European Innovation Council Approves €1 Billion in Deep Tech Venture Investments

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European Commission has announced that the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund has approved nearly €1 billion in investments for deep tech companies since it commenced operations in September 2022 

The EIC Fund was established under Horizon Europe to back groundbreaking technologies and innovations.

In just over a year, 159 startups and SMEs selected through the EIC Accelerator program have received investment approvals, solidifying the EIC’s role as the preferred investor for European deep tech companies.

EIC program requirements

Within the EIC program, companies undergo a stringent evaluation process by external experts, followed by thorough due diligence by the European Investment Bank, which serves as the investment adviser to the EIC Fund. After investment approvals, companies typically have a 12-month window to secure co-investors, aided by EIC support.

71 companies have completed this process, attracting co-investments totalling three times the amount of EIC Fund investments. Additionally, most of these companies receive grant support of up to €2.5 million and gain access to expertise, partnerships, and market opportunities through the EIC business acceleration services.

Several companies that have benefited from EIC investments include:

  1. Quandela (Palaiseau, France) – a forefront player in quantum photonics, specialising in the development of full-stack optical quantum computers, accessible both on the cloud and on-premises. Recently, they successfully raised €50 million from various investors to support their international expansion and further industrial development.
  2. Microsure (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) – an innovation leader in robot-assisted micro-surgery. The company secured €38 million to finalise the development of their latest microsurgical robot for clinical studies.
  3. Methinks (Barcelona, Spain) – a company specialising in the early detection and management of acute stroke patients using artificial intelligence (AI). Today, they announced securing €2.5 million in convertible loans to prepare for an upcoming investment round.

The European Innovation Council accelerator

On October 30, the EIC disclosed the outcomes of the most recent EIC Accelerator call, revealing the selection of an additional 47 companies for EIC support, totalling €349 million, of which €236 million is allocated for investments through the EIC Fund.

This brings the cumulative number of companies the EIC Accelerator chose since its inception under the Horizon Europe program in 2021 to 493. The recent EIC Accelerator cut-off on November 8 saw over 1000 companies submitting their proposals, and they will now progress into the fiercely competitive selection phase.

The EIC Accelerator extends grants of up to €2.5 million and equity investments through the EIC Fund, ranging from €0.5 to €15 million or more, to startups and SMEs. Beyond financial assistance, all projects receive business acceleration services, granting access to leading expertise, corporate partnerships, investors, and ecosystem players.

Startups and SMEs can apply to the EIC Accelerator at any time through concise applications. Successful applicants are then invited to prepare comprehensive submissions for one of the regular cut-off dates. The EIC work programme is expected to announce the EIC Accelerator cut-offs for 2024 shortly.

The EIC Fund operates as an inclusive investor, spanning all technologies and industry sectors across all EU member states and countries associated with Horizon Europe. Independently managed by a fund manager, with the European Investment Bank (EIB) serving as the investment adviser, the European Innovation Council Fund plays a crucial role in addressing a critical financing gap.

Its primary objective is to support companies in advancing and commercialising disruptive technologies while fostering collaboration with and attracting other market players.

The EIC Fund contributes to risk-sharing and creating an extensive network of capital providers and strategic partners.

By facilitating co-investments and follow-on funding, the European Innovation Council Fund contributes to risk-sharing and creating an extensive network of capital providers and strategic partners. This aligns with the key objectives outlined in the New European Innovation Agenda launched in 2022, particularly within its flagship area focusing on “funding deep tech innovation.”

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