“The way the city of Antwerp supports start-ups, shows how important entrepreneurship and innovation are for the city”

Antwerp-based start-ups explore the German market

Antwerp is bustling with start-ups of all kinds and aims to help them thrive in a healthy environment. Which means creating the right climate for them here, in Antwerp, but also giving them opportunities to explore beyond the city towards international markets. An example of this kind of initiative is the collaboration between UnternehmerTUM in Munich, and the Antwerp-based start-ups Bingli and Juumo who  are taking part in a programme that helps them discover opportunities in the German market.

copyright: UnternehmerTUM

Digital innovation across borders

Although, Bingli and Juumo are both tech start-ups, they work in very different market sectors. Bingli has developed a chatbot for the medical sector to gather information from the patient prior to a consultation. Juumo, on the other hand, offers a digital solution for real estate management.

Jan Luts (Juumo): “Real estate is bound by different regulations in each country. That is why we would like to explore what our app can do outside of Belgium. Germany is an interesting market because it has more of a renting culture than we do here. Roughly thirty percent of properties in Belgium are rented out, compared with over fifty percent in Germany and Austria.”

Tom Van De Putte: “Local policy also plays a major role for us. Our chatbot and the underlying software are a great time-saver for doctors, especially when they only have a limited amount of time to see a patient and make a diagnosis. In Belgium, the average consultation takes fifteen minutes. In Germany, the doctor only has seven minutes to do the same job.”

UnternehmerTUM

The city of Antwerp strongly believes in the importance of setting up an environment that encourages start-ups to be creative and innovative. It shares this ambition with the German city of Munich which boasts its very own “Center for Innovation and Business Creation”, UnternehmerTUM, which is associated with the University of Munich. It made sense for the two cities to start a collaboration. Marisa Schneider from UnternehmerTUM: “Antwerp is the first international city to work with us in this way. It is a great opportunity for us to strengthen ties with such an innovative city. The way the city of Antwerp supports start-ups, shows how important entrepreneurship and innovation are for the city. We look forward to our collaboration and we hope Antwerp can inspire other cities to work together in the same way.”

We hope Antwerp can inspire other cities to work together in the same way

Marisa Schneider: “Industry-wise, Bingly and Juumo are very different teams, but both start-ups are exactly what we like to see here in Munich: motivated tech entrepreneurs who revolutionise the way we have been doing things and who are ready to present their business idea on an international stage. We are welcoming them to our “Landing Pad”, a soft-landing platform that will give them the opportunity to introduce themselves into the German market and the Munich Start-up Ecosystem. In and around our city there are many global players who are very interested in technology and innovation. The Bingli team will take part in our “Healthcare Happy Hour”, a networking event for e-Health entrepreneurs. We have a spot for Juumo’s founder Jan Luts in our incubator programme XPRENEURS to put him in contact with companies in our region. And we plan one-to-one coaching sessions to answer any specific questions the two teams may have.”

Building relationships abroad

Launching your company internationally is often a matter of reaching out to the right people. “That’s why we are so glad to get this opportunity to broaden our network”, says Tom Van de Putte from Bingli. “Without the city of Antwerp as a facilitator, it would have cost us much more time to build relationships abroad. UnternehmerTUM is one of the largest incubators in Europe. I am certain that this project will open doors for us.”

This experience is exactly what we need right now to build an international presence

“Since I am originally from Leuven, I was new to Antwerp’s start-up ecosystem when we started out”, says Jan Luts from Juumo. “I was already impressed with everything that is happening here, especially at The Beacon, an innovation hub in the middle of the city of Antwerp. It’s great to have a community to fall back on. So, we knew that this opportunity to find the same kind of support in Munich would mean a lot to us. After our first contact with UnternehmerTUM, it quickly became clear that this experience is exactly what we need right now to build an international presence.”

Last year, innovation hub The Beacon made international fame in the field of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications, proving that technology can provide the answer to complex urban issues. Top technological talent from 22 nationalities is active there in 64 companies and research institutions, and during 106 events, a good 4,000 experts in digital innovation were reached at home and abroad. In order to respond even better to the rapid developments in the technological landscape, and to confirm their commitment, the founding partners have now joined forces in vzw The Beacon. This new structure allows them to further grow into a European reference point for the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications.
The Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) is the world's largest trade fair about cities and smart urban solutions. The city of Antwerp presents its urban innovations aimed at creating a sustainable society.
The city of Antwerp cannot be missed at the 25th edition of the most important retail trade show in Europe: MAPIC. Retailers, investors, and cities such as Antwerp will be gathering in Cannes from 13-15 November. And just like previous years, the city of Antwerp wants to use its presence at the show to convince retailers and investors of its strengths as a retail city, thereby increasing its international visibility as a location worthy of investment.