The new European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund is officially in action. The European Commission just announced the first round of direct equity investment, which amounts to about €178 million going to 42 startups and small and medium sized businesses. The French medtech company CorWave is the first to receive an EIC investment. According to a press release, the chosen businesses are innovating in health, circular economy, advanced manufacturing and other areas. Each one will receive a cheque ranging from €500,000 to €15 million, which complements grant financing provided through the EIC Accelerator Pilot.
The mix of grant and equity is intended to “bridge the funding gap for highly innovative companies, unlock additional private investments and enable them to scale up in Europe,” rather than relocate, says Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. In December 2019, the EIC pilot announced the first deployment of grant funding. To date the program has funded 293 companies with over €563 million in grants. Among those, 159 companies have been selected to also receive new equity investments from the EIC Fund. The 42 companies announced today are just the first of this group to pass the evaluation and due diligence process. The rest are still in the pipeline.