18 feb IMEC.ISTART: ‘Powerful corporates accelerate the innovation dynamics of a country or region.’
We are proud to announce that imec.start is now part of the TekDelta startup community. The accelerator program located in the beautiful city of Ghent (Belgium) is connected to imec: one of the world’s most renowned research institutes in the field of digital technology and nanotechnology. Imec.istart’s program director, Sven De Cleyn, talks about his ambition, drive and most importantly, how TekDelta and imec.istart can learn and benefit from each other through this collaboration.
The imec.istart program
Imec.istart accelerates young tech startups and spin-offs to create healthy tech companies and transform them into mature scale-ups (and beyond). In practice, it means imec.istart offers a 12 to 18-month coaching program, as well as €50.000 to €250.000 pre-seed capital. Imec.istart helps startups develop their first proof-of-concept into a viable business. Sven explains ‘We support startups in building a strong foundation and make sure they are ready to grow, while supporting their international ambitions. The companies we work with focus on digital technology (software) and/or nanotechnology (e.g. chips, sensors, batteries), but they can be active in any industry or domain. Since we invest in these companies, it is in our interest to have long-term commitment and make sure they succeed. We actively support our alumni, for example with attracting talent, funding and internationalization.’
Next Stop: The Netherlands
Sven: ‘When scaling internationally the Dutch market is often the first step, as it is larger than the Belgian market and at the same time accessible in terms of logistics, language and culture. Besides our startups gaining experience on how to scale internationally, there is a lot more we can learn from our neighbors. The Dutch surpass us when it comes to the average ambition level of entrepreneurs and how well they market their products. In addition, in the Netherlands there are more multinationals (e.g. Shell, ING, KPN, Philips). Such powerful corporates accelerate the innovation dynamics of a country or region. In order to connect our startups with such organizations and create concrete opportunities to innovate, we decided to join forces with TekDelta. At the same time, in Belgium extensive investments are being made in focus technology areas. This allows us to play a part on the world stage in those specific domains despite our small scale.’
Imec.istart has lots to offer the Dutch market and TekDelta partners. Sven: ‘In ten years’ time, we’ve built up a portfolio of more than 225 startups with lots of relevant innovations. Since 2015, UBI Global has nominated us as the no.1 European accelerator associated with a knowledge institution, and no.4 worldwide. We can proudly claim that the quality of our startups is very high. In addition, imec.istart is connected to more than 4.000 technology researchers at imec, who have top expertise in many advanced technology fields. We are excited to see where this collaboration will take us and how we can strengthen each other along the way’. To find out more about imec.istart and requirements to join their program check their website.