Imec.istart is set to grow substantially. The fund, which opened in 2017 with 12.5 million euros (link in Dutch), will experience a big injection of capital, pushing the total to 30.5 million euros. Additionally, Imec has announced that maximum investment in startups will expand from 150k to 250k. Other backers of the fund include original investors such as the Flemish government, along with a number of private partners such as ING, BNP Paribas Fortis, Telenet and Cronos Group. Imec.istart is also bringing on four new investors in Verhaert, Nuhma, EFIN and Vlaamse Energie Holding to reinforce its evolution and ensure the right framework for the future.
While Imec.istart will continue to focus on digital technology, special attention will now also be given to sustainability and solutions with a hardware component. Moreover, it has now transitioned into an evergreen fund, meaning that any returns on investments don’t have to be distributed to investors, but can be reinvested into a new generation of startups.
“The ecosystem of technological startups is a crucial link in transforming our economic and industrial fabric. The Covid-19 pandemic has only reinforced the need for a strong local, sustainable and digital economy,” says Sven De Cleyn, program director of the Imec.istart accelerator program. “Today’s startups are tomorrow’s big companies. They stimulate the innovation that will be the engine of the recovery and they create employment.”