EU Funding Opportunities
Public funds are an essential tool for the growth of a start-up, especially for those that are developing particularly innovative technologies and processes.
A young company needs, in fact, significant resources, often several million euros, in order to complete the development of its product and enter the market. At the same time, the more innovative the product, the greater the risks (especially technological, developmental) associated with the project.
Investors are often reluctant to invest big sums of money in projects considered risky, therefore, the start-up is usually considered “not bankable”.
Faced with this scenario, the possibility of accessing public funding is thus of great importance in order to bring a start-up to a level of technological development in which the risks are lower, so as to be able to attract new investors, accelerating the entry into the market.
In Day One we are greatly aware of the importance of obtaining public funds and we actively collaborate with our start-ups in order to draft projects proposal that respond to the several different tenders both at national and European level.
Among the several opportunities, those offered by the European Research Council through the so-called Poc (Proof of Concept) and by the European Innovation Council through the Transition and Accelerator projects are the ones we try to take advantage of the most in our work.
In fact, they cover the 3 main stages of development of a new business opportunity:
- The PoC is a feasibility study that is needed to explore whether or not the possibility of creating a successful business from the idea of innovation exists.
- The Transition is at an intermediate stage of progress and it may consist in the involvement of one or more industrial partners. It aims at a substantial growth of the start-up both in terms of technological and business development.
- The Accelerator, on the other hand, is the financing program that covers the expenses necessary to complete the development activities and prepares the start-up to enter the market.
Beyond the multi-year experience that characterizes us and that allows us to better manage all the activities related to the drafting of a project proposal, the added value that Day One offers to start-ups at this stage is mainly related to our ability to involve stakeholders, such as potential customers, potential industrial or commercial partners, key opinion leaders, from the earliest stages of the project.
For example, the involvement of stakeholders is really important for the strategic marketing activities, aimed at gaining a detailed understanding of the market you want to enter: what are its dimensions, what are the problems that characterize it and how our innovation can represent a valid solution.
This approach allows:
- To guide the development of the new product so that it can be more responsive to the market demands, ensuring greater chances of commercial success for the start-up;
- To start building partnerships with important industrial and commercial realities right from the start, fundamental for the future entry on the market;
- More generally, to transmit a strongly business-oriented mentality to the start-upper or to the researcher. Obtaining public funding, in fact, should not be seen as the end, but as an important means to achieve the goal of creating a successful business.
An example of a successful project is “Asteasy”.
This is a PoC project related to the production of biomass with high commercial value from a particular species of microalgae identified by a research group at the University of Verona. For this project, we developed a proposal that was funded by the European Union in 2019. To date, the feasibility study has been successfully completed and the strategic marketing activities we are carrying out have allowed us to identify more clearly the target market. If, in fact, in a first phase, it seemed that the proposed innovation was more oriented to the nutraceutical market, the interactions with the stakeholders have allowed us to identify an even more promising sector, namely that of feed for aquaculture. It is clear how this type of work can help orient the start-up so that it can immediately carve out an important space in the market. The project is now leading to the creation of a start-up that, having by now established fruitful relationships with industrial partners, already has a very solid base to build its business and it is ready to attract new funding opportunities both public and private.