01 Feb Irish start-up Restored Hearing gets €2.3m in EU funding
– We heard about the EIC through Enterprise Ireland and other companies in the Dublin startup community who had applied or received H2020.
We decided to apply because the programme matched well with our product, our stage of development, and our global ambitions. The EIC are committed to funding high risk high reward technologies which will have a massive positive impact on Europe and the world, SoundBounce is one of those technologies.
Q: Do you think it was an easy process to go through?
– The process is both straightforward and challenging. It is highly competitive with the best companies from all over Europe applying. While on the face of it preparing a business plan and pitching said plan to a panel are simple tasks. There is a challenge in communicating your competitive advantage, execution plan, and market opportunity in a focused manner to make you stand out in the hundreds of applications received.
I would encourage anyone who matches the profile to go for it but it’s by no means an easy ride.
Q: Let’s deep dive into the details of the proposal: any general tips & hints on the overall documentation preparation?
– Think about communicating your value and ideas in many different ways. Use images, tables, boxes etc. to make your application easy to read and understand quickly.
When reviewing your application think about how easy you can make it for the person who has to read multiple applications in one evening.
It’s really valuable to get someone to read it who doesn’t know what your product is. Can they quickly pick it up?
Q: Any practical tips & hints on the “excellence” section of the proposal?
– Frame your technology in the context of what’s already on the market. If you have data or testing comparing your product with the state of the art make sure to include it.
Q: Any practical tips & hints on the “impact” section of the proposal?
– Think about the positive impact your technology will have in the world and on the environment. Are there any EU directives or country specific legislation that is compelling the adoption of your technology?
Demonstrate your knowledge of the market characteristics and the size of your opportunity within that. It is incredibly important to show there is market demand for your product – include customer references or your sales pipeline if possible.
Q: Any practical tips & hints on the “quality and efficiency of implementation” of the proposal?
– Pour over the details of your implementation plan. Do you have the right people? How will you find them? Is the plan broken into logical, achievable stages?
I would again recommend getting someone outside your team to read this section and see if they can understand what you’re trying to do through the project.
It’s also crucial to link your plan to the commercialisation of your technology, the plan should illustrate your route to market.
Q: Once you received the invitation for the second step in Brussels, how did you prepare for it?
– We took a lot of care in creating our presentation. Much like the proposal, it needs to communicate key ideas in a clear and concise fashion. We made strong use of visuals and graphics to represent our technology, market, and industrialisation plan.
We spoke to other companies in the Irish community who had been through the process. We compiled all the questions they were asked and added our own to a database of questions and answers to ensure we had thought through answers ahead of time. Particular attention should be paid to the weaker aspects of your proposal, what are the tough questions you don’t want to get asked, create strong replies for these objections just as you would in a sales meeting.
While you do know everything about your business the question time is very short and you want to make the biggest impact in the time you have. Preparation is key.
Q: Any practical tips & hints on the second step in Brussels? More than on the specific questions, could you share with us how you felt the interaction with the panel went and what their expectations were?
– Our interactions with the panel were polite and engaging. The panelists had a variety of expertise and they typically asked questions according to their background. The panel expects companies which are both technically and commercially competent.
Q: Would you recommend this programme to other SMEs?
– Absolutely. The programme ensures you hone your commercialisation plans and that should always be the focus for a deep tech startup. It is a rigorous process which you will come out of in a much stronger position than you went in.
Q: How, in your opinion, the EIC is perceived among the investor community?
– In my opinion, it is well regarded among the investor community. Companies with EIC funding have high impact products which are highly competitive in the market. The commercial focus that is necessary to get EIC is highly appealing to investors.