Small andmedium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital to the European economy and accountfor a massive 99% of all businesses in the EU. The European Commission recognises that SME economic growth, innovation,job creation, and social integration are critical factors in the continuedsuccess of the sector and seek to better integrate and serve the needs of theSME.
The Invest Horizon programme wascommissioned in 2015 for all SMEs, investors, intermediaries and policy makersto address a fragmented SME investment market. The programme was designed tosupport SMEs to become investment ready and help them gain access to investmentin tangible and practical ways. The programme was match funded by the EuropeanCommission and Partners, allocating €2.3 million over two and a half years.
Invest Horizon sought to provide unprecedented partnerships with themost experienced and high profile organisations and investors in Europeincluding: Europe Unlimited, EBAN, European Crowdfunding Network, Eurochambres, BWCON, EBN, F6S, IULG, Tilburg University, and ASTP Proton.
The events centred around three key activities:
o OnlineCourses accessible anywhere and on demand for a series of specialist courses
o Academiesoffered face to facecoaching and the opportunity to interact with peers and experiencedtutors.
o Investment Forum Events offering the opportunity to pitch to keyEuropean Investors and establish essential connections
SME Success Stories
As of May 2017, a total of thirty-three companies had raised 120million Euro. Participants that engagedin the programme have found tailored solutions to their varying needs andaccording to their development stages:
Participating in the Investment Forumbrought Agricolus new customers, improved validation of their solutions andpotential partnership and distributors for products. They were also approachedby an Italian investor right after their pitch.
“The pitch was useful to validate our technologicaland business strategies and market approach. It has been a very importantexperience for Agricolus. We had good results after this experience and we hadthe chance to introduce ourselves to this valuable group of internationalinvestors.”
Participated in the Coaching Academiesand they have since earned a place in the Techfounders AcceleratorProgramme. They have acquired newclients and their solution is now being used by a German automationcompany for their production processes. The team has been selected for the programme Young Innovators of the state of Baden-Württemberg. They haveoffice space in Stuttgart as part of the code_n spaces and the team has grownfrom two to five. They are prepared to acquire new clients and find equityinvestment to scale and grow further.
InMay 2016 BeMyEye raised 6.5 million Euros in Series B funding. The investors were Nauta Capital, P101 and360 Capital Partners.
Cedexis Raised a totalof $22 million.
Iristrace Raised €420,000 from a number of angel investors.
Knok attended the Academies andInvestment Forum events which had great outcomes for meeting potentialinvestors from across Europe, and refining target country analysis. Knok wenton to raise a €300,000 seed round lead by Mustard Seed Impact with six businessangels.
Made and More
Made and More participated in theAcademies ‘The Art of Persuasion’ and ‘The Pitch’ and have since raised€225,000 to develop their market.
Movvo Raised a Series Ainvestment of €5.5 million with Caixa Capital.
Sincejoining the Invest Horizon Coaching Academy and winning the Innovation AwardMVMANT closed a strategic partnership with Mercedes-Benz and was selected bythe Dubai Future Accelerators program and raised €100,000 through business angels.
Preesale participated in the CoachingAcademies. In 2016, they were selectedby 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.
Attended the Investment ReadinessCoaching Seminar in April 2016 and created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
Uniplacesraised $24 million in Series A funding led by Atomico and with existinginvestors Octopus Ventures, Shilling Capital Partners and Caixa Capital.
Xmetrics participated in the InvestHorizon Academy and the Corporate Venture Forum. They won the final award andsubsequently attracted the interest of several international stakeholders,including Breed Reply who invested a million Euros in the new company.
The Invest Horizon programme will continue to secure rewards for its participantswith practical and timely support, forming a better understanding of thecurrent landscape of investment in Europe. It has enabled the implementation of key strategies, schemes and toolsfor a tangible impact on investment readiness, while matching start-ups toinvestors.
The Invest Horizon programme closes on 31st May 2017,information and updates are available through the Invest Horizon website, as well as afull list of companies that participated in the programme.