Europe invests €227m directly in tech startups

Europe invests €227m directly in tech startups

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Under the EIC accelerator programme, each company receives a combination of grant financing and equity investment of up to €17m develop and scale up technology for healthcare, digital technologies, energy, biotechnology, space and other.

60 out of the 65 companies received a total of €227m in equity with the remaining €136m in grants. This is the first batch of companies to be funded after a pilot of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator. The EIC is currently evaluating new round with 1098 companies.

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The companies include Up Mem in France which is developing Processing in Memory (PIM) devices. “The EIC support will allow our PIM technology to drastically reduce the energy and hardware footprint of digital services and data centres,” it said.

“The access to a €2.5m grant, and up to €15m in equity will allow UPMEM to grow its team from 24 persons, based in Grenoble and Paris or remotely in European countries, to about 100 persons by the end of 2023. Our semiconductor architects, software engineers and commercial team will build, produce and sell the intelligent memory of tomorrow. They will nurture a new software ecosystem that will leverage the exceptional programming accessibility and scalability of UPMEM PIM.”

Minima Processor in Finland is developing a low power processor, while Plant-e in Belgium is developing plant-powered energy harvesting system for IoT systems.

Oledcomm in Sweden is developing LED-based LiFi communications technology for spacecraft and aerospace applications, while Wi-Charge is developing a wireless power system that overcomes current limitations, allowing charging devices over the air with a range of 10m and available power that is 100X more than batteries.

The scheme is also supporting quantum startups Alice and Bob in France developing a new type of self-correcting quantum hardware to build the world’s first fault-tolerant commercial quantum computers and Sparrow Quantum in Denmark developing single photon sources for photonic quantum computers.

A new start-up friendly application process has been introduced this year, under Horizon Europe, where companies can submit their ideas at any time for an immediate fast assessment. Successful candidates are invited to prepare a full application with the help of free business coaching.

The full applications are then evaluated at regular cut-off dates approximately every 3 months. Since March over 4,000 start-ups and SMEs have sent their ideas, of which 801 presented full applications to the first cut-off on 16 June 2021 and a further 1098 to the second cut-off on 6 October, which are now being assessed. The results of this second batch of EIC Accelerator companies will be announced by the end of the year and the next cut-off date is expected in the beginning of 2022.

“The EIC Accelerator is a unique European funding instrument of the European Innovation Council. It supports the development of top-class innovations through crowding-in private investors and offers a portfolio of services to support their scaling-up. With the European Innovation Council we aim to bring Europe to the forefront of innovation and new technologies, by investing in new solutions for the health, environmental and societal challenges we are facing,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

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