“It is an extraordinary honor to be recognized by UBI Global,” comments Sven De Cleyn, imec.istart program manager. However, the imec.istart team isn’t planning on resting on its laurels. De Cleyn: “We continuously improve the program to provide start-ups with the best possible support. Last year, for instance, we launched a mentoring service to facilitate interaction between start-ups and domain experts, welcomed many new corporate partners and invested in the internationalization process of our member start-ups. We are proud to see that many of our imec.istart companies continue to show strong growth, both locally and internationally, and succeed in finding follow-up financing to boost their growth beyond the program.”
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Accelerator program imec.istart (Flanders) in world top 5
Imec.istart was launched in 2011. Since then, the program has helped over 200 start-ups in becoming successful technology firms. To highlight just a few examples:
- DataCamp, an online learning platform to enhance your data science skills with offices in New York and London;
- POSIOS, which offers innovative point-of-sale solutions for the hotel and catering industries (acquired by Canadian software firm Lightspeed in 2014);
- PieSync, which developed a new and secure cloud data-sharing solution (acquired by US-based digital automation leader HubSpot in 2019);
- Graphine, a worldwide leader in graphics engineering for the game industry (acquired by American 3D development platform Unity in 2019).
Together, these and other start-ups in the imec.istart portfolio have already created over 1,200 full-time jobs, while raising more than EUR 200 million in follow-up funding.
In addition to local startups, imec.istart also attracts a large number of start-up companies from abroad. In fact, for the most recent open application calls, between 25 and 30% of the applications originated from outside of Flanders. The program’s strong reputation for follow-up funding only adds to its attractiveness. De Cleyn: “Start-ups receive an initial financial injection of EUR 50,000. However, throughout their 12 to 18-month guidance process, we support them in their search for follow-up funding, mainly through imec's extensive partner network. As a result, every euro invested by imec is followed by at least another 20 in external financing.”