Skip links

Maltese startups can get €80k in equity-free funding through new venture builder

Maltese startups can get €80k in equity-free funding through new venture builder

17th January 2023, Valletta: Startups based in Malta can bolster their operations with €80,000 in equity-free funding thanks to Ventures Thrive – a new pan-European venture builder funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) of the EU. Call for applications is now open, and applications will be accepted until 16th March 2023. The startups can apply at 


 Over the course of two years, the programme is expected to invest a cumulative €1.5 million in the 32 selected startups (12 in the first cohort and 20 in the second). Selected startups will also get to benefit from mentorship sessions and work alongside leading corporates, investors, and institutions. 


The aim of Ventures Thrive is to address funding shortages and growth difficulties among deeptech startups in widening countries, such as Malta, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal, and Cyprus. Ventures Thrive was launched in November 2022 by three founding organisations: Acceler8, Wolves Summit, and Anthology Ventures. “Historically, companies in Malta have found it difficult to raise finance for new innovations. 


At Ventures Thrive our mission is to support startup founders on their journey to go-to-market by filling the funding gaps at an earlier stage.” – Antti Heikkilä, CEO at Acceler8 Venture Builder Acceler8 is a strategic R&D actor and business champion that specialises in commercialising research-based innovations. The company focuses on technologies born and developed in European Research Council (ERC), European Innovation Council (EIC) and European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) funded research. 


Further information about the project can be found on the Media Kit. Figure 1: Members of the Ventures Thrive consortium at the project kick-off, held at the Malta Chamber of Commerce in Valletta (November 2022). 


Target sectors Startups participating in the first edition of Ventures Thrive (running from April 2023 to October 2023) must be related to at least one of the following themes, opportunities, and challenges. 

1. Smart City 

2. Energy 

3. Marine 

4. Agriculture & Waste 

5. Mobility 

6. Sustainable Finance 


Startups participating in the second edition of Ventures Thrive (in 2024) must be somewhat related to at least one of the following themes, opportunities, and challenges. 

1. Health

2. Food 

3. Third Age 

4. Sustainable Tourism 

5. Culture 

Furthermore, participating startups must also be involved with the deeptech landscape (BigData, AI, Blockchain, IoT, and / or Bio-Tech, etc.), offer a product / service and technology that has passed the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage (TRL 6, technology demonstrated in a relevant environment), and be based in a widening country. In accordance with the European Commission’s definition of the term, the full list of widening countries is as follows: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands. 


Programme timeline 


The first edition of Ventures Thrive will commence in April 2023 with the opening of the applications and will close in October 2023 with a Demo Day. Both editions of the programme are split into four distinct phases. 


These are as follows: 


Phase 1: Apply – Applications open on 17th January 2023 and close on the 16th of March 2023. Towards the end of March, the ‘Evaluation Days’ will take place, wherein startups will be assessed on readiness and fit with the programme. Here, 12 teams will be selected to move forward. 


Phase 2: Build – The programme will start in April 2023, with the 12 selected startups working with Ventures Thrive coaches to produce a Master Plan around their needs regarding sales and business development, product development, and fundraising from private and public sources. Each team will commit to a set of realistic KPIs to pursue during the Ventures Thrive programme. On May 24th-26th, the pitch contest will take place in Wroclaw Poland, wherein teams will pitch to industry leaders and corporate partners. All companies reaching this stage qualify to receive a Venture Ticket of €5,000 equity-free, to cover travel and accommodation costs to attend the Selection Days. Six startups will be selected to continue to the next phase. 


Phase 3: Grow – The Growth Programme will take place between June and October 2023. Throughout this period, the six selected startups will attend workshops and masterclasses and receive mentoring and coaching around specific topics related to investment readiness. Startups that are working on specific Corporate Challenges will also work directly with the corporations. 


 Phase 4: Raise – The programme will conclude in October 2023 with a Demo Day – a day to celebrate startups’ achievements during the programme in front of hundreds of investors, corporates, mentors, and press attendees. Prizes will be awarded to the top three startups. 


How to apply 


Ventures Thrive is accepting applications from both privately and publicly funded ventures, including portfolio companies of the EIC accelerator or other deeptech related programmes like Eurostars, HEurope, Digital Europe Programme, or Member State Programmes. Startups are invited to submit their interest at 


Applications are open until 16th March 2023. Investors looking to diversify their portfolio and wishing to collaborate with startup founders can get in touch with the Ventures Thrive team at to explore collaboration opportunities. 


Further inquiries: Benjamin Abela, Communication specialist, +356 79299910, Antti Heikkilä, Managing Director, +356 77085572,


More Posts

Malta to feature in the Startup Genome report

ME advances benchmarking, visibility of local startup ecosystem Malta Enterprise, shall be advancing its efforts to promote the local startup and scaleup ecosystem via a collaboration with Startup Genome –

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.