- On March 24, 2017
- accelerator programme, business incubator, chestnote, farmboy, MuuseLabs, onak, sentiance, startup accelerator, startup incubator, SXSW, tech startup, tech startup programme, tech startups, Telenet Kickstart
SXSW as experienced by Belgian startups (part II)
A week ago, a delegation of 10 Belgian start-ups travelled all the way to Texas to attend SXSW (or: South by Southwest). Telenet Kickstart, together with Startups.be, was there as well to learn about the startups’ experiences first-hand. Five startups already shared their stories with you earlier this week, and today we’ve got five more interesting bits for you to feast your eyes on!
Muuselabs shone bright like a diamond at SXSW. The Belgian startup wowed the jury – and everyone who attended SXSW’s pitch events – with Jooki, a smart jukebox for children. Jooki clearly stood out in the ‘Entertainment & Content Technology’ category, earning Muuselabs a second-place finish. “Even though we had our hearts set on winning, we feel incredibly honoured”, comments co-founder and CEO of Muuselabs Théodore Marescaux. “Being a finalist in the pitch competition has gained us a lot of visibility. SXSW is a first-class event, there is no denying that.”
Chestnote, represented at SXSW by co-founder Peter Wellens, has made leaps of progress since launching in 2016. The Chestnote ‘slow messaging’ app allows users to choose when and where recipients receive their messages. “Our concept is taking off in Belgium and in other European countries, and it looks like the American market is more than ready for us as well”, Wellens informs us. “I have nothing but praise for this event”, he continues. “Many visitors, including some high-profile leads, were interested in hearing our story, and thanks to that our downloads have gone up significantly. I myself had a great time attending some enriching talks, too. But I had a difficult time choosing! SXSW really is a hub for high-tech entrepreneurs.”
Farmboy, Mike Van Cleven’s premium visual content studio, had a fascinating time at SWSX as well. “Our customer base in the US is growing, and SXSW provides an ideal opportunity for us to maintain a good relationship with our American customers”, Van Cleven explains. “We also attended a number of sessions which basically confirmed what I already knew. Several of the methods and technologies they described as future trends are things Farmboy already implements today. Yet, SXSW certainly is a great source of inspiration. All these different startups and sectors coming together, that’s already unique in itself.”
Young start-up Onak couldn’t help but receive loads of attention at SXSW. Their product, a folding canoe which has been incubated by The CoFoundry, hung from the ceiling above their booth for all visitors to see. “Our canoe has aroused a lot of curiosity”, Bert Van Wassenhove from The CoFoundry proudly confirms. “I must admit that I’m normally not a big fan of conferences. When I do decide to attend one, I always hope it will be worth my while. And surely, SXSW did not disappoint. I had an exciting time, and so did the start-ups. This was the perfect occasion for them to compare their business to the competition out there.”
Antwerp-based startup Sentiance is another company well on its way to international success. Promoting its self-learning software for mobile devices, the company took home quite a few interesting leads. “Our business, the Internet of Things, was amply discussed at SXSW”, says President of Sentiance Dimitri Maex. “I’m still amazed at how easily and quickly we were able to set up meetings with some big players. There was something special in the air at SXSW. Everyone was at ease and networking felt very natural. That’s something you don’t get everywhere.” Curious how the people behind SXSW experienced this year’s edition? Later this week, Telenet Kickstart will be publishing an interview with Startups.be and FIT. Stay tuned!