Fund image

EIC Accelerator

European Innovation Council

The EIC Accelerator gives grants (up to 2.5M€) and investments (up to 15M€) to European Start-ups and Small companies to develop game-changing innovations. The EIC Accelerator is the main instrument promoted by the European Commission to boost tech startups. The EIC Accelerator - with over 7 billion eur until 2026- aims to fill the funding gap between the prototype stage and the market for deep-tech and science-based companies based in Europe. It is focused on high-risk high-impact projects, aiming to de-risk this type of companies by providing grants, convertible loans and equity investments.

  • Use: R&D; Go2Market;
  • Date closing: -
  • Amount: 500,000 € - 17.5M €
  • Industry focus: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishery; Arts; Tourism; Health; ICT; Food; Manufacturing; Chemical industry; Construction; Education; Energy and water supply; Transportation; Media; Others;
  • Yearly operations: 200
  • Total budget: 1B €
  • Entity type: Public Agency
  • Vertical focus: Deep-tech; Science; Deeptech
  • Website: https://eismea.ec.europa.eu/
  • Status:
    Open
  • Funding type: Grant; Equity investment;
  • Funding rate: 70%
  • Geographic focus: Horizon Europe associated countries; European Union;
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Stage focus: pre-seed;
  • Applicant target: Startup; SME; Mid-cap;

Overview

The EIC Accelerator is the main instrument promoted by the European Commission to boost tech startups. The EIC Accelerator - with over 7 billion eur until 2026- aims to fill the funding gap between the prototype stage and the market for deep-tech and science-based companies based in Europe. It is focused on high-risk high-impact projects, aiming to de-risk this type of companies by providing grants, convertible loans and equity investments. 

The EIC Accelerator is only recommended for companies with a very unique technology -stemming in most cases from R&D- and with the potential to scale globally. It is hihgly selective as the common success rates have been 2-6% across Europe.

The application process requires an estimated dedication of 300 - 400 hours since it is based on an ad-hoc specific form that makes almost impossible to reuse existing documentation or business plans.

However, the reward for successful startups is also outstanding: a maximum of 2.5 M€ in grant and 15 M€ in investment can be provided, apart from international visibility, recognition and top coaching.

Even for companies that do not succeed, the EIC Application process can be useful as it will enhance the company investment readiness. 

 

General information

The EIC Accelerator supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations. In some cases small mid-caps (up to 500 employees) are supported.

The EIC Accelerator provides substantial financial support with:

  • grant funding (non-dilutive) of up to €2.5 million for innovation development costs,
  • investments (direct equity investments) of up to €15 million managed by the EIC Fund for scale up and other relevant costs.

In addition, EIC selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community.

The EIC welcomes applications from innovators in all EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme. It particularly welcomes applications from startups and SMEs with female CEOs.

 

How to apply?

Candidates must go through a three-step evaluation process. First, the short application consists of a 3-minute video, a 10-slide presentation and a 5-page form. If this step is successfully completed, a full application is prepared in the next 12 months, writing the full proposal. Finally, the best projects will be invited to a 40-minute interview with the EIC jury. The short proposal can be submitted at any time and you are notified in 4 to 6 weeks if you pass or not to be able to submit the full proposal when there is a deadline in 2022 (those of 2021 are now the last on October 6). It is expected that by 2022 there will be 4 cut offs for the full proposal (January 12, April 6, June 15, October 5). The EIC accelerator covers up to €2.5 million in grant and up to 15 million in equity investment. During the investment the EIC goes 1:1 with other certified investor, if the company fails finding an investor the EIC will provide the money through a convertible loan.

