EIC Accelerator: The Most Comprehensive Data & Stats Newsletter
Welcome to Lira’s first ever newsletter! Since we started in 2020, we have built a fantastic community and we are glad to have you as part of it. We understood you liked our EIC Accelerator reports, in particular the ones where we present data and stats. This newsletter’s goal is to keep you informed on the EIC Accelerator and hopefully provide insightful data and helpful tips from the foremost EIC experts.
Before starting off with the data and stats, let’s briefly remind you of the EIC Accelerator – EICA. It is the most coveted funding scheme under Horizon Europe, launched in its fully fledged form in 2021. It has a > €1bn budget per year and offers non-dilutive grant funding up to €2.5mn, and equity funding up to €15mn. The EICA targets deep-tech start-ups and scale-ups from EU member states and associate countries. It is very popular among the best tech ecosystems in Europe and extremely competitive.
This newsletter is for all the deep-tech entrepreneurs, innovative companies, NCPs, tech accelerators/incubators, EU/Associate countries representatives, consultants and curious minds interested in keeping up-to-date with the most insightful data and news on the EICA. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the reading!
In this issue
We will present all the EICA cumulative data and stats from the first full-application (FA) cut-off of June 2021 to the March 2023 cut-off. 7 cut-offs in total. In this issue, a special section is dedicated to the performance of the EU-13 member states.
The cumulative data so far
- More than 6,000 FAs were submitted, averaging > 800 per cut-off;
- 23% or 1,380 were invited to the face-to-face (F2F) interview;
- 474 were awarded funding which is 34% of the companies invited to the interview or 8% of the FAs submitted since June 2021.
Even if the average number of FAs per cut-off is greater than 800, we have noticed a decrease in the number of proposals sent in the last two cut-offs, probably due to the cooling-off period. We expect the number of FAs to decrease in the future and see an increase in the FA > W success rate. Quality of the candidates and proposals will be key to succeed in getting funded.
- €2.7bn has been awarded so far;
- Almost €2bn went to the open call proposals – 71% of the total funding;
- Challenge calls raised less than €800mn – 29% of the total;
Even the average funding allocated per company differs substantially with open call proposals reaching almost €6mn vs €5mn of the challenge ones.
Seeing most of the funding awarded to open call proposals seems to be a constant trend. In the 2023 EIC Work Programme, there were specific challenge calls with a defined budget. In our 2023 EIC Accelerator report, to be released in January 2024, we will have a section on the challenge calls and see how much budget was used for each call. That will be a litmus test to see if the current trend still holds true or more funding was awarded to this category.
- 474 companies were selected in total;
- 323 – 68% belong to the open call;
- 151 – 32% were in the challenge category.
The EIC promotes the participation of female-led companies to this funding scheme. In this newsletter, our articles and reports, the definition of a female-led company differs from the one from the EC. In our case, the definition of a female-led company applies to companies with a female CEO.
- 82 – 17% of the selected companies were led by a female CEO;
- €452mn – 17% of the total funding went to those companies;
- The average per company was €5.5mn, slightly below the €5.7mn total average.
The data broken down by funding type
Being a funding scheme, the EIC Accelerator offers four funding types:
- Grant-only (GO) ==> for companies that require a grant and not equity to bring their technology from a TRL6 to a TRL8. Still they have to show how they will fund 30% of the project costs and grow the company afterwards;
- Grant-first (GF) ==> for companies that require grant + equity from the EIC but might still have to reach a key milestone to further de-risk their technology before availing of the remaining funding and becoming investor-ready;
- Blended-finance (BF) ==> for companies that require grant + equity from the EIC to cover all their capital needs while advancing/validating their technology and becoming more attractive for private investors;
- Equity-only (EO) ==> for companies at TRL8 ready to scale-up and in need to raise equity from the EIC alongside private investors.
- BF is the most popular choice being awarded €2.1bn in funding, which is almost 80% of the total. The BF companies were 256;
- 149 GF companies have received €358mn in funding;
- €122mn were allocated to 12 EO companies, while 57 GO requests received €121mn.
Funding allocation for grant-first companies did not take into account the amount requested in equity. It would be worth considering and making available the potential equity sought by the 149 GF companies in the medium-term as that will be key to keep on funding their growth and attract more capital from private investors.
Our famous country funding matrix
Every year we publish a report on the EIC Accelerator data & stats. The most popular infographic is the one called “country funding matrix”. In this matrix, one can find all the data on successful applicants broken down per country and funding type. The ranking is done on the number of awarded companies. Hence, one may see countries with a high number of companies funded but with less raised funding than others.
Ranking by country
France is the undisputed leader in the EIC Accelerator with most successful applicants since the first cut-off in 2021, 70. Germany and the Netherlands complete within the top 3. Worth noting the top 10 countries represent 80% of the overall winners.
France with more than €500mn in funding is still the leader among the participating countries in terms of amount raised. The Netherlands is second, while Germany completes in the top 3. Even in this case, the top 10 represents 83% of the awarded funding.
Latvia ranks first in the average amount raised per company category. However, it only has one winner. This is the same per Iceland being second but with just three winners. Israel is the real leader as it has 30 selected companies with the average amount raised per company at €7.5mn. Slightly below Israel there is France with €7.3mn.
Special section: the EU-13 performance
Despite the EU-13 accounting for 22.7% of the EU’s population – 101.6mn/448.4mn, so far they have only accounted for 6% of winning deep-tech companies: 29/424 and 5% of funding awarded: €125.5mn/€2.7bn.
- Estonia 7, Poland 7, and Bulgaria 5, have been the most successful companies among the EU-13;
- Romania, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia have all had one or two companies funded;
- No company from Hungary, Cyprus, and Malta, have yet to secure funding;
- Romania has a similar population to Netherlands – 19mn vs 17.8mn; however, it has only 2 companies funded, while the Netherlands has 55;
- Hungary has a similar population to Austria 9.6mn vs 9.1mn; however, it has 0 companies funded, while Austria has 11;
- Slovakia has a similar population to Finland 5.4mn vs 5.6mn; however, it has 1 company funded, while Finland has 24.
There is still significant time for EU-13 to catch up in the following years of the EIC Accelerator. However, the access to private capital available in other member states and more mature deep-tech ecosystems seem to have a certain competitive advantage in accessing and securing EIC funding.
The EIC Accelerator is not only the most coveted EU funding scheme within Horizon Europe, it is also the “deep-tech barometer” of European innovation showing where indigenous companies are advancing faster than anywhere else. Besides, countries not performing as expected should use the data and the knowledge acquired in the last five years to analyse the issues they face and find solutions to fix them. At the end of the day, to paraphrase the Roman poet Horace “in data veritas”.
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