With fostering innovation and the digital economy to encourage the emergence of new leaders on the highly competitive Internet market as one of its top priorities, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to support the Franco-German start-up Qwant to the tune of EUR 25 million.

This financing operation was announced today at a major Franco-German digital conference taking place at the Elysée Palace, in the presence of Emmanuel Macron, France’s Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of the Economy and Energy, Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the EIB, Jean-Manuel Rozan, Chairman of Qwant, and Eric Leandri, Managing Director of Qwant.

“This is an innovative financing operation”, said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle at the signing ceremony.  “It will enable this Franco-German start-up to expand its offer in Europe and thus develop a highly efficient search engine that respects users’ private lives and ensures the neutrality of search results. The EIB is proud to support Qwant in its European-scale development project”.

“We are delighted to see our values and technologies endorsed by France, Germany and Europe. This is the true starting point of our European outreach” added Eric Leandri and Jean-Manuel Rozan.

Against the background of a highly competitive sector dominated by Internet giants and the globalisation of the digital economy, the EU’s bank is committed to playing an active role in developing the European digital market.

An innovative and dynamic young company, Qwant staked its claim as a future European digital leader with the launch in 2013 of a search engine equipped with a highly effective web search methodology tailored to the needs of European users that is also innovative in terms of diversified local content, protection of its users’ personal data and neutral search results.

The EIB financing is being provided under the Horizon 2020 initiative and in particular the “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” programme, which provides tailor-made financing products for research and innovation projects carried out by SMEs, large corporates and promoters of research facilities.


Note for editors:

European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.


Qwant is a search engine that indexes, contextualises and ranks web content, including social networks, in order to give users a broader view of the results of their searches.

Qwant embodies key European values: respect for users’ private lives, anonymity of searches, neutral results. Its immediate goal is to provide a credible and effective European alternative for web searches.

Find out more at: www.qwant.com

Background on InnovFin financial products

Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products which will make available more than EUR 24bn of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48bn of final R&I investments.

InnovFin builds on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility developed under the seventh EU framework programme for research and technological development (FP7), which financed 114 R&I projects to the tune of EUR 11.3bn and in addition provided loan guarantees worth over EUR 1.4bn.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries. These debt instruments will be complemented in the near future by a suite of equity instruments managed by the EIF.

InnovFin MidCap Growth Finance offers long term senior, subordinated loans or mezzanine loans, in order to improve access to finance mainly for innovative larger midcaps (up to 3000 employees), but also SMEs and small midcaps. Loans from EUR 7.5m to EUR 25m will be delivered directly by the EIB.