 

Last updated on 2022-09-12 08:14

EIC Accelerator FAQ

71 questions
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What are the cut-off dates in 2023?
September 11, 2022 - 18:03
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Although the EIC Work Programme has not been published yet, a draft was leaked that contains the following cut-off dates for 2023:
- January 11, 2023
- March 22, 2023
- June 7, 2023
- October, 2023

The indicative budget for 2023 is 1.14 M€.
November 18, 2022 - 08:35
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Will we be able to protect our IP (Intellectual Property) or will we be forced to disclose some of the project results?
August 15, 2022 - 08:23
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Absolutely, and it is highly recommended. The grant/equity holder is not forced to disclose any IP asset and confidentiality is ensured along the whole process.
August 15, 2022 - 08:25
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What are the reporting requirements?
August 15, 2022 - 08:22
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Reporting has been greatly simplified for EIC Accelerator projects. The technical reports are defined in the Work Packages that you submit within your application. Apart from those, there are two major financial reports to hand in: the interim report after year 1 and the final report after project end. A financial audit is carried out at the end of the project as well.
August 15, 2022 - 08:25
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How long does it take to receive the money? How do the payments work?
July 12, 2022 - 12:45
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
We are a company based outside the EU (US). Can we apply to the EIC Accelerator through a subsidiary?
May 27, 2022 - 07:14
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
It is possible to apply through subsidiaries. However, there must be a solid strategy to develop a European business since the impact on Europe from a general perspective will be evaluated.
July 12, 2022 - 12:47
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Is there any alternative funding mechanism in the UK?
May 23, 2022 - 16:02
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
As of now, Innovate UK is the best alternative funding mechanism. Innovate UK provides smaller "smart grants" that cover similar TRL developments as the EIC Accelerator.
July 12, 2022 - 12:48
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Are UK companies eligible under the EIC Accelerator?
March 10, 2022 - 07:24
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
As of 10th of March of 2022, UK companies can apply to the EIC Accelerator although the association agreement between the EU and UK has not been signed yet. The UK government established a safety net mechanism in 2021 to offer back-up grants in the same conditions to all UK winners. In 2022, UKRI is also encouraging UK applicants to apply.
March 10, 2022 - 08:33
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Which are the topics or challenges defined by the EIC Accelerator in 2022?
March 10, 2022 - 07:24
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
The EIC challenges for 2022 are:
1) Technologies for ‘Fit for 55’, including:
- Higher clean energy conversion and use
- Decarbonisation of hard-to-abate industries
- Energy efficiency and safety in the built environment
- Zero emission mobility solutions
- Climate neutrality in the land use
- Water, gas and indoor air management/monitoring systems
- Green digital technologies

2)Technologies for Open Strategic Autonomy, including
- Components, technologies and systems for the pharmaceutical industry
- Strategic healthcare technologies
- Sustainable and innovative approaches, including circular approaches to critical raw materials (CRM)
- New applications of quantum technologies
- Edge computing applications
- Innovative applications making use of data and signals from EU space infrastructures (Galileo, Copernicus, etc.)
- Development of space technologies,
- Critical security technologies
- Technologies for innovative financial and payment infrastructures and services
March 10, 2022 - 08:30
Joseph Fischer
applicant | CTO
What are the minimum requirements with regards to turnover, balance and employees?
January 26, 2022 - 16:05
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
There are no minimums defined for turnover, balance or employees. However, the applicant company must be an SME, which poses some maximum thresholds: 50M€ in turnover and 250 employees.
January 26, 2022 - 16:08
Niall Healy
applicant | Project manager
What is the difference between EIC Accelerator open and EIC Accelerator challenges? Which one should we apply?
December 21, 2021 - 11:26
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
The EIC Accelelerator budget is divided into different buckets, one for the Open call and others for specific challenges that the EIC defines on the annual work plan. In general, companies should apply to challenges if their product/service is addressing one of them. However, in some cases we have seen that the Challenges are so broad that these calls receive such a high number of applications (ther is also a "pull effect") that applying to the Open call has a better chance of success.
January 19, 2022 - 15:59
David Arias
consultant | CEO
Which cut-off dates (deadlines) are expected for the EIC Acceelerator in 2022?
December 15, 2021 - 07:59
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Update 07/02/2022: the cut off dates for full applications are expected to be 23 March, 15 June and 5 October 2022 (dates to be confirmed in the EIC Work Programme).
February 07, 2022 - 07:23
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Some dates have been leaked as of March 21 but they have not been officially communicated:
March 16,
June 1,
October 5

We must however await for the official EIC news.
January 21, 2022 - 09:29
Answer by FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Unfortunately, the EIC has not published the Work Programme 2022 yet. During 2021 a draft WP established as initial deadlines the 12th January, 6th April, 15th June and 5th October. However, these dates have not been confirmed yet and NCPs (National Contact Points) have communicated that the January call is indeed cancelled. The reasons have not been reported.

European startups are inmerse in a extraordinary uncertainty with regards to EIC funding, which is not less than the biggest EU funding program for deep tech startups. We hope the EIC manages to overcome all the barriers and ends up deploying an attractive and effective startup funding mechanism in 2022. Meanwhile, European science-based companies might need to look for capital somewhere else...
December 16, 2021 - 15:33
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How to finance larger innovation projects?
December 01, 2021 - 14:32
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
In some sectors, innovation activities -until market entry- may require longer timeframes and greater funding resources than those provided by the EIC Accelerator (2 years; 2.5M€). Medtech or cleantech innovations are typical examples. In these cases, a subset of activities can be founded by the EIC Grant (2.5 M€) while the EIC Equity investment and other funding sources can be used to complement the EIC Grant.
December 01, 2021 - 14:41
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Can clinical studies be funded?
December 01, 2021 - 14:32
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Clinical studies are a typical part of health-focused EIC Accelerator projects and are usually considered to be TRL-6 activities. Pre-clinical studies are required in order to justify the right TRL for a medtech innovation.
December 01, 2021 - 14:40
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Can software projects be funded?
December 01, 2021 - 14:32
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Absolutely. The EIC does not define which type of technologies (eg. software or hardware) the innovations must implement. Software is a fundamental component of many innovation projects and software startups can be perfect candidates for the EIC Accelerator as long as they comply with the official requirements and success criteria.
December 01, 2021 - 14:39
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How do I prepare for the interview?
December 01, 2021 - 14:31
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Preparing for the interview is key. The EIC arranges a limited number of interviews which translates to a usual success rate of 30-50% for the companies that are invited. Therefore, the EIC interview is a unique opportunity to receive a significant funding injection. The typical duration of the interview is 40 minutes including 10 minutes (maximum) of presentation supported by the pitch pdf document submitted with your full proposal and 30 minutes of questions and answers to clarify aspects of the proposal. There are no pre-defined questions and we have observed that the type and breadth of questions may vary considerable. While some interview verse mostly about the technology, others are focused on the business-side of the project. Typically, both commercial and technology-related questions are posed to the candidates. A maximum of 3 representatives are allowed. We recommend all applicants to divide the presentation and the answers among at least 2 key members of the company. Although not a formal requirement, it is understood that the CEO and other key roles must be present.
December 01, 2021 - 14:39
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What is the most important success criteria?
December 01, 2021 - 14:31
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
There is no simple answer. These are the criteria officially defined by the
EIC. Successful applicants must:

· Develop high risk/high impact innovations;

· Have the potential to create new markets, disrupt existing ones and contribute to societal innovation;

· Build on scientific discovery, radical thinking or technological breakthroughs (‘deep tech’);

· Require significant funding over a long timeframe before returns can be generated (‘patient capital’).
December 01, 2021 - 14:38
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How do I prepare a competition analysis if my product is completely unique with no competition?
November 25, 2021 - 12:34
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
No product is 100% competition-free. It may be that the competition is so far behind in technology that you will easily outcompete them, but you must still include an analysis. The competition analysis should also cover other companies working in the sector, even if they do not have a solution perfectly suited to the problem you are solving.
November 25, 2021 - 12:44
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Do I need to hire a patent attorney to carry out the Freedom to Operate analysis (FTO)?
November 25, 2021 - 12:33
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
If you do not have an FTO, you can upload a two-page document explaining why and providing as much information as possible on the issue. However, it is highly recommended to upload an FTO, and some evaluators will not seriously consider applications without one.

Some companies have the know-how to complete a patent search themselves. While the evaluators may accept an unofficial patent search, hiring a patent attorney to complete a thorough FTO is generally better.

In cases where the FTO is not relevant (e.g. software), you can upload a simple statement.
November 25, 2021 - 12:43
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How much detail should be included in the work packages and the budget?
November 25, 2021 - 12:33
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Evaluators will study the work packages in detail, and your project manager will monitor them closely during your project (if you are funded). It is essential to include details of milestones and deliverables so the EIC can keep track of your project. The budget should contain specifics for every expense. For example, in personnel costs, which of your team will work on each task, and how are they suited to that job? In equipment costs, why are you choosing that manufacturer, and what are the alternatives?
November 25, 2021 - 12:43
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How important are the three sections of the full application? (Ideation, Development, Go2Market)
November 25, 2021 - 12:32
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Each section is equally important. However, the Go2Market section is the longest and, for many businesses, the most challenging to complete. Evaluators will pay particularly close attention to your commercialisation strategy and your market analysis, and they will consider them in combination with the risks.

