SolarGaps became the first Ukrainian startup which received SME Instrument Horizon 2020 Phase 2 grant since the interview stage in Brussels was introduced. The startup secured EUR 1 mn of equity free funding for commercialization of world’s first smart blinds with solar panels. Thereby, Ukrainian startup SolarGaps got to top 5% of European innovative startups who succeed to get SME Instrument Phase 2 grant.
SolarGaps team invented the world's first smart window blinds which generate solar energy. SolarGaps blinds allow everyone to produce green energy from the window surface, thus saving a great part of electricity bill and decreasing CO2 emissions. One square meter is enough to power 3 laptops or 30 led lamps. SolarGaps received EU certification and finished B2C product development. Their dealers will start sales in EU markets in 1 month. The team participated in IoT Hub Acceleration program in Ukraine and two of the largest acceleration programs in USA: HAX Growth and Singularity University.
Before applying for Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, the startup had a fully functional prototype and did a successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. In 2017, with the help of CIVITTA management consultancy team, SolarGaps won SME Instrument Phase 1 for the development of commercialization strategy for their product and prepared for the Phase 2.
SolarGaps is the first Ukrainian startup to successfully go through the pitching stage in Brussels in front of European VCs and industry experts. EUR 1 million of the Phase 2 funding will allow SolarGaps to finalize and pilot the B2B product and prepare it for global commertialization.
Yechen Erik, CEO of SolarGaps commented: “We received this money not for our past records but for future achievements”.
With their successes SolarGaps proves that it is possible for Ukrainian startup to win one of the most competitive grant in the world. More Ukrainian startups should apply and benefit from the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument grant.
Iurii-Volodymyr Blavt, Project Manager of CIVITTA, said that: “The SME Instrument is the champions league of European innovators. I am proud that SolarGaps joins the club of most innovative European companies. I encourage more Ukrainian startups to take part and win the funding. Thus, forming a positive investment image of Ukraine.”
Horizon 2020 SME Instrument provides grants to the most innovative SMEs in Europe. It selects the best companies with the most innovative ideas, a real chance of disrupting the market and a very high growth potential. The programme is delivered in Phases. Phase 1 offers a lump-sum grant of €50,000 to carry out a concept and feasibility assessment. Phase 2 invests between €0.5 and €2.5 million in innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, prototyping, pilot lines, scale-up studies and market replication. In addition to funding, SMEs receive tailor-made business innovation coaching and further business acceleration services. Since joining the Horizon 2020 program in 2015, only 12 Ukrainian projects got EUR 50 k Phase 1 grants and only two won Phase 2, while 10 of the winning applications were prepared by the CIVITTA team.