EIC Accelerator: strong performance of engineering and tech-based companies

Photo: 3844328/Pixabay

A new group of 47 companies has been selected to receive European Innovation Council (EIC) funding, combining grants and equity, following the third 2023 EIC Accelerator cut-off in June.

This cut-off showed a strong performance of engineering and tech-based companies. They account for 25% of the selected companies, close to the traditionally strong performance of health tech companies that make up 30% of the total.

The companies were selected in a highly competitive process, in which 140 companies were interviewed by juries of experienced investors and entrepreneurs, out of a total of 648 full proposals submitted.

The 47 selected companies will together receive nearly €350 million of funding. A large majority of selected companies (68%) will receive blended finance option, which is a combination of grants and equity investments.

The equity investments will be made through the EIC Fund. The selected companies have a geographical spread spanning 15 countries, including four widening countries.

Some examples of the innovative projects and companies that will receive support include: Axelera AI from the Netherlands (project Axelera Europa) – a novel hardware and software platform to revolutionise artificial intelligence (AI); Vsora from France (project Superchip) – scalable unified processor enhancing revolutionary computing, harnessing integrated performance for edge AI, autonomous driving, generative AI, and decentralised AIoT applications; and Quside Technologies from Spain (project RPU) – quantum-based randomness processing units (RPUs) for high-performance computation and data security.

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. A further 91 applications that met all the criteria at the remote evaluation stage and that were assessed positively by the EIC jury, but not recommended for funding, 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 June cut-off saw some more companies coming from the ‘Plug In’ scheme, where applicants that are put forward by national innovation programmes and are immediately invited to submit a full proposal, skipping the usual first step of submitting and getting approval for a short proposal.

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 approximately four weeks. 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 will be announced in the EIC 2024 Work Programme that is scheduled to be adopted in December 2023.

Jim Cornall is editor of Deeptech Digest and publisher at Ayr Coastal Media. He is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, broadcaster, designer and author. Contact Jim here.