Home to the EU Commission and located in the heart of Europe, Belgium is often referred to as the EU Capital.
Belgium is not only home to some of Europe’s most important financial and political institutions, but it also boasts a well-educated environment and is a dynamic hub of multiculturalism and diversity. The small country has not one but three national languages and the country is well perceived as one of the most multi-lingual – an excellent asset for international-minded startups. With French, Dutch and German, and a very high level of English, the country is well primed to launch startups across the globe.
A country that has a matching glass for each type of beer, can also only be seen as one that thinks practically. While valuations of startups might sometimes be slightly lower compared to the rising unicorns of Europe’s most developed hubs like London or Berlin, the ecosystem is looking good for the year ahead – and they just received a new unicorn by way of delivery disruptors, Deliverect.
To put a spotlight on this multicultural European hub’s startups, we’ve compiled this list of exceptionally promising Belgian startups to watch this year – all founded post-2018.
Deliverect – Belgium’s newest unicorn had to join this list. Founded in 2018, Deliverect is a Ghent-based startup that is establishing itself as one of Europe’s delivery titans. The startup connects third-party delivery platforms (like Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Glovo, and Doordash) and food businesses (restaurants, virtual kitchens, and so on) around the globe – bridging the gap between them. Deliverect integrates third-party food ordering platforms into the restaurant’s point-of-sale system, making rekeying orders and the costly errors that come with it a thing of the past. Deliverect’s mission is to be the connection between food businesses and their customers in order to strengthen their relationship. The company’s software saves its customers time and money, so they can focus on doing the things they love and are passionate about. Ordering food online is one of the fastest-growing trends in the restaurant market and is completely reshaping the hospitality industry. Deliverect’s innovative solution, which is reducing staff workload, is on track to become the global gateway for online food ordering and delivery. The company got a €16.25 million boost in 2020 and in 2021 onboarded 14,000 new locations across the globe, surpassed 85 million orders and added 200 new employees to the team.
Timeseer.ai – Based in Antwerp, Timeseer.ai is on a mission to automate the overall data orchestration throughout an organisation to deliver high-quality, on-demand data to organisational customers. Founded in 2020, the young startup empowers data teams with the capability of enabling reliable time-series analytics through improved data quality and observability with its platform. The software has the ability to detect, prioritize and investigate data downtime before it hits operations. At the beginning of this year, Timeseer.ai emerged from stealth mode after receiving more than €5 million and is one of the very few companies worldwide in the data observability space looking at specific time-series data. Now, the startup has already got Fortune 5000 companies as customers, including players in the manufacturing, chemicals, F&B, and utility space. As companies continue to double down on AI projects and the IoT market continues to boom (expected to touch $500 billion + by 2022), the demand for Timeseer.ai’s data observability solution is only going to grow. It’ll be an interesting year for sure.
Soda – Soda is providing Open Source Software (OSS) tools and a SaaS platform to enable data teams to discover, prioritize, and resolve data issues with an aim to bring everyone closer to the data, resulting in data products and analytics that everyone can trust. The startup was founded in Brussels in 2018 and has had a big couple of years – receiving €11.5 million in 2021. Bad data makes for bad business and has a colossal financial impact on any company. If data is incomplete or damaged, the time needed to correct it is time-consuming and costly. For Soda, maintaining data quality is a team sport that means everyone who has a stake in the data – and that is everyone in the business – needs to understand it, trust it, and stay on top of it. Soda’s data monitoring platform empowers teams to collaborate seamlessly to firstly define what quality data looks like, and then resolve issues swiftly before they have any adverse effects.
Playtreks – All-in-one app for the music industry, Playtreks was founded in Hasselt in 2020 to meet the growing demand for transparency in the music industry. The startup enables artists, producers and record labels to gain insight through data analytics, distribute their music to traditional as well as blockchain-based NFT marketplaces, and, through near-real-time radio airplay monitoring, digital content can be easily copyrighted on the blockchain. In 2022 the young company is working on its own metaverse to go alongside the NFT marketplace as well as a crypto token – Treks. Traditional music distribution and analytic platforms have been seen to be disjointed, and things end up getting organized across different platforms. Playtreks is combining everything into one place, helping creatives to monetize their content with the data-drive platform.
Venly – Founded in 2018, Venly provides users of blockchain projects with digital wallets to store their assets. Blockchain is one of the biggest disruptors to the internet and is completely reshaping how we interact with the digital world. Venly creates tools and products to help companies benefit from blockchain technology. The global vision is to build both developer-friendly products and an intuitive interface for end-users. At the centre of everything lies simplicity, prime UX and top-level security. The company just launched Venly Market – one of the first peer-peer NFT marketplaces on Polygon. Coming from Willebroek, Venly has already reached the milestone of over 1.3 million users and raised more than €2 million. Blockchain technology is bound to be a massive growth area over the next year and Venly is ready to support seamless activity in this sector.
Metamaze – Antwerp-based Metamaze is an AI-driven Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) SaaS platform that enables companies to automatically process, extract and structure information from any type of document. Every year, companies collectively spend billions on manual data entry, restructuring and validation – work that is, in the words of Metamaze, regarded as quite boring. Metamaze automates the process, allowing companies to better allocate resources and relieve people of this manual task. Founded in 2020, the startup already has names such as Borealis and Atlas Copco as clients and are looking forward to a big year after its successful first year of trial-run.
Skipr – Founded in 2019, Skipr is supporting companies to transition towards more sustainable mobility for their employees. With a MaaS app, a SaaS management platform and a payment card, Skipr helps initiate and implement a new mobility policy in companies. Together, these three products serve as a one-stop-shop for planning, paying and managing employee mobility, and also measure the impact of mobility on the companies carbon footprint. Mobility is a strong growth area across European tech, and while most companies are focusing on individual movements around cities or delivery services, Skipr is innovating the commuting space.
Naki Power – Brussels-based startup Naki Power is changing the way people charge their devices on the go. Founded in 2019, the company was created with two things in mind – phones and electronic devices are integral to peoples lives, and we can’t afford to let them run out of charge, and secondly, that onwing a power bank isn’t the easiest solution and they can be a bit of a hassle. Niki Power lets people charge their divides anywhere, anytime and on the go and brings charging to the sharing economy. Niki Power provides charging stations in cities across Europe – places like bars, airports, transport hubs, shopping centres etc. With the Niki Power App, people can charge their devices without needing to worry about remembering a cable. Starting this year off to a flying start, the startup just got a €3 million funding boost to keep encouraging the concept of shared charging.
Greenomy – Founded in 2021, Greenomy is on a mission to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future with its software for companies. The Greenomy platform enables the redirection of funds towards sustainable activities, speeding up the transition to a carbon-neutral economy in line with the European Commission’s Green Deal. The Brussels-based regtech startup helps companies and financial institutions go green in line with EU standards – saving years of work and making it simple to comply with the green taxonomy – standards that have to be met by 2026. Greenomy has already aroused the interest of major European players, including BPI in France, ABN Amro, Deloitte and Manaos.
ExeVir – Ghent-based ExeVir offers a Llama-derived antibody (VHH) technology platform to generate robust antiviral therapies providing broad protection against coronaviruses. ExeVir Bio is using a highly innovative and clinically validated VHH technology to develop treatments for viral infections that may pose a significant global threat. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the world for almost two years now, and with new variants continually being discovered, ExeVir is a company contributing to the vital research to mitigate the impact. Founded in 2020, the company has so far raised €42 million.
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