Start-ups & Innovation
The European Innovation Council (the “EIC”) pilot phase was launched in 2018, incorporating existing instruments under the EU Horizon 2020 programme. During the pilot phase, different funding schemes were brought together to provide direct support to innovators throughout Europe.
After its three-year pilot phase, the EIC finally launched as a fully-fledged agency on the 18th of March 2021. It has a budget of €10.1 billion to support game changing innovations throughout their lifecycle – from early stage research, to proof of concept and technology transfer, as well as to financing and scale up of start-ups and SMEs.
The strategy and implementation of the EIC is steered by the EIC Board, which has independent members appointed from the world of innovation (entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, corporates and others from the innovation ecosystem).
A unique feature of the EIC is that it provides funding for individual companies (mainly startups and SMEs) through both grants and investments. The investments currently take the form of direct equity or quasi-equity investments and are managed by the EIC Fund.
More specifically, the EIC Fund:
- Provides patient capital in the form of equity or quasi-equity (which may also be blended with a grant component) to SMEs and start-ups selected through the highly competitive and rigorous EIC Accelerator.
- Bridges the funding gap for start-ups with seed capital to series B financing, where market entry is at most in a pilot phase to prepare the scaling up of breakthrough European innovations.
- Aims to crowd in other investors, further sharing risks by building a large network of capital providers and strategic partners suitable for co-investments and follow on funding.
- Has an investment strategy that covers all areas of technology including in particular health, green and digital. It aims at achieving “impact” and crowding in other investors.
Eligible companies and innovative ideas can, as of 18 March 2021, apply for funding through the EIC. The EIC funding opportunities are the following:
- EIC Pathfinder: Support to research teams to research or develop an emerging breakthrough technology.
- EIC Transition: Mature a novel technology and develop a business case to bring it to market.
- EIC Accelerator: Funding and investments through the EIC Fund for individual start-ups and small companies to develop and scale up game changing innovations.
- EIC Business Acceleration Services: All EIC supported projects and companies get access to coaching, mentoring, partnering and other EIC Business Acceleration Services.
- European Innovation Ecosystems: Specific support to enable innovation ecosystem actors to work together across Europe.
- EIC Prizes: Available funding under specific EU competitions which rewards Europe’s leading innovators.
Having previously engaged with the EIC during its pilot phase, our firm can support both eligible companies during their funding application process as well as private and institutional investors interested in investing in future breakthrough innovation through the EIC. Besides, we have set up a unique legal support program that enables a selected group of promising and innovative start-ups to receive premium and in-depth legal support at a reduced and/or flexible fee for a fixed period of time. Our firm thrives to promote entrepreneurship and serves eligible start-ups as trusted advisors, committed to their long-term growth and success.