Belgium is one of Europe’s most well-established hubs of business, innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s a country that has garnered a reputation for itself as a home for economic success and is, of course, the centre of the European Union.
According to the European Commission’s European Innovation Scoreboard, Belgium is a brilliant place for innovation – ranking number 5 for innovation in Europe. It’s a reflection of the country’s strong academic and research institutions, coupled with a thriving engineering and manufacturing sector, as well as a cutting-edge biotech industry.
The Belgian startup ecosystem has become increasingly mature in recent years, with a significant increase in the number of scaleups and companies making a name for themselves on the global stage. Not only does Belgium offer a well-educated environment and the backbone of Europe’s most important financial and political institutions, but it also boasts a dynamic hub of multiculturalism and diversity. The small country has not one but three national languages and the country is well perceived as one of the most multi-lingual – an excellent asset for international-minded startups. A country that has a matching glass for each type of beer, can also only be seen as one that thinks practically.
To put a spotlight on Belgium’s impressive entrepreneurial ecosystem, we’ve compiled this list of exceptionally promising Belgian startups to watch this year – all founded post-2019 and all catching our attention for the right reasons.
Classified Cycling: Based in Antwerp, Classified Cycling is gearing up for a new era of cycling. The startup uses tech to enhance the cycling experience through Powershift technology, a patented wireless shifting system that aims to provide the ultimate shifting experience by allowing riders to change gears instantly while under full load – something not possible with current products on the market. Since its launch in 2021, the Powershift hub has gotten approval from elite cyclists and the startup counts partnerships with over 40 brands. In 2022, Classified Cycling scored €22 million to tap into the growing e-bike market.
Revend: Launched in 2022, Revend aims to give e-commerce businesses operational continuity, keeping digital operations and data quality error-free and seamless. The startup offers a plug-and-play solution that quickly detects revenue-impact issues. It can be installed in a matter of minutes and informs marketers the minute something seems ‘off’ via existing messaging apps, through AI-based technology. This means that e-commerce players will be able to better meet customer demands and expectations, enhance their market position, and without a major resource burden. Based in Antwerp, the team secured €1 million for the AI-powered tool at the end of 2022.
Aikido Security: Based in Ghent, Aikido Security offers a software security platform that is built with the needs of developers in mind. The platform scans source code and cloud systems to identify critical vulnerabilities, streamlining the triaging process by reducing false positives and presenting Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) in a clear, easily understandable format. the platform aims to make it easy to secure platforms, so already over-burdened developers can spend more time writing code rather than dealing with security problems. Founded in October 2022, the startup has already secured €2 million.
Greenomy: Founded in 2020, Greenomy provides businesses and financial institutions with a comprehensive sustainability reporting solution. The startup leverages an expert team made up of professionals in the fields of sustainability reporting, technology, regulation, and project management – bringing transparency and trust to its growing space. With increasingly strict regulations regarding sustainability reporting coming into place from different governmental and EU-based directives, Greenomy makes it easier to become compliant. The data and analytics platform connects all stakeholders and drivers of investment towards sustainable initiatives. The startup, which has now raised €13.5 million, aims to be a one-stop solution for stakeholders with its user-owned ESG market infrastructure.
ClimateCamp: Antwerp-based CliamteCamp is on a mission to decarbonize the food industry and its supply chains through open carbon infrastructure. Founded in 2021, the SaaS sustainability platform connects different state holders in the food industry and on real emissions, targets and reduction projects, aiming to bring about a net zero future through the power of data collaboration. Unlike the reliance on benchmarks, industry averages or one-time efforts with manual surveys to suppliers and consulting engagements, ClimateCamp allows its customers to work with actual data and insights into the carbon reduction efforts of suppliers. So far, ClimateCamp has raised over €700k.
Henchman: Legal tech startup Henchman is on a mission to help support lawyers with the power of AI. The platform offers a contract-drafting tool which intelligently gives access to legal teams’ previously written clauses and definitions. This gives lawyers added value, expertise, and, can be sued to enrich contracts with new suggestions, translations and adaptations. Since its 2021 launch, the Belgian startup has experienced 750% revenue growth, earned more than 100 customers across 15 countries and is growing fast.
Naki Power: Brussels-based startup Naki Power is changing the way people charge their devices on the go. Founded in 2019, the company was created with two things in mind – phones and electronic devices are integral to people’s lives, and we can’t afford to let them run out of charge, and secondly, that onwing a power bank isn’t the easiest solution and they can be a bit of a hassle. Niki Power lets people charge their divides anywhere, anytime and on the go and brings charging to the sharing economy. Niki Power provides charging stations in cities across Europe – places like bars, airports, transport hubs, shopping centres etc. With the Niki Power App, people can charge their devices without needing to worry about remembering a cable.
Paleo: Founded in 2020, Paleo is shaking up the food sector with its plant-based solution. The startup leverages precision fermentation technology to provide the key ingredients for environmentally friendly and cruelty-free meat and fish alternatives. Paleo focuses on myoglobin, a protein that makes plant-based foods look and taste like meat or fish in terms of colour, smell, taste, and aromatic experience and provides added nutritional value. The meat and fish proteins of Paleo are 100% identical to animal proteins and 100% GMO-free. Currently, Paleo offers a protein portfolio of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, tuna, and even mammoth. The startup began 2023 with a €12 million boost in a Series A funding round t step up commercial production.
Nobi Smart Lamps: Headquartered in Antwerp, Nobi is an impact-driven startup helping people live safely and happily at home, for as long as possible. Operating in the healthtech space, Nobi empowers elderly people to stay at home, to stay where they feel most comfortable. Its smart lamps detect falls and can, if needed, contact family or caregivers quickly – alerting the people that need to know, when they need to know, should an accident happen. The lamps provide peace of mind for seniors and their families while improving care and communication. Founded in 2019, the innovative company has secured over €13 million to date.
OTIV: On a mission to make railways autonomous, OTIV uses tech to make rail travel safer, more efficient and more sustainable. Founded in 2020, the startup is helping build a greener future of mobility, focusing on cities, shunting yards and industrial sites. Based in Ghent, the startup has raised over €800k to date and has been growing its team at an impressive pace.
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