Ukrainian startup SolarGaps, a resident of UNIT.City, has received a grant from the European Commission in the amount of €1 mln under the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2 program.
Startup is working on smart blinds capable of generating solar power. The team notes that one square meter of blinds is enough to charge 3 laptops or 30 LED bulbs.
“SolarGaps was the first Ukrainian startup to receive a grant from Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2. We made it to the 5% of European startups that managed to do it”, – says Yuriy Tsvierkun, COO at SolarGaps.
“For us, this is a great and important achievement – not often startups are given €1 mln for development. We are sure that in the future our product will become a mandatory part of smart cities, which converts the vertical facades of buildings into solar power plants,” said Tsvierkun.
The financing will allow SolarGaps to finalize the B2B product and prepare it for the market launch. In addition, the startup said that it has already received certification in the European Union for the B2C product and will start selling it through dealers in the EU in a month.
According to Tsvierkun, these two products will be similar in appearance, but should be different in technical terms and in terms of management.
The team has fulfilled a number of serious conditions to receive the grant, said Eugene Erik, the founder of the startup.
“Firstly, we’ve improved the product to the so-called front end. Secondly, we received direct certification in the EU. Finally, we have shown how our solution is applied in practice,” he says.
The SolarGaps team traveled twice to Brussels to present the project to the European Commission. As representatives of the startup say, the commission consisted of representatives of investment funds, analyzed the business strategy and product prospects in the European market.
In 2017, SolarGaps received €50K from the European Commission as part of the first phase of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument program, and €50K from the EBRD as part of the climate voucher program. The startup conducted a successful campaign in Kickstarter and Indiegogo, where it raised $150K. The CIVITTA team acted as a consultant for Horizon 2020.