Five alumni of iMinds’ iStart entrepreneurship program receive over one million dollars in follow-up funding in the first half of 2016

Numbers confirm that iMinds is one of the most successful accelerators when it comes to its start-ups attracting extra capital

Attracting follow-up funding is no easy feat for young businesses. Yet, five Flemish growth companies that were supported by iMinds’ iStart entrepreneurship program during their first year, are doing particularly well. Since the beginning of this year, Datacamp, MOLECUBES, PieSync, Ontoforce and Seaters – all iStart alumni – have each secured over one million dollars to finance their (international) expansion. According to Omar Mohout, who closely monitors the Belgian and European start-up scenes, this confirms iMinds’ reputation as one of the most successful European accelerators in terms of attracting follow-up funding. As such, iMinds joins a select group of internationally acclaimed accelerators such as Seedcamp, Techstars, Y Combinator and 500 Startups.

Setting up a start-up is one thing, but attracting sufficient follow-up funding to scale one’s business (internationally) appears to be an even bigger struggle. That being said, companies that took part in iMinds’ iStart entrepreneurship program do considerably better than other start-ups. This had already been observed last year during the assessment by Swedish UBI Index, following a screening of over 500 university incubators across the globe. The assessment showed that iMinds start-ups attract external follow-up funding more easily (every euro invested by iMinds opens the door to an average of 7.94 euro in external investments, ranking iMinds in the top 3% of all incubators). Today, this trend is once again being confirmed thanks to five Flemish growth companies from the iMinds portfolio.

Since the beginning of 2016, Leuven-based Datacamp (1 million USD), Brussels-based Seaters (1 million USD) and Ghent-based companies MOLECUBES (1.9 million euro), PieSync (1.5 million euro) and Ontoforce (2.1 million euro) have each managed to secure over 1 million USD in funding to support their growth and internationalization efforts.

“This indeed confirms that iStart alumni have a lot of potential to attract extra funding, thanks to our very strict selection process, and our thorough coaching and assistance,” says Sven De Cleyn, Director of the iMinds iStart program. “Two years ago, the companies in our portfolio managed to secure a total of six million euro in extra financing. Last year, this figure had already risen to over ten million euro. And this year, that figure will once again be exceeded. In a way, that is logical because our portfolio is becoming larger and more mature. On the other hand, over half of our start-ups were founded less than two years ago – so we expect this figure to rise considerably in the years to come.”

“What struck me the most is the select club of accelerators that iMinds belongs to,” says Omar Mohout, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Antwerp Management School. “If you look at the European technology companies – supported by accelerator programs – that managed to secure over one million dollars in financing since the beginning of this year, the iMinds iStart program ranks in the top five with five businesses, alongside internationally acclaimed initiatives such as Seedcamp, Techstars, Y Combinator and 500 Startups. Moreover, the average founding year of the start-ups shows that iMinds start-ups raise extra capital on average 2 years faster than other Belgian start-ups, and one year faster than the average European start-up.”