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

Introducing the Six Transformative Challenges of the EIC Accelerator 2024

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator stands at the forefront of technological and scientific advancement, driving innovation across various sectors. In its latest endeavor, the EIC has unveiled six challenges, each targeting critical areas of development and research. These challenges are not just aimed at pushing the boundaries of technology but also at addressing some of the most pressing issues facing our society today. 1. Human Centric Generative AI Made in Europe This challenge focuses on the development of generative AI technologies with a human-centric approach. It emphasizes the ethical, legal, and societal aspects of AI, ensuring that these groundbreaking technologies are developed with a focus on human rights, democracy, and ethical principles. This initiative aligns with the European Union’s commitment to digital innovation that respects fundamental human values. 2. Enabling Virtual Worlds and Augmented Interaction for Industry 5.0 Targeting the realm of Industry 5.0, this challenge aims to advance virtual and augmented reality technologies. These technologies are set to revolutionize industrial applications by enhancing user experience and interaction, thus contributing significantly to the progression towards a more connected and technologically advanced industrial era. 3. Enabling the Smart Edge and Quantum Technology Components Focusing on the cutting edge of computing and communication systems, this challenge revolves around developing technologies related to smart edge computing and quantum components. It acknowledges the growing importance of quantum technology and edge computing in shaping the future of data processing and communication. 4. Food from Precision Fermentation and Algae This challenge addresses innovative approaches to sustainable food production, focusing on precision fermentation techniques and the use of algae. It aims to revolutionize the food industry by exploring more sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly methods of food production, thereby contributing to global food security. 5. Monoclonal Antibody-Based Therapeutics for New Variants of Emerging Viruses In response to the evolving nature of viral diseases, this challenge is geared towards developing monoclonal antibody-based treatments for emerging viruses, with a particular focus on new and varying strains. This initiative is crucial in the fight against pandemics and emerging viral threats, highlighting the need for agile and adaptive medical solutions. 6. Renewable Energy Sources and Their Whole Value Chain This challenge encompasses the entire value chain of renewable energy sources, from material development to the recycling of components. It emphasizes the need for sustainable energy solutions that consider every aspect of the renewable energy lifecycle, reinforcing the EU’s commitment to environmental sustainability and green technology. In conclusion, the EIC Accelerator’s six challenges represent a diverse and ambitious set of goals aimed at driving innovation and addressing key global challenges. From AI and virtual reality to sustainable food production and renewable energy, these challenges reflect the EIC’s commitment to shaping a future that is technologically advanced, sustainable, and human-centric.     1. Human-Centric Generative AI in Europe: Balancing Innovation with Ethics and Society The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has opened up a world of possibilities, transforming the way we live, work, and interact. However, the rapid development and deployment of AI technologies, particularly generative AI, have raised significant ethical, legal, and societal concerns. Europe, with its focus on human-centric AI, is at the forefront of addressing these challenges, striving to ensure that AI development is aligned with ethical principles and societal values. The European Approach to Human-Centric AI Europe’s approach to AI is deeply rooted in its commitment to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The European Union (EU) emphasizes the importance of developing AI that is trustworthy, ethical, and respects fundamental rights. This focus is evident in various initiatives and strategies, such as the Digital Europe Programme, which aims to enhance the strategic digital capabilities of the EU and promote the deployment of digital technologies, including AI. Key European strategies on AI and digital transformation include integrating education to provide citizens with the skills to understand AI’s capabilities and implementing methodologies to manage workforce transitions. These strategies support fundamental and purpose-driven research, creating a strong and appealing environment that attracts and retains talent in Europe. The EU’s commitment to ethical AI is also evident in the establishment of various AI research networks, such as CLAIRE, TAILOR, Humane-AI Net, AI4Media, and ELISE, which aim to boost the human-centric approach to AI in Europe. The European Commission has also launched initiatives like the European Research Council and AI Watch to promote and monitor the development of trustworthy AI solutions. The Role of Generative AI in Europe Generative AI, which includes technologies like large language models and image generation tools, is rapidly gaining traction in Europe. This technology has the potential to revolutionize industries by personalizing consumer engagement, improving customer experiences, and creating new products and services. However, it also poses challenges, such as the potential for misuse of personal data and the creation of harmful content. To address these challenges, European companies and researchers are encouraged to establish guardrails to protect consumer privacy and ensure that the content generated by AI is safe and respectful. This approach aligns with Europe’s strong emphasis on privacy and data protection, as enshrined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Ethical and Societal Considerations Europe’s focus on human-centric AI extends to the ethical and societal implications of AI development. The EU has established various platforms and think tanks, such as PACE (Participactive And Constructive Ethics) in the Netherlands, to foster ethical AI applications. These platforms bring together companies, governmental authorities, centers of expertise, and civil society organizations to accelerate the development of human-centric AI. The EU Ethics Guidelines for AI outline critical concerns and red lines in AI development, emphasizing the importance of putting human interests at the center of AI innovation. These guidelines address issues such as citizen scoring and the development of autonomous weapons, advocating for strong policy and regulatory frameworks to manage these critical concerns. The Future of AI in Europe Europe’s commitment to ethical, legal, and societal aspects of AI positions it as a potential global leader in the field. By focusing on human-centric AI, Europe can create … Read more

