A story about a shining example of the power of EU funding for research and innovation

After three years, the FED4SAE programme concluded in January 2021 as a shining example of the power of EU funding for research and innovation. The programme directly supported 32 companies from across Europe to create an array of prototypes and innovative products which increased the competitiveness of European innovators in the CPS and embedded system markets. It also contributed to the expansion of the Digital Innovation Hubs across the continent. FED4SAE has helped to create a competitive ecosystem where European start-ups and scale-ups can thrive thanks to access to leading technology sources, competencies and industrial platforms, as well as well-connected business infrastructure and existing regional innovation hubs. To celebrate these results, the FED4SAE website has been redesigned as a showcase of the work done so far and the many successes that the start-ups have achieved.

Wide-ranging communications activities, including open calls, brokerage events, exhibition booths, information workshops and webinars brought the FED4SAE initiative to the attention of over 3,000 companies, with funding proposals submitted from 34 countries across Europe, 97% of all the submitted proposals included partners at least from two different countries.

The broad range of industrial platforms, advanced technologies and testbeds offered by FED4SAE also translated into a wide range of targeted technical fields and application domains in both the received proposals and those that were funded: from computer vision, machine learning, virtual reality and artificial intelligence to smart sensors, and audio processing. In total over 30 different technology uses could be identified, with usually more than one field being featured in a proposal.

By the end of FED4SAE, 41% of the granted companies have already achieved customer sampling or actual sales. A second group of companies (37%) have also managed to sample to customers and discovered that the commercialization could be delayed by one or two years. A variety of reasons can explain this delay such as the need for medical trials or the maturity of the market. These two groups of companies, e.g. 78%, will potentially reach 20 M€ in annual recurring revenue within the next 3 to 5 years. Overall the success in commercialization reaches 41% with a potential to reach +37% within the next 2 years. All the companies have deployed marketing effort to identify partners, or initiate contacts with customers. In some specific situations, a direct introduction with customers has been performed by the RTOs. The support to fundraising has been intensified since 2020 with the 2 events organized: by Digital catapult in London early February where 12 companies had the opportunity to pitch, and the INPHO Venture summit that took place on line in October 2020 where BLUMORPHO had the opportunity to introduce more companies looking for investors (SAE contest award won by Protolab). More on FED4SAE success stories on our dedicated page.