On 6 and 7 June, a select group of leading international investors will get to know the hottest Belgian tech startups to watch during ‘Level Up Belgium’. Gent BC, Startups.be, EY and B-Hive are joining forces to make this event a large scale ‘Betech showstopper’.
On June 6th, the investors get familiar with 25 young Belgian growth companies that raised between one and two million euro, and want to go abroad quickly. On June 7th, the focus will be on Belgian scale-ups that closed a Series A investment round, as well as on a handful of starters with the potential to disrupt the market.
In total, 50 businesses will be put on the investor’s radar during the two-day event. On 20 and 21 May, the selected companies will be trained by renowned Belgian captains of industry during a high-level ‘Scale-up Masterclass’.
Accel, Index, Atomico, Dawn, Fortino, Vitruvian, Capricorn, ID Invest, HPE Growth Capital, MyMicroInvest, Newion, Partech, Volta Ventures, Icos, Microsoft, Smartfin Capital and Corsair have already confirmed their attendance. Several more top VC’s will be added to the program in the coming days. The speakers include Pieterjan Bouten (Showpad), Alain De Taeye (Tele Atlas) and Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo (Open VLD).
Initiator Bruno Vandegehuchte from the Gent BC platform: “Although there is a large amount of seed capital available in Belgium and the policy-making is increasingly becoming startup-friendly, our promising tech companies don’t have sufficient access to VC’s that are able to provide big tickets and make a difference. The access that Level Up creates to these ‘deep pocket’ investors from centers such as London, Amsterdam, Paris and Stockholm, is very valuable.”
Leveraging on a successful 2016 edition
In 2016, Level Up already brought tens of VCs to Ghent, including Accel, Index, Dawn, Partech and many others. “In 2017, we leverage on the extensive networks in the VC world of the partners Startups.be, B-Hive and EY. This way, we can ensure that our top businesses will be able to present themselves for the ‘big fish’ in the VC space.”
“We are seeing an ever-increasing wave of second and third-generation startups popping up in Belgium that learned how things work at successful companies like the social media specialist Netlog, which - at a certain point in time - had more users than Facebook”, adds CEO Karen Boers of Startups.be. “Furthermore, our developers are more cost-efficient and more loyal than their peers in the USA. Belgium also is such a small country that our startups must have an international focus from day one.”
“As B-Hive, we consider the support for Level Up as a no brainer”, adds chairman of Startups.be and investor Jurgen Ingels. “Attracting growth capital remains essential for Belgian technology companies. Startups that do well quickly orient themselves towards the UK or Silicon Valley, and often transfer their activities or employment.”
Wim De Waele (ex-CEO iMinds, CEO B-Hive) says: “Hundreds of businesses have started in our ecosystem. Some remain small, others become players with hundreds of employees. It is great to see businesses like Showpad, Sparkcentral, Teamleader and Collibra becoming international Betech ambassadors. They prove that top investors should keep their eye on Belgium!”
“The objective of Level Up Belgium connects seamlessly with the support that EY offers to starting, fast-growing companies”, adds partner Wouter Desmet of EYnovation. “By reverting to the base of EYnovation – sharing knowledge, expertise and network – we can prepare our top Belgian scale-ups during the Masterclass in Antwerp. This way, they are ready to convince the series of word leading investors in Gent, on June 6 & 7.”
Gent BC, Startups.be, B-Hive and EY provide a great deal of extra ‘triggers’ for the event. “Investors are often on the road but Ghent remains a unique location”, argues Vandegehuchte, who points out that the city is among the top ten ‘must visit’ cities in Lonely Planet, and is being boosted by National Geographic as one of the most authentic destinations in the world.