News - May 6, 2019

The Solar Impulse Foundation and the European Investment Bank join forces to support innovative companies in their financing strategy

EIB headquarters
- Photo by EIB

Written by Tristan Lebleu 3 min read

The Solar Impulse Foundation and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed a landmark agreement for the provision of financial advisory services to innovative environmental solutions part of the #1000Solutions portfolio. 

The advisory process, which helps companies structure their financing strategy, could ultimately lead them to access the EIB’s products, such as venture debt facilities for a loans of at least EUR 7.5 million.

The bank’s advisory arm helps project promoters to navigate the maze of financial facilities that exist within and beyond the EIB to ensure the optimal financing strategy for the company. Finding the right type of financing strategy is indeed as important as securing it in the first place. Whether raising money through equity funding, debt or even crowdfunding, companies must understand how fundraising choices can have a big impact on their long-term strategy.

The Solar Impulse Foundation and the EIB will work together on selecting those companies eligible for the programme, and fitting within the scope and risk appetite of the bank. The offered support can typically range from advice on adjusting their business model or governance, to preparing the necessary documentation, presenting their project to investors, and ultimately accessing financing facilities.

Through the guidance from the world’s largest multilateral lender, the Solar Impulse Foundation portfolio companies that are eligible and selected will get an extensive understanding of all available EIB’s financial products and will be prepared to successfully benefit from them. Indeed, the Bank offers numerous options for companies looking for funding such as corporate loans, project finance, or venture debt. The latter is a particularly interesting financial instrument for young companies, as it provides a sizeable amount of capital through a long-term loan, without equity dilution. The EIB provides approximately €600M in venture debt financing every year, making it Europe’s largest provider of long-term lending.

The European Investment Bank has a unique take on venture debt as it aims to fill the market gap that afflicts European companies of medium size, where the financing needed is between EUR 7.5 million to EUR 50 million. The EIB finances up to half on any funding round, making this ideal for companies looking to raise between EUR 15 million and EUR 100 million.

The signing of the agreement builds on a relationship between the Solar Impulse Foundation and the European Investment Bank that goes back over two years, when Bertrand Piccard met with EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, who said:

“We share common values and goals with Bertrand Piccard. The European Investment Bank is the EU’s Climate Bank and financing new technologies and innovative firms that help to fight climate change is at the very heart of what we do. With the Solar Impulse Foundation, Mr. Piccard fosters cutting-edge technologies and solutions for a greener society. That is why we are particularly happy to support this endeavour.”

The EIB has a strong focus on financing projects that contribute to the fight against climate change. In 2018, 30% of the Bank’s financing supported climate action.

By supporting innovative cleantech companies, the Solar Impulse Foundation and the European Investment Bank want to scale clean, efficient and profitable solutions and ultimately accelerate the transition to a carbon neutral economy.

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