The Start-up Rescue Instrument was created to alleviate the economic shock posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Start-ups applied to receive up to €500,000 in co-investment from EIT Health, in return for options.


Due to the COVID-19 crisis, start-ups are struggling to close financing rounds and investors are struggling to keep their portfolios afloat. In some cases, private investors are adopting a portfolio-first strategy and pausing investment into new targets to focus on existing portfolios.

Part of the EIT Crisis Response Initiative, the EIT Health Start-up Rescue Instrument directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new instrument aims to support highly innovative ventures by increasing investor firepower and bridging the fundraising gap of start-ups in Series A, Series B and bridge-financing rounds.

EIT Health will leverage the value of an investor’s commitment and co-invest up to €500,000 in grants for options. For example, if a private investor invests at least €250,000, EIT Health will match this with a €500,000 grant and give the start-up a total cash injection of €750,000.

Through this instrument, EIT Health will enable start-ups to attract further investor commitment and propel their venture’s acceleration. In addition to providing a boost to bridge financing rounds, EIT Health will offer selected start-ups a strong network of partners and introduce them to other opportunities in the EIT Health portfolio programmes.

Is it for me?

The Start-up Profile

Start-ups were eligible to apply if they met the following requirements:

  • Seeking Series A or Series B financing round or was in promising preparation of a bridge financing round ≥ €1 million before COVID-19 crisis.
  • Investment rounds affected/postponed by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Pre-money (of current round) or Post-money valuation (of previous round) ≥ €5 million.
  • Valuation determined after 1 January 2019.
  • Private investor willing & able to co-invest 50% of value of EIT Health grant.
  • TRL ≥ 4 (Biotech); TRL ≥ 6 Medtech/Digital Health.
  • Incorporated on or later than 1 January 2013.
  • Active in Medtech, Biotech and Digital Health areas.
  • Drug development projects are not eligible.
  • Be an SME.

The Investor Profile

For start-ups to participate, their investor had to meet the following requirements:

  • Private investors, already present or new to capitalization table, engaged in investment negotiations with start-ups whose fundraising rounds have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Private investors including but not limited to: Business Angels, Super Angels, CVCs, VCs, family offices and other equity investment partners who could support current or target portfolio start-ups.
  • The investor will need to provide start-up with evidence of ability and willingness to co-invest at least 50% of EIT Health grant-for-equity requested under current terms to be submitted with the application. The higher the private co-investment the more competitive the application.
  • Willingness to support start-ups growth by covering all other cost categories; EIT Health funding will cover project expenses.

The Call Document has full details on the eligibility requirements.


The application period closed in June 2020.

About the EIT Crisis Response Initiative

As part of the EIT Crisis Response Initiative, this activity directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EIT Health Start-up Rescue Instrument overall budget and the required pre-financing through EIT are both subject to the approval by the EIT Governing Board, which would not be granted before June 2020. All applicants will be informed as soon as the approval is granted.


For questions about the Start-up Rescue Instrument, please contact a Business Creation Manager in your region.

More information