Adapting EIC Accelerator Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) to SaaS, Hardware and Industrial Innovations

In this comprehensive exploration of the EIC Accelerator program, a pivotal initiative by the European Commission (EC) and the European Innovation Council (EIC), we delve into the remarkable opportunities it presents for startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across the European Union (EU). This program is a beacon of hope for innovative businesses, offering blended financing options, including up to €2.5 million in grant funding and up to €15 million in equity financing, culminating in a potential total financing of €17.5 million. The EIC Accelerator stands out not only for its financial support but also for its commitment to elevating the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of pioneering projects. It is overseen by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), ensuring a streamlined and efficient application process. Prospective applicants can benefit from the guidance of professional writers, freelancers, and consultants, utilizing the official proposal template to craft compelling proposals. Additionally, the EIC Accelerator Video and Pitch deck components provide innovative platforms for applicants to showcase their projects. A successful application culminates in an interview, a critical step towards securing an EIC Grant or EIC Equity, marking a significant milestone in the journey of any ambitious enterprise seeking to make a mark within the EU and beyond. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) In this article, we embark on a journey to tailor the traditional Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) for different types of business models, ranging from Software as a Service (SaaS) companies to those involved in developing new industrial processes and hardware products. Recognizing that the original TRL framework, primarily designed for hardware technologies, does not seamlessly apply to the varied landscapes of today’s business ventures, we adapted these stages to better align with the specific needs and characteristics of each business model. Whether it’s a SaaS company operating in a B2C environment, an enterprise developing an innovative industrial process, or a firm creating a new hardware product, each scenario demands a unique approach to the TRL stages. This adaptation not only demonstrates the versatility of the TRL framework but also underscores the importance of customizing developmental benchmarks to suit the specific nature of a business’s products, services, and market environments. The TRL’s in 2024 are: basic principles observed technology concept formulated experimental proof of concept technology validated in lab technology validated in relevant environment technology demonstrated in relevant environment system prototype demonstration in operational environment system complete and qualified actual system proven in operational environment Adapting Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) for a SaaS Company with a B2B Model Navigating the Adapted Technology Readiness Levels for SaaS B2B Companies Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are a method for estimating the maturity of technologies during the acquisition phase of a program. Originally developed for hardware technologies, these stages require adaptation for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, especially those operating in a B2B model. The traditional TRL stages, which begin in a laboratory setting and progress through to full-scale operation, need modification to suit the unique development path of SaaS products. This article outlines the adapted TRL stages for a SaaS B2B company and explains the rationale behind these changes. 1. Concept and Application Defined (Adapted TRL 1) Original TRL 1: Basic principles observed. Adapted for SaaS: The initial concept of the SaaS product is formulated. This includes identifying potential applications and the primary corporate customer base. Reason for Change: SaaS development starts with a conceptual phase focusing on market needs and potential applications, rather than basic scientific research. 2. Technology Concept Formulated (Adapted TRL 2) Original TRL 2: Technology concept formulated. Adapted for SaaS: A more detailed outline of the SaaS solution is developed, including preliminary software architecture and potential user interfaces. Reason for Change: The focus is on planning the software architecture and user experience early in the process. 3. Proof of Concept Developed (Adapted TRL 3) Original TRL 3: Experimental proof of concept. Adapted for SaaS: Initial software prototypes are developed. These may be limited in functionality but demonstrate the core concept. Reason for Change: For SaaS, proof of concept often involves creating a minimal viable product rather than laboratory experiments. 4. Beta Version Developed (Adapted TRL 4) Original TRL 4: Technology validated in lab. Adapted for SaaS: Development of a beta version of the software, which is tested in a simulated or limited operational environment with beta users. Reason for Change: Unlike hardware, SaaS enters the operational environment earlier with beta versions tested by real users. 5. Beta Testing with Initial Users (Adapted TRL 5) Original TRL 5: Technology validated in relevant environment. Adapted for SaaS: Beta testing is expanded with a broader group of users. Feedback is collected to refine and optimize the software. Reason for Change: Direct user feedback is crucial for SaaS development, and the software is often tested in the context of its intended market early on. 6. System Model Demonstrated in Operational Environment (Adapted TRL 6) Original TRL 6: Technology demonstrated in relevant environment. Adapted for SaaS: A fully functional version of the software is tested in the actual operational environment with selected corporate clients. Reason for Change: SaaS products typically reach operational testing quicker, with emphasis on real-world application in the target market. 7. System Prototype Operational (Adapted TRL 7) Original TRL 7: System prototype demonstration in an operational environment. Adapted for SaaS: The software is refined based on extensive testing and feedback. It operates under real-world conditions and demonstrates its value to business users. Reason for Change: Emphasis on refining user experience and functionality based on in-depth operational feedback. 8. System Completed and Qualified (Adapted TRL 8) Original TRL 8: System complete and qualified. Adapted for SaaS: Full-scale deployment of the SaaS product. The software is now reliable, fully functional, and integrated into the business processes of the end-users. Reason for Change: Full-scale deployment is a critical stage, demonstrating the software’s capability to integrate seamlessly into corporate workflows. 9. Actual System Proven in Operational Environment (Adapted TRL 9) Original TRL 9: Actual system proven in operational environment. Adapted for SaaS: … Read more

