Horizon 2020's SME Instrument funds Swiss startups


During the latest round of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, 10 Swiss Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and startups received funding of up to EUR 50’000 to finance a feasibility studies. Switzerland is the 3rd most successful country in this round. With a budget of about € 1.6 billion for the period 2018-2020, the EIC SME Instrument will support groundbreaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to conquer global markets. 


The SME instrument in Horizon 2020 funds close-to-market activities with a strong aim to boost breakthrough innovation. The instrument supports SMEs with clear commercial ambition and a potential for high growth and internationalization. The selected SMEs will receive a lump-sum of €50’000 to finance a feasibility study (Phase 1 of the SME instrument) for innovative products that can disrupt the market. In addition, the SMEs also receive business support services and free business coaching for up to three days. SMEs can also apply for phase 2 (with a funding up to € 2.5M) if the outcome of this feasibility study has the potential to be developed into commercialization.

In the latest round, 119 innovative SMEs from 24 countries were selected to receive financing. 29 of the funded projects are in the area of information and communications technology (ICT), 16 in transport and 15 in low-carbon and efficient energy systems.

Startups from Switzerland include:

Lymphatica Medtech SA,  VD – Is developing the first micropump-based medical device (subcutaneous implant) lymphedema to treat lymphedema, a chronic, disabling side effect of anti-cancer therapies.

SThAR, VD – A platform that helps marketing campaigns go viral through the use of Big Data algorithms and sociothermodynamic models on virality and collective human behaviour.

Proton Technologies, GE– Based in Switzerland, Protonmail is the world’s largest provider of an encrypted email services. ProtonMail also offers a service that allows anyone to build a virtual private network (VPN).

CyanoGuard AG, ZH – The spinoff from the University of Zurich developed CyanoKit, the fastest and easiest test for reliable on-site cyanide detection in water, food extracts and blood samples.

Anerdgy AG, ZH– Developed WindRail, a building-based energy generation system, combining wind flow, pressure differences and solar radiation.

rqmicro AG, ZH – The company operates CellCount, a technology platform designed to solve current problems with microbiological contamination in water and food industries. The technology delivers accurate results in less than one hour

Vivent SARL, VD – The startup is developing a real-time plant monitoring systems based on bioelectrical signal

Swiss Propulsion Laborator GmbH (SPL)  – Developed the Green Reaction Control System (RCS), to test low cost and reliable propulsion components for small- and middle-sized space-project

In addition to the startups the SME instrument funded two SMEs. These are:

Biophos S.A,VD – The company developed QualiSperm, as a standard tool for personal digital sperm analysis. The automated image recognition technology allows for analysing of over 1000 cells in one single image.

Celeroton AG, ZH – Developed a compact, light, efficient and reliable turbo compressor for fuel cell vehicles, achieving speeds up to 1 million rpm.

€ 1.6 billion in funding for SMEs
Since October, the SME instrument is part of the European Innovation Council pilot (EIC pilot) as part of the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2018-2020. Provided with about € 1.6 billion in funding over the period 2018-2020, the EIC SME Instrument will support ground-breaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to conquer global markets. 7500 projects will be supported by 2020.

Euresearch provides free of charge information, advisory and partnering help for Swiss organizations and companies. The next event is organized at EPFL on Nov. 9th or on Dec. 7th. Participants will get an in-depth overview of SME Instrument functioning as well as other very interesting Horizon 2020 opportunities for the financing of innovative Research & Innovation projects for companies. Registration can be completed through the website.

Picture: martaposemuckel/Pixabay