STARTERS

14 November 2017

Imec.istart offers a new process in FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security

In March 2017, ING was one of the partners in the imec.istart business accelerator programme. This programme gives start-ups a helping hand by offering them financial support, workshops, personal coaching, office space and other facilities. Start-ups can break even and continue growing faster with the assistance from this ecosystem and supporting network. Imec.istart is now also offering an industry-specific coaching process for start-ups in the FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security sector.

Why FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security?

Imec.istart already offers a number of industry-specific processes, namely in Logistics & Mobility, Health, Media, Telecom & Entertainment and (Aero)Space. From now on, start-ups can also apply for a fifth vertical: FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security.

The term FinTech refers to any technology that has the potential to disrupt the traditional financial markets (including mobile payments, funds transfers, loans, raising capital and asset management). The success of financial technology depends to a certain extent on progress in related sectors, e.g. developments in insurance technology (InsurTech) and efficient cyber security solutions. Since more and more people are making use of apps and websites to manage their finances, this market has become and extremely attractive target for hackers. So cyber security is crucial for FinTech to really take off. Fortunately, blockchain technology, machine learning and encryption help us tackle this challenge.

For this type of programme, we can offer entrepreneurs specialised coaching and support.

Sven De Cleyn, Programme Manager at imec.istart, explains the importance of the imec.istart verticals: "Flanders is gradually strengthening its position as a start-up hub in Europe. Since more and more incubators and accelerators are being set up in our region, it is important that we can continue to make the difference with imec.istart. With industry-specific processes, such as the vertical for FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security, we can offer our start-ups a clear advantage. For this type of programme, we can offer entrepreneurs specialised coaching and support. Furthermore, in this way they also come into contact with an exclusive industry-specific network, which further enhances their growth prospects in the marketplace."

FinTech: a market brimming with potential

FinTech has been around for a while, and is now a fast-growing and attractive market for start-ups. In the USA, the FinTech industry is already growing at a rather slower rate, but in Europe there is still a lot of potential. The number of start-up deals in Europe rose 11% in 2016, involving total investment of €1.04 billion. Furthermore, the European Commission is considering setting up a special scheme to support FinTech firms and make the region competitive in this new, promising market.

FinTech has the potential to totally disrupt the financial industry as we know it.

"FinTech has the potential to totally disrupt the financial industry as we know it. Therefore, we in the industry also see the need to invest in external innovation. For start-ups, FinTech is a promising market, but not an easy one for new entrants to gain a foothold. The financial world is governed by complex legislation and regulation. By teaming up with the imec.istart FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security vertical, start-ups not only gain access to our network of partners, but also to industry-specific coaching. We are the only start-up initiative in Flanders that is specifically aimed at this sector," says imec.istart Innovation Manager Kris Mertens.

At present, there are already four start-ups in the imec.istart portfolio operating in the FinTech, InsurTech and Cyber Security market: Sign2Pay (secure mobile payments), Yields (automatic monitoring of AI-algorithms), SpotCrowd (spotting shoplifters in real-time using existing security cameras) and Cumul.io (data visualisation). imec.istart aims to attract even more start-ups in this field with this new vertical.

ING is sharing its expertise

ING became a partner in imec.istart in March 2017, but now the bank is part of the new FinTech, InsurTech & Cyber Security vertical. Stephanie Van Avesaat, ING innovation driver, explains: "For us, this was an obvious choice. Both from the viewpoint of supporting young entrepreneurs and preparing them for the market and from the viewpoint of keeping up with the latest developments in our field. We believe firmly in this kind of programme, because they capitalise on the complementarity of existing players and new entrepreneurs. Bankers and senior profiles from ING Innovation will support the entrepreneurs with financial advice and coaching. In addition, we will also offer the services of our network where relevant."

Become an imec.istart-up and get off to a flying start!

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