Videos and Pitch Decks Revising a video or a pitch deck post-production can be a challenging and resource-intensive task. A video, once shot and edited, requires significant effort to modify. Similarly, pitch decks, though more flexible than videos, still demand time and resources to realign with any changes made in the proposal narrative. By finalizing the written application first, you minimize the need for such revisions, saving valuable time and resources. Streamlining the Application Process Starting with the written proposal streamlines the entire application process. It allows you to clarify your project’s goals, objectives, and key selling points. This clarity then translates into a more focused and impactful video and pitch deck, as they are designed to reinforce the narrative established in the written document. Tips for a Successful EIC Accelerator Application: Start with the Written Proposal: Develop a detailed and compelling written proposal that clearly articulates your project’s value proposition. Align Your Video and Pitch Deck: Use the finalized written proposal as a guide to ensure your video and pitch deck are aligned with the narrative and key points of your application. Focus on Clear Messaging: In your video and pitch deck, emphasize the core message of your written proposal to maintain consistency across all elements of your application. Utilize Visuals Effectively: In the video and pitch deck, leverage visuals to complement and enhance the narrative, not to introduce new or conflicting information. Prepare for Possible Edits: While the focus should be on getting the written proposal right first, be prepared to make minor adjustments to your video and pitch deck if necessary after feedback or review. Engage Professional Help if Needed: Consider hiring professional writers, consultants, or video editors who are familiar with the EIC Accelerator application process and its specific requirements. Review and Refine: Before final submission, review all components of your application together to ensure they present a cohesive and compelling case to the EIC evaluators. By prioritizing the written proposal in the EIC Accelerator application process and ensuring alignment across all components of your application, you enhance your chances of successfully securing this competitive funding.

Navigating the EIC Accelerator Application Process: Understanding the Challenges of Meeting Deadlines

The EIC Accelerator’s Three-Step Application Journey The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator’s blended financing program, a critical initiative for startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) seeking funding, underwent significant changes in 2021. These changes introduced a structured, three-step application process, each with its distinct requirements and timelines. Understanding these steps is crucial for applicants to effectively plan and execute their applications. Step 1 – Short Application: This initial phase involves a mini-proposal, including a written grant application, a video pitch, and a pitch deck. Remarkably, Step 1 can be prepared in less than 30 days and submitted at any time, as it doesn’t have a fixed deadline. This flexibility allows applicants to enter the process when they feel most prepared. Step 2 – Full Application: This phase presents a more significant challenge. It requires a detailed application and can only be submitted once Step 1 is approved, and the EIC announces a fixed deadline. Historically, in 2021, there were two such deadlines – in June and October. Preparing for Step 2 is a substantial undertaking, with a recommended preparation time of at least 60 days. Step 3 – Face-to-Face Interview: The final hurdle, Step 3, involves a face-to-face interview using the pitch deck from Step 2. This step is only available to projects approved in Step 2. The interview dates are set shortly after the Step 2 evaluations, and applicants typically have around 14 days to prepare for this stage. The Challenge of Planning and Time Management For first-time applicants, understanding and managing this three-step process can be daunting. The flexible nature of Step 1’s submission contrasts sharply with the rigid and demanding nature of Step 2. The preparation times, although seemingly ample, can be challenging, especially for startups and SMEs not familiar with the intricacies of the process. Step 1: While the preparation for Step 1 is relatively less time-consuming, the absence of a fixed deadline means applicants must self-regulate their submission timing. This phase requires strategic planning to ensure readiness for the subsequent, more demanding steps. Step 2: The leap from Step 1 to Step 2 is significant. The minimum 60-day preparation time for Step 2, following the approval of Step 1, requires applicants to swiftly transition from a short application to a detailed, comprehensive proposal. This transition can be overwhelming, particularly for first-time applicants unfamiliar with the depth and detail expected by the EIC. Step 3: The final step, while shorter in preparation time, is crucial and can be intense. Applicants must be ready to pivot quickly from submitting their full application in Step 2 to preparing for an in-depth interview. Conclusion Navigating the EIC Accelerator’s application process requires careful planning, awareness of deadlines, and an understanding of the effort required at each stage. Particularly challenging is the transition from the short, flexible Step 1 to the intensive and deadline-driven Step 2. First-time applicants must approach this process with diligence and thorough preparation to enhance their chances of success.

