The Equity facility providing equity finance for R&I: 'Union equity instruments for research and innovation'
The goal is to contribute to overcoming the deficiencies of the European venture capital market and provide equity and quasi-equity to cover the development and financing needs of innovating enterprises from the seed stage through to growth and expansion. The focus shall be on supporting the objectives of Horizon 2020 and related policies.
The target final beneficiaries shall be potentially enterprises of all sizes undertaking or embarking on innovation activities, with a particular focus on innovative SMEs and mid-caps.
The Equity facility will focus on early-stage venture capital funds and funds-of-funds providing venture capital and quasi-equity (including mezzanine capital) to individual portfolio enterprises. The facility will also have the possibility to make expansion and growth-stage investments in conjunction with the Equity Facility for Growth under COSME, to ensure a continuum of support during the start-up and development of companies.
The Equity facility, which will be primarily demand-driven, shall use a portfolio approach, where venture capital funds and other comparable intermediaries select the firms to be invested in.
Earmarking may be applied to help achieve particular policy goals, building on the positive experience in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007 to 2013) with earmarking for eco-innovation, for example for achieving goals related to the identified societal challenges.
The start-up window, supporting the seed and early stages, shall enable equity investments in, amongst others, knowledge-transfer organisations and similar bodies through support to technology transfer (including the transfer of research results and inventions stemming from the sphere of public research to the productive sector, for example through proof-of-concept), seed capital funds, cross-border seed and early-stage funds, business angel co-investment vehicles, intellectual property assets, platforms for the exchange and trading of intellectual property rights, and early-stage venture capital funds and funds-of-funds operating across borders and investing in venture capital funds. This could include support at phase 3 of the SME instrument, subject to the level of demand.
The growth window shall make expansion and growth-stage investments in conjunction with the Equity Facility for Growth under COSME, including investments in private and public sector funds-of-funds operating across borders and investing in venture capital funds, most of which will have a thematic focus that supports the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.