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Call 1.2.-31.3.2023

Deep Tech Accelerator – Pilot funding call

Pilot funding call for the launch and development of a deep tech startup for international business.

More information

Heikki Hannula
heikki.hannula (at)
tel. +358 50 5577 857

Jaana Rantanen
jaana.rantanen (at)
tel. +358 50 396 2923

Call has ended!

Deep tech startups create unique innovations that solve today’s global problems. They utilize the results and intellectual property rights generated by research to develop new ways of producing materials, curing diseases, or slowing down climate change, for example. Deep tech startups have significant growth potential and the potential to revolutionize entire industries.

Deep tech startups usually have a significantly longer and riskier commercialization phase than other companies. Therefore, it is important to support the development of new success stories, especially in the critical early stages of business. Business Finland wants to promote the stronger utilization of research results by startup businesses and, in particular, to speed up the market entry of deep tech startups and the launch of scalable international business operations. For this purpose, Business Finland has decided to try out the new Deep Tech Accelerator funding for deep tech startups.

Deep Tech Accelerator (DTA) – pilot funding call

Deep Tech Accelerator funding is intended for startups that are less than five years old but already operating, which have been founded to commercialize the latest research results and know-how. Intellectual property rights and research-based know-how are central to the value creation, market potential, and competitiveness of the target companies. The companies are still in the early stages of product development and their operations involve high technology and market entry risks. The companies have typically made high product development investments and are undergoing product development. The companies typically aim at high social impact and seek to solve major global problems.

The aim of the funding is to help deep tech startups enter markets faster. Key goals include increasing market and customer understanding and adapting the solution under development to these needs, measures to strengthen the team, solution and company related tasks to achieve marketability, systematic utilization of intellectual property rights, and financial planning and acquisition. DTA funding cannot be used for product development, which should be carried out in separate product development projects.

During the pilot, Business Finland will analyze whether the DTA funding has met the goals set for it and decide on its continuation on the basis of the results.

DTA funding

The DTA funding package consists of two phases with a EUR 400,000 grant and a EUR 1,000,000 loan. The first phase is estimated to last between 12 and 18 months and the second phase up to 24 months. Business Finland’s contribution covers 75% of the total budget.

In this pilot funding call, the company only applies for funding for the first phase, which has an estimated cost of EUR 533,334. In the project plan included in the application, the company must also provide a preliminary description of the content and goals of the second phase, which indicates that the company is seriously planning the implementation of the entire project.

The goals for the funding period will be defined together with the company on the basis of its business plan and recorded in the funding decision. Business Finland will assess the achievement of the goals at the end of the funding period. Achieving the goals is one of the requirements for proceeding to the next phase. In addition to achieving the goals, the company’s financial situation and conditions for rapid international growth affect the future funding opportunities.

What can the funding be used for?

The funding can be used for the following purposes, for example:

  • Contacting customers and verifying the suitability of the solution with customers, customer negotiations, acquisition of pilot projects, taking measures to obtain references
  • Determining/finding the optimal application of the technology and validating the solution with customers
  • Finding the right customer segment and business focus, developing the business, operational sales and marketing
  • Strengthening the team with sales, marketing, and business experts, for example
  • Ensuring the marketability of the solution
  • Planning and acquisition of additional private financing

Evaluation of applications

A maximum of ten promising deep tech startups that meet the criteria and represent a sufficient number of different industries will be selected for the pilot funding call. We will evaluate the funding applications against the following criteria:

Origin of the idea and company – The company was founded to commercialize a business idea based on the latest scientific research and has strong intellectual property rights based on this.
Business – Value creation, business potential, and competitiveness are based on documented and state-of-the-art scientific research. The company has independent decision-making powers over its business activities, and is not a subsidiary.
Solution – The functionality of the technology has been verified, but the solution is still under development. No business has been carried out with the solution, except for paid pilot projects.
Team – The team has credible expertise in developing research-based technology and business. The key full-time personnel have a significant ownership interest in the company.
Risk level – There is a significant risk associated with the technical functionality of the solution and the market entry.
Effectiveness and targeted change – The company is aiming for significant and scalable international business. The growth targets are realistic in relation to the development and market entry investments presented. The funding will have a significant impact on the implementation of the project and the achievement of its goals.
Total funding – The company’s total financing must be credible over the entire funding period. Business Finland’s funding covers up to 75% of the project costs. The grant for phase 1 is paid retrospectively to cover actual costs on the basis of interim and periodic reports, so your company must also have other financing for its operations.

In addition, DTA funding is subject to the following requirements:

  • Your company must be a limited liability company registered in Finland and belong to the prepayment and employer register. The company must have been in operation for less than five years before the funding decision for the first period is made. Business Finland can only accept the costs of the DTA project until the company is eight years old. The company’s age is calculated from the date of its business ID registration.
  • The company is small sized: fewer than 50 employees, and annual net sales or a balance sheet total of up to EUR 10 million.
  • At least 10% of all the costs of your company have been allocated to research and development during one of the previous three years.
  • Your company has not continued the business activities of another company, and the product has not been commercialized previously in another company.
  • Your company has not been established through a demerger. Exceptions include a situation where demerged companies have been in operation for less than five years.
  • Your company is not listed, and it has not distributed any profit. Profit distribution means the distribution of dividends or assets from an unrestricted equity reserve, or the purchase and redemption of treasury shares.

The funding granted by Business Finland is discretionary and the decision-making follows the normal evaluation and decision-making process. Other competing funding applications will also be taken into account in the evaluation of the applications.

If the company is already covered by NIY or Growth Engine startup funding, DTA funding cannot be granted.

Application period

Submit the application and its attachments via Business Finland’s online service by March 31, 2023 at 23:59. Please read the application instructions carefully and reserve time for filling out the application. Attach the following documents to the application: business plan, project plan, auditor’s report, cash flow forecast, list of intellectual property rights, technology transfer agreement/assurance of the rights guaranteed by the agreement.

Before submitting the application

Contact Business Finland to discuss the suitability of your company for DTA funding. Contact our deep tech experts or your account lead. 

Please read the application instructions carefully so that you know how to fill out the different parts of the application.

Read the funding terms and conditions. They describe the costs that Business Finland can fund, how we monitor your project costs, and how you should report on the progress of your project.

Get the following financial matters in order

We cannot grant your company funding if:

  • Your company has not submitted financial statements to the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, or your company’s financial statements have not been audited in accordance with the Auditing Act.
  • Your company has not submitted an up-to-date statutory notification of beneficial owners to the Trade Register.
  • Your company has tax debts for which a payment plan has not been agreed on with the tax authorities.
  • Your company has arrears, payment defaults or other outstanding financial obligations related to previous loans granted by Tekes or Business Finland.

Read these, too

Reporting is carried out according to the guidelines for the funding for young innovative companies:

Apply for the funding via our online service