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Horizon 2020 is European Commission’s (EC) most well-funded Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It aims to secure Europe’s global tech competitiveness by helping top startups to grow across Europe and globally. The fund has awarded Phase 1 grant to POM, a Belgian fintech company developing payment solutions for invoice administration. The award allows POM to receive a lump-sum funding of €50,000 to carry out a concept and feasibility study.
Horizon 2020 is a politically-backed program that will fund startups working on ground-breaking science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the main recipients of the funding under which POM was selected to show its concept and feasibility.
POM has been awarded a SME1 grant from the European Commission's 🇪🇺 #H2020 Programme. Thank you @alexanderdecroo for supporting our application! https://t.co/MqUUKRUry1 #betech 🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/A9HfriMvLL
— POM (@Just_POM_it) March 29, 2018
100 best startups
Approximately 100 out of 2009 companies were selected during the phase 1 that shows startups have to compete with a lot of companies and only the best get the funding Euros. POM’s success now hinges on developing a detailed expansion plan for five European countries, identifying partners, and getting to the phase 2 funding which it can only attain if it meets the KPIs (key performance indicators).
“Being awarded this grant is a strong signal that we are on the right track and offer compelling and innovative e-payment solutions that fit with societal needs and market demand,” says Johannes Vermeire, co-founder and CEO at POM.
Johannes is a graduate of KU Leuven, a research university in the Dutch-speaking town of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium. He remained the business development manager for UnifiedPost, a La Hulpe-based Business-Process-as-a-Service provider (BPaaS) and a fintech company.
A pilot program of European Innovation Council
Phase 1 funding is part of European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. The EC’s website notes that all applications were bottom-up which basically means there were no set topics and startups were classified as per keywords. Interestingly, top keywords were, ICT, engineering and technology and health.
There are voices that demand of the EC that it should not try to reinvent the wheel by funding uber-new startups. Instead, it should fund “start-ups in the growth phase, that is, companies which have developed their technologies to the point where they are ready to scale-up, rather than the early stage start-ups,” wrote Enna Kelly of Science Business, a network of universities, companies, and research and policy organizations. The position was taken in a letter signed by 18 European CEOs and company founders asking EU to course-correct its startup funding strategy.
It appears POM is already doing business and the funding will help the company scale operations across Europe.