Transforming the EIC Accelerator Through AI

The integration of an efficient AI system for submissions and evaluations in the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program could revolutionize the current framework, impacting not only the timeline and efficiency of the process but also the job landscape for thousands of evaluators. This transformation, while potentially beneficial in many aspects, also raises significant concerns regarding employment and the nuanced understanding of innovative projects. Transforming the EIC Accelerator Through AI Speed and Efficiency Introducing AI into the EIC’s submission and evaluation process could drastically reduce the time taken to assess applications. Currently, the process can span months or even years, involving a detailed review by human evaluators. An AI system, equipped with advanced algorithms capable of analyzing proposals against the EIC’s criteria, could complete this task in a fraction of the time. This efficiency could lead to quicker funding decisions, enabling startups and SMEs to receive vital support sooner. Consistency and Objectivity AI systems offer a level of consistency and objectivity that can be challenging to achieve with human evaluators. By processing each application using the same set of criteria and algorithms, AI could minimize biases and ensure a standardized evaluation process. This could lead to more fair and transparent funding decisions. The Flip Side: Employment Concerns and Nuanced Understanding Job Displacement for Evaluators One of the most significant implications of adopting AI in the EIC Accelerator program is the potential job displacement for thousands of evaluators. These professionals, often experts in their fields, play a crucial role in the current system, offering insights and judgments that an AI might not replicate. The sudden joblessness of these evaluators would not only impact their livelihoods but also lead to a loss of expert opinions in the evaluation process. Nuanced Understanding and Human Touch While AI can process data and evaluate against set criteria, it may lack the nuanced understanding that human evaluators provide. Evaluators bring a wealth of experience and a human touch that can be critical in assessing the potential and real-world impact of innovative projects. This human element is especially important in areas where creativity, ethical considerations, and societal impact are key. Mitigating the Impact and Integrating AI Responsibly To harness the benefits of AI while mitigating negative impacts, a balanced approach is essential: Hybrid Evaluation System: Implementing a system where AI handles initial assessments, but human evaluators make final decisions, could combine the efficiency of AI with the expertise of human judgment. Re-skilling and Job Transition Programs: For evaluators affected by AI integration, providing re-skilling and job transition programs could help them adapt to new roles within the EIC or other sectors. Continuous Monitoring and Improvement: Regularly monitoring the AI system for biases, errors, and areas of improvement ensures that it aligns with the EIC’s objectives and ethical standards. Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging with startups, SMEs, evaluators, and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of the AI system ensures that it meets the needs and concerns of all parties involved. Conclusion The potential transformation of the EIC Accelerator through efficient AI submissions and evaluation processes represents a significant leap in technological integration. While the benefits in terms of efficiency and objectivity are clear, the impact on employment and the need for a nuanced understanding of innovative projects cannot be overlooked. A responsible and balanced approach, combining the strengths of AI and human evaluators, could lead to a more efficient, fair, and inclusive EIC Accelerator program.

Navigating the Unpredictability: The Randomness in Grant Evaluations

Introduction The journey to secure substantial funding, particularly through competitive programs like the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Accelerator, is fraught with unpredictability, largely due to the reliance on a vast network of remote evaluators with diverse backgrounds. As startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) vie for opportunities like the €17.5 million total financing available through the EIC Accelerator, understanding and navigating the inherent randomness in evaluations becomes crucial. This article delves into the complexities of the evaluative process and the randomness that stems from its reliance on a multitude of remote evaluators. The Complexity of Remote Evaluations The EIC Accelerator, like many grant programs, employs a large cohort of remote evaluators to assess the influx of applications. These individuals come from various fields, bringing a wide array of expertise, perspectives, and biases to the table. While this diversity is intended to ensure a broad understanding and fair judgment of proposals across different industries, it inevitably introduces a level of unpredictability and randomness into the evaluation process. The Double-Edged Sword of Diversity The diversity among evaluators is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it ensures that a wide variety of projects can be understood and appreciated from different angles. On the other, it can lead to inconsistencies in evaluations, as different evaluators might prioritize different aspects of a proposal or interpret criteria differently based on their background. This variability can be particularly challenging for applicants, who may receive vastly different feedback or scores with each submission attempt. The Role of Expert Guidance In navigating this landscape of unpredictability, the role of professional writers, consultants, and freelancers becomes even more critical. These experts understand the common pitfalls and variables in the evaluation process. They help in crafting proposals that not only meet the structured criteria of the official proposal template but also appeal to a broad range of evaluator preferences and perspectives. Their experience and strategic insights are invaluable in mitigating the randomness of evaluations and enhancing the application’s chances of success. Striving for Consistency and Fairness Programs like the EIC Accelerator continually strive to enhance the consistency and fairness of their evaluation processes. This includes rigorous training for evaluators, clear guidelines, and structured templates. However, the human element inherent in any evaluative process ensures that a degree of randomness and subjectivity remains. Applicants must be prepared for this reality and approach the application process with a strategy that accounts for variability. Conclusion The randomness in grant evaluations, resulting from the reliance on a wide network of remote evaluators with diverse backgrounds, is an inherent challenge in securing competitive funding. It demands a strategic and well-informed approach from applicants, underpinned by expert guidance and a deep understanding of the evaluative landscape. As funding programs continue to evolve and refine their processes, applicants too must adapt, ready to navigate the unpredictability with resilience and strategy. In doing so, they increase their chances of cutting through the randomness and securing the vital funding needed to propel their innovations forward.

