Data-driven tools for supporting and improving the decision-making processes of investors for financing innovative SMEs

Funding Source: European Commission – Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA)

Programme: HORIZON 2020

Duration: January 2019 to December 2021 (36 months)

Innovation is key for boosting the competitiveness of the European economy, creating jobs and driving its sustainable growth and, therefore, has to be adequately supported through investments. Of course, when it comes to innovative SMEs with high-growth potential that can play a pivotal role in driving economic growth, access to finance can be a bit of a challenge. At the same time, the current state of play in assessment methodologies does not seem to be able to mitigate the risk aversion of investors, who end up passing up on very promising investment opportunities.

InnoRate is set on deploying a trusted, objective and recognised service platform across the EU and Associated Countries to support and improve the decision-making processes of investors and lenders for vetting, prioritising and ultimately financing innovative SMEs with high growth potential.

The novel InnoRate Technology Rating Platform will provide a suite of digital decision support tools and services, reinforced by well-customised innovation assessment and rating methodologies that go beyond the traditional credit-focused approaches in evaluating the technological and business potential and risks of innovations. To develop these novel methodologies, the project draws inspiration from the trusted and widely applied Korea Technology Rating System (KTRS), with a view to adapting it to the EU reality. KTRS has been used for more than 20 years in South Korea, supporting hundreds of thousands of innovative SMEs to access finance and grow.

Leveraging the wealth of existing data, semantic technology and in-depth human expertise, the InnoRate Technology Rating Platform aims to:

  • Minimise the time and resources (human and financial) required by investors and lenders for assessing innovative SME cases;
  • Make the prospects of innovative SMEs clear to investors;
  • Reduce knowledge and information asymmetries and risk premiums paid by innovative project managers.

Ultimately, InnoRate’s vision is to disrupt the largely risk-averse financial sector of the EU and AC, enhancing the innovation capacity of high growth technology sectors and paving the way for drastic innovations to flourish, so as to place Europe in the forefront of the global innovation game. To put it simply, we want to bring innovation to finance and finance to innovation.

The InnoRate Technology Rating System along with its rating methodologies and digital decision-support tools will be piloted in the context of the investment readiness and match making services that will be offered by the project to interested stakeholders, covering a diverse set of use cases, ranging from investors scouting for and prioritising high-growth potential SMEs for access to finance, to financial institutions assessing such SMEs for loan-based financing.

The InnoRate consortium consists of 9 partners from 6 countries (i.e. Greece, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria, France and South Korea), covering a wide range of competences and expertise:

  • Q-PLAN International ADVISORS PC, Thessaloniki, Greece(Coordinator of the InnoRate project), qplan-intl.com
  • Tech Tour Global, Bulgaria, techtour.com
  • Ernst & Young Financial Business Advisors SPA, Italy, ey.com
  • European Business and Innovation Centre Network AISBL, Belgium, ebn.eu
  • Jolt Capital SAS, France, jolt-capital.com
  • White Research SPRL, Belgium, white-research.eu
  • Ontotext AD, Bulgaria, ontotext.com
  • Unismart Padova Enterprise SRL, Italy, unisma.it
  • Korea Technology Finance Corporation (KOTEC), South Korea, kibo.or.kr