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BEYOND: The new consortium which aims to close the funding gap for Europe’s startups

BEYOND, a consortium of business accelerator programmes and backed by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, has just launched. The aim of the platform is to make Europe’s startup ecosystem more equitable, levelling the playing field from Berlin to Bucharest and from London to Lombardy. 

As the year draws to a close we can reflect on another exciting year for Europe’s startup ecosystem. Whilst it has been a challenging year, and some of the stats show slides when compared to 2021, we can still be optimistic about that state of play across the continent. 

2022 has still brought us unicorns, still brought us fresh innovation, and still brought us impactful, disruptive game-changers. The ecosystem across Europe is still hot, money is flowing, and, perhaps most importantly, the sense of community remains resilient. 

However – while the continent as a whole is flourishing – it does stand out that the startup success maybe isn’t as equitable as it ought to be. There are still some regions, awesome countries, that are picking up the lion’s share of the cash and are the ones that are bringing Europe’s ecosystem to the global playing field. And this is not only a detriment to regional parts of the continent, but is a factor that could stunt long-term growth. In times of hardship and resilience, the less diversification there is, the harder it is to survive, and Europe’s startup ecosystem needs to diversify and leverage all the potential that there is – from each nook and cranny. 

According to the latest data from Invest Europe, Western Europe and the Nordics accounts for 80% of Europe’s VC investment. Meanwhile, CEE, for example, accounts for just 3.6%. 

BEYOND: Closing the gap

With this context in mind, BEYOND has been launched by a consortium of partners. The platform aims to strengthen trust and enhance the exchange of resources for startups, investors and accelerators across the continent. 

The platform’s founding partners are made up of venture capitalists and accelerator programs from both mature and emerging startup ecosystems alike: 

  • Accelerace, a Scandinavian accelerator that’s helped to grow 800+ startups including Trustpilot, Templafy, and Densou. (Denmark) 
  • FundingBox, a European Deep Tech funding ecosystem that counts over 470 startups accelerated and €80 million under management. (Denmark/Poland)
  • ISDI Accelerator, the venture builder from ISDI, one of Spain’s leading digital business schools. (Spain) 
  • Overkill Ventures, a leading Nordic-based angel fund investing up to €200,000 in early-stage companies. (Latvia) 
  • XLRadar, an accelerator program in different verticals for pre-revenue startups that awards equity investments of up to €50,000 + follow-on as well as many added-value services. XLRadar is backed by Sofia-based venture capital firm Innovation Capital. (Bulgaria)

Jesus Tapia, Head of the ISDI Accelerator: “We recognize the importance of balancing the opportunities provided to startups across the EU. If we don’t act now to narrow the gap between mature and emerging startup ecosystems, Europe’s business ecosystem as a whole will suffer. BEYOND is a platform that connects startups, investors, accelerators and business mentors from across the EU and provides a framework for trust, collaboration and sharing resources that will uplift emerging players, making the whole ecosystem stronger.”

Virtual Accelerator Marketplace

The BEYOND platform channels investment flows from stronger ecosystems toward emerging ones using its Virtual Accelerator Marketplace (VAM). The VAM performs a number of functions to help build trust and make investment across countries in the EU more efficient, including: 

  • Creating a cross-border funding passport (OnePass) that helps startups get funded in a seamless way while making it easier for investors to invest in them. 
  • Establishes a definitive acceleration methodology to be used by both mature and maturing ecosystems to help establish trust and share resources. 
  • A marketplace of resources from platform partners (including accelerators and investors) to add value to startups. 
  • Generating an incentive structure for partners to benefit from providing added value to start-ups.
  • A cross-border funding marketplace for startups. 

OnePass, the cross-border funding passport, is a centralized system which allows startups to apply once to gain access to curated funding, tailored training and acceleration while cutting much of the red tape to receive investment. 

For investors, OnePass provides access to vetted, trusted startups from across Europe, and accelerators and incubators can match their programs with eligible applicants as well as issue certificates upon completion and reduce drastically due diligence of applicants.

Better connections, more efficient funding

With the presence of different VCs, the platform is able to better connect startups, investors and accelerators from across the continent and it’s also able to make the funding process a lot more efficient. In fact, the platform is reportedly making the funding application process 10x more efficient for startups. 

Currently, an average startup spends upwards of 150 hours submitting applications for public funding programs. BEYOND’s platform streamlines data from startups so they only need to fill out one application which can then be applied to numerous public startup funding opportunities in the EU, lowering the barrier for great startups to get funded. 

By removing barriers and better connecting startups and innovators from right across Europe, the platform aims to level the playing field – we’ll be keeping an eye to see how this plays out. 

Xabi Chao, CEO FundingBox: “FundingBox is on a journey of facilitating both public and private funding and digital transformation, bringing the full potential of public-private-partnerships to the entrepreneurial challenges of tech startups, experts, institutions and investors and therefore BEYOND serves as the perfect platform to foster these relationships and deals. For this purpose, we have developed a trusted and facilitating technology in OnePass, which will in turn produce a faster and seamless funding and acceleration cross-border process.”

Patricia Allen
Patricia Allen
is the Head of Content at EU-Startups. With a background in politics, Patricia has a real passion for how shared ideas across communities and cultures can bring new initiatives and innovations for the future. She spends her time bringing you the latest news and updates of startups across Europe, and curating our social media.
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