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

14 Oct 2021

Garrett Murray. Image: Enterprise Ireland

AVeta Medical, Akara Robotics, CrannMed, Contego Sports and ProVerum were all selected to receive funding and mentorship from the European Innovation Council’s accelerator.

Five Enterprise Ireland-backed start-ups have been recommended for more than €20.5m in funding from the first final-stage European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator call.

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 SMEs, particularly start-ups and spin-outs, developing and scaling game-changing innovations, with a combination of equity financing and grants.

The five Enterprise Ireland client companies that have been selected for funding are AVeta Medical, Akara Robotics, CrannMed, Contego Sports and ProVerum. The majority are healthcare-focused tech businesses.

“This announcement is a great success for Ireland and is testament to the capability and talent within the Irish innovation and commercialisation system and the vibrancy and international competitiveness of the Irish start-up community,” said Garrett Murray, national director for Horizon Europe at Enterprise Ireland.

“In line with Enterprise Ireland’s strategy, this funding will help our clients to build on their existing capabilities, scale and create jobs. At Enterprise Ireland we are looking to work with innovative start-ups and SMEs across all sectors to build on this success in future EIC funding calls and across the wider Horizon Europe programme,” he added.

Liam Farrissey, CEO of Galway-based CrannMed, said the EIC grant and equity funding would enable his team to bring new therapies to patients suffering with knee osteoarthritis.

Paula Newell, CEO and founder of AVeta Medical, added that she was delighted the accelerator had acknowledged her company’s “disruptive and innovative woman’s health medical device”.

“This funding will bring the AVeta device a step closer to providing a much-wanted hormone-free, safe solution to millions of women suffering from vaginal atrophy,” she said. “We are really excited about growing an innovative Irish company in the femtech space and this funding gives us a fantastic boost in making this happen.”

Also included was Trinity College Dublin spin-out Akara Robotics, which develops AI-powered robots Stevie and Violet for the healthcare sector, and another Trinity spin-out, ProVerum.

Galway-founded sports technology company Contego Sports, which manufactures and develops head protection for athletes, is also set to receive funding.

More than 2,700 applications were submitted to the first stage evaluation of the EIC Accelerator up to July. Ireland ranks fourth in terms of the number of companies recommended for funding, alongside Denmark and after France, Germany and the Netherlands.

A total of 65 projects across Europe received recommendations for more than €360m in funding. As well as financial support, the accelerator provides holistic supports such as mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.