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European Innovation Council
News article24 November 20211 min read

European Innovation Council impact report 2021: key numbers from the EIC performance

The EIC impact report 2021 has just been published.

The fully-fledged European Innovation Council (EIC), launched in March 2021 under Horizon Europe, is a major new player on the innovation landscape. Its unique approach to identifying, developing and scaling up Europe’s breakthrough technologies and game-changing innovation is already delivering tangible results.

This report documents the results and impact of the EIC pilot phase up to 2020. During that period, the EIC supported 5500 start-ups and SMEs which have:

  • Crowded in EUR 9.6 billion in follow on investments, primarily from Venture Capital, but also from corporates, national promotional banks and others.
  • Reached a valuation of around EUR 50 billion, including 91 "centaurs" (company valuation over €100m) and 2 "unicorns" (company valuation over EUR 1 billion). 
  • An increasing number of women-led start-ups: of those awarded funding in 2020, over 20 percent have a female CEO, a doubling of the previous level.

The EIC Fund, established in 2020, entered full operations in the first six months of 2021:

  • Investment decisions taken on 137 companies worth EUR 600 million.
  • The first 24 direct equity investments by the EIC Fund attracted co-investments by VC funds and others of € 395 million (2.7 times the EIC Fund investment).

The EIC is generating scientific breakthroughs as a basis for future innovations:

  • EIC supported research projects have generated so far over 800 innovations. The majority of these projects include SMEs or other commercial partners.
  • EIC Programme Managers pro-actively support the follow up of emerging technologies into potential innovations, through spin-outs, IPRs, collaborations and other pathways.
  • EUR 100 million of EIC Transition funding in 2021 to pull through proofs of concept from ERC and EIC into commercial ventures.

And new solutions for healthcare and the Green and Digital transitions:

  • As of 2020, 90.5% of the portfolio of EIC Accelerator companies are developing innovations that address at least one SDG.
  • The 218 start-ups awarded EIC funding in 2020, include 72 developing innovative solutions for COVID, at least 64 for Green Deal and at least 40 for digital technologies


23 NOVEMBER 2021
European Innovation Council Impact Report 2021
23 NOVEMBER 2021
EIC key achievements factsheet




Publication date
24 November 2021