If you are uncertain about your Go2Market section, please get in touch, and we can try to help!
November 25, 2021 - 12:42
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What types of questions will be in each section of the full application? (Ideation, Development, Go2Market)
November 25, 2021 - 12:32
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Ideation
The ideation section covers the problem, your solution, and your value proposition. You will answer questions about the value chain and your stakeholders in this section.

Development
The development section covers your technological achievements to date and the next steps to prepare your technology for the market. It also includes a detailed description of the use cases and features of your product. The development section is where you will upload your work plan, your work packages, and information about your team and key partners.

Go2Market
The Go2Market section is the largest of the three. It covers the current state and size of the market, including a comprehensive competition analysis and a SWOT analysis. It also covers the business aspects of your product, including risks, IP, regulations, and scaling. Here you also have to answer questions about your corporate strategy, business model canvas, and finances. The Go2Market section also gives you an opportunity to explain how your product can have broader impacts on Europe and the World.
November 25, 2021 - 12:40
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What does the EIC Accelerator full application look like?
November 25, 2021 - 12:31
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
The bulk of the full application is a funding proposal submitted through the EIC platform. It is divided into three sections (Ideation, Development, and Go2Market) with numerous subsections. Each subsection has a set of questions that you can answer directly on the platform (plain text only). Most questions are limited to 1,000 characters, with some longer answers (5,000 or 10,000 characters).

You will also have to fill out your work packages on the platform. Your work packages will be divided into tasks with individual budgets and deliverables. The work packages are then mapped to other parts of the proposal, such as the value proposition and the team.

The platform will also ask you to upload a financial annexe with five years of financial projections, a pitch deck which you will use if you get to interview, a freedom to operate (FTO) analysis, a data management plan (DMP), and optionally letters of interest or support from partners and investors. You can also upload a ten-page annexe which may include graphics if you choose.
November 25, 2021 - 12:39
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How much time is needed to prepare an application?
November 23, 2021 - 10:03
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Some analysis estimate that 300 hours of work are needed to prepare a full EIC Application. However, this is greatly dependant on the pre-existing documentation.
November 23, 2021 - 13:40
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What feedback can we expect for the short and long applications?
November 23, 2021 - 10:03
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Companies receive detailed feedback for both applications, which includes many comments from the evaluators. It is essential to use the feedback from the Stage 1 application to prepare the Stage 2 application and to use all of the feedback when resubmitting.
November 23, 2021 - 13:41
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How important are the pitch deck and video?
November 23, 2021 - 10:03
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
It is impossible to know which document the evaluators read first. Therefore, it is essential to make sure all three documents are excellent.
November 23, 2021 - 13:42
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What is the application procedure?
November 23, 2021 - 10:02
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Stage 1 – Diagnostic and Short Application
Stage 1 applications can be submitted at any time and are evaluated on a rolling basis. Feedback is provided in 2-4 weeks.

The Stage 1 proposal includes basic information about the company and preliminary questions about the technology, the value proposition, the market and competition, the team, and the risks.

Companies must also submit a ten-page pitch deck and a three-minute video.

The application will be evaluated by four experts who issue “GO” or “NO GO” votes. Applications require at least two “GOs” to proceed to Stage 2.

Stage 2 – Full Application
There are up to four Stage 2 deadlines per year. Typically, the platform will open for submission a few weeks before the deadline. The results are provided within 4-6 weeks.

The Stage 2 proposal is typically 30+ pages of plain text divided into three parts: Ideation, Development, and Go2Market. It includes detailed information about the technology, the competition, the market, and the team. It also includes a detailed budget, go to market strategy, financial plan, and much more.

Companies must also submit the following: a) data management plan, b) freedom to operate analysis, c) financial projections, d) pitch deck to be used at interview, e) letters of support (optional), f) ten-page annex (optional).