Understanding EIC Accelerator Technology Readiness Levels in MedTech Hardware Products

Traversing TRLs in MedTech Development: A Step-by-Step Journey The journey of MedTech hardware products from conception to market availability is meticulously charted through Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). Each level signifies a critical stage in the development of medical devices, ensuring safety, efficacy, and market readiness. Here is a detailed exploration of each TRL in the context of MedTech hardware products. TRL1 – Define Basic Properties: The journey begins with defining the basic properties and capabilities of the proposed medical device. This stage involves conceptualizing what the device will do and its underlying technology. TRL2 – Analytical Study: Researchers conduct analytical studies to understand how the conceptualized device will work. This includes theoretical analysis and design studies. TRL3 – Proof of Concept: At this stage, a proof of concept is developed. This involves creating initial models or simulations to demonstrate the feasibility of the device. TRL4 – Pre-Prototype: Development progresses to creating a pre-prototype of the device, which is an early version designed to test the basic concept in a non-clinical setting. TRL5 – Pre-Prototype Tested in Lab: The pre-prototype undergoes rigorous testing in a laboratory setting. This testing aims to evaluate the device’s functionality and gather data for further development. TRL6 – Prototype Tested in Relevant Environment: A more refined prototype is developed and tested in an environment that closely replicates real-world conditions where the device will be used. TRL7 – Approved Prototype: The prototype reaches a stage where it is approved for final development. This typically involves passing certain regulatory checks and validations. TRL8 – Pre-Serial Manufacturing: The device moves into pre-serial manufacturing, where small batches are produced to ensure manufacturing processes are ready for full-scale production. TRL9 – Product on Market: The final stage, where the MedTech hardware product is fully developed, manufactured, and available on the market. It has passed all regulatory approvals and is ready for use in healthcare settings. MedTech TRLs The progression from TRL1 to TRL9 in MedTech hardware product development is a methodical and critical process, ensuring that medical devices meet the highest standards of quality and safety.

