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 SME 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 SME.
The Invest Horizon programme was commissioned in 2015 for all SMEs, investors, intermediaries and policy makers to address a fragmented SME 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 two and a half years.
Invest Horizon sought to provide unprecedented partnerships with the most experienced and high profile organisations and investors in Europe including: Europe Unlimited, EBAN, European Crowdfunding Network, Eurochambres, BWCON, EBN, F6S, IULG, Tilburg University, and ASTP Proton.
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
SME Success Stories
As of May 2017, a total of thirty-three companies had raised 120 million Euro. Participants that engaged in the programme have found tailored solutions to their varying needs and according to their development stages:
Participating in the Investment Forum brought Agricolus new customers, improved validation of their solutions and potential partnership and distributors for products. They were also approached by an Italian investor right after their pitch.
The pitch was useful to validate 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
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.
In May 2016 BeMyEye raised 6.5 million Euros in Series B funding. The investors were Nauta Capital, P101 and 360 Capital Partners.
Raised a total of $22 million.
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.
Raised a Series A investment of €5.5 million with Caixa Capital.
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.
Raised €200,000 from business angels.
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 Invest Horizon 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.
The Invest Horizon 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.