The EIC Accelerator call is the largest and the most competitive public funding scheme in the world, with a very small percentage of applicants making it past the interview stage and who are ultimately funded.
While our expertise in writing the proposal is a key determinant in making it past the initial evaluation, the most critical factor is our ability to identify and pick winning candidates.
Particularly since with the new rules of the EIC, the application is only one amongst multiple aspects determining whether a candidate receives the funding (ie. even if successful at the interview, the candidate will undergo a process of due diligence where the funding may be decreased in size or revoked altogether, if the right conditions are not met). For this reason, considerable time and effort are invested in the process of sourcing and evaluating our clients, before making an offer to work with a client.
The below elements are some of the characteristics which we take into consideration in our analysis whenever we are evaluating a candidate.
We are looking for ground-breaking science-based, deep-tech innovations. Deep tech is that set of cutting-edge and disruptive technologies rooted in scientific discovery, advanced engineering, mathematics, physics and medicine.
While there are no pre-determined focus areas, the sectors that are most fertile for deep tech applications are life sciences, healthcare (immunology, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.), computing, food, fisheries and agriculture, synthetic biology, aerospace, energy and clean-tech, industrial technologies, telecom, new materials, chemistry.
Characterized by their strong transformational potential, these innovations go far beyond existing technologies and address complex societal or environmental challenges, with a strong impact in all industries and levels of society.
They must have a clear European or Global added value and deliver important benefits to society as a whole. Technologies that are ‘strategic’ to European interests (for instance Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Quantum Computing / Semi-Conductors, Satellites and Satellite imagery, Aerospace, etc.) are also prime candidates.
Inherently risky by nature, they are hard to develop, involve substantial R&D and generate strong intellectual property. The underlying IP is either hard to reproduce or well protected (patents), so they often have a valuable competitive advantage or barrier to entry.
Whenever possible, the technology has usually been validated outside the lab with key customers through demonstration projects and must have compelling comparative data to demonstrate with quantified metrics that it goes beyond the state of the art.
Due to their long development and validation processes, these innovations take a long time to reach market maturity. With the exception of healthcare biotechnology which is granted longer timelines due to longer regulatory authorization processes, the typical time to market is 2-3 years for those opting for blended financing (combining a grant for innovation activities and equity for scaling up).
We typically work with early-stage ventures that have already been through a seed round (>2M), or through Series A or B (depending on their size). There are several reasons:
1. First, reaching the necessary technological maturity in these areas of applications evidently requires funding over a certain period of time (usually 3 to 7 years).
2. Second, as the EIC converges with a typical VC-style investment process, candidates are expected to present a mature commercialization plan and a strong leadership team to be funded. It is therefore logical to expect that those who have already been through the process of successfully raising VC funding, are more likely to have the profile and the data we want.
3. Third, securing the equity investment from the EIC will require candidates to raise the same amount (or more) from private investors. Therefore, it is important to have a strong network of investors that can be activated when the green light is given by the EIC in order to complete the round.
The candidate must demonstrate that it can attract and retain talent in key positions and must have established a suitable governance structure, preferably with a board of senior advisors. The typical team size is 10 to 30 FTEs. The senior leadership team must be 100% committed to the project (a team with part-time CEOs, COOs or CTOs will not win).
Please note that the above criteria are merely indicative and that candidates are evaluated as a whole by evaluating business plans.
To find out more about our services please contact us, we will be happy to evaluate your case in more detail.