Title: InvestHorizon – Boosting the Investment-Readiness of SMEs and Small Midcaps
Funding Programme: Horizon 2020
Duration: December 2014 – May 2017
Description: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital to the European economy and account for a massive 99% of all businesses in the EU. The European Commission recognises that SMEs economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration are critical factors in the continued success of the sector and seek to better integrate and serve the needs of the SMEs.
The InvestHorizon programme was commissioned in 2015 for all SMEs, investors, intermediaries and policymakers to address a fragmented SMEs investment market. The programme was designed to support SMEs to become investment-ready and help them gain access to investment in tangible and practical ways. The programme was match-funded by the European Commission and Partners, allocating €2,3 million over 2,5 years.
The events centred around three key activities:
- Online courses accessible anywhere and on demand for a series of specialist courses
- Academies offered face-to-face coaching and the opportunity to interact with peers and experienced tutors
- Investment Forum Events offering the opportunity to pitch to key European investors and establish essential connections
ECN’s role: ECN brought the crowdfunding knowledge to the consortium and contributed to training on investment readiness and investor match-making. More precisely, ECN has participated in the following activities:
- Analysis of strategies, indicators, schemes and tools with the best impact on investment readiness and investors sensitisation and matching
- Stimulation of awareness amongst innovative SMEs about key topics affecting their knowledge and capacity to improve their investment readiness
- An increase of interest of investors across the range of technology sectors and across the range of different types of (co)-investors (incl. crowdfunding)
- Improvement of the investment readiness of SMEs by boosting their business propositions as well as their presentation pitch to potential investors
- Matching 450+ investment-ready companies with crowdfunding platforms across Europe
Results: SMEs Success Stories
- Agricolus: Participating in the Investment Forum brought Agricolus new customers, improved validation of their solutions and potential partners and distributors for products. They were also approached by an Italian investor right after their pitch. “The pitch was useful at validating our technological and business strategies and market approach. It has been a very important experience for Agricolus. We had good results after this experience and we had the chance to introduce ourselves to this valuable group of international investors”, Andrea, MD Agricolus
- Aucobo: Participated in the Coaching Academies and they have since earned a place in the Techfounders Accelerator Programme. They have acquired new clients and their solution is now being used by a German automation company for their production processes. The team has been selected for the programme Young Innovators of the state of Baden-Württemberg. They have office space in Stuttgart as part of the code-n spaces and the team has grown from two to five. They are prepared to acquire new clients and find equity investment to scale and grow further.
- BeMyEye: In May 2016, BeMyEye raised €6,5 million in Series B funding. The investors were Nauta Capital, P101 and 360 Capital Partners.
- Cedexis: Raised a total of $22 million.
- Iristrace: Raised €420,000 from a number of angel investors.
- Knok: Attended the Academies and Investment Forum events which had great outcomes for meeting potential investors from across Europe, and refining target country analysis. Knok went on to raise a €300,000 seed round lead by Mustard Seed Impact with six business angels.
- Made and More: Participated in the Academies ‘The Art of Persuasion’ and ‘The Pitch’ and have since raised €225,000 to develop their market.
- Movvo: Raised a Series A investment of €5.5 million with Caixa Capital.
- MVMANT: Since joining the InvestHorizon Coaching Academy and winning the Innovation Award, MVMANT closed a strategic partnership with Mercedes-Benz and was selected by the Dubai Future Accelerators program and raised €100,000 through business angels.
- Preesale: Participated in the Coaching Academies. In 2016, they were selected by the famous accelerator program Techstars Atlanta. Since the creation of the start-up in 2015, they have developed good customer traction and are now on track to break even.
- Smart Sensor Technology Raised €200,000 from business angels.
- T Shared: Attended the Investment Readiness Coaching Seminar in April 2016 and created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
- Uniplaces: Raised $24 million in Series A funding led by Atomico and with existing investors Octopus Ventures, Shilling Capital Partners and Caixa Capital.
- XMetrics: Participated in the InvestHorizon Academy and the Corporate Venture Forum. They won the final award and subsequently attracted the interest of several international stakeholders, including Breed Reply who invested a million Euros in the new company.
Next Steps: The InvestHorizon programme will continue to secure rewards for its participants with practical and timely support, forming a better understanding of the current landscape of investment in Europe. It has enabled the implementation of key strategies, schemes and tools for a tangible impact on investment readiness, while matching start-ups to investors.
The InvestHorizon programme closed on 31st May 2017, information and updates are available through the InvestHorizon website, as well as a full list of companies that participated in the programme.
- Europe Unlimited
- European Business Angel Network
- F6S Network Limited
- European Business and Innovation Centre Network
- Baden-Württemberg: connected e.V. (bwcon)
- Association of European Science and Technology Transfer Professionals – ASTP-Proton
- Stichting Katholieke Universiteit Brabant Universiteit van Tliburg – UVT
- European Crowdfunding Network
- Université de Liège