On Wednesday, the European Investment Fund (EIF) announced the launch of its blockchain and AI program to increase tech funding in Europe. The investment scheme is also supported by the European Commission (EC) and will make €100 million available to venture capitals supporting the emerging technologies.
The EIF’s release notes that while western Europe spent $674 million on blockchain this year, only second to the US, little of it supports live, large scale projects. It’s a small fraction of the $34 billion region total, according to Atomico’s recent report.
Plus, the vast majority of venture capital funds supporting blockchain are based elsewhere. Funds used to invest much more locally then they do today; with ICOs and more global innovation, investors in blockchain now tend to go wherever the opportunity lies. This eventually leads to European tech firms finding more success in US financing.
Wednesday’s investment scheme hopes to change this. The EC and EIF hope that it will elevate Europe’s position as a home for blockchain and AI development.
“The blockchain and AI ‘financing gap’ in Europe presents an opportunity for the EIF to support these new technologies through its existing and future venture capital networks,” the fund’s statement read.
While the organizations are contributing €100 million, they believe that this figure will increase to €300 million from private investors. The scheme will further allow co-investments with national promotional banks and is slated to begin operating next year.
The European Space Agency funded blockchain firm SpaceChain two months ago for its satellite-based technology. German startup Bitwala completed an impressive funding round with half the money contributed from European investors coparion and Earlybird. Plus, the EU is entirely funding Finnish social network firm Helios.
Also this week, three Chinese investment firms launched a billion-dollar blockchain fund for digital banks.