The European Innovation Council Equity Fund for High-Impact Innovation Is Now an Official Entity
The EIC Fund, which will provide equity from €0.5m to €15m to breakthrough innovation companies selected for EIC Accelerator blended finance support (grant and equity), has become an official entity. This is the first time the European Commission will make such direct equity investments in companies, with ownership stakes expected to be in general from 10% to 25% in start-up companies. The European Investment Bank, as advisors of the EIC Fund on behalf of the European Commission, will manage the ownership stakes of the European Commission.
The EIC Fund fills the funding gap at the start-up stage where the EU venture capital market underperforms compared to the global venture capital market.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:
“The EIC Fund – the first of its kind – will help our most innovative start-ups and SMEs rapidly bring their innovative products to European and global markets, while growing their companies and talent within the EU. Currently, so much economic growth and jobs potential are lost because these companies are seen as too high-risk for the private venture capital market.”
From 2021, the EIC Fund will be financed by the EIC to be established under Horizon Europe – the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme (2021-2027). Depending on the demand and quality of proposals, it is expected that at least one third of the EIC budget, currently proposed at €10bn, will be in the form of equity managed by the EIC Fund. Furthermore, the EIC Fund will increase financing for high-impact innovation by crowding-in private investment, co-investing with venture capital funds, national promotional banks, corporate venture funds and other private investors.
In addition to equity funding, EIC Accelerator-supported companies receive grant funding of up to €2.5 million and have access to mentoring, business coaching and matchmaking with investors, corporates and likeminded entrepreneurs.