Needless to say 2022 has been a strange year again. After a year full of lockdowns the year before, 2022 has been marked by the war Russia has brought on the doorstep of Europe. What seemed unimaginable, has become reality in the 21st century. The fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people can serve as an example for all of us when facing challenging big and small.
Despite the odd economic situation, 2022 was also a year that brought growth for many of you. An achievement you should cherish. At imec.istart, we have been investing in ambitious tech startups that have a desire to create impact – preferably on a global scale. In your journey, my team is trying constantly to challenge you, support you and helping you to dream bigger. As many of you know, the ultimate goal for imec.istart is to help create the next generation of successful tech companies that acquire others and become global leaders in your respective niche, rather than to help startups realize an exit and be acquired by others (too) fast. Inspiring examples amongst our alumni, like Zhong and Jan of Deliverect (the very first unicorn amongst the imec.istart alumni!), or Wouter, Steven and Tom of UgenTec lead the way. For the first time, an imec.istart company even managed to get their product outer space!
Bigger ambitions often go hand in hand with strong internationalization. In 2022, we have been trying to ‘eat our own dogfood’, by raising the bar even higher and be more ambitious ourselves. The imec.istart program has set shop in the Netherlands, to enable local startups and unlock the ecosystem for our Belgian portfolio companies, and has signed agreements with strong partners in Italy to export our know-how and create opportunities for you in the third largest economy of the European Union. We encourage you to dream bigger and not to be too modest… and we embrace the same principles for imec.istart.
2023 announces itself as a year where some uncertainties will hopefully disappear again. Logistic chains seem to recover again and get back to (the new) normal. The investment appetite of various investors is expected to pick up again in the second half of the year. Dare to be ambitious! Every time I get the opportunity to gain more insights in the quality of ecosystems abroad, I see confirmation again that the quality of Belgian and Dutch startups is by no means lower than that of other countries.
We wish you a healthy 2023 for you and your family. Take good care of yourself, your co-founders and the amazing talents you have in your respective teams. Happy people can achieve more – together!
The entire imec.istart team is ready to support you in another exciting year. Change will be a constant, ample opportunities will come your way. Dare to seize them!
We hope to see you around at imec.istart in some way or another, either with your startup applying in one of our open calls, as mentor, as partner, as investor or a startup supporter!