Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding being made available over 7 years (from 2014 to 2020). The aim has been to promote new innovative breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts and take great ideas from the lab to the market.

Among the 10,000’s of organisations to benefit from funding are more than 500 start-ups (founded since 2015). To showcase some of the most exciting ones we have used our VentureRadar scoring methodology to rank all of the European start-ups in this list, and below you can find our more about the Top 10 in our ranking.

Founded in 2015, Bitwala is a banking service that combines a German bank account with access to cryptocurrencies, digital assets and blockchain-based finance. Based in Berlin, it is Germany’s second-largest challenger banking service, with more than 140,000 customers across 32 European countries. More than 100,000 of those new customers have joined since the start of 2020. Bitwala is available to all European Economic Area residents, and it plans to accelerate its development in order to create further financial services around the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). In addition, Bitwala says it continues to focus strongly on mobile users and the introduction of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) products based on Blockchain technology.

Varjo is a Helsinki-based developer of industrial-grade virtual reality/extended reality (VR/XR) headsets and software. The company raised $54 Million in Series C Funding in August 2020, with company CEO Timo Toikkanen saying “We are seeing tremendous demand for virtual and mixed reality use cases, particularly as much of the world continues to work remotely”. Varjo says it is the first and only company in the world to deliver human-eye resolution virtual and mixed reality devices to meet the demanding enterprise applications across training and simulation, design and engineering and research.

IDUN Technologies is a spin-off from Swiss ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) developing and manufacturing comfortable sensors designed to provide unparalleled signal quality for wearable devices. The company aims to offer the best interface between the user’s skin and wearable devices to connect humans in everyday life. The Dryode™ is the first product in a development pipeline working towards continuous body monitoring for sports diagnostics, well-being and brain-computer interfaces. The company recently added Sony as an investor in a seed funding round.

Founded in 2017 and based in Munich, Germany, Blickfeld is a provider of cutting-edge LiDAR technology for autonomous mobility and IoT applications. The company has developed proprietary LiDAR technology based on patented silicon MEMS mirrors and commercial off-the-shelf components. The Blickfeld LiDAR product family is designed to meet the highest performance requirements at the cost and size needed for mass market adoption. The company raised a Series A funding round in March 2020 to ramp up production, qualify its LiDAR sensors for the automotive market and strengthen the team.

UK-based Puraffinity specialises in the design of advanced materials, and has developed a bio-based novel adsorbent capable of removing highly challenging pollutants from contaminated water and wastewater. The technology utilises advanced supramolecular chemistry methods to functionalise bio-based materials designed to bind target chemicals. The company is currently developing a range of adsorbent media materials, targeted at removing Per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from water. PFAS contamination has become a worldwide environmental challenge as stringent advisory limits are being imposed and conventional treatment processes, such as granular activated carbon and ion exchange, are not able to provide a robust and cost-effective solution.

Indigo Diabetes is a Gent, Belgium-based start-up creating a continuous glucose monitoring sensor and corresponding app. The nanophotonic sensor – a spectrometer in miniature form – is designed to allow measurement of glucose and other biomarkers or metabolites such as ketones accurately and continuously. The sensor will sit underneath and not on the skin, with the aim of making blood sugar checking invisible and painless in the future. The company recently raised €38 million in funding to enable it to prepare and start up the clinical study phase.

SAGA Diagnostics is a personalized cancer diagnostics and disease monitoring company focused on molecular genetic analyses of a powerful cancer biomarker: circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). The company was founded in 2016 as a spin-out from Lund University, with a mission to improve precision cancer medicine, provide more accurate treatment monitoring, and improve patient survival using minimally-invasive liquid biopsy cancer testing services and kits. SAGA helps pharmaceutical companies, scientists, and healthcare providers to detect actionable mutations, stratify patient groups, and monitor treatment response more accurately.

Fluidly is a UK-based fintech start-up using AI to transform how SMEs manage their finances. The company’s patent-pending technology dynamically forecasts and optimises cashflow, with the aim to give businesses owners control, certainty and confidence. Launched in 2017, the company says it has already helped more 30,000 businesses, worked with more 500 accounting partners and facilitated millions in funding solutions.

omni:us is an Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) provider for cognitive claims management. Built on a fully data-driven approach, omni:us wants to transform the way insurers interact with their policyholders by providing all the necessary tools and information to make fast, transparent and empathetic claims decisions, whilst improving operational efficiency and reducing loss adjustment expenses. The company is headquartered in Berlin, with research partners in Barcelona and representations in the UK, France and the United States. The company announced in early 2020 that it had increased its Series A financing by $13 million, to drive further expansion into the US market.

Gedea Biotech‘s ambition is to develop the first antibiotic-free treatment that both prevents and cures bacterial vaginosis. The company’s lead product, pHyph, is a vaginal tablet for topical treatment of bacterial vaginosis. In its most recently concluded trial, 82% of the subjects were clinically cured of bacterial vaginosis after one week. Gedea Biotech was set up by a multidisciplinary team from Lund University.

The start-ups featured above highlight some of the leading examples of from among the thousands of companies that have benefited from Horizon 2020 funding. We’re looking forward to watching how all these companies progress.