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Story 14 January 2022

Stories: Europe broke records for Unicorns in 2021 – Discover who are the EIC-funded Unicorns and Centaurs


2021 was a great year in terms of investment for European companies, which led Europe to break its own record of new unicorns in a year. Europe is quickly catching up to North America when it comes to the number of unicorn companies, benefiting from an increasing investment interest. Healthcare sector is leading the way, as it also reflects the European Innovation Council’s portfolio, according to the Impact Report for 2021. When it comes to the EIC Accelerator’s portfolio, it now includes 91 “centaurs” (valuation over €100m) and 4 “unicorns” (valuation over € 1 billion). The total valuation of the EIC portfolio of companies is now around €50 billion.


After being supported by the EIC, the companies have seen the external investment received increasing rapidly in 2021. In the first six months of 2021, EIC companies attracted investments of over €2.1 billion, to add to the €2.6 billion raised in 2020. A diverse set of investors are financing EIC-funded companies, including venture capitalists, corporate venture capitalists, national promotional banks. The largest investors so far are BPIFrance, Atomico, HV Capital and OurCrowd, who have made cumulative investments of over €300 million in a range of EIC companies.


EIC Unicorns

As mentioned above, the global trends of investment show that, during 2021, the focus was on companies developing innovative technologies and treatment methods in the healthcare sector., we are presenting below the 4 current EIC Unicorns that are all working towards improving our health and well-being.


CELLINK | Valuation: €2700 million | Health/Biotech

CELLINK was the first EIC-funded company to achieve Unicorn status. With their release of the first universal bioink in 2016, the biotech company revolutionised the industry by taking the bioprinting technologies from the lab to the clinics. CELLINK is a pioneer of 3D cell cultivation systems in pharmaceutical research and drug development.

SWORD Health | Valuation: €1600 million | Health 

SWORD Health is a healthtech company that provides virtual musculoskeletal (MSK) care services. They have recently closed a Series D funding round which landed them at a valuation of €1.6 billion, giving the company their current unicorn status. With this achievement, SWORD Health also became the EIC’s third Unicorn. 

Bioarctic | Valuation: €1326 million | Health/Biotech

BioArctic is a biopharma company working in the development of new treatments to address the causes of disorders that affect the Central Nervous System. Through their intensive research, BioArctic was able to achieve ground-breaking discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease, leading to the development of new treatment strategies.

INFARM | Valuation: over €1000 million | Vertical farming

INFARM recently achieved their unicorn status due to their pioneering farming concept: the company is changing the concepts of how we can grow, consume and distribute food. Their goal is to contribute to a more sustainable production by using a vertical farming method that relies on data analysis to improve plants’ growth while reducing natural resources’ use.


EIC Centaurs

91 Centaurs make the list of EIC companies in 2021. In this list, we can find a wide variety of sectors and very different innovations, however there are three areas that stand out with their number of centaurs. Following the trend of the unicorns, we have Health, Digital and Green-focused companies ranking with the highest valuations. Below, you can find the two companies, per the three focus areas, that are currently leading the way within the EIC portfolio.



Hailo | Valuation: €909 million

Hailo received an EIC grant to implement artificial neural networks for edge computing in autonomous vehicles. Their goal is to transform the AI chip industry, putting new compute possibilities within reach. Hailo’s AI processor is designed to fit into smart devices in various industries and use cases including automotive, smart cities, retail, and industry 4.0.

Aledia | Valuation: €400 million 

Aledia is responsible for the development of a unique 3D microLED technology. The company’s unique innovation enables the manufacturing of more efficient products in terms of cost and energy consumption, defining a new generation of displays in all sizes and formats. The technology Aledia is working with is based upon a silicon platform that facilitates the incorporation of electronics into a wide variety of microLED displays.



Azelio | Valuation: €781 million 

Azelio is committed to contribute to a more sustainable world with their clean power production. Harnessing the sun’s thermal energy and efficiently storing it for timely conversion to electricity is the result of their long-duration energy storage system. Azelio’s technology allows the production of renewable energy with zero emissions.

Minesto | Valuation: €302 million 

Minesto is a marine energy technology developer with a patented and awarded innovation called “Deep Green”. Taking their inspiration from the kite that are flown in the beach, Minesto created a technology that stands out from other tidal energy technologies due to its wing, the size of the turbine and the fact that the power plant is “flying” under water. 



BONESUPPORT | Valuation: €517 million 

BONESUPPORT is an orthobiologics company whose innovative products aim to treat patients with fractures and bone voids. CERAMENT is their trademarked product that has the ability to heal defects by remodelling to host bone in six to twelve months. With this innovation, BONESUPPORT makes it possible for surgeons to manage bone defects in a more patient-friendly single-stage procedure.

Ada Health | Valuation €409 million

Ada is looking to help reducing patients' personal suffering and healthcare costs by decreasing the number of misdiagnoses and wrong treatments. To achieve their goal, Ada has developed a unique visual reasoning tool for medical professionals that offers diagnosis decision support. Furthermore, patients can use the app directly since its AI technology simplifies the healthcare journeys for people to take care of themselves.


If you’d like to know more about EIC’s Unicorns and Centaurs and how the EIC is contributing to make the European innovation scene move forward, read the 2021 EIC Impact Report.


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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