Addressing the market’s needs
FinTech has become one of the most attractive and fastest-growing markets for start-ups. Though the sector is starting to show signs of a slowdown in the US, European FinTech start-up deals rose 11% in 2016, raising a total of €1.04 billion in funding. On top of that, the European Commission is considering the creation of a special regime to attract FinTech companies and help the region compete globally on this promising new market.
Aware of this growing trend and committed to continuously improving and strengthening its support for tech entrepreneurs, imec is introducing a new offering in its incubation program for start-ups active in that market. The FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security special track – supported by ING and B-Hive – makes imec.istart the only incubation initiative in Flanders and Brussels to specifically address these sectors.
Sven De Cleyn, imec.istart’s program manager: “Flanders is gradually strengthening its position as a start-up hub in Europe. With more and more incubators and accelerators being established in the region, we need to differentiate ourselves and make sure we keep on adding value to the start-ups that join our incubation program. Special business tracks – such as the one on FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security that we are launching today – offer entrepreneurs specialized coaching and mentoring – and subsequently, access to an exclusive business network that will certainly facilitate their market entry and growth.”
FinTech is an umbrella term for new technologies that are disrupting traditional financial services, including mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising, and asset management. It covers a diverse array of business models, and technologies, with start-ups generally falling into several key verticals, which include InsurTech, crowdfunding, blockchain technology, payment tech or wealth management, among others.
With Venture Capital-backed FinTech companies having raised $12.7 billion (worldwide) across 836 deals in 2016, the sector is likely to continue growing, as FinTech influences not just the financial services sector, but essentially every business the financial services industry deals with.
The new imec.istart call and its special market offerings
Since 2015, the imec.istart program has launched five special business tracks: Logistics & Mobility; BlueHealth (focusing on eHealth applications); Media, Telecom & Entertainment; BlueSpace (for start-ups in SpaceTech); and the latest FinTech, InsurTech and CyberSecurity.
The special incubation tracks offer additional support for the start-ups active in those respective market verticals. This could include additional financial means (on top of the €50,000 that is part of the general mec.istart offering), specialized coaching, and access to the supporting partners’ networks, expert knowledge and available technologies.
Imec.istart offers three calls a year. The first call of 2018 will be launched at the beginning of January and will close on February 1. Click here to get to know the procedures and submit your application!