2016 was another favourable year for entrepreneurs. Many interdisciplinary collaborations between Leuven-based knowledge institutes, companies and organisations were made, backed by a government offering support in both means and infrastructure. By doing so, these players contributed to what the Leuven MindGate ecosystem does best: creating success stories for our everyday life. We've made an alphabetic list of 10 start-ups which had a great run during 2016 and are widely regarded to repeat that success for 2017. Keep your eyes peeled for these 10 start-ups!
Growing from a one-man organisation to a team of 20 engineers and designers, Comate co-creates and develops products or machinery with its clients, among them many start-ups. Comate helps companies turning their ideas in to something tangible or to solve issues its clients might have; resulting in a product where both Comate and its customers take pride in. To be relevant in MedTech, Comate has invested heavily in ISO certificates. A set of surgical tools for Medenvision, designed accordingly, won them the award for ‘Most Innovative Product 2016’ in Belfast. By 2020, Comate aims to be thé point of contact when it comes to the development of new products or machinery.
The demand for Data Scientists is skyrocketing. DataCamp made use of that demand and has trained over 680 000 Data Scientists up to this day. For $29 a month, students can choose from a list of 20 courses on subjects ranging from data manipulation and visualization to statistical modeling and machine learning. DataCamp taps professors and academics to create the courses, which typically take about 4 to 5 hours to complete. Logically, the KU Leuven spin-off successfully spread its activities overseas; doubling its financial total to over $2 million in the process. It won’t take 2017 too long for them to scale out of this list.
This Leuven-based start-up develops smart cloud based solutions to simplify drone operations for industries that require regular inspection and monitoring, like agriculture or security. The solution consists of fully autonomous drones and a grid made up of smart charging stations which function as beacons. Here, the drones depart, land, recharge and are kept safe from the weather elements. A cloud based application controls and operates the drones while transforming the sensory data the drones capture on their missions. Many players in the field of agriculture, security and infrastructure already took an interest in DroneGrid’s product.
Last month, we were proud to write an article about GuardSquare being Deloitte’s Rising Star 2016 at the Fast 50. GuardSquare, specialising in securing mobile applications while optimising their efficiency, will be able to participate in the Deloitte Innovation Centre Booster Programme, a project that helps enterprises with many aspects that are vital for their breakthrough and growth. Earlier this year, GuardSquare also won the Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award. Logically, the Leuven-based start-up is a player to keep an eye on for next year, developing state of the art security in the complex domain of applications.
Magazine.live are on a mission to help communication professionals create and publish internal or external magazines, event guides and other communication materials in an easy-to-use, easy-to-read and mobile focused platform. With over five years of experience and a growing customer base on the European newspaper publishers’ scene, magazine.live plans to expand towards the communication professionals and magazine publishers market in 2017. Using the magazine.live solutions, clients will offer the best and richest digital reading experience to their audience, while being able to interact with readers and gain insights into their behaviour.
When it comes to digital marketing, Maxenta was recently mentioned in the Best 100 Startups in Belgium by Digital First. Maxenta specialises its services around performance based marketing. One of their most famous cases is Pretparkdeals, a website which offers promotions to themeparks by collecting them from Travelbird, Groupon, Ticko and so on. Pretparkdeals was also set up in the French speaking part of Belgium and the Netherlands. Also kortingvandedag.be and kidsdeals.be are websites where Maxenta helps its users to save money online.
Although based on more than 15 years of quality assurance experience, Qaelum is widely regarded as a pioneer when it comes to medical imaging quality control. Ranging from automated quality control in nationwide breast screening programs to optimised solutions for local patient dose monitoring, Qaelum has solutions for all these problems regardless of the scale. The Leuven-based KU Leuven spin-off is market leader in Belgium and has also implemented its software in Europe and the Middle East. After increasing its capital by € 2 million, Qaelum opened a new subsidiary in the United States to target radiology departments in both the US and Canada.
Jan Verlinden once was a young boy, helping along in the Ritchie factory in Lubbeek, run by his father, the 3rd generation of family brewers. Jan, however, wanted to explore the world and did so by living and working abroad. Now, 20 years later, Jan is back where it all started to relaunch Ritchie; a Belgian all-natural lemonade based on an old family recipe made with 100% ingredients of natural origin. Scratch the preservatives, flavour enhancers and refined sugar. In May, Ritchie won the Delinnovation Award, an award for tasty, healthy and sustainable food and drinks. Since December, Ritchie is available for purchase in order to quench your nostalgia-driven thirst.
A fintech firm, specialising in developing software leveraging distributed ledger technology. This is one way of describing SettleMint. SettleMint helps organisations take advantage of blockchain and adjacent technologies. Recently, SettleMint Ballot Box was released, an application which records voting to the bitcoin blockchain in an easy and secure way; check out the video. Furthermore, the Leuven-based start-up is making progress in property titling technology and procedures for simplifying ‘know your customer’ compliance. This early progress didn’t go unnoticed as Medici Ventures recently added SettleMint to its portfolio of investment companies.
As a relative newcomer to the online video player industry, THEOplayer already managed to turn some heads and sign big names. The Leuven-based product is the leading HTML5 based video player and requires no plugins at all, so forget about Flash or Silverlight installations; it dramatically simplifies distributing video content online. Recently, THEOplayer has been named the Best Video Player Solution/SDK in the 2016 Streaming Media Europe Readers' Choice Awards, based solely on the votes by users, customers and readers. THEOplayer already has a worldwide customer base including companies such as CNN, NBC, Telenet, Periscope of Twitter, and the UK Parliament among many others.