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European Innovation Council
News article28 February 2024European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency2 min read

EIC Accelerator – €285 million funding in deep-tech start-ups in most competitive funding round

A new set of 42 companies has been selected to receive European Innovation Council (EIC) funding, combining grants and equity, following the final 2023 EIC Accelerator cut-off in November.

The companies were selected in a highly competitive process, in which 242 companies were interviewed by juries of experienced investors and entrepreneurs out of a total of 1083 full proposals submitted.

The 42 selected companies will together receive up to €285 million in funding. A large majority of selected companies (62%) will receive the blended finance option, which is a combination of grants and equity investments. The equity investments will be made through the EIC Fund as the dedicated investment fund for EIC Accelerator companies, and which attracts other investors to increase the overall investment to over three times the EIC investment on average. The selected companies have a geographical spread spanning 15 countries, including three widening countries.

Here are some examples of innovative companies that will receive support:

  • Alias Robotics (Spain) – the next generation robot-specific AI-powered security platform
  • IQM Finland (Finland) - industrial-grade quantum computers with error correction and mitigation capabilities
  • Powerful medical (Slovakia) – application for more accurate heart attack diagnosis
  • Smart Farm Robotix  (Bulgaria) - fully autonomous solar-powered lightweight weeding robot, using AI for plant recognition, precision contact and contactless weeding methods suited for hard soils, hilly terrains, and arid climates.

In most cases, the companies will receive the grant financing within the next two to three months, while the first investment decisions will be made within two months, depending on the urgency of the companies’ needs. A further 193 applications that met all the criteria at the remote evaluation stage and that were assessed positively by the EIC jury, but where there was insufficient funding available, will be awarded a Seal of Excellence to help them find alternative sources of funding, including from the Recovery and Resilience Funds and European Regional Development Funds.

The November cut-off, similarly to the previous one in June, had an increase of  companies coming from the Fast Track and ‘Plug In’ schemes. They allow funding bodies managing other parts of the Horizon Europe and Horizon 2020 programmes (the Fast Track) and funding bodies managing certified national/regional programmes (the Plug In) to submit projects from their portfolio directly to the full application stage of the EIC Accelerator.

Background information

The EIC Accelerator offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from €0.5 to €15 million or more. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of Business Acceleration Services that provide access to leading expertise, corporates, investors and ecosystem actors.

Companies can submit their ideas to the EIC Accelerator at any time, which are then evaluated within 4-6 weeks. So far over ten thousand startups have submitted ideas since the EIC launch in 2021. For ideas meeting the EIC criteria for excellence, impact and risk-level, companies are invited to prepare full applications to submit to one of the regular cut-off dates. The next cut-off for EIC Accelerator full proposals, as announced in the EIC 2024 work programme is scheduled on 13 March 2024.

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Publication date
28 February 2024
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency