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The EIC fund has approved €1 billion to Deeptech VC investments: 15 startups in Spain

The 15 deep tech startups in Spain that received part of the EIC Fund's €1 billion investment: Ability Pharma, Admit Therapeutics, AEInnova, Arthex Biotech, Beridi, Bound4Blue, Carto, Cinfo, Green Vac, Koala Lifter, Miwendo, Mysphera, Orbital Ads, Wooptix and X1 Wind.
The 15 deep tech startups in Spain that received part of the EIC Fund's €1 billion investment: Ability Pharma, Admit Therapeutics, AEInnova, Arthex Biotech, Beridi, Bound4Blue, Carto, Cinfo, Green Vac, Koala Lifter, Miwendo, Mysphera, Orbital Ads, Wooptix and X1 Wind. Image: Expand To Spain

15 startups in Spain within Deeptech, in various sectors and in different stages of maturity and commercialisation, have received part of the €1 billion VC investment from the EIC Fund, the venture investment arm of the European Innovation Council.

These are Ability Pharma, Admit Therapeutics, AEInnova, Arthex Biotech, Beridi, Bound4Blue, Carto, Cinfo, Green Vac, Koala Lifter, Miwendo, Mysphera, Orbital Ads, Wooptix and X1 Wind.

The EIC Fund has since starting operations in September 2022, invested nearly €1 billion in Deeptech companies. 159 startups and SMEs, within the EIC Accelerator programme, have had their investments approved. 15 out of these Deeptech's are founded and, with one exception, based in Spain.

The EIC Fund was launched under Horizon Europe to support breakthrough technologies and innovations. Under the EIC programme, companies are selected following a rigorous evaluation process by external experts and thorough due diligence by the European Investment Bank, who acts as investment adviser to the EIC Fund. The majority of these companies also receive grant support of up to €2.5 million.

Note to reader: If you have read any of my previous insights you will know that I especially love all things Cleantech, why these companies tend to get somewhat more space. That said, I have really tried to include useful information - on a fairly easy level of understanding - to give all of these 15 EIC-funded deeptech startups and scaleups in Spain their rightful place in the international limelight, to reach more investors and talent globally.

Ability Pharmaceuticals

A Biotech startup in the Barcelona region, led by CEO Carles Domènech.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 850 903.72

AbilityPharma is a biopharmaceutical company developing new first-in-class candidates to treat cancer. They are focused on autophagy, your body's cellular recycling system, as a new therapeutic strategy to induce cancer cell death. Based on this novel mechanism of action, they are generating a portfolio of new drugs targeting oncological unmet needs.

ABTL0812 is currently in Phase 2b in the US, Spain, France and Israel, in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial in 130 patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Video in Spanish with English subtitles:

A Biotech startup in the Barcelona region, led by CEO Marta Barrachina. Invested amount from the EIC Fund: No information.

ADmit Therapeutics is a spin-off from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, developing a test for early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

"Our unique value proposition allows us to calculate the probability of a patient with MCI progressing to AD with just a blood sample and using state-of-the-art sequencing techniques. This enables clinicians to optimally stratify patients and prescribe the best treatment", comments CEO Marta Barrachina.

CEO Marta Barrachina, ADmit Therapeutics.
CEO Marta Barrachina, ADmit Therapeutics. IM: Social media

Their MAP-AD technology, is based on an algorithm capable of stratifying Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) patients based on their probability of progressing to AD dementia (ADD) through the epigenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) methylation signatures in a patient's blood sample.

The innovative approach of MAP-AD lies in these disruptive findings, a combination of patented biomarkers based on mtDNA methylation patterns and a novel algorithm to link the pattern with the clinical prognosis of ADD.

On October 5, 2023, the company announced it has "secured a €5.4 million equity round with Clave Capital as the lead investor, with significant support from the EIC Fund and the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) Diagnostics Accelerator (DxA), alongside other investors such as Lavanda Ventures, Ship2B and WA4Steam. This funding round will enable the company to obtain CE marking and FDA approval for the commercialization of MAP-AD in Europe and the United States."

A Cleantech startup based in the Barcelona region, led by CEO David Comellas.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 1 000 000

The company develops new products related to alternative energies, in particular technologies for the production of electrical energy through the recovery of waste heat (thermoelectric energy harvesting).

Or, "heat is electricity" as their tagline reads. AEInnova has been developing its technology during the last five years, offering thermoelectric solutions through IOT devices/autonomous sensors. The devices need no battery .

A Biotech startup based in the Valencia region, led by CEO Frédéric Legros.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 4,276,686.32

ARTHEx Biotech is a spin-off biotech company from the University of Valencia.They are a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing innovative medicines through the modulation of microRNAs. Their research is focused on investigating advanced RNA treatments against genetic diseases. Further high-level education from the company:

"MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNA molecules that play an essential role in the regulation of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level, by binding to target mRNAs and inhibiting protein synthesis." "The most common way to inhibit microRNAs is the administration of synthetic single-stranded oligonucleotides (called antimiRs) with a sequence complementary to that of the miRNA to be inhibited. These antimiRs bind to the target miRNA and block or degrade it. The nucleotides that make up the antimiR oligonucleotides are chemically modified to improve their binding affinity, stability and bio-distribution."

A Cleantech startup based in the Madrid region, led by CEO Javier Berenguer Cobián.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: No information.

Beridi provides a cost-efficient floating platform for the next generation of high power offshore wind turbines in deep waters.

The company is a leading seashore engineering firm that brings together the knowledge gained from more than 20 years of experience in the field of maritime engineering to develop innovative solutions to the challenges of the offshore wind sector.

Video in English:

A Cleantech startup based in Barcelona, led by CEO José Miguel Bermúdez Miquel.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: No information.

They have developed a modernized suction sail that turns wind into direct propulsion for your ship. Their solution enables ship owners and operators to reduce their environmental footprint while cutting fuel costs.

Founded in 2015, the 3 founders José Miguel Bermúdez Miquel, Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz and David Ferrer Desclaux "imagined a ship solely propelled by sails to produce energy, in the form of hydrogen, in a scalable and renewable manner."

"The goal of the autonomous and tiltable wing sail technology is to maximize the lift coefficient (CL) by maximizing the airflow for the sail, providing a lightweight and cost-efficient solution to reduce fuel consumption in maritime transport."

Bound4Blue announced a pivotal agreement with Marubeni Corporation to power a Panamax bulk carrier.
Bound4Blue announced a pivotal agreement with Marubeni Corporation to power a Panamax bulk carrier.

In September 2023, bound4blue raised €22.4 million in Series A. Marcin Nowak, Investment Director of the European Investment Bank, leading the investment on behalf of the EIC Fund, highlighted:

“We are impressed by bound4blue’s unique technology offering wind assisted complementary propulsion and we recognize its great potential to decarbonise maritime transport. We are very proud to support bound4blue’s scale-up and global expansion efforts to ultimately streamline the operations of one of the most energy intensive and emissive industries. EIC Fund has again bridged the gap and catalyzed reputable investors’ investments in capital intensive, high-risk, deep tech industries.”

An Agtech startup based in the Navarra region, led by CEO Ignacio Grilló.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: No information.

The company develops the future standard for brucellosis vaccines worldwide. Their technology is said to revolutionize efficiency and standardization in brucellosis control programs. Something that is very urgent explains the company:

"Brucella is one of the major causes of diseases in LatAm, Asia, and Africa, with an average prevalence of 16%.This devastating disease propagates very easily among mammals, which infect humans; Main transmitters are Cattle and Sheep and Coats."

The latest outbreak in Spain in June 2021, affected 130 sheep and goat farms and led to 4,000 animals having to be slaughtered.

They have a Spanish office in Madrid but their HQ in New York, led by CEO Luis Sanz.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 862 000

CARTO was founded in 2012 in Madrid by Javier de la Torre and Sergio Álvarez. After working on Conservation and Environmental projects for several years, the two founders looked into improving ways of analyzing and visualizing large amounts of location data. They saw an opportunity to bring spatial analysis to a wider range of organizations and industries that had previously not been able to use it, and Carto was born.

The company enables organizations to use spatial data and analysis for purposes like more efficient delivery routes, better behavioral marketing and strategic store placements. Core users are Data Scientists, Developers and Analysts that use CARTO to optimize business processes, and predict future outcomes through the power of Spatial Data Science.

According to themselves, Carto has now become the world’s leading Location Intelligence platform for spatial analysis and is headquartered in New York, with additional offices in Madrid, Seville and London.

A Deeptech startup based in the Galicia region, led by CEO Antonio Rodriguez Del Corral.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: No information.

Cinfo provides Automatic TV technology, OTT systems and interactive/multi camera video players. The company specializes in video technologies and "everything you need for an Internet TV to work properly". From the generation and administration of metadata, to the complete management of video, interfaces and user apps, websites that respond to subscriptions, transport and distribution of video, encodings and encryption.

Their technology enhances visibility for all kinds of sports. Through their most recent partnership with Telefónica and Sony, they are developing an AI-driven automated production system for “Basque pelota”, described as:

"This system will detect gameplay situations such as serves, wall close hits, wall distant hits, and automatically select the best camera angle from available cameras in the venue, resulting in cost-effective television broadcasting."

A Cleantech startup based in the Barcelona region, led by CEO Alex Raventos.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 2 166 667

The company provides a proven and innovative floating wind system ready to change the offshore wind industry paradigm. Their journey began in May 2019 with a clear vision: to design, build, and test a part-scale floating wind platform capable of generating clean energy in deep waters.