Looking at Innovation From a New Angle: Changing the Evaluation of EIC Accelerator Proposals (SME Instrument)

The EIC Accelerator blended financing (grant and equity) has undergone a dramatic transition from its first inception out of the now obsolete SME Instrument Phase 2 in 2019 and its following test phase as the EIC Accelerator Pilot in 2019/2020. With a new application process that includes multiple steps, an online AI platform for the submission and a video pitch, it has changed not only its process but also its outcomes (read: AI Tool Review). With the evaluation and the proposal template having changed alongside this newest iteration, it is clear that what worked in 2020 and earlier phases might not be applicable in 2021. Clearly, the proposal looks different, prioritises a pre-determined structure over a free business plan narrative and defines a specific roadmap that all companies have to adhere to. But the factor that might have the most significant impact on the newest changes of the EIC Accelerator might be the evaluation itself. Moving away from the SME Instrument Phase 2 and EIC Accelerator Pilot The aim of the new Step 1 of the EIC Accelerator is a quality check of applications to identify if the project is of interest to the EU and if it fits the general risk, innovation, team and market criteria. As such, it was initially advertised as being a way of emulating the old Seal of Excellence* which was awarded to 2020 projects with an evaluation score of at least 13 out of 15. Historically, 30% to 50% of all submitted projects between 2018 and 2020 reached this level. The current Step 1 success rates of 60-70% match this threshold rather well although one could argue that the equivalent old score would rather correspond to a 12.5 and not a full 13. Still, Step 1 acts as a threshold that is partially replacing the old scoring but also has a distinctively different focus when it comes to project quality. This quality aspect can be investigated through a simple question: Will resubmissions of 12.5+ scored applications from 2020 automatically do well in the 2021’s Step 1? *Note: The new Seal of Excellence is now only awarded to some companies that reach Step 3 of the evaluation process, namely the interview stage. The 2021 Seal of Excellence is not associated with the Step 1 short application or with any type of scoring but acts as a useful analogy to the previous iterations of the funding program prior to 2021. Transitioning from 2020 to 2021: Thresholds and Quality The EIC has stated that Step 1 is designed to “trigger the interest of evaluators” which means that it is a very surface-level assessment compared to even the old SME Instrument Phase 1. There are only 5 simplified evaluation criteria in Step 1 while the 2020 evaluations had to address 17 very detailed criteria. One could argue that the newest evaluation criteria which directly define the success of projects are now heavily favouring innovation, risk and the market while the old criteria were looking at every aspect of the company and project with equal weights. Without a judgement as to the benefit or tradeoffs of this approach, it clearly impacts what types of projects will succeed and it will likely be very different from what was observed in 2020 as well as the decade before (read: Recommendations for the EICA). Some interesting cases of applicants who have applied to the EIC Accelerator have surfaced whereas a 2020 submission that showed low scores of 10 to 11 out of the maximum of 15 passed Step 1 in 2021 with very positive reviews. What is interesting is that such low scores in 2020 were often treated as a lost cause in the eyes of professional writers or consultancies since it means that either the project lacks the sophistication needed to convince the European Innovation Council (EIC) or the startup or Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) does not have a well-thought-out business model or financial planning. Changing the Evaluation Criteria With the first stage being designed to only peak the evaluator’s interest, many projects which would not have been considered for funding in 2020 even if the European Commission (EC) had excess financing available can now easily pass the first stage. How this will change in Step 2 is unclear but what can be said is that the evaluation criteria have changed significantly. In 2020, there were 17 detailed criteria that covered the entire business model ranging from the subcontracting over the partner network to the details of the customer base (read: Companies That Should Not Apply). Questions were highly detailed and covered: Why would customers buy from you? Is your business model able to scale your company? Is the strategic plan for the commercialisation sufficient? Are any IP or licensing issues addressed? Is the product easy to use? … This has been replaced by 13 criteria in Step 2 and only 5 in Step 1. Instead of asking very nuanced questions to the evaluators who have to grade the complete project in increments, the new criteria are simplified and focus on many of the same questions albeit with less detail. Interestingly, the new criteria omit gender equality, broader benefits in the EU and societal challenges. These were explicit in the old evaluation criteria but are now non-existent even though they must be described in the Step 2 application. This is likely due to the new Strategic Challenges and female-CEO quota that is enforced in the back-end and must not be re-iterated in the evaluations front-end. The “Go” Criteria There clearly is a different focus in the new evaluation criteria with a strong preference for the risk, market, innovation and the team with instructions for evaluators being that a Step 2 Go should correspond to what would have been a 4.5 to 5 score under the 2020 rules.** To revisit the anecdote mentioned above, an application with a score of 10.5 would have had average scores of 3.5 for each section which means that it should not stand a chance to … Read more

The Profile of a Company That Should Not Apply for the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument)

The EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity) is a highly competitive but also highly popular grant and equity financing scheme by the European Innovation Council (EIC). Many startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) in the EU but also in associated countries such as Israel or Norway are interested in applying to the funds but many would be better off seeking out other options. While grant consultancies and professional writers all have different approaches to the selection of suitable EIC Accelerator applicants, there are some common themes that are shared among success-oriented grant consultants. Since the official grant proposal template for the EIC Accelerator does not clarify such nuanced points in-depth, the following article aims to give an overview of the types of companies that should not apply. For any startup or scaleup that is recognising themselves in any of the points listed below, it would be advisable to refrain from hiring a writer or consultant since time and resources can be better spent elsewhere. Note: The EIC does not primarily select great companies, it primarily selects companies that fit a certain mould. Having low chances for success under the EIC does not mean that the company or project are bad. The EIC would have never financed social networks like Facebook or Twitter and even industry-specific unicorn companies like Epic Games or Instacart. Yet, these are all success cases on a level the EIC dreams of. The list below is designed to highlight the first impression that consultants and grant writers often face when a client first comes into contact. Since the demand for grant writers is generally very high, this first impression will likely define how interested the consultancy is in a particular project. How do they present their company or technology? Why do they need EIC Accelerator support? What needs to be financed? 1. An Inquiry Uses a Gmail or Similar Domain Address While this is not a strong red flag – it suggests that the company or project is not fully formed yet. Buying a domain and creating a private email account usually precedes even the company registration since it is so simple (and cheap). If an inquiry lacks a private domain then this is usually a sign that a project is in the idea stage. Very few founders would contact investors or customers with a Gmail address which means that any inquiry from such an address is a tell for an ineligible project. Since 2021, the EIC Accelerator also funds non-incorporated natural persons but, due to the competitiveness of the grant, this does not mean that a single person without backing, traction or support networks will be able to be successful. Every inquiry that comes from a domain that is not privately hosted and is not attached to a Corporate Identity (CI) will likely be ignored by selective consultancies. 2. The Prospect EIC Accelerator Applicant is in the Idea Stage The new EIC’s AI platform aims to display the journey from Ideation towards Go-to-Market but that does not mean that a natural person can be successful with a pure idea. The Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) clearly outline the stage a technology has to be in with TRL5 being the minimum for the EIC Accelerator and lower TRL’s only being possible in EIC Pathfinder and EIC Transition programs. The current diagnostics and ideation parts of the EIC Accelerator application are misleading since they can give the impression that projects can still be in the idea stage and is then transformed into a commercial product once Step 3 is reached but this is not the case. The applicant’s project will not make significant changes from Step 1 to 3 – the only thing that will change is the amount and depth of data that is provided to the EIC for evaluation purposes. The EIC Accelerator, also a misleading name, is not a traditional accelerator that aims to help startups succeed by helping with product development, investor relationships or customer contact. The primary resource, outside of limited coaching, will be financial which means that the applicants need a business plan, the right commerial strategy and must have all it takes to implement the project. The EIC will not hold the beneficiaries hands albeit they will aim to create networking opportunities if it matches current political agendas such as the Green Deal, COVID-19 relief or similar trends. Having an idea and reaching out to a consultant with a half-formed business plan will likely be insufficient and be ignored by most selective writers. 3. The Company has no Website or Social Presence It is understandable that many companies are in stealth mode especially when it comes to DeepTech products in the area of biotechnology or pharmaceuticals where large competitors spend billions on R&D and could copy a technology quickly – patented or not. Still, even if a company has no interest in marketing itself or in publicising its technology, every company that has sufficient seed funding and the degree of traction needed to succeed in the EIC Accelerator should have a website and a LinkedIn page at the very least. There can be exceptions but no presence at all often means that founders view this project as a side business or are not invested in its success. One additional exception to this is a newly formed company that is a University spin-off or subsidiary of another company. In the latter case, the prospective applicant can usually provide a website link for the parent company while, in the former case, they could be too early stage for the EIC Accelerator but can be eligible for the EIC Pathfinder. 4. Based on Research that is not Theirs (a University Non-Spin-Off) What can often be encountered is a company that is basing its technology on University research that is not theirs but also does not exist in the market yet. This, in and of itself, does not mean that it is ineligible for the EIC Accelerator but … Read more

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