Nestled in the heart of Europe, you’ll find the beautiful country of Belgium. Offering a rich culture, delicious food, and acting as the official ‘headquarters’ of the European Union, the country is well established on the map.
Belgium has also built a name for itself in the world of tech, offering a prosperous environment that includes a talented workforce (often speaking multiple languages due to Belgium’s multilingualism and international connections), protections like regulations on American tech giants, and various funding initiatives. Here startups are blossoming as the ecosystem matures, experiencing a high success rate and good connections with neighbouring startup ecosystems.
In this article, we highlight 10 of the most promising Belgium-based startups founded in the last few years (2017-2020), with fast-growing teams, developing innovative solutions, and who are working on or recently closed a funding round to continue thriving in 2021 and beyond.
Cowboy – Cowboy’s vision is to elevate your daily commute to the next level in terms of speed, comfort and freedom of movement around the city with their electric connected bike. Cool features include services like crash detection and in-home repairs, removable battery with 70km, silent pedal assist and much more. Founded in 2017, the startup is a winner of the Eurobike 2017, the Red-Dot bicycle design award 2018 and the Red-Dot “Best of the Best” award for the prototype of the 2019 model. In 2020 they secured €23 million in Series B funding to continue European expansion.
Antelope Dx – Launched in 2019, Ghent-based Antelope Dx has developed a palm-sized diagnostic device for home testing, based on an innovative lab-on-chip technology that can perform a sensitive test on any bodily fluid. The latest funding of €9 million in 2020 gives an impetus to initiate clinical development of the urine-based self-test for sexually transmitted infections. Next in line is an influenza A/B self-test that uses nasal swab specimens, as well as the development of at-home tests that can measure protein biomarkers in finger-prick blood samples. The latest round brings the company’s total funding amount, raised to date, to €18.8 million.
Cake – Cake is a banking app that pulls together customers’ existing bank accounts and transactions into one place with the goal of simplifying experience with finances. Firstly, it analyses your financial data and habits, providing you insights into your spending habits and giving you more control over your finances. Secondly, if you shop with some of Cake’s commercial partners you get Cashback rewards. Since its founding in 2018, over 50,000 users have processed transactions worth over €27,1 million and have received €268.786 in cake awards.
Keyrock – Brussels-based Keyrock (founded in 2017) has built a blockchain infrastructure and system that provides liquidity to markets with a low marginal cost. The fintech startup uses a combination of in-house algorithmic trading tools, high-frequency trading infrastructure and industry expertise to enable an efficient liquidity trade and effectively support crypto-exchanges. Keyrock won the 2019 Deloitte Rising Star award and has raised so far €5.2 million to position itself as the point of contact between traditional financial institutions and the crypto economy.
Skipr – This MaaS startup (founded in 2019) offers companies and their staff digital ‘door-to-door’ planning and booking tools to simplify their commutes and other trips. Their offering consists of three elements: an app, a web-based dashboard and a payment card to make it easier for employees to plan, book, pay and manage their mobility solutions, ranging from local public transportation to shared mobility providers such as Uber, Bird, Dott and Lime. The result: better journeys, higher employee incentivisation, reduced stress, and increased visibility on environmental impact. In 2020 the startup raised a €7 million Series A funding round to bring the future of mobility closer to us.
Soda – Soda (founded in 2018) is an ML-driven data quality monitoring platform that helps data owners, data engineers and data analytics teams, monitor the datasets that go into the data products they built, to ensure anomalies are identified and properly handled. The goal is to keep your data fit for purpose, verifiable and trustworthy, while improving the overall customer experience of data-driven products and features and reduce operational inefficiencies. In February 2021 the startup secured €11.5 million in funding from Singular, Point Nine Capital, Hummingbird Ventures, Data Community Fund and a number of angel investors.
Brikl – Brikl, a Leuven-based SAAS developer of an end-to-end 3D design and e-commerce software platform. Founded in 2017, Brikl’s hybrid platform combines cutting-edge design software, on-demand production and e-commerce, enabling customers to customize their own unique products: sportswear, team wear, sports equipment, apparel and any other customizable product. Once finalized, designs are exported as print-ready files, reducing production expenses and shortening the process by many days. With over €2 million in funding, the startup is hoping to expand into the packaging and consumer goods sectors.
Deliverect – Founded in 2018, Deliverect is an online food delivery management software platform, supporting restaurants to streamline orders from third-party food delivery and online ordering services. Furthermore, it serves to increase operational efficiency, minimize errors, reduce delivery times and centrally manage all delivery channels. So far, they have processed 25+million orders, leading to 80% fewer errors and 25% more revenue. Taco Bell, Unilever and Burger King are just some of their clients and in 2020 the startup raised €16.25 million in a Series B round led by OMERS Ventures.
InvestSuite – InvestSuite (founded in 2018) provides a suite of white-label B2B Wealthtech-as-a-Service products with the aim of helping banks, brokers and other financial institutions accelerate their digital wealth transformation. They offer cloud-native, modular wealth-tech, and invest-tech solutions by combining deep quant expertise and banking and investment knowledge with intuitive human-centric design. The startup, with HQ in Leuven, has already acquired enterprise clients in multiple countries on four continents and has raised €9.6 million to date.
Mealhero – What’s for dinner? Let’s see what Mealhero has to offer. Mealhero (founded in 2017) is a Gent-based foodtech startup that combines a smart steamer, home-delivered food boxes and an app to prepare you a healthy and delicious meal with zero effort. Open the app, choose from more than 30 different recipes or 60 different ingredients, have them delivered at your door and just touch the start button on the steamer. About 25 minutes later, the dinner is done. COVID-19 “turned on the turbo button” for the company, raising a €2.5 million Series A round.
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