The INVEST program of BAFA has proven to be a significant initiative aimed at promoting venture capital investments in innovative companies. In a time when startups are a driving force for economic growth and innovation, the support of venture capitalists, such as business angels, plays a crucial role. This blog post provides an overview of the INVEST program, highlights its objectives, and explains how it benefits both investors and emerging companies.

What is INVEST?

The INVEST program by BAFA aims to promote venture capital investments in innovative companies. This initiative intends to increase the attractiveness of venture capital investors, providing financial support to promising startups. The focus is on strengthening innovation, promoting economic growth, and improving the international competitiveness of startups.

A central component of the program is financial support for venture capital investors. Through a grant, investors are encouraged to invest capital in innovative companies, increasing their risk appetite and facilitating access to much-needed capital. The exact amount of the grant and the modalities are determined within the program.

To benefit from this funding measure, both venture capital investors and the supported companies must meet specific requirements. These include clear agreements between companies and investors and specific conditions regarding the type of funded projects. Clear guidelines ensure that support is targeted towards promising ventures.

Benefits for Venture Capital Investors:

  1. Amount of the Grant:
    By participating in the program, venture capital investors receive a financial grant that enhances their investments in innovative companies. This incentive increases return prospects and reduces potential risks.
  2. Increased Attractiveness:
    Financial support makes investments in startups more attractive. Venture capital investors can distinguish themselves from other financing options, better capitalize on high-quality startup opportunities, and foster investment in innovative projects.
  3. Promotion of Investments:
    The program promotes direct investments in promising startups, strengthening the confidence of venture capital investors in innovative projects and contributing to overall improvement in the investment environment.

Requirements for Start-ups:

The criteria that a company/start-up must meet for the shares acquired by the investor to be subsidized are as follows:

  1. Company Characteristics:
    • The company must be small and innovative.
    • It must be no older than seven years.
    • It must be a corporation or a registered cooperative (eG).
    • The main office must be located in the European Economic Area (EEA).
    • It should have at least one branch in Germany registered in the commercial register or cooperative register, or a business establishment in Germany registered in the trade register.
  2. Size Criteria:
    • The company is considered small if it has fewer than 50 employees (full-time equivalents).
    • The annual turnover or annual balance sheet total must not exceed 10 million euros.
  3. Innovation Criteria:
    • The company must operate in an innovative business field.
    • Alternatively, it is considered innovative if it owns a patent up to 15 years old directly related to the business purpose, has received public funding for a research or innovation project in the two years before the application, or has received an innovation award listed on the BAFA website in the two years before the application.
    • If none of the above criteria are met, innovation can be certified through a free external independent short assessment initiated by the BAFA and created by an assessor listed on the BAFA website. The short assessment can only be initiated after the application has been submitted and requested by the BAFA.

Application Process:

In the regular application process, the process begins with an online application by the company to the BAFA, which then certifies the eligibility of the company. Subsequently, the investor also submits an online application to the BAFA. After reviewing this application, the BAFA issues a notice. Contracts for share acquisition or a loan agreement in the case of a convertible loan between the investor and the company may only be concluded when the investor has also submitted their application after the company’s application. The BAFA approval notice does not have to be available yet. After payment for the shares or realization of the conversion into shares, the investor can request a refund of 25% of the investment amount from the BAFA (payment request). For this, the corresponding contracts or documents must be submitted, outlining the participation. The payment of the acquisition grant takes place only after the examination of the documents and the completion of the investment, such as the entry of the capital increase in the commercial register.

In the case of the investor participating in a start-up project, the application is submitted first by the investor. The company then submits its application for eligibility once it is founded and registered in the commercial register. The application process is deliberately kept slim to ensure quick and uncomplicated support for investors and minimize disruption to the investment process.

ringbach and INVEST:

Due to our patent received on August 11, 2020, titled “Method for the automated production of a protective mask in a production line, as well as the corresponding production line,” ringbach meets the requirements for receiving BAFA INVEST. In December 2020, ringbach was officially granted eligibility.


The BAFA INVEST program is an important funding opportunity for small, innovative companies and investors in the venture capital sector. It offers acquisition grants and supports start-up projects. Participation requires meeting specific requirements, while the streamlined application process allows for quick processing. Monitoring and commitments ensure the correct use of funds. Companies and investors should consider possible changes and carefully coordinate with the BAFA when terminating participation. Overall, the INVEST program is valuable support for innovative companies in Germany.