European Innovation Council: new group of deep tech start-ups to receive Accelerator investments with increase in women-led start-ups

A new set of 32 companies have been selected to receive European Innovation Council (EIC) funding, combining grants and equity, following the first 2023 EIC Accelerator cut-off in January. They were selected out of applicants that applied for the Accelerator Open call. This first cut-off in 2023 did not include the EIC Accelerator Challenges calls. 40% percent (13 of the 32 companies) have a female CEO, CTO (Chief Technology Officer) or CSO (Chief Scientific Officer) which is the highest share to date.

The companies were selected in a highly competitive process, in which 159 companies were interviewed by juries of experienced investors and entrepreneurs, out of a total of 476 applications. The 32 selected companies will together receive close to €196 million of funding in a combination of grants and equity investments. The equity investments will be made through the EIC Fund. The selected companies have a geographical spread spanning 14 countries. 94% of recommended funding is for beneficiaries in EU Member States, of which 17% is for widening country applicants.

While the blended finance (grants combined with equity investments) recommendation remained broadly the same as in recent cut offs (53%), grant first recommendations rose again (38%) with grant only moving in the opposite direction (9%).

Here are some examples of the innovative projects and companies that will receive support:

  • Project COMFTQUA (company BEITfrom Poland) – developing novel quantum algorithms and their implementations
  • Project Naco Tech (company Naco Technologiesfrom Latvia) – creating specialised nano-coatings and new materials that replace the need for platinum and other expensive materials in the production and usage of hydrogen at a massive scale.
  • Project SMART-SOFT (company Inossiafrom Sweden) – developing a new and unique softener to bone cements to revolutionise the treatment of vertebral fractures in osteoporotic patients

In most cases, the companies will receive the grant financing within the next two to three months, while the first investment decisions will be made within two months.  A further 126 applications that met all the criteria at the remote evaluation stage and that were assessed positively by the EIC jury, but not recommended for funding, will be awarded a Seal of Excellence to help them find alternative sources of funding, including from the Recovery and Resilience Funds and European Regional Development Funds

Further funding under the EIC Accelerator

In parallel to the selection of companies from the January cut-off, a new cut-off closed on 22 March with 551 full proposals submitted.  468 of those proposals were submitted in the Open topic and 83 were submitted to the Challenges topics. The requested amount of funding from the proposals is over €3.3bn with applicants coming from 34 countries of which 15 are from widening countries.

Proposals are now being evaluated by independent experts. The most promising companies will then be invited to pitch in front of a jury of investors and business experts in May, with selection decisions expected in the second half of June.

In addition, the EIC Fund continues to progress in taking investment decisions on companies selected by the EIC Accelerator in 2021 and 2022 and has now taken 93 decisions worth €574.7 million.

Background information

The EIC Accelerator offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to less than €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.

Companies can submit their ideas to the EIC Accelerator at any time, which are then evaluated within approximately 4 weeks. For ideas meeting the EIC criteria for excellence, impact and risk-level, companies are invited to prepare full applications to submit to one of the regular cut-off dates. The next cut-offs for EIC Accelerator full proposals are on 7 June and 4 October 2023.

The EIC has a number of initiatives to promote more women in deep tech, including the WomenTechEU scheme, the EU prize for Woman Innovators, and the Women Leadership Programme.

Source: European Innovation Council | News (