EIC Accelerator: The EIC Accelerator in 2024 Newsletter

EIC Accelerator: The EIC Accelerator in 2024 Newsletter

 

Welcome to Lira’s second 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 and up to date on the EIC Accelerator and hopefully provide useful insights and helpful tips from the foremost EIC experts. 

 

Before going into our analysis of the 2024 Work Programme, let’s briefly remind you of the EIC Accelerator (EICA). It is the most coveted funding programme under Horizon Europe, launched in its fully fledged form in 2021. It has a €675mn budget for 2024 and offers non-dilutive grant funding up to €2.5mn and equity funding up to €15mn. The EICA is designed for deep-tech start-ups and scale-ups from EU Member States and Associated Countries. It is very popular among the best tech ecosystems in Europe and extremely competitive.

 

This newsletter is for all the deep-tech entrepreneurs, breakthrough companies, NCPs, tech accelerators/incubators, EU/Associated Country representatives, consultants and curious minds interested in keeping informed 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 most relevant information/data about the Accelerator presented in the EIC WP 2024. The WP was released on 12th December 2023 and is available on https://eic.ec.europa.eu/eic-2024-work-programme_en.

 

The EIC Accelerator 2024 budget

The total budget for the EIC Accelerator in 2024 is €675mn: €375mn is allocated for the Open call, €300mn for the six Challenge calls. The budget is further split for the grant component – 40% of the total, and equity component – 60% of the total. In particular:

  • Open call: €150mn is reserved for the grant component, €225mn for the equity component; 
  • Challenge calls: €120mn for the grant component, €180mn for the equity component;
  • An additional €180mn is available as a “reserve amount for follow-on investments”, a provision mainly for previously selected grant-first beneficiaries and available in the form of an equity component. 

The budget has been reduced compared to 2023 when it was €1.1bn. Considering the total available funding for the grant component, i.e. €270mn, and the assumption that it will be fully allocated per company funded, i.e. €2.5mn, we can expect 108 companies selected for grant funding in 2024. This would be significantly less than the 223 selected companies in 2022 and also less than the 130 selected companies in 2023 so far, including all the ones up to the June cut-off – since the companies that submitted a full application in November will go through the face-to-face interview in late January 2024.


The funding types

Grant first is no longer part of the funding types. The three available funding types in 2024 are: 

  • Grant only;
  • Blended finance;
  • Equity only.

The funding rate for the grant component remains at 70%. The grant component is up to €2.5mn, while the investment component goes from 0.5mn to €15mn.

 

The cut-off dates

The submission of the short application remains open at any time. Only two cut-off dates for the full application are planned in 2024.

  • 13th of March;
  • 3rd of October.

The selection process and the new max. 3 submissions rule

The selection process did not change since the start of the programme in 2021. Applicants have to pass through a short application, a full application, and a face-to-face interview before being deemed eligible for funding. However, some significant changes have been made in the selection criteria. 


Short application

Applicants have to submit/complete on the EU Funding and Tenders Portal:

  • 12-page short proposal;
  • A 10-slide deck; 
  • A 3’ video.

Four remote expert evaluators will review the documentation and decide whether it has merit to advance to the full application stage. The outcome of the evaluation will be sent to the applicant within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of the submission. Only short applications that receive 3 GOs out of 4 from the evaluators will be invited to submit a full application. However, this new rule will apply to short applications submitted after the 1st of January 2024. For SAs submitted before that date, the current rule of 2 out of 4 GOs will apply.


Full application

Applicants have to upload/submit on the EU Funding and Tenders Portal:

  • A 50-page business plan with EICA-specific information; 
  • A financial spreadsheet;
  • A pitch deck; 
  • A 3’ video.

The pitch deck and the video may be the same as those submitted at the short-application stage.

Three remote expert evaluators will review the documentation and complete an evaluation summary report. To be invited to the face-to-face interview an applicant needs to receive a GO from each evaluator for all evaluation criteria. If two evaluators will give a no-go on any criteria, the applicant will not be allowed to attend the face-to-face interview. If just one evaluator gives a no-go on one or more evaluation criteria, the outcome will be decided in a consensus meeting that will establish if the applicant may be invited to the face-to-face interview or not. 

 

Face-to-face interview

The face-to-face interview is the last step of the process and the decisive one. Invited companies will face a panel with max. 6 jury members. They will start by pitching for 10 minutes using the pitch deck submitted at the FA stage. The rest of the time is allocated for the Q&A. The jury panel will then decide if to deem the company eligible for funding or give a NO GO and not award any funding. The EIC expects interviews to be organised in person in Brussels, similar to how they were conducted before the pandemic, or remotely. 


The new max. 3 submissions rule

A new rule is taking the place of the cooling-off-period. If an applicant receives 3 NO GOs throughout the process, at any stage of the process, the applicant cannot submit again to the EIC under Horizon Europe. Simply put, once reached the limit of three failed submissions the applicant is out of the competition until the next Framework Programme planned for 2028. Needless to say, with a reduced budget and more stringent criteria, competition will be fierce. For applicants looking to apply in 2024, planning in advance and working on quality will be paramount to increase the chances of success.

 

I hope you have enjoyed our second newsletter. If you want to keep up-to-date with anything EICA related subscribe to our newsletter and follow our page on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/lira-ltd/.

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