Entrepreneurship23 November 20184 min

Partner Talk: Imec

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Innovation is in the DNA of Start it @KBC, its startup community and its partners. The urge to create new technologies and possibilities is what drives young entrepreneurs and bonds Start it @KBC with its strategic partners. One of those partners is Imec, a research and technology company with a special interest in startup culture. We asked Leen Segers of LucidWeb, to pay the Imec offices in Antwerp a visit and find out more about the company’s innovative philosophy.

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Leen is the founder of LucidWeb, a Start it @KBC startup that makes VR and AR experiences more accessible for via browsers (smartphone, desktop and VR headsets). After being part of the imec.istart acceleration programme, LucidWeb also entered to Start It @KBC, so Leen knows the company well.

Sparring partners

Imec’s vice president John Baekelmans strongly believes the company can do a lot for startups. “Imec can add value to Start it @KBC startups because we can be true sparring partners”, he says. “We have knowledge in mentoring and coaching startups, but also offer technologies and tools that startups can use to accelerate and become more competitive.”

Imec is a technology company, focusing primarily on nanotechnology. “But microchip technology hardware is not the only field we are specialized in”, John explains. “We also focus on software and ICT solutions. Imec is active in many domains and markets, we have a broad portfolio. That means we can be of use for many different types of startups. If there’s a match, we can collaborate.”

Always on the lookout

“I personally love to work with startups”, John admits. “I’m constantly intrigued and inspired by what I see and hear from innovative startups. From Imec’s perspective, it’s all about adding value. We’re always on the lookout for an interesting startup, where we can help to give shape to a promising business idea. We do that by introducing some of our technologies, by implementing our capabilities, knowledge and intellectual property.”

Imec’s philosophy towards startups, resulted in the accelerator program Imec.istart. “S-The startups we work with can enter the program, even when they have already been part of another accelerator community like Start it @KBC. That was the case for LucidWeb, for example.”

International network

Imec’s customer base reaches much further than the Belgian borders. “Most of our customers are located in the US, China, Japan and South-Korea”, John explains. “We have a wide ecosystem of worldwide partners, that we can address to kickstart Belgian startups and help them scale internationally. We also offer a service, based in Taiwan, where we take a startup’s product idea and we build it for them, from start to finish. Our strength is in the combination of the support from our network and our own technologies.”

Close to the action

As a technology company, it’s important to be where the action is. “At Imec we believe that the action is with the startups”, John says. “The closer we are to the them, the better we can understand what is going on in the world of innovation and technology. That allows us to improve our own technologies.”