In 2019, FI Ready, the division of the FI Group specialized in managing R&D&I funding for startups, managed €21 million for this segment of companies, among all its services. The Spanish R&D consulting firm specializes in advising companies in the area of managing funding for research, development and technological innovation (R&D&I) activities, strengthening its commitment to the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem and the importance the company attaches to supporting R&D&I.
FI Ready is the result of the acquisition by the FI Group (then F. Iniciativas) of Inveready Innovation Consulting from the Inveready financial group in May 2018, for the development of a strategic business unit around the financing of startups in the field of R&D&I. This acquisition enabled FI Group to become the first consultancy firm specialising in R&D&I financing with a specific business unit for advising startups.
After two years, the new division has more than fulfilled the expectations of added value provided for in the agreement. It generates an annual turnover of around €2.5 million and has performance indicators in terms of success rates and fundraising that are well above the average for the traditional financial consultancy sector. This is mainly due to its deep specialisation and focus on the startup sector.
More than 120 startups and more than 100 national grants projects have been advised, in programs in which the startups have an outstanding participation or are the only beneficiaries (Retos de Colaboración, CDTI Cervera, NEOTEC, ENISA, among others). The scientific-technical knowledge of FI-Ready’s team, added to the excellence of the projects, has allowed the success rate of these programs to be over 90%. More than 100 R&D&I tax deduction applications have also been managed (75% of which are intended for cashback process, an extremely interesting tool for startups).
Among the clients are startups of all types and sizes such as Typeform, 21 Buttons, Másmovil, Glovo, and even startups already acquired by large groups such as Playgiga (Facebook), Password Bank (Symantec) and Indysis (Intel).
Besides, FI Ready, together with the international grants department of FI Group, has financed more than 25 projects in the EIC Accelerator Pilot (formerly SME Instrument) and has extensive experience in other European Commission instruments aimed at start-ups (Eurostars, Open Calls, etc). Another interesting tool for startups is the tax lease service since entrepreneurs get private financing without dilution.
OPEN CALL FOR FI BOOST
In parallel to the creation of FI Ready and to complement the comprehensive service to the startup segment, FI Group has the corporate acceleration program equity free called FI Boost. This program, through which startups are accelerated in advanced stages for 5 months in order to bring them closer to FI Group’s customers, brings value to both startups and FI Group’s customers. FI Boost also started in 2018, two editions have been held, five startups have been accelerated in each edition and FI Boost has been internationalized in France, where this year was held the first edition.
The call for FI Boost 2020 opened on 1 April and is expected to close on 31 May.
Alejandro Álvarez, FI Group Head of Grants, claims that: “the two years since the creation of FI READY have exceeded our expectations. The balance sheet is very positive, and we are sure that it will continue to be so in the coming years. Both the FI Ready division and the FI Boost programme reflect the importance FI Group attaches to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the promotion of R&D&I”.
FI Ready and FI Boost, two years after its launch, represent the consolidation of a pioneering strategy in the sector focused on advising startups, which will surely become much more important depending on the economic scenario left by the crisis COVID-19.