The European Commission announced the second round of direct equity investment through the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund. Since its launch last year, the fund has approved 111 investments in startups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
A total of more than Euro 500 million has been used to support innovations in areas such as health, circular economy, and Internet of Things.
The new announcement represents 69 new investments. This provides a strong foundation for the EIC fund under Horizon Europe, which is expected to invest more than Euro 3.5 billion over the next 7 years, the Commission said.
The equity investments, ranging from Euro 0.5 to Euro 15 million per company, complement the grant financing of up to Euro 2.5 million, which has been provided through the EIC Accelerator.
Examples of recently signed investments include:
- Antofénol (France) – a company providing natural solution for post-harvest protection of fruit and vegetables;
- Gleechi AB (Sweden) – transforming training with virtual reality;
- Keyou GmBH (Germany) – developing a technology that allows hydrogen to be used in diesel engines;
- Lixea (Estonia) – new technology to dissolve waste wood to get raw materials;
- Ophiomix (Portugal) – a decision tool for liver transplantation based on molecular signature.
The Commission says the EIC Fund aims to fill a critical financing gap and its main purpose is not to maximise financial investment returns, but to have a high impact by accompanying companies with and disruptive technologies in their growth.
“Its objective is to crowd in market players, further sharing risks by building a large network of capital providers and strategic partners suitable for co-investments and follow on funding. The Fund pays particular attention to empower and support female founders, as well as contributing to reduce the innovation divide among EU countries.”
“The EIC Fund has developed incredibly quickly and has established itself as a new force in EU technology investments. This unique form of financing – combining grants and equity – is proving itself highly attractive to Europe’s most promising startups, and providing them with the means to develop and scale their businesses in Europe”, said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth in a statement.