EIC has invested more than €1bn in European deep-tech start-ups

14 Nov 2023

Image: © BirgitKorber/Stock.adobe.com

Since its launch last September, the venture arm of European Innovation Council has invested in nearly 160 deep-tech start-ups to boost the sector in Europe.

The EU has spent more than €1bn on deep-tech start-ups in a little more than a year’s time, the Commission said today (14 November).

These investments were made through the venture arm of the European Innovation Council (EIC) that first started operations in September of last year. The fund was launched under Horizon Europe to support “breakthrough” technologies and innovations.

According to the Commission, nearly 160 deep-tech start-ups and SMEs, all selected under the EIC accelerator programme, have had their investments approved.

“By reaching this €1bn milestone, the EIC consolidates its position as the investor of choice for European deep-tech companies,” a statement from the Commission read.

Some of the companies that have benefitted from this accelerator are French quantum start-up Quandela, Dutch robotics medtech Microsure and Spanish AI health-tech MeThinks.

“The EIC stands as the cornerstone of Europe’s innovation landscape. It’s a launchpad for revolutionary technologies and transformative innovations,” said innovation commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

“We are empowering Europe’s brightest start-ups to grow, secure investments and emerge as global frontrunners in technologies pivotal for Europe’s journey towards a greener, digitally advanced future.”

The European Innovation Council (EIC) was launched in March 2021 to support emerging tech in Europe and “make money out of science”.

More than €10bn is expected to be invested in innovative research-based start-ups and SMEs up to 2027 through the EIC. As part of this initiative, the European Commission announced funding worth €1.6bn for the EIC to help scale up various breakthrough technologies in 2023.

According to a 2022 report from the European Patent Office, deep-tech businesses in the European Union lagged behind their counterparts in the US. Since then, there has been an undeniable boost to the deep-tech ecosystem.

In another report published in January of this year, results claimed that deep tech became one of Europe’s strongest sectors in 2022, with start-ups raising $17.7bn for the year.

“Clean-tech, health-tech, quantum, semiconductors as well as new materials are at the centre of the European deep-tech start-up ecosystem,” Aikaterini Liakopoulou, a business coach for EU-funded deep-tech start-ups, told SiliconRepublic.com in July.

“It’s unique from other places in the world both in its drivers and its founders’ characteristics. There is a federal policy push (and massive public funding) around areas to secure the continent’s tech sovereignty, creating a domino effect for private investors too. Thus, we see new types of term sheets emerging that combine public and private funds.”

Recent Irish deep-tech start-ups to have benefitted from the EIC fund are recent Start-up of the Week companies Luminate Medical and Celtic Biotech, NovaUCD spin-out BioSimulytics and University of Limerick spin-out Hooke Bio.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic