Belgian startup scene is booming
Belgium is not just the country of waffles, chocolates, beer and smurfs. It has a thriving startup scene too.
Brussels, both the capital of Belgium and Europe, is hosting the lion share of Belgian startups: a whopping 33% of all startups are based there.
Startups in Belgium are mainly B2B oriented (72%), it’s the opposite of Silicon Valley where B2C startups dominate with a ratio of 2:1. There is a reason for it: location. If you would take a radius of 500 km around Brussels, you will find the highest diversity in industrial capabilities and know how in the world. It also explains why manufacturing focused startups are the second biggest vertical in the industry ranking.
1/3 of the Belgian startups are in a scaling stage, but with only € 100M of VC investment last year, there is still a long way to go. Despite the finance gap, the startup ecosystem is accelerating as of 2010. More startups are created in the last 4 years than in the previous 40 years.
10% of Belgian startups have a foreign branch, given that it’s a small multilingual market, this is not a surprise. The popular destination is the USA, with 31% of all foreign branches, followed by the neighboring countries France, Netherlands, UK and Luxembourg. Surprisingly, neighboring manufacturing powerhouse Germany didn’t make it to the top 5.
Lastly, 9% of startups started their life as an university spin-off. Given the enormous amount of public money that is invested in (technology) research this is a rather low output. Once again it confirms the European paradox: great science but the translation of knowledge into marketable innovations is poor.