Two Irish start-ups to receive funding from major EU accelerator

20 Dec 2021

Image: © Eisenhans/

Bluedrop Medical and Equal1 were selected to receive funding in the largest EIC Accelerator round to date.

Two Irish start-ups have been selected to receive millions in EU funding in the latest round of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator.

The EIC Accelerator falls under Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, and was launched earlier this year. The aim of the accelerator is to support start-ups and spin-outs developing and scaling game-changing innovations with a combination of equity financing and grants.

The two Irish start-ups selected for funding are Bluedrop Medical and Equal1, which will both receive blended finance to support their projects.

Galway-headquartered Bluedrop Medical has developed remote patient monitoring technology for those with diabetic foot ulcers. It has been approved for €15m in funding, which it said will help it enter new markets in the US and Europe.

“Practically speaking, this funding will also allow us to significantly increase the size of our team to take on this global opportunity,” Bluedrop Medical CEO Chris Murphy said.

“We aim to hire 50 people over the next three years in the areas of business development, marketing, clinical trial management, software and AI.”

The medtech start-up raised €3.7m in funding in 2019 and earlier this year it received the top prize at the 2021 Roche Diabetes Care Innovation Challenge for its technology.

“Our goal has been to develop a technology that delivers a win-win situation to all stakeholders: patients, healthcare providers and payers. This funding will enable us to bring this potentially life-changing technology to patients across Europe and the world,” Murphy added.

Equal1, a spin-out from University College Dublin (UCD), has been recommended for €10m in EU funding by the EIC as it works to develop affordable, compact and functional quantum computers.

“This is a huge validation of our team and our game-changing plans for silicon quantum-enhanced machine learning,” said Equal1 COO Jason Lynch said. “This will enable us to accelerate our hiring plans to attract the world’s best silicon and AI architects, engineers and software developers.”

The start-up said it made a “major breakthrough” earlier this year for the quantum computing industry and it also received a multimillion-euro investment from Btov Industrial Technologies and Atlantic Bridge.

Accelerating tech

The European Commission selected 99 start-ups and SMEs to receive a total of €627m in EU funding in the largest-ever round from the EIC Accelerator.

All of the companies selected will receive grants and/or equity investments, depending on their needs, up to a maximum of €17.5m to help bring promising technologies to the market.

Since the EIC Accelerator launch in March 2021, more than 4,000 start-ups and SMEs have sent ideas and 1,800 have submitted full applications to the cut-offs in June and October.

The EIC said selected companies should receive the grant financing within the coming months, while the equity investment is likely to take longer as the arrangements for implementing EIC equity need to be re-established under Horizon Europe.

A total of 65 projects received recommendations in the previous round for more than €360m in funding, including five Enterprise Ireland-backed start-ups.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic