Today, the Commission announced that nearly €1 billion of investments in deep tech companies have been approved by the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund since the Fund started its operations in September 2022. The EIC Fund is the venture investment arm of the European Innovation Council, which was launched under Horizon Europe to support breakthrough technologies and innovations. In just over one year, 159 start-ups and SMEs, all selected under the EIC Accelerator programme, have had their investments approved. By reaching this €1 billion milestone, the EIC consolidates its position as the investor of choice for European deep tech companies.
Under the EIC programme, companies are selected following a rigorous evaluation process by external experts and thorough due diligence by the European Investment Bank, who acts as investment adviser to the EIC Fund. Following investment approvals, companies typically have up to 12 months to find co-investors with the support of the EIC. 71 companies have already completed this process and attracted co-investments worth a multiple of 3 times the amount of EIC Fund investments. The majority of companies also receive grant support of up to €2.5 million and access to expertise, partnerships and market opportunities through the EIC business acceleration services.
Among the companies to have benefitted from EIC investments are:
- Quandela (Palaiseau, France) – leader in quantum photonics, develops full-stack optical quantum computers, available both on cloud and on-premises. Very recently, they secured €50 million from various investors to support international expansion and further industrial development.
- Microsure (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) – innovation leader in robot-assisted micro-surgery; the company secured €38 million to finalise development of their newest microsurgical robot for clinical studies.
- MeThinks AI (Barcelona, Spain) – company specialising in early detection and management of acute stroke patients using artificial intelligence (AI); today they announced they secured €2.5 million in convertible loans to prepare for the upcoming investment round.
Furthermore, on 30 October the EIC announced the results of the latest EIC Accelerator call, with an additional 47 companies selected for EIC support worth €349 million of which €236 million is earmarked for investments through the EIC Fund. This takes the total number of companies selected by the EIC Accelerator since its launch under the Horizon Europe programme in 2021 to 493. Over 1000 companies submitted their proposals for the last EIC Accelerator cut-off on 8 November and will now enter the highly competitive selection phase.
The EIC Accelerator offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from €0.5 to €15 million or more. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of business acceleration services that provide access to leading expertise, corporates, investors and ecosystem actors. Start-ups and SMEs can apply at any time to the EIC Accelerator with short applications, and if successful are invited to prepare full applications to submit to one of the regular cut-off dates. The EIC Accelerator cut-offs for 2024 are due to be announced shortly in the EIC work programme.
The EIC Fund invests across all technologies and verticals, and all EU countries and countries associated to Horizon Europe. The EIC Fund is managed by an independent fund manager with the EIB as investment adviser. It aims to fill a critical financing gap and its main purpose is to support companies in the development and commercialisation of disruptive technologies, bridging with and crowding in market players. It helps to share risk by building a large network of capital providers and strategic partners suitable for co-investments and follow-on funding. This is one of the key-objectives of the New European Innovation Agenda launched in 2022, in its flagship area on “funding deep tech innovation”.