Emmanuele Angione is the Managing Partner of www.Lira.ltd. This AMA is on the topic of European Innovation Council (EIC) Funding. To date he has helped over 30 clients secure altogether €10m in EIC grant & equity funding. He is also a mentor on the UniCredit Italian-based StartLab programme & Co-Founded & exited from WinMedical.
Can you tell us more about EIC funding and what type of startups usually avail of it? I imagine there’s quite a few founders who have yet to come across it.
I suppose we can assume that most part of scaleups are interested in the EIC Accelerator. The Accelerator is designed to provide a grant of up to €2.5m and equity of up to €15m.
Is it best practice to get help applying (similar to horizon 2020)?
It is a complex three step process, so definitely yes.
Do you know if startups working in the area of climate change are a priority for those who decide where EIC grants go?
Yes, as long as they are in line with the EU Green Deal policies.
How hard is it to get funding?
The EIC budget for '21-'27 is €9.7bn. We expect a success rate of around 6% this year. It is hard. Nevertheless, it is a really interesting process as it will do a "reality check" on companies. The EIC Accelerator is like raising money from private investors. The only difference is that in this case the investor is the EC. Please remember it is not an R&D grant. It is a real investment memorandum. It takes time to go through the process.
Our suggested project plan/timelines
The process starts from step 0 = diagnostic module then step 1 = short application.
If the proposal has been given the go ahead from remote evaluators then step 3 = full application.
Only if remote evaluators give go ahead on full application then onto step 4 = face to face interview with 6-jury members.
What other key areas are considered in addition to climate e.g. health, education etc?
There are open calls (open to everyone) and strategic challenges (= Green Deal, Digital and Health). In any case, they have a focus on "deep tech" companies and allocate patient capital for them.
Is there a deadline for applying?
The short applications are always open. Full application for 2021 only June and October.
Is EIC funding only available for companies of a certain size and stage?
They have to be at a certain stage of development re product = MVP and have a strong team of founders. In terms of turnover, they can be pre-rev. IP is important.
Do you recommend we provide a detailed project plan, budget breakdown and team CVs for the quick application? Any stats on acceptance rates for quick applications so far?
The application has to be submitted on the online platform. There are 17 questions to answer (max 1,000 characters including spaces) + 10-slide deck + 3' minutes video. It is not an R&D grant. 801 full applications were received in June. We still do not have the official data on short applications. Please read this: https://eic.ec.europa.eu/guide-applicants_en
Re IP being important, does that require approved patents etc, or is it enough to have an IP strategy (at early stage)?
If FTO and granted patents available = that would be great. Otherwise, to justify IPR will be fine.
What type of companies are most successful in securing EIC grants
The ones with breakthrough technologies, a strong team of founders, a clear business plan, secured IPR and in most cases with (pre-seed/seed) investors on-board.
Where can people reach out to get more information or what’s the best way to contact you?
email@example.com, on LinkedIn or can meet in Dublin.
Can you tell us about the applications that you have worked on?
All our clients on our website: lira.ltd | In October 2020 only one IE company got funded, our client SepTec. Before onboarding a company, we do a thorough due diligence as the EIC is not for every company.
How important is market location e.g should initial target market be in EU?
It depends on the industry, market segment and company business strategy. The EC has finally understood that for some EU companies the US market is the biggest. However, we always mention in the application that key is to create jobs in the EU, alongside IPR. In some cases, under the scale-up strategy section, we explain why starting from outside the EU to then target the EU at a later stage.
Where do companies allocate the majority of projected expenditure when applying for funding? Is it usually payroll for further R&D or is it more focused on go-to-market efforts?
The grant component is mainly for personnel to complete the development of the technology. The equity component is for the go-to-market efforts.