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FUND raising acCELERATOR for long time-to-market path SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FUNDCELERATOR (FUND raising acCELERATOR for long time-to-market path SMEs)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-03-31

The objective of the FUNDCELERATOR project was to design a best practice methodology to assist innovation agencies to choose, design and implement new fundraising support services for young innovative SME’s with long-time-to market solutions, operating in markets characterized by long time-to-market paths (typically more than 3 years) such as in biotech, medical devices, materials, cleantech, aeronautics,…
Availing on the experiences of the four partners and on their respective existing fund raising methodologies, and along with a twinning advanced peer learning process, the partners worked together to:
• share a common view of the challenges at stake when providing fund raising support to SMEs with medium-term but high-growth market perspectives
• assess all relevant experiences and exchanges of good practices for efficient fund raising support of SME
• design a new/improved fund raising support programme dedicated to the target group SMEs
• implement the enhanced fund raising support programme (pilot tests) and to evaluate its performance and impacts
• consolidate a Design Option Paper and to foster the dissemination
The Fundcelerator project was divided into 5 steps:


Identification of already existing tools and methodologies in partner organizations or in other organizations as good practices (April 2016).

Identification of good practices accelerating fundraisings (May 2016) from innovation agencies but also of those identified and selected from other organizations (private or state-owned organizations).

Definition of a common ground about fundraising, seed capital fund raising, the main stages and critical phases in a fundraising process, accelerated process, major critical issues for bridging the gap in between SMEs and investors.


Identification of the respective contexts for each partner and what is country-specific for startups and support approaches:
• assessment of the value adding actors of the regional ecosystem to be possibly involved
• mapping of key actors
• exchanges around regional success stories and regional SME failures

Description of the challenges at stake when providing fund raising support services to the targeted SMEs:
• key characteristics of SMEs targeted – the various industrial specificities to be anticipated
• the support such SMEs need from regional innovation structures
• the routes for improving support efficiency for being able to support more SMEs with the same regional public resources
• the major barriers to be overcome before getting to the market

Identification of relevant classification criteria for mapping practices
• stages in the fundraising process
• type of support (consultancy, mentoring, tools, events…)

Categorization of identified practices
Elaboration of a first version of a map representing a fundraising support approach and distribution of all practices among the stages of a fund process and reorganized them into 5 types of support practices: coaching, digital tools, mentoring, teams and matchmaking events.


First structured draft of identified practices through a collaborative and iterative revision process and a revised and complete version of each selected practice (from June 2016 to September 2016).

2nd Selection of practices:
• a first set of about 25 good practices from which only 18 were selected
• a first version of our flow chart mapping these practices on a global fundraising process


Implementation/experimentation of the designed methodology for fund raising with innovative SMEs of the target group (meeting the selection criteria, i.e. entering the appropriate period for fund raising) and measurement of the intermediary impact/efficiency and perceived service’s quality of the new methodology, and assess first satisfaction’s feedback of beneficiaries.

Transfer of practices (from October to December 2016)
Each specific best practice was considered by 2 other partners possibly interested in implementing the practice in their own support approach called potential testers.
Testers asked original owners about details, process to implement, possible issues to encounter, costs, other required resources to which owners replied by amending and finalizing their draft. These exchanges covered all the 18 best practices.

Designing a procedure of verification and testing of accelerating impact
Partners no having used a particular practice in their own agency chose to apply one or more practices on real basis with companies they were supporting. For each of these transfers, the partners tried to get feedbacks from a minimum of 2 companies supported with each newly tested practice. The partners also decided to cross-check these feedbacks with those of original owner partners’ and those of tester partner supporting beneficiaries companies. A questionnaire was designed to be sent and completed by all the stakeholders.

Testing period
Launch of the testing period from January 2017 to February 2017.


Last selection of 17 practices (February 2017)

Questionnaire and analysis of results (March 2017)
31 of the companies that benefited from FUNDCELERATOR support practices implemented by the partners, answered to the evaluation survey. A grade of acceleration impact to each practice was assigned

Design Option Paper (March 2017)
A Design Option Paper identifies and documents the guidelines and implementation alternatives that the partners have experienced and which could be recommended to other agencies and innovation support organizations interested at designing, or implementing the same new/improved innovation support service.

A final meeting in Brussels gathering the partners for a last peer-review of their experiences on the application of the Twinning+ methodology to design the new enhanced Fund raising acceleration programme. Regional innovation agencies, European venture capital organizations were invited and could ask the partners about how to read it, to implement practices and about expected results.
Online version of the D.O.P. to download has been made at the disposal of all European actors who ask it for free.
The FUNDCELERATOR project provided a new approach for fund raising, based on the best-to-retrieve from the combination (via peer learning) of the fund raising methodologies already developed by the partners, together with the use of the systemic added-value of the existing services on access to finance offered at the regional or national level by the other public or private actors specialized in financial support. The 4 partners played the role of the Pilot agencies implementing the new/improved fund raising acceleration support programme.
Expected potential impact:
• enhancement of the quality of support and services provided currently
• search for a more efficient use of regional innovation support resources
• higher chances of economic successes for SME beneficiaries
• strong economic leverage expected from a better coaching of targeted SMEs in the regions of the 4 partners
• indirect economic leverage in other regions from the dissemination of the DOP.