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Story 26 March 2024

Investor Day on Sustainability & Deep Tech: powering the best and brightest


The European Innovation Council (EIC) held an Investor Day on Sustainability & Deep Tech in Brussels, on 19 March 2024, in parallel with the EIC Summit. We spoke to the participants to give you a glimpse of this full day dedicated to Europe’s sustainable solutions, which gathered 26 companies and a panel of 45+ jury members from some of Europe’s top investment funds.


Each of the selected EIC companies had the opportunity to present their solution in one of the five pitching sessions held throughout the day. Each of the session showcased companies from a different vertical, with sessions on 1. Quantum, 2. AI & Connectivity, 3. Industrial Biotech & New Materials, 4. Agritech & Food and 5. Energy Transition.


Crocus Labs, FaradaIC Sensors, BIOWEG, Infinite Roots and Reblade were crowned by the jury panel as the top pitches in each of the five sessions. However, these jury experts had already been involved in selecting all the featured companies, which also included 3Bee, AEInnova, Alcyon Photonics, Blinkin, Cascade Light Technologies, Circu Li-ion, CO2BioClean, Energy Robotics, Enersens, Equal1, Magneto Systems, N2 Applied, NewPhotonics, Orbisk, Qarnot, Seaborg Technologies, Sparrow Quantum, SUBRA A/S, SusPhos, SYNOVANCE, and WATTALPS, from the pool of hundreds of EIC awardees who applied to pitch at the event.


The event was organized in the scope of the EIC Ecosystem Partnerships and Co-Investment Support programme, one of the EIC’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS). Stéphane Ouaki, Head of EIC at EISMEA, welcomed all participants and Michiel Scheffer, President of the EIC board, led the award ceremony and closing words.

Investors, company representatives and staff members pose in a family photo at the Investor Day on Sustainability & Deep Tech


How this Investor Day “paid off” for companies

To understand how this Investor Day helped the pitching companies connect with investors, we spoke to some of the innovators who delivered the winning pitches.

Frank Kjerstein, CEO of Reblade, revealed that, just after pitching, he had been contacted immediately. “We had a meeting, they’re interested in co-investing. So that’s really good!” To Frank, the dry-run and pitch training “paid off”.

Reblade is developing a drone-based leading edge erosion repair of wind turbine blades. When it came to the Investor Day, Frank also highlighted the efficiency of the setting, as there were “peers and other entrepreneurs, you can learn from their experiences and their anecdotes and networks and, right next to you, there’s an investor in the seat.” 

On the other hand, with the EIC Summit taking place in parallel, “you cross the street and there’s the EIC team giving you all the business acceleration services”. He marvelled at how he had gotten “answers to how we do the grant first in terms of asking for the equity and due diligence, and all in one day”.

To Prashanth Makaram, CEO and Founder of Crocus Labs, the session was an opportunity to meet investors for their next funding round, and to ponder on “very valuable questions that gave us some insights and also some things that I need to think about when talking to […] future investors.”

Crocus Labs builds specialty lighting solutions with various applications, starting with indoor farms. Prashanth revealed that he hoped the visibility and recognition of winning a pitch session would help the company in its upcoming funding round, and that he thought they were “against some thought competition”, as the other companies had also done a great job with their pitches. 

Winners of the pitching sessions pose with Head of the EIC board at the event

“My expectations really were to network with some of the best and brightest minds in Europe and the EIC is really the one curating all of those people”, told us Ryan Guterman, CEO of FaradaIC.

By networking and meeting these experts, he was hoping to “plant seeds and see where it goes”. Ryan added that he thought that everyone had understood the ramifications of miniaturizing a sensor through FaradIC’s solution, an oxygen sensor on a chip that is the first of its kind on the market.

“I think it was a very curated event, in the sense of very high-profile investors”, revealed Philip Tigges, Managing Director and CFO at Infinite Roots.

The company is developing a new generation of products based on the root structures of mushrooms. To Philip, the investors “were all deep into the topic.”

He also found it very easy to engage with everyone. “I think absolutely the EIC will help us to raise additional funds because we had or I had quite a few interesting discussions today”, he said.

“You had a couple of amazing investors coming to today’s event”, told us Prateek Mahalwar, CEO of BIOWEG. 

“We are talking to a range of different investors and today they have also shown a lot of interest, so let’s see how it turns out”, he added. BIOWEG is developing a biopolymer with a better functionality compared to microplastics, but which is fully biodegradable in 60 days.

The Investors and Partners fostering Europe’s Cleantech future

The event attracted 60+ investors, including jury members from top funds such as Amadeus Capital Partners, ArcTern Ventures, Astanor, BASF Venture Capital GmbH, Bullnet Capital, Capricorn Partners, Contrarian Ventures, Diffusion Capital Partners, DN Capital,  Eurazeo, Experior Venture Fund, First Venture Partners, GET Fund, G-Force, Global Brain, GTT Strategic Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), HV Capital, Iberdrola, imec.xpand, Inclimo Climate Tech Fund, Indaco Venture Partners SGR, INVEN Capital, Iris Capital, Kiko Ventures, Leanox Capital, Matterwave Ventures, Munich Venture Partners, Net Zero Tech Ventures, Nordic Ninjac, Octopus Ventures, Omnes Capital, Planet A, Progress Tech Transfer, Project A, PVS Investments, Redalpine, Rubio Impact Ventures, SAP, SET Ventures, SimpliCity VC, Speedinvest, Statkraft Ventures, Telos Impact, Trill Impact Ventures, World Fund.

“I do believe that the future of sustainability and deep tech might be here today”, told us Odette Yga, who represented Statkraft Ventures in the jury panel.

Odette Yga, jury investor at the event, during the jury presentation.

Odette said she found a “good mixture of different companies as well as different areas” chosen for the pitches. The last four sessions were of particular relevance to Statkraft Ventures due to their investment focus, and Odette found the solutions being pitched of “very high-quality”. She revealed that she had already scheduled one-on-one meetings with some of the innovators and was hopeful about potential investments.

Cleantech for Europe, an initiative that bridges the gap between policy makers and European Cleantech investors, was also a key presence in the event. The organisation signed a partnership with the European Innovation Council in January 2023.

Sofia Karagianni, Senior Policy Officer at Cleantech for Europe, spoke to us about the partnership’s goal to “bring the EIC community closer to the investors community, to ensure that we exchange priorities and [discuss] what we can do in order to amplify investment opportunities in Cleantech.”

To Sofia, the event exceed expectations. Much like Odette, she highlighted the quality of the companies and breadth of topics covered by the pitching sessions as one of the main strengths.

Sofia Karagianni, Senior Policy Officer at Cleantech for Europe, sitting on the right side of the image

Sophia was one of several speakers at a roundtable on “Building and Scaling Climate Hardware Solutions”, along with Florian Schabus, Climate Investor at Planet A, Sophia Escheu, Associate, Climate & Industry at Speedinvest and Fabiana Fantinel, CEO & Founder at CO2BIOCLEAN. The day’s agenda also included a speech by Jules Besnainou, Executive director of Cleantech for Europe.


About the EIC Ecosystem Partnerships and Co-Investment Support Programme

The Ecosystem Partnerships and Co-Investment Support Programme is expanding the EIC’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS) by creating a network of specialized, sector-focused partners that can help innovators access the services they need. It is also dedicated to promoting co-investment along with the EIC Fund, by preparing beneficiaries to interact with investors and connecting them through matchmaking and dedicated events.  

Should you have any questions regarding the event, please contact us through the email:

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interest of knowledge sharing and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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