13 great start-ups from Ghent to watch

29 Mar 2018

Ghent, Belgium. Image: Nattee Chalermtiragool/Shutterstock

Ghent is a glittering prize when it comes to super-focused start-ups intent on changing our world. Here are 13 to watch in 2018.

Nestled in the Flemish region of Belgium, Ghent became one of the richest areas in the Middle Ages as a port and university city. It is still rich in innovation.

Occupied during various wars down through the ages, Ghent has survived tumultuous historic episodes with its medieval architecture intact, making it a picturesque, timeless place.

The port city has always been about business and, as well as being host to companies such as Volvo and Honda, the research cluster includes Ghent University and research-oriented companies including Ablynx, Innogenetics, CropDesign and Bayern CropScience.

The city has earned its tech spurs through the success of companies such as Tele Atlas and open source software player Drupal.

The growth of start-ups is supported by the recently merged digital research and start-up accelerator hub iMinds and Imec, which support a global community of more than 3,000 researchers.

Here are the Ghent start-ups to watch in 2018.


Awingu is building the digital workplace of the future. The start-up has created a browser-based unified workspace that provides secure access to legacy and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps, and files in the cloud. Founded by Kristof De Spiegeleer, Awingu has raised €2.7m to date.


CoScale enables full-stack performance monitoring for container and microservices applications in production environments, continuously monitoring servers, containers and applications. Founded in 2012, CoScale has raised €3m from investors.


Cloudalize has created a GPU-based desktop-as-a-service platform that delivers virtual cloud desktops for 3D collaboration and CAD applications. Founded by Benny Willen and Jeffrey Meesemaecker, it has raised €4.7m in funding so far.


Intuo is a Ghent-based HR online talent platform that hopes to encourage ‘coaching culture’ within companies, recognise talent in employees and future-proof organisations. Intuo translates a company’s mission into agile objectives with the hopes of making them more human-centric and ensuring that everyone’s available talents are being utilised in a way that maximises the value of each employee. The firm has secured €1.2m in funding over two seed rounds and boasts clients such as Thomas Cook, Teamleader and the European Resuscitation Council.


A Ghent University spin-off, Molecubes is what happens when young hardware and software engineers get together and create something special. Molecubes builds imaging cubes that allow medical practitioners to combine SPECT, PET and CT imaging in almost any lab space. Founded by Bert Vandeghinste, Ewout Vansteenkiste and Pieter Mollet, Molecubes has raised €1.9m in seed funding so far.


NGData uses big-data technology to provide customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for enterprises, empowering them to achieve greater lifetime value from actionable insights to boost sales and increase loyalty. Founded in 2012 by Frank Hamerlinck, Jurgen Ingels, Luc Burgelman and Steven Noels, NGData has raised $46.8m to date, including a $19m Series C round involving SmartFin Capital, Pamica NV, Nausicaa Ventures, Idinvest Partners, HPE Growth Capital and Capricorn Venture Partners.


PieSync is a data syncing service for businesses. The SaaS player manages contact information via the cloud regardless of the application, keeping data continuously consistent. PieSync was founded in 2012 by Ewout Meyns, Mattias Putman and Simon Buelens. Earlier this month, PieSync raised €2.8m in an investment led by Fortino Capital with participation from Ark Angels Activator Fund, PMV and Dirk Vermunicht, bringing the total amount raised by the company to €5m.


Sensolus is making major strides in the internet of things (IoT) world. It is tracking things in the skies as well as the Antarctic, where its sensors have been used to keep an eye on wandering scientists. Founded in 2013 by Kristoff Van Rattinghe, the success of its Stickntrack sensors saw it attract the interest of investors to the tune of €2.75m in October of last year. With this new funding, the company expects to be able to make a push outside of Europe as part of the Sigfox IoT network, having recently signed a major deal with aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus.


Showpad is a SaaS platform aimed at driving sales and marketing success. Bridging the gap between sales and marketing, Showpad empowers people to sell the way buyers buy, through intelligent sales content and an analytics platform. Founded in 2011 by Louis Jonckheere, Peter Minne and Pieterjan Bouten, Showpad has raised $89.5m to date and has offices in San Francisco. In May last year, the company acquired UK mobile sales start-up Hickup.


Silverfin is an online platform that plugs into popular accounting software and other financial data sources to help finance departments and guide them towards digital transformation. Silverfin counts more than 50,000 companies on its platform, including players such as Deloitte. Founded by Joris Van Der Gucht and Tim Vandecasteele, Silverfin raised $4.5m in a Series A round last year led by Index Ventures.


Teamleader helps companies to manage their data in the cloud and has more than 7,000 paying customers. It is an integrated solution for CRM, quotation management, project management, time recording and invoicing for SMEs. Founded by Jeroen De Wit, Mathias De Loore and Willem Delbare, Teamleader has raised $13.5m to date from Fortino Capital.


Waylay offers a platform to connect IoT devices with enterprise IT systems. Founded in 2014 by Piet Vandaele and Veselin Pizurica, the Ghent-based company secured its largest amount of funding in early 2017, leading to a total of €1.2m. This allowed it to invest in the growth of its sales and marketing divisions, bolstered by the fact that it has been included in a number of illustrious IoT company lists, such as Gartner’s Cool Vendors 2017, the Cloud Innovation World Cup and IoT Stars.


Yields.io is a digital platform for model risk management, identifying algorithms and turning them into actionable business insights for C-level executives as well as increasing productivity for validation teams. Founded in 2017 by Jos Gheerardyn and Sebastien Viguie, Yields.io raised €1.25m earlier this year in a round led by Volta Ventures with participation from Pamica NV.

Honourable mention: Helpper

Active in Ghent but based in Antwerp, Helpper is a sharing economy start-up focused on shared services. Helpper connects the elderly and those with disabilities with people in the community willing to help and support them. Founded by François Gerard, the start-up recently raised €1m in funding from Carevolution.

Updated, 10.56am, 30 March 2018 and 11.01am, 3 April 2018: This article was updated to clarify the founding team of Cloudalize. We have also updated this article to correct the misclassification of Helpper as a Ghent start-up, as it is based in Antwerp. We have chosen to keep Helpper as an honourable mention and we apologise for this error. 

Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox? Sign up for Tech Trends, Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years