Fittingly for this article, at the Web Summit 2023, their Director of Strategy & Business Development, João Neves, showcased X1 Wind's innovative technology and provided a testimonial of how the European Innovation Council has supported them in their journey.

"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) for the invitation and all the support so far. We're excited to continue our collaboration and drive innovation together", they write on social media.

At the Web Summit 2023, João Neves, X1 Wind thanked the European Innovation Council
At the Web Summit 2023, João Neves, X1 Wind thanked the European Innovation Council

In October 2023, they announced the successful completion of the PivotBuoy Project with excellent performance results. The project marked significant milestones by becoming the world’s first fully functional TLP floating wind platform and Spain’s first floating wind prototype to export electricity via a subsea cable.

"We are excited to conclude the PivotBuoy Project and embark on a new era of commercial projects!", says the company.

Recent video showing their floating wind platform in storm conditions:

A Cleantech startup based in the Navarra region, led by CEO Emmanuel Garcia de la Peña.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 2 000 000

The company provides a disruptive self-climbing system that uses the strength of the wind turbine tower as support to climb up the turbine, claiming to be "the most efficient and flexible wind crane-less system of the industry".

KoalaLifter's key invention is the way it embraces the tower with expandable collars. This makes KoalaLifter suitable for any wind turbine model of any height. It is able to perform major correctives, or even the turbine erection, without any need of high tonnage cranes.

As an example of the benefit they provide, the company exemplifies that 12-20 trucks are needed for the transportation of a crane to a wind farm. "With KoalaLifter maintenance systems, the number of trucks needed is reduced drastically to only 2 trucks", they claim.

Video of their first commercial product:

A Healthtech startup based in the Barcelona region, led by CEO Ignasi Belda.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: No information.

MiWEndo provides a medical device that integrates microwave technology with colonoscopy in order to improve the prevention, diagnosis and knowledge of colorectal cancer.

MiWEndo automates the detection of polyps by emitting an alarm when a polyp is detected, increases the field of vision to 360º and provides a quantitative classification of the tissue without changing the current clinical practice.

"Every year 1.93 million new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed. This cancer can be cured in more than 90% of cases if precancerous polyps are detected and removed", explains the company.

A Healthtech startup based in the Valencia region, led by CEO Salvador Vera Manero.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: No information.

With the goal to free up health professionals from spending their time on anything but patient care, the company automates, simplifies and speeds up the most complex processes of a healthcare organization.

For example, with their Bluetooth wristbands, the hospital staff can locate patients inside the hospital. They can also be used to locate equipment and improve inventory control. They claim to be the first company in the sector to use this Angle of Arrival technology, which allows a much higher location accuracy than a traditional RTLS.

Mysphera Bluetooth wristband.
Mysphera Bluetooth wristband. IM: Company video.

Mysphera's solutions are ideal for health centers looking to modernize their processes in order to streamline patient flow and improve the work environment. They have been applying Lean methodology in health beyond 10 years for more than 50 European hospitals.

A Deeptech startup based in the Madrid region, led by CEO Santi Magazù.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 1 346 412.74

OrbitalAds provides an AI-Powered Keyword Management Platform to optimize automated keyword management of global advertising search campaigns. Their solutions help digital marketers save time and make smarter decisions that drive performance and efficiency.

A Deeptech startup based in Tenerife, Canary islands, led by CEO José Manuel.

Invested amount from the EIC Fund: EUR 6.500.000

Wooptix is a developer of light field and wavefront phase imaging platform, a technique derived from adaptive optics research in astronomy. It is designed to acquire all information about the light using a single lens, utilizing the full sensor resolution.

The company’s technique enables everyone to achieve their vision with more data points at high frame rate and volumetric images and video, unleashing new levels of quality and advanced post processing.

Their technology belongs to the highly in demand sub-sector of semiconductor metrology. Metrology is “the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology,” as defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM, 2004).

They work with the image through light, in all its fields and applications. Thanks to the light field and wavefront phase technologies, Wooptix has developed their own formulas and patents to apply them to many different solutions and products.

In a post ahead of Semicon Europa on November 15, 2023, where the company presented at the Advanced Packaging Conference (APC), they clarified their ambition to "disrupt the semiconductor metrology industry with the highest lateral resolution and fastest measurement technique for inline fab measurements."

In this recent interview linked below, Javier Elizalde, Chief Operations Officer at Wooptix, discusses the company’s Wavefront phase imaging innovation, defined as "a new semiconductor metrology technique for measuring wafer geometry, designed to capture millions of data points in a few milliseconds with sub-nanometer height accuracy and higher spatial resolution than any other techniques."

The interview mentions that the company is approaching their commercialisation phase.

All improvements to this article are very welcome in the comments, or by email to: hello @ expand to spain . com

Written by Caroline Lagergren, founder Expand To Spain

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