March 2021 Newsletter
Ready to bring your innovation to the next stage?
We have studied the information and here are our key takeaways:
The EU will fund SME companies from the EU and associated countries with grants of up to €2.5 million and/or investments with up to €15 million for a total of €17.5 million. Grant-only, blended financing and investment-only options are available.
The EU emphasizes that it will fund companies that:
- Develop high risk/high impact innovations;
- Have the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones
- Build on scientific discovery or technological breakthroughs (‘deep tech’)
- Require significant funding over a long timeframe before returns can be generated (‘patient capital’).
- Who cannot get funding from the private market for which the sole reasons that the European VC market is not liquid enough and considers the innovation too risky.
Companies shall submit their proposals to one of the three areas – the AI Tool is expected to open on
8 April 2021
- Open Innovation
- Strategic Digital and Health Technologies
- Green Deal innovations for the Economic Recovery
For now, we think it is best to see if you fit into 2 or 3 and, if not, then choose 1. We expect the AI Tool to make these suggestions anyway (Step 0).
The application happens in four steps – Check out the Guide for Applicants:
Step 0: Explore the funding opportunities
Our explanation: Answer questions in an AI Tool (expected to open on 8 April 2021). Ideally, the tool will then conclude that you should apply for the EIC Accelerator. If the AI Tool does not propose that, you can still apply to the EIC Accelerator.
Step 1: Write your SHORT application (pre-selection)
This is new: there will be a short proposal to pre-select applicants.
Submit 3 items: 3-minute video pitch, 10-slide pitch deck, fill in a form with 14 questions times 1,000 characters (5 page proposal – will be online in the AI Tool)
Actually, it is 4 items if we count the Participant Portal setup and answering other admin questions in the AI Tool
Submission is on a rolling basis, reviews will arrive within 2-4 weeks with detailed feedback and a GO/NO GO decision. If GO, Step 2 starts/
If NO GO, you can try a second time per year and then have to wait for 12 months to try again. Unlike during the EIC Accelerator pilot, applicants will receive specific feedback to improve the proposal for the second attempt.
Step 1.5: Coaching: we think of this as a separate step as companies who get the GO can use coaching services that might be very useful to get specific feedback on how risk and non-bankability, etc. are being assessed. This is not obligatory.
Step 2: Prepare your FULL proposal (probably similar to EIC Accelerator Pilot proposal)
Specific information as to the contents is not available but we expect to have to submit a business plan and a pitch deck that must be used in Step 4.
2021 cut-off dates: 9 June 2021 and 6 October 2021
Step 3: Remote Evaluation
3 experts provide a GO/NO GO decision on the full proposal. All must provide a GO for the company to be invited to the interview in Step 4 (as in previous EIC Accelerator Pilot).
If NO GO, you can try a second time per year directly to the full proposal but then have to wait for 12 months to try again starting from Step 1. Unlike during the EIC Accelerator pilot, applicants will receive specific feedback to improve the proposal for the second attempt.
The results should happen within 5 weeks of the cut-off or by 14 July 2021 and 13 November 2021 (this was mentioned in the Applicant’s Day video)
Step 4: Pitch your innovation (very similar to the EIC Accelerator Pilot)
10 minute pitch plus 30 Q&A
2021 likely interview dates are likely in August 2021 and then early 2022
Up to 6 jury members provide a GO / NO GO.
There can be several outcomes, which is different from the EIC Accelerator Pilot:
- GO’s will start grant negotiations and/or due diligence for the investment
- NO GO’s with second chance can go directly to the next round of interviews (Step 4)
- NO GO’s may submit the full proposal again once more and then have a cooling off period of 1 year. NO GO’s will receive specific feedback to improve the proposal/interview.
- The Seal of Excellence recipients get access to specific other services of the EC.
Step 5: Funding
This should happen within 6 months of Step 2 cut-offs – most likely in 2022.
The fourth important novelty apart from the short proposal of Step 1, detailed feedback in each round and the possibility of a second chance in Step 4, is that for grant-only and grant-first projects, there will be a review latest 6 months of before the end of the funded project where the EC will verify if the company has sufficient funds and capabilities to deploy the innovation in the market (the full proposal should already outline that) or it may terminate the agreement.