Today’s fast-paced technological evolution is opening up unprecedented innovation opportunities in all sectors of our society – and the financial and insurance industries are no exception. As we increasingly rely on computer systems, wireless networks, smart devices and web-based applications, a need has emerged for solutions that address the security issues of these devices and infrastructures, particularly in sectors making use of people’s personal (financial) information.
During a period of 6 to 18 months, the FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security partners provide selected tech start-ups with sector-specific expertise through coaching, workshops, provision of (big) data sets enabling product validation, access to their (international) networks, etc. as well as potentially additional financial means on top of the imec.istart offering, which already consists of 50 kEUR.
The main focus of the program lies on supporting and extending start-ups’ business development activities (developing, validating and implementing a business plan, clarifying the intellectual property situation, market analysis, customer contacts through fairs, marketing and sales activities, etc.).
The support provided by the FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security partners is complementary to the one offered by the general imec.istart program. All partners (imec and the special track partners) act as independent advisors and mentors. By applying for this track, start-ups automatically apply for the broader imec.istart program as well, and agree with its conditions. Acceptance in the overall imec.istart program is a prerequisite to enter the FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security track.
“The final purpose is to help develop a business idea up to the point where it becomes a product-market fit, is ready to attract financial support in the market, and can continue to develop independently.” Sven De Cleyn, imec.istart program manager.
In order to be eligible for the imec.istart program in general – and the FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security track specifically – a proof-of-concept or prototype of the core product/technology is needed. At the time of the application, the start-up does not need to be established yet. However, if selected, a legal entity is required.
The imec.istart manual includes all details of the program, the terms and conditions (e.g. in all start-ups supported by imec.istart, imec receives 6% equity – and an additional 3% per 50 kEUR investment is granted to the FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security partners), the support offered by imec.istart and the different track partners, the evaluation criteria, etc.
The imec.istart program was named the world’s number 4 in the 2015 UBI Global’s ranking of ‘Top University Business Accelerators’ and the number 1 in Continental Europe.