With the best classic comics, specialty beer, gourmet chocolate, and golden brown fries, Belgium has enough local remedies to soothe the stressed-out EU official. But a new and growing subculture is also taking hold: the startup scene.
While it may not yet be a mega tech hub like London, Berlin, or Paris, for such a small country it already boasts the fifth highest number of fintech deals. In fact, UK based fintech unicorn, TransferWise, recently announced it would be seeking a Belgian license and opening up a satellite office in Brussels pre-Brexit.
With greater proximity to policymakers, corporations, and beer brewed to artistic perfection, Belgium has just the right settings needed to grow Europe’s next startup unicorns.
Selecting the hottest young scale-ups in Europe
Together with payments tech company Adyen, we set out in search of the most promising new startups based on their performance, growth, and potential. The top-5 from each country will join the Tech5, a community of the hottest young tech companies in Europe and Israel. This year’s newcomers will then join us at the exclusive Founders Day (May 8) and TNW Conference (May 9-10) in Amsterdam.
Today we highlight Belgium. We did our research, consulted with our advisory consortium of 100 investors, influencers, entrepreneurs and experts across Europe and selected the five hottest young Belgian scale-ups.
Find out who Belgium’s hottest young scale-ups are:
When people hear the term “DNA Analysis”, they often immediately think of pseudo-scientific CSI scenes. In reality, however, there are numerous other impactful applications of these types of technology. A great example is Belgian startup Ugentec, a medical technology startup that developed an AI-driven polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis software. In layman’s terms, Ugentec allows lab workers to efficiently and reliably analyze DNA samples. This ensures the accurate diagnostics of, not only infectious diseases, but also many types of cancer.
Last year, the UgenTec acquired a €7,5 million investment, which it’s using to expand its services into other sectors, such as food quality, agriculture, and animal welfare. So far, it’s achieved the first €1 million contract with a leading international diagnostic firm and has doubled its recurring revenue year over year.
The global drone market is predicted to be worth over $127 billion by 2020. The problem is, the increase in drone use hasn’t been met by an increase in safety and oversight around the use of this new technology. As a result, we’ve already seen a scary amount of accidents involving other drones, helicopters, and airplanes. Unifly wants to make the airspace a safer place by integrating drones into already existing manned aviation systems. The platform is both focused on authorities, who can approve drone flights and manage no-fly zones in real-time, and drone pilots, who plan and receive flight approvals in line with international and local regulations.
Unifly’s award-winning Unmanned Traffic Management platform is already being used by the national authorities of Denmark, Belgium, Germany, and Austria. It now plans to expand its services to the US and has already been LAANC approved by the FAA. With its strategic partnerships with organizations like Airbus, EUROCONTROL, Huawei, HERE, Terra Drone and more, this startup is set to make our skies safer.
Achieving growth is all about building relationships at scale. Many small businesses and startups recognize this and use CRM systems, such as Salesforce, Hubspot or Pipedrive, to handle requests, store data, and track their client communications. New kid on the block, Salesflare, is distinguishing itself from the others with its clear interface, seamless integration with your mailbox, and the magical way in which it automates your data input (and they even have a discount for early-stage startups).
In fact, it’s already been upvoted to the #1 CRM on Product Hunt and is listed in the top 3 of CRMs on G2Crowd across all satisfaction metrics. All this has helped Salesflare grow its revenue 16x between 2017-2018. With its easy-to-use automation powers, Salesflare is likely to quickly become the go-to CRM system for small businesses.
Be honest, are you actually a weekend person? Sunday morning rolls around and you realize, instead of sleeping in, brunching and Netflixing you have a pile of weekend ‘to dos’. ListMinut provides a platform connecting weekend ‘doers’ with… well the rest of us. With a community of over 150,000 users, you’re sure to find someone who’s willing to do that gardening/cleaning/dog walking/Ikea furniture building/(insert here) you always said you’d do.
The great thing is, the platform diminishes the risk of bad experiences through their rating system and service providers’ vetting process. After each completed job, service providers get rated by their contractor, building up a positive and trustworthy online reputation.
The platform has become so popular that it grew massively from €1 million in transaction volume in 2017, to over €2 million in 2018, allowing thousands of service providers to make some extra money on the side
For global companies with highly fluctuating and complex income schemes, it’s often difficult to predict cash flow. This is the case because they work with complex transaction cash flows between departments, currencies, nations, and banks. In practice, this means their finance departments spend large amounts of time and money making such predictions and save and spend accordingly. With their smart cash flow management and cash flow forecasting platform, Cashforce provides the ideal solution for such corporations.
BNP Paribas, the world’s 8th largest bank, has also acknowledged the benefit Cashforce brings. As part of their partnership, the French banking group provides Cashforce to all its clients’ corporate treasurers. Cashforce has also recently introduced Artificial Intelligence into their cash forecasting module, enabling the platform to find new correlations and trends from clients data.
With a double-digit growth rate in both revenue and employees, the last two years have been very dynamic for Cashforce. They’re now opening offices in the Netherlands, US, UK, and France, expanding their global impact.
Is your startup looking for funding and new clients? Come to TNW 2019. Startup rates start at just 299 euros and come with a ton of perks to help you grow.
By Daniel van Heusden and Andrea Hak
This is part of a series selecting the hottest young tech companies from all over Europe. Every day we cover a new country. Check out the hottest young tech companies from Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, The Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Poland, UK, Israel, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, and a combined selection of other European countries.
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