S3E Start

Unveiling Funding Opportunities: Insights from the S3E Start 2024 Webinar with European Innovation Council, SMEs Executive Agency, and Caixa Capital

In the latest webinar of the S3E Start 2024 cohort, the focus was on funding opportunities, covering both non-dilute and dilute funding options. This session was moderated by Pedro Vilarinho, CEO of HiSeedTech, and featured representatives from the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) - Bart Van Caenegem and Neil Griffin - as well as Walter Palma from Caixa Capital, the venture capital and private equity arm of Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD).

The webinar began with an exploration of non-dilute opportunities, led by Bart Van Caenegem, who outlined two programs: EIC Pathfinder and EIC Transition. The former targets research teams with deep tech projects (TRL 1-4), while the latter focuses on SMEs and organizations seeking to validate technologies and develop business plans for specific applications (TRL 3-6). Bart provided a comprehensive overview of the eligibility criteria, application process, deadlines, and highlighted the information sessions offered by the European Innovation Council for those seeking clarification or assistance.

About EIC Pathfinder:

About EIC Transition:

After Bart's intervention, the focus shifted to the EIC program that targets higher TRLs - the EIC Accelerator. Here, Neil Griffin introduced the program, emphasizing its support for startups and SMEs in developing and scaling up innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones (TRL 5-9). Neil highlighted the key points and then analyzed the deadlines and timelines for the application process.

About EIC Accelarator:

Following that, the focus shifted to dilutive funding with the intervention of Walter Palma, Director of Venture Investments at Caixa Capital, on what Venture Capitals look for. Walter kicked off by illustrating the typical state of projects when they reach venture capitalists (VCs), often in very early stages requiring refinement before hitting the market. This prompted a reality check, underscoring that only 1 in 5 projects succeeds, emphasizing the resilience required in the S3E Start journey. Our guest shed light on VC perspectives, discussing the power law and the imperative for VCs to safeguard their investments. Furthermore, he highlighted the startup stages (pre-seed, seed, series A, and beyond) and correlated them with VC investment preferences, concluding with the five key factors VCs prioritize: addressing significant problems, possessing an unfair competitive edge, demonstrating domain expertise, achieving product-market fit, and operational efficiency.

After the interventions, the S3E Start teams had the chance to address questions to highlight their next steps of their entrepreneurial journey. A huge thank you to the guests Bart Van Caenegem, Neil Griffin, and Walter Palma for joining us in this session and helping us on our mission of shaping the Southern European deep tech ecosystem.

Learn more about the S3E Start and the S3E Project here. Stay tuned for future insights!


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