Imec.istart is an accelerator programme for tech startups and is affiliated with imec, the world-renowned research institute in the field of digital technology and nanotechnology. We spoke with Sven De Cleyn, program director, at Imec.istart, to learn more about their activities.
What is the objective of the accelerator programme?
'It aims to accelerate young tech start-ups and spin-offs towards the market, so they can grow into fully-fledged scale-ups. Imec.istart does this via a coaching programme of 12 to 18 months and a seed capital investment between 50 k EUR and 150 k EUR. Sven explains.
How does imec.istart help?
Imec.istart helps both the entrepreneur and the company to take the necessary steps from a first proof-of-concept to a fully-fledged company with healthy foundations. In doing so, they strive for a number of key milestones:
- Getting the product ready for the market (product readiness),
- Getting the startup market validated and accelerating the go-to-market (market readiness),
- Strengthening the skills of the entrepreneurs and helping to define the approach needed for growth (growth readiness)
- Be ready to attract follow-up funding to help finance the intended growth (investor readiness).
Alumni are also supported, for instance in attracting the necessary talent, additional financing and internationalisation. As a shareholder, imec.istart has every interest in a long-term commitment to their start-ups.
Are there still activities outside the general programme?
Imec.istart also has a broad partner network within different domains, where specific mentoring and support can be offered. One of these domains is Utilities, CleanTech & Smart Buildings. With the imec.istart programme, they also want to stimulate economic growth and employment in Flanders in this domain, and support technological innovations'. says Sven.
Does imec.istart also work outside the Belgian borders?
Imec.istart also focuses on the internationalisation of start-ups, helping them to enter foreign markets faster and better prepared, both within and outside Europe. This is not only done through international missions and conferences, but also through international collaborations. For example, imec.istart is part of international networks such as BelCham, GAN and UBI/EuroIncNet, which connect companies with relevant contacts, investors, etc.