Ukrainian SolarGaps gets €1 mln from Horizon 2020 programme
A Ukrainian startup SolarGaps has been awarded €1 million in European Commission’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument phase 2, sources from SolarGaps informed AIN.UA.
What does SolarGaps do
SolarGaps is working on smart blinds that are able to generate solar energy. The employees of the company noted that one square meter of these blinds is enough to charge 3 laptops or 30 LED lights.
Why is it important
According to Yurii Tsverkun, COO of SolarGaps, SolarGaps became the first Ukrainian startup to get funding from Horizon 2020 in its second phase. “SolarGaps became the first Ukrainian startup to get funding from Horizon 2020 SME Instrument phase 2. We are part of 5% of European startups that did it. It is a huge and important milestone for us. It is not every day that a startup gets €1 million of non-repayable development grant funds. We believe that in future our product will be an integral part of smart cities that converts vertical facades into a solar power station,” Tsverkun noted.
How funds are going to be used
The awarded funds will allow SolarGaps to complete their b2b product and prepare it for release. In addition, it was announced that the startup has already obtained the necessary certification in the EU for its b2c product and the sale will commence in the EU member states via dealer networks. According to Tsverkun, the appearance of these two products is similar, but they are different in terms of control.
Evgeniy Erik, a founder of the startup, shared that the team had to meet a number of serious conditions to get the funding. “Firstly, we developed the product to the so-called pre-mass market condition. Secondly, we obtained certification in the EU. Finally, we showed how our solution can be applied in practice.” SolarGaps team visited Brussels twice to present their project to the European Commission. According to the representatives of the startup, the commission comprised representatives of investment funds that analyzed the business strategy and prospects of the product on the European market.
Back in 2017, the European Commission awarded €50k to SolarGaps in phase one of Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, and then EBRD awarded another €50k within its Climate Innovation Vouchers Programme. Before that, the startup had held a successful campaign on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, where it managed to attract $150k. The startup’s consultant in Horizon 2020 was the team of CIVITTA.
Previously, AIN.UA informed that a Ukrainian startup GEO Protocol attracted investments estimated at $4 million.