Urban air mobility brand Volocopter has secured €55 million of capital from investors led by Geely Holding, pushing the total level of external investment benefiting EIT Climate-KIC supported start-ups to over €1 billion. 

Volocopter builds aircraft based on drone technology and aims to offer affordable on-demand air taxi services. The start-up completed all three stages of EIT Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme in 2012 and 2013. The programme gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to secure grants of up to €85,000 to take their innovations to the next level.

EIT Climate-KIC, supported by the European Institute of Innovation (EIT), leverages capital to help the start-ups and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in developing the solutions capable of promoting the systemic change needed to tackle the climate crisis. 

Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten Dunlop commented “This significant milestone for EIT Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme illustrates the role that entrepreneurship can play in leveraging capital for systems transformation. 

“These major investments in cleantech validate our updated model of embedding start-ups within demand-led interventions. Our approach focuses on innovation at the level of whole systems, driving change through a portfolio approach, tackling financial, business model, behavioural, policy and market blockages simultaneously.

“It is no longer adequate to leave start-ups to grow in silos along classic venture building lines.”

Zolar, another start-up supported by EIT Climate-KIC, recently secured €10 million. The start-up simplifies access to solar energy systems for homeowners to effectively contribute to the movement tackling the challenges presented by climate change.

Other start-ups supported by the public-private climate innovation partnership which have recently secured millions in investments include Lilium, Ynsect and Climeworks.

Beñat Egaña Co-Lead Entrepreneurship Europe said “EIT Climate-KIC has always been about more than just incubating individual start-ups and entrepreneurs. We take a look at the whole spectrum of innovations across Europe and work with pioneers to introduce them into the right innovation ecosystems and to provide them with tailored mentoring and community building. We don’t just fund, we nurture.

“The success of Volocopter, Zolar, Lilium, Ynsect and Climeworks are indications of the level of capital we expect to see committed to cleantech solutions supported by EIT Climate-KIC, leading us to whole systems transformation.”

The investment in climate innovation is announced as the incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen, announced a new team with a high profile commissioner responsible for a ‘European Green Deal’.

The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C called for “rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure, and industrial systems”. EIT Climate-KIC supports the systemic innovation necessary to deliver the level of ambition demanded by the international climate science community.

EIT Climate-KIC’s Investor Marketplace which was launched in August 2018 will be re-launched with a new website on Thursday 17 October, enabling start-ups and investors to connect and push forward their innovations.