Attracting sufficient growth capital is almost always a necessity for tech startups. Access to finance is essential for entrepreneurs to develop and market their products. In many cases, this involves significant pre-financing of a number of risks - research and development, setting up sales channels and investing in inventories in case of hardware products.
Convincing investors and lenders to join a risky business requires the necessary preparation and effort. After all, it is not just about writing - and validating - good business plans, investors also want to get to know the entrepreneurs as people and as a team and to be able to evaluate whether the team really delivers.
“At imec.istart, we have been guiding tech entrepreneurs for more than 10 years in the development of their startup. Attracting the necessary financing has always been an important pillar in this regard”, explains Sven De Cleyn, imec.istart Program Director.
“We always inform startup entrepreneurs that they should count on the fact that it takes between six and twelve months to complete a decent financing round, from first contact to effective money in their account. That is a lot of time, time that they cannot spend on their core task: convincing customers and expanding their business. This is exactly why we have developed a new partnership model to help make fundraising for startups more efficient.”
By placing startups on the radar of relevant investors even faster, the fundraising process can be shortened by a few months. This provides entrepreneurs with crucial time savings that ensure that their startup can grow faster. This decisive lead over possible competitors guarantees them the further expansion or maintenance of their business.
This is confirmed by Pitchdrive, which, together with a number of other parties, is entering into a new structural partnership with imec.istart. “As an early stage investor, we screen several hundred startups on an annual basis,” says Boris Bogaert, co-founder and managing partner of PitchDrive. “By smartly partnering with other investors, we not only enrich our screening process, but we can also 'pool' investments with other investors more quickly. This means that young startups do not have to fundraise again a few months later, but can immediately continue with the money raised and move towards a larger investment round with a stronger file.”
Isabelle Tennstedt of Seeder Fund joins in: “By being involved more quickly in imec.istart's deal flow, we get to know the startups that are relevant to us more quickly. By immediately combining the high-quality support of imec.istart with the experience of early stage VCs, we give young startups every opportunity to focus on their core business and thus grow faster. That way we can decide to invest more quickly, or we may even be tempted to get involved a little earlier than we would otherwise.”
The imec.istart portfolio companies have already secured more than 650 million in funding, which according to UBI Global benchmarks them among the 3% strongest programs worldwide in this aspect. The initial investment made by the imec.istart fund thus acts as a strong lever to help attract follow-up financing from other parties more quickly.
Imec.istart has currently entered into new additional partnerships with Pitchdrive, SmartFin, Seeder Fund and Ventures by Delaware. MedTech players Theodorus and Mensura complete the list. This intervention will make the financing process a lot more efficient. Hopefully, this will allow even more Belgian startups to grow into true technology gems that make an impact on an international scale.
Are you looking for growth capital for your tech startup? Three times a year (May - Sept - Jan), imec.istart organizes an open call for tech startups to apply for a seat in our program. More info on our apply page.
Discover all our (investor) partners here