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  • Norwegian companies receive record high funding from the European Innovation Council

    Photo: Otechos. From left to right: Frode H. Larssen, COO. Tore Halvorsen, Project Manager. Christopher A. Vanay, CEO. Dag Ingvaldsen, Senior Engineer. Kjell-Birger Kvinnesland, CTO. Tor Arne Hauge, founder and Chairman of the Board.
    Photo: Otechos. From left to right: Frode H. Larssen, COO. Tore Halvorsen, Project Manager. Christopher A. Vanay, CEO. Dag Ingvaldsen, Senior Engineer. Kjell-Birger Kvinnesland, CTO. Tor Arne Hauge, founder and Chairman of the Board.

    Seven Norwegian companies have been awarded more than NOK 500 million from the EU's EIC Accelerator. Alginor, Evoy, Innomar, N2 Applied, ONiO, Otechos and Wavefoil are the companies that have competed with over 2000 companies from 40 countries in Europe to finance their projects. Only 64 companies were eventually offered funding in this round.

    Having seen seven Norwegian companies through the eye of the needle, Norway is second in Europe - only beaten by France. This is impressive and shows that the Norwegian business community is developing innovative solutions that mark up well in international competitionsays Håkon Haugli, CEO of Innovation Norway.

    The EIC financing is a mixture of funding and optional equity dedicated to technology development, company growth and scaling.

    The EU is working in new ways to combine public support with private capital for European growth companies. Among others, the EIC supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises and innovators to help them develop and bring onto the market new innovative products, services and business models that could drive job creation, economic growth and prosperity in Europe.

    Innovation Norway provides advice in setting up the EIC applications, offers training in pitching and in answering demanding questions from the judging panel in Brussels.

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    More about the Norwegian companies that have raised funds:

    Alginor (Haugesund): 185 million. The company combines sustainable, environmentally friendly and modern harvesting technology with advanced biorefining technology for full utilization of large kelp for the production of food and pharmaceutical ingredients without the use of harmful chemicals. The technology has been piloted through the company's ongoing EU project, to be completed by December 2020. The new project is to take the pilot to an industrial scale, and includes the design and construction of a harvesting vessel and a biorefinery.

    -The breakthrough in EIC's "Green Deal" marks an important milestone for the company and for the implementation of a much-needed green shift in the European kelp industry. We are very pleased that the EU, like us, has seen the untapped potential and the resources that lie in the sustainable full utilization of large kelp.  Large kelp represents a biomass of 100 million tonnes along Europe's coast, says founder and CEO of Alginor ASA Thorleif Thormodsen.

    Alginor ASA currently has 210 shareholders and the long-term goal is the Oslo Stock Exchange's main list. The first step is to ensure a major emission prior to a listing on the Merkur Market, which we believe has picked up recently, says Thormodsen.

    Evoy (Florø): 47 million. With its vision of eliminating emissions from boats, Evoy has ambitions to significantly reduce global emissions. Evoy's voyage has just begun. Although they have accomplished a lot in a short time, there are many challenges ahead. One of the biggest challenges is the need for capital in the demanding phase of development and growth. The award from The European Green Deal is thus an important contributor to ensuring Evoy's future success.  The EU funding will support scale up and internationalization,  as well as the development of next generation electric operation for boats, where elements such as, control systems, battery, supercharging, 24/7 Big Data and OTA (Over-The-Air) will be improved from the Evoy1 version.

    -We are both proud and humble to be among the leading green start-up companies in Europe. Support from Innovation Norway has been important to succeed with the application and the interview in Brussels, says a happy General Manager Leif A. Stavøstrand.      

    Innomar (Grimstad): 63 million. The company vision is to make fishing more sustainable. Innomar has developed and patented fishing traps that are environmentally friendly but also provide high quality catches and improved safety for the fishermen. Higher quality of catch increases income without having to increase fishing quotas. Innomar also develops sensor technology for use with the traps, which provides the user with real-time information on catch and position in the present by wireless transmission to digital platforms. This makes it possible to make fishing more efficient, reduce the number of hit & miss trips and minimize operating costs, while at the same time giving the fishermen greater freedom to manage everyday life. In addition, Innomar’s solution opens up new opportunities for information flow and resource management, which is also part of the project. The technology is expected to minimize challenges with bycatch, seabed destruction, and loss of fishing gear.  Plastic waste from the most common fishing methods of today represents a major global problem for our Oceans.   

    Innomar collaborates with experienced fishermen, renowned research environments such as Nofima and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research as well as commercial project partners for sensor technology.

    - We have previously received support from Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Research Council and private investors who have given us the opportunity to pursue this exciting project, says CEO Tore Halvorsen.

    The EIC funding will ensure testing prototypes, building up the company, growth and internationalization.

    N2 Applied (Oslo): 26 million. The company has developed a technology that improves food production and reduces emissions. A small unit is placed locally on the farm, and with air and electricity, livestock manure is converted into valuable natural fertilizer with less emissions and odours. This reduces the use of chemical fertilizers the fossil from food production is removed.     

    - Our solution can improve food production in Europe whilst reducing emissions. This is a need that is clearly addressed by the European Green Deal, and we are thrilled that the EU sees the potential and opportunities our technology represents, says general manager of N2 Applied, Carl Hansson.

    The Green Deal funding will support commercialisation and market entry.         

    ONiO (Oslo): 74 million. ONiO.zero is a small wireless chip that harvests energy from the environment and measures sensors without using batteries. ONiO aims to remove expensive and environmentally hazardous batteries from current IoT sensors. ONiO.zero is developed under strict quality requirements that enable integration in medical equipment. ONiO.zero is technologically challenging and expensive to develop. EU funding means that they can take the technology to market and make the company ready for scaling, which is otherwise demanding to accomplish.

    -Our technology will transform the global IoT market and ensure massive growth; limited by the dependence on batteries today, says CEO, Kjetil Meisal.

    Otechos (Tvedestrand): 67 million. For the second time in three years, the company has been granted support from the EU to further develop its patented CR technology. The latest project grant from the Accelerator program enables the company to, by 2023, develop and install demonstration plants i cooperation with pilot partners NEL Hydrogen and Hybrid Energy. Renewable energy sectors such as heat recovery and hydrogen production need robust and cost-effective solutions to be used on a large scale in industry. The new pump compressor is robust and simple and allows for significant energy savings and production of CO2-free fuel.                     

    -This will pave the way for scaling and growth towards market establishment in Europe and globally. The grant is very important for the project; with this we will actually get the pump compressor to the market, says founder and chairman of the board Tor Arne Hauge.       

    Wavefoil (Trondheim): NOK  44 million. Through EIC Accelerator, the company will further develop and demonstrate their largest module with retractable bow foils for a ship of 100-200m, as well as prepare for a scaling up of production.

    -The funds from the EU mean a lot to us and will enable us to demonstrate our foil module on the size of ships where they really constitute a major economic and environmental benefit. We would also like to thank Innovation Norway who have been of immense help in conjunction with the application, says CEO Eirik Bøckmann.

    About the European Innovation Council
    The EIC Accelerator is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, under Horizon 2020. The next framework program is Horizon Europe, which runs from 2021 to 2027. The EIC supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises and scientists with bright ideas and the ambition to scale up internationally, creating new markets, more jobs, growth and prosperity.