The EIC Accelerator’s Evaluation Problem in 2022

In 2021, the EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity) has completed its first year under the new application framework (read: Application Process). With 2 cut-offs in 2021 (June and October), it presented a steep learning curve for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME), professional writers and the European Innovation Council (EIC). A new online process for EIC Accelerator applications was rolled out and it was continuously improved in parallel to the first grant submissions which presented unique challenges to the way the EIC and consultants communicated towards potential applicants. Deadlines were shifted, leaked information was more reliable than official EIC press releases and the comments provided by the evaluators led to some controversy. While more transparency is generally a positive step, especially for a public institution funded through the citizen’s taxes, it can backfire if it exposes significant inconsistencies. This article aims to explore some of these inconsistencies. The Application Steps The European Innovation Council and SME’s Executive Agency (EISMEA), European Commission (EC) and EIC have come up with a new application process that involves 3 distinct steps (note: these are unrelated to the Phases of 2020). This new process heavily relies on the use of an online submission form and has phased out most of the PDF/Document-type formats that applicants used prior to 2021. In summary, the current steps are: Step 1: A mini-application (text, video, pitch deck). At least 2 out of 4 evaluators must approve of the application to succeed. Step 2: A long application (text, support documents, pitch deck). At least 3 out of 3 evaluators must approve of the application to succeed. Step 3: A remote or in-person interview. All jury members must approve of the application to succeed. Startups have to successfully pass all three steps in the designated order to receive the EIC Accelerator financing. Each attempted step, successful or not, will likewise receive detailed comments from the evaluators or jury members. Note: Through the fast-track program implemented by the EIC, some companies can skip certain steps if the respective conditions are met. Step 1 Step 1 is designed to pique the evaluator’s interest as the EIC has stated. It is a very short version of a business plan and provides no detailed information on finances, the planned workpackages or other critical parts of the innovation project. Even the pitch deck is reduced to a 10-slide document that will be read and not actually pitched. The Step 1 success threshold is very easy to pass since only 2 out of the 4 remote evaluators must provide a favourable review which will allow an applicant to move towards Step 2 (see success rates). Step 2 Step 2 is a very in-depth presentation of the proposed innovation project since it requires the creation of a business plan which almost exclusively consists of text, provides very little visual data and asks the applying SME’s to answer many detailed questions. These include the value chain, product descriptions, technical backgrounds, market analyses, commercial strategies and many more details. This Step has proven to be the most selective and also the most work-intensive stage of the EIC Accelerator. Step 3 Step 3 is a remote or in-person interview which consists of a 10 minute pitch and a 35 minute Q&A session. The interview will be based on the submitted Step 2 application and pitch deck but the jurors might not be intimately familiar with all of the provided content. Linear Progression Between Steps While the new process for EIC Accelerator applications looks and feels modern, it has added a new layer of problems that is interlinked with its 3-Step structure. When generating an application process that screens companies over multiple months, it is important to make sure that each evaluation step presents a linear progression from its predecessor. If the assessments of Step 1 and Step 2 are too different then this will inevitably lead to wasted effort for both the applicants and the reviewers. To be transparent about this fact, the EIC should publish quality control data where the results of all three steps, if available for each applicant, are correlated to identify if a section was evaluated consistently across multiple steps. If all evaluators approve a very detailed business model in Step 2 but the jury members unanimously question its quality in Step 3 then the process would be flawed. Based on the first applications in 2021, it is clear that the three steps have different degrees of depth, a different focus and they use different evaluator pools which inherently leads to significant limitations. As a result, the process is not fully linear. Conflicts Between Evaluations A linear application process would see a project with a perfect score in Step 1 do well in Step 2. A project which has presented dozens of pages on the commercial strategy and has received a perfect score by evaluators in Step 2 should not have this review be reversed in Step 3. While the difference in quantity between Step 1 and Step 2 is significant and can lead to shifts in the perceived quality, the difference between Step 2 and Step 3 should be minuscule. In a linear process, there should never be a case where a revenue model was graded perfectly in Step 2 only to be rejected with poor reviews in Step 3. But such cases do occur frequently since an approximate 50% of applicants will be rejected in Step 3 with the top reasons being commercial aspects. If the project has not changed in between the two steps then how is it possible that the Step 2 evaluators grade a project so differently from the Step 3 Jury? The Step 2 application is presenting an unprecedented level of detail compared to earlier years so a lack of content would be a poor reason for the discrepancy. It is also unlikely that an applicant will intentionally submit false information or act fraudulently so how can such a result be explained? EIC Jurors … Read more

Rasph - EIC Accelerator Consulting