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"Belgium never had more start-ups and investments but still lacks a unicorn and a top start-up city."

5 May 2017

Yesterday evening, Bolero CEO and KBC Securities Managing Director Bart Vanhaeren presented his second book Get Up, Start Up at Leuven MindGate Events' Themesession in De Hoorn. Next to the book presentation, the event focused on sharing experiences and lessons learned by household names from the Leuven MindGate start- and scale-up landscape.

Belgium is lagging behind in the start-up world; this is the main reason why Bart Vanhaeren wrote Get Up, Start Up, published by Die Keure. The book is said to be 'a reality check for start-ups who want to achieve more' and challenges the Belgian start-up landscape to 'start to dare'. Vanhaeren describes Belgians as being too modest and humble with a lack of guts. "If ten people take a leap of faith and give their ideas a try, four of them will succeed. Now, only one individual takes that leap and fails."

About Get Up, Start Up

Vanhaeren also spoke about how the current economical climate has never been better to found a start-up company. There have never been more start-ups in Belgium than now and Belgian start-ups have never seen more investments than today, but still, Belgium is lacking a top-15 EU start-up city and has yet to produce a unicorn (a start-up company with a value of more than $ 1 billion).

In his book, Vanhaeren shows start-up companies the way to more ambition and growth. What is a start-up exactly, who are its founders, how to compose a team, what challenges do start-ups face and in which sectors lie the best opportunities? Vanhaeren answers all of those questions in Get Up, Start Up but also gives the reader a vision on business models, financing and the unknown world of valuations.

Other speakers

Bart Vanhaeren was joined by fellow-speakers. Matthew van Niekerk, Co-founder & CEO of Settlemint, underlined the possibilities of a start-up in fintech, one of the sectors Bart Vanhaeren pointed out as having a high potential.

Steven Tielemans, Co-founder & CEO of THEOplayer, gave a detailed insight on the development THEOplayer - from idea phase to its current scaling phase - and how their award-winning video player played a vital role in this.

Another Leuven-based scale-up is GuardSquare, who recently won Deloitte's Fast 50 Gazelle for fastest growing company. Heidi Rakels, Co-founder & CEO, gave a detailed explanation on how a fast growing company also changes CEO's and Founders as an individual.

Jurgen Ingels, Managing Director of SmartFin Capital, closed off the evening. Ingels focused on lessons learned in the past, such as changing winning teams, remembering to have fun and CUYS days (Clean Up Your Shit). He also took the time to stress the importance of knowledge sharing and ecosystems.


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