In 2021, the EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity financing) requires the upload of a pitch video which can present new challenges to prospect applicants (read: Proposed 2021 Template). While startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) can find information on the creation of pitch videos elsewhere (read: How to Make a Pitch Video), the scripting of such videos might require additional planning. Professional writers and consultants have to address the inherent differences between a pitch deck, an in-person interview and a video pitch since their evaluations will differ greatly (read: EIC Accelerator Interview Preparations).
Since it is unlikely that the 2021 EIC Accelerator proposal template will include a detailed guideline as to how a competitive pitch video is created, the following article presents a framework for how such a process could look like. It takes the past evaluation methods by the European Innovation Council (EIC), European Agency for SME’s (EASME) and European Commission (EC) into account while aiming to present all essential content within the limited timeframe.
Scripting a Video Outline
The first step in the creation of a pitch video should be the scripting of its content. There are generally no correct or incorrect ways to achieve the desired outcome since a video allows, by the far, the greatest creative freedom of all proposal documents (i.e. compared to financial spreadsheets, pitch deck, written proposal – read: EIC Accelerator Documents). Still, a script should always include information on the innovation, the opportunity and the team behind the project even if the time is limited to only 3 minutes.
While the pitch deck was already difficult to structure due to a 10-minute time-restriction, a 3-minute presentation requires much more meticulous planning (read: Pitch Deck Creation). In addition, a video can be expected to be judged much more harshly than a pitch deck in the same way a person is judged more comprehensively in-person compared to a photograph. As a result, a rushed video production is much more detrimental to the evaluations’ success than a rushed pitch deck.
The effort of creating a pitch video clearly exceeds that of a simple pitch deck but the trade-off is that a video can compress much more information into the same amount of time while tools to enhance the professionalism, entertainment value and impact of the presented material are readily available.
Step 1: Splitting the Video into Acts
As a first step, the video should be structured according to its main segments so that the available time can be allocated and the individual scripts can be created in a top-down approach. This is a key difference to the pitch deck and the proposal template since a page-restriction will always be easier to structure than a time-restriction. While a pitch deck can be segmented by simply dedicating a main slide to the product presentation, a video might require varying time-frames depending on the type of technology and collected footage.
As an example, the acts for a 3-minute video can be structured as follows:
- Problem [00:30]
- Innovation [00:50]
- Traction [00:30]
- Company [00:40]
- Opportunity [00:30]
- Company [00:20]
- Traction [00:30]
- Innovation [01:00]
- Opportunity [00:30]
- Investments [00:20]
- Planned developments [00:20]
These examples are optional and every company has to decide how their ideal pitch video should be structured. There can be significant overlaps between different acts but creating a simple outline as to how the video will be structured is a first step in preparing the subsequent shooting.
Step 2: Scripting the Acts
As outlined in the article on pitch video’s (read: Creating a Pitch Video), each act can use a variety of different techniques ranging from interviews over animations to hardware footage collection. These methods can be blended and adjusted to the needs of each act but they should be scripted prior to shooting them so that the editing work in post-production is reduced.
Scripting the individual acts is also useful in case some tasks such as the animation, voiceovers or filming are outsourced since this can significantly save time and costs. An outline should follow the general rules for a good project narrative (read: Visual Representation for the EIC Accelerator) and present a compelling storyline.
To explain a market problem, the applicant can begin with the largest issue (i.e. deaths, costs, low KPI’s) and explain how this issue is rooted in a lack of technology. The innovation should then be explained in a very simple manner by beginning with a general overview of what it does, followed by what its use case looks like.
Such scripts can be written out as a text first and improved until the final explanation or voice over is perfected. In general, the scripting should be prioritized and perfected by shooting test footage first and then iterating feedback cycles until the desired quality is achieved.
This article continues in Part 2.
These tips are not only useful for European startups, professional writers, consultants and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) but are generally recommended when writing a business plan or investor documents.
Deadlines: Post-Horizon 2020, the EIC Accelerator accepts Step 1 submissions now while the deadlines for the full applications (Step 2) will be on June 16th 2021 and October 6th 2021 under Horizon Europe. The Step 1 applications must be submitted weeks in advance of Step 2. The next EIC Accelerator cut-off for Step 2 (full proposal) can be found here. After Brexit, UK companies can still apply to the EIC Accelerator under Horizon Europe albeit with non-dilutive grant applications only - thereby excluding equity-financing.
Contact: You can reach out to us via this contact form to work with a professional consultant.
EU, UK & US Startups: Alternative financing options for EU, UK and US innovation startups are the EIC Pathfinder (combining Future and Emerging Technologies - FET Open & FET Proactive) with €4M per project, Thematic Priorities, European Innovation Partnerships (EIP), Innovate UK with £3M (for UK-companies only) as well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants with $1M (for US-companies only).
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by Stephan Segler, PhD
Professional Grant Consultant at Segler Consulting
General information on the EIC Accelerator template, professional grant writing and how to prepare a successful application can be found in the following articles:
- EIC Accelerator Interviews: Pitch Deck vs. Proposal Documents (SME Instrument)
- Choosing a Good Project for the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- The EIC Accelerator Budget: Grant vs. Blended Finance (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- EIC Accelerator – Introduction and Blended Finance (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- EIC-Accelerator Writing: Providing the Missing Link (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- The Biggest Mistakes When Applying to the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- Identifying a Broad Vision for an EIC Accelerator Project (SME Instrument Phase 2)