On 6 January 2021, the European Commission announced the first round of direct equity investment through the new European Union Council (EIC) Fund. Over €178 million were invested in 42 highly innovative start-ups and SMEs to support and scale up breakthrough innovations in Europe.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: “Europe has many innovative, talented start-ups, but too often these companies remain small or relocate elsewhere. This new form of financing – combining grants and equity – is unique to the European Innovation Council. It will bridge the funding gap for highly innovative companies, unlock additional private investments and enable them scale up in Europe.”

Established in June 2020, the EIC Fund providing equity investments, ranging from €500.000 to €15 million per beneficiary, aims to complement the grant financing, which has already been provided through the EIC Accelerator Pilot to enable companies to scale up faster. Under the EIC Accelerator a total of 293 companies have already been selected for funding worth over €563 million in grants since December 2019. Among those, 159 companies have been selected to additionally receive the new equity investments from the EIC Fund.