The application will be evaluated by three experts and requires three “GO” votes to proceed to Stage 3.

Stage 3 – Interview
During Stage 3, you will present your application to the EIC at an interview. They will ask questions about the commercialisation strategy, team, technological feasibility, pay-offs for the company, and impact.
November 23, 2021 - 13:43
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
What is the success rate of the EIC Accelerator?
November 23, 2021 - 10:02
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
The application process has changed dramatically in 2021, and we are still waiting to see new statistics, but previously the success rate was typically 4%.
November 23, 2021 - 13:46
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Can I resubmit a rejected proposal?
November 23, 2021 - 10:02
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Yes, but the rules for resubmission changed in 2021. The rules are now:

Stage 1 application: One resubmission with significant improvements. If you are rejected a second time, you must wait 12 months.

Stage 2 Application: One resubmission within the following two deadlines. If it is rejected a second time, you must submit a new Stage 1 application after waiting 12 months.

Stage 3 Interview: There are two possibilities if you are rejected:

Allowed a second chance to interview
Allowed to resubmit a Stage 2 application
If you are rejected a second time you must wait 12 months and submit a new Stage 1 application.
November 23, 2021 - 13:47
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Can two companies apply together?
November 23, 2021 - 10:02
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
No. The EIC Accelerator has been a single-applicant finance program for some time.
November 23, 2021 - 13:47
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
How long does it take to receive the funding?
November 23, 2021 - 10:01
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Grants can be paid within three months of submission, but this should not be relied on. Equity can take up to one year to be paid.
November 23, 2021 - 13:52
FundingTrip Team
consultant | Communications
Should I write my own application, or should I hire a consultant?
November 23, 2021 - 10:00
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
This can be a difficult question to answer, and there is a lot to consider. Companies should consider whether they can dedicate the time and talent to writing a lengthy proposal, whether they have the skills required, and whether they can afford a consultancy. They should consider the internal opportunity cost (can they afford to dedicate a team to spend 1-2 months preparing the application). They should also consider reaching out to a consultancy to assess the quality of their project and whether it is likely to be funded (these meetings are usually free of charge).
November 23, 2021 - 13:54
David Arias
consultant | CEO
Should I apply for grant only, grant first, or blended finance?
November 16, 2021 - 12:53
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
The EIC Accelerator is divided into two parts:

a) Grant
Covers activities from TRL 5/6 to TRL 8
Non-refundable
Up to €2.5M
Must be used within two years
b) Equity
Covers activities from TRL 8 to TRL 9
Provided in exchange for equity in the company (typically 10-25%)
Up to €15M
If you only require financing up to TRL 8, you should apply for grant only.
If your innovation still requires significant work to validate and demonstrate in the relevant environment, you should apply for grant first.
If you are ready to go to market in two years but still require financing, you should apply for blended finance (grant + equity).
If you are already at TRL 8 and need financing to commercialise, you can apply for equity only, but you must be able to prove “non-bankability”.
November 22, 2021 - 12:20
David Arias
consultant | CEO
What are the differences between Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, SME Instrument, and EIC Accelerator?
November 16, 2021 - 12:53
Answer by Joseph Fischer
applicant | CTO
Horizon 2020 has now finished and has been replaced by Horizon Europe.

The SME Instrument was a funding program running until June 2019, when it was replaced with the EIC Accelerator. The program is similar, but the application process changed significantly in 2021.
November 23, 2021 - 09:10
David Arias
consultant | CEO
What Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is required?
November 16, 2021 - 12:53
Answer by Joseph Fischer
applicant | CTO
The scope of the EIC Accelerator is from TRL 5/6 to TRL 9+. The grant will cover up to TRL 8, and equity will cover TRL 9 and onwards. You can apply at any TRL within that range.
Note that all applications must present a workplan up to and including TRL 9+, even if you do not require equity.
November 23, 2021 - 07:51
David Arias
consultant | CEO
Who can apply to the EIC Accelerator?
November 16, 2021 - 12:52
Answer by Elsa Granados
Manager | Manager
Any for-profit SME registered in the EU or associated countries is eligible to apply. Companies must demonstrate “non-bankability” and contribute positively to the EU objectives (e.g. healthcare, green energy, climate action).
November 22, 2021 - 12:18

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