InvestHorizon, a free accelerator program funded by the European Commission in partnership with Eureka, the largest public network for transnational cooperation in the research and development and innovation areas, is looking for deep tech startups that aim to raise their Series A round of over €2.5M. The main goal of the program, which was started in 2019, is to support founders, CEOs, and team members of deep tech companies by providing them with online educational resources, coaching and training, and connecting them with investors that fit their company profile. The next and last deadline for application is May 28, 2021.
The selection criteria
Organized in partnership with the Tech Tour international VC/PEs network, InvestHorizon is an equity-free program whose length is between 4 and 6 months. Startups from all EU member countries, Horizon 2020, or EUREKA member states are eligible to apply. So far, over 400 SMEs from 33 countries have been supported by the program. A requirement for the companies is to have raised their seed round of around €200K in the last 3 years or to have grant of around €500K in excess. The selection criteria of the program involves looking into the company management team, evaluating the product development stage of the company, its customer value proposition, and validation, as well as the IPR (Intellectual property rights). The industry market, the business model, and go-to-market strategy as well as the growth rate attractiveness are also to be evaluated, in addition to the current investment portfolio of each company. Startups must also have a supporting partner – a board member, a business angel, a representative from a national or regional promotional bank, an investor/prospecting investor, or business advisor who is going to participate in part of the curriculum activities of the program (for a minimum of 5 hours that will be distributed across several months).
Accelerating the deep tech sector
The selection results will be available around 2-3 weeks after the deadline date. After the selection, startups and their supporting partners will receive a self-assessment test that will be used for filtering the program resources each participating team needs. Then, companies will be distributed in Trust Groups (with 4-7 CEOs in a group, along with suitable investors and coaches) on the basis of their selection score. In these groups, each startup team is to receive coaching in order to improve their investment readiness. The activities, offered by the program, include bootcamps, coaching academies, as well as pitching and e-pitching forums. The program for this cohort is expected to begin in the summer, with a highlight pitching event planned for the last two months of 2021. The InvestHorizon program also offers open services to SMEs, including 23 online courses, covering topics such as financing, and has been organizing webinars that discuss a wide range of investment tools and opportunities.
Part of the mentors for the program include Roop Chandwani, advisor in the life sciences area who has worked with Fortune 100 listed companies, Mark Wilson, previous Director in GSK’s with over 20 years of experience in the fields of company development, commercializing, and licensing, Philip Grother, CEO of Luxembourg Business Angel Network, founder of SteppingStone and Test my App, co-founder of Growth.lu, and Mentor at the Founder Institute, and Mikko Sounenlahti, entrepreneur with over 35 year-long career as CEO, sales, R&D expert in multiple European countries, as well as the US and Canada.