Belgium may not produce as many startups or raise as much money as its German and French neighbours, but the country is the heart of the EU and has a tremendous impact on tech, with privacy protections like GDPR, regulations on American tech giants, and various funding initiatives for European startups coming straight from Brussels. As with countries across Europe, Belgian startups are blossoming as the ecosystem matures – and though there may be fewer of them, Belgian startups are known to have higher success rates than those from other countries.
So without further ado, here are 10 promising, recently founded startups (within the past 2-3 years) from Belgium that we think you should look out for in 2019:
Helpper is Antwerp’s new addition to the sharing economy. It’s a peer-to-peer platform for home services, where you can hire your neighbour as an assistant to do anything from babysitting to cleaning, shopping, cooking, or taking you to the doctor. The platform serves as an online meeting place for people who need help at home to connect with others who need to pad their income. Helpees pay €9.8/hour and helpers receive €7/hour through the platform. Founded in 2017, Helpper raised a €1 million seed round in 2018 to expand into more cities in Belgium.
StoryChief is a content creation and distribution tool for marketers, publishers and bloggers, to create, publish, analyse stats, and manage their stories. StoryChief lets users create articles and promote them through various publishing channels, including websites and social media. Its a universal editor that lets users create beautiful stories with ease, share them, and measure impact and ROI in one place. Based in Ghent and founded in 2017, StoryChief has raised €1 million to date.
Unifly is a software development company bridging the gap between manned and unmanned aviation.with its platform for the safe integration of drones into airspace. It allows drone pilots to plan and validate their drone operations directly onto an interactive 4D map, manage their batteries, and keep track of all your operations in the automated logbook. Unifly’s tools also inform drone operators where it is safe and legal to fly their drone, and enable authorities and other aviation stakeholders to track the drone traffic and manage their airspace. Founded in 2015 and based in Antwerp, Unifly has already raised €20.8 million.
CEO’s have personal assistants, why not employees? Antwerp-based Spencer‘s aim is to provide just that – a digital personal assistant for employees. Spencer combines information and actions from scattered tools and applications into a single digital platform in order to guide employees and improve productivity. The assistant handles everything from managing your schedule to requesting holiday leave, calling in sick and uploading your doctor’s note. Founded in 2016, the startup has raised €2.5 million to date.
Around Media – Founded in 2015, this proptech startup allows real estate professionals including designers, property developers, and construction material producers to collaborate in creating virtual representations of building interiors. Real estate companies can use VR to design the interiors of houses and give virtual tours to customers through its platform. The tours can also be exported from the platform, so that clients can take them home with them. The startup raised €1.3 million in November 2018.
Cowboy – Founded in January 2017, Cowboy’s mission of transforming urban mobility with its lightweight, user-friendly electric bicycles. The bikes feature a mobile app, featuring a secure key, live stats, and GPS tracking. In Belgium, 45% of new bikes purchased are electric and demand for electric bikes is surging, with 21 million bikes sold annually in Europe alone. Cowboy launched its products in the Belgium market in April 2018, and hit the €1 million milestone in just four months, and has already raised €12.8 million.
itinari is an international travel platform offering content for curious, mobile and connected travellers looking for the best spots in the world. The platform features more than 2,500 travel stories and 100,000 places to discover in over 35 countries. Based in Brussels and available in seven languages, itinari also provides travel content solutions to a range of businesses who need to inspire an audience of travellers, including accommodation providers, tour operators, and travel agencies. Founded in 2016, itinari has raised €830k to date.
MySkillCamp – Based in Tournai, MySkillCamp offers a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) that is used to track, create, manage, and administer professional training, with tools including courses, quizzes, media, projects, discussions, certificates, and events. Users can also participate in learning communities and receive one-on-one mentoring through the platform. HR departments can also monitor employee progress, through analytics available on the platform’s dashboard. Founded in 2016, the startup raised a seed round of €1 million in December 2018.
Qover – Brussels-based insurtech startup Qover is building the world’s first “Insurance-As-A-Service” platform, acting as a digital wholesaler of white label insurance. Any business can integrate Qover’s insurance products through its open APIs, including car insurance, travel insurance, rental insurance for landlords, and rider insurance for couriers in the gig economy. Founded in 2016, Qover already has 20,000 customers and has raised €7 million to date. It currently operates in the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and the UK, with clients including Deliveroo and Axel Springer.
Keyrock – Founded in 2017 and based in Brussels, Keyrock uses algorithmic trading bots, high frequency trading infrastructure, and industry-specific expertise to supply liquidity services for the cryptocurrency ecosystem. By increasing liquidity, Keyrock aims to make the cryptocurrency market more efficient, stable, and accessible. The startup raised a seed round of €900k in 2018.