HomeNewsimec.istart and Novel-T join forces in unique accelerator and fund for tech startups

imec.istart and Novel-T join forces in unique accelerator and fund for tech startups

Today, Belgium's imec.istart, Europe's number 1 business accelerator, and Novel-T, the engine behind the Netherlands' most entrepreneurial knowledge institutions, launched the imec.istart.nl programme. The two non-profits are joining forces in this accelerator programme for tech startups. The 12-18 month programme, which has its own investment fund attached, gives a strong boost to young technology companies and spin-offs from knowledge institutions. With imec.istart.nl, they increase their chances of going from a prototype to a successful market launch and international growth. The initiative was launched during the CES Unveiled conference in RAI Amsterdam, under the watchful eye of Minister Stef Blok and Constantijn van Oranje, Special Envoy of Techleap. 

In addition to an initial investment of €50,000 to €250,000, programme participants will also find access to 4,500+ of the world's top tech experts and a large network of active investors. The programme and fund involve several strong partners from the private and public sector, such as VDL, Simac, Oost NL, University of Twente, imec, Cronos Group, Demcon, Pfizer, Comate and Research Center OnePlanet. The first registration round closes in mid-November. The programme will start in January 2022. A second round opens on 1 May and starts in mid-2022.

Less failure of tech startups

The imec.istart.nl programme in the Netherlands provides a much-needed boost to the startup ecosystem for deep-tech companies. Jaap Beernink, CEO of Novel-T explains: "In the Netherlands, we are good at scouting opportunities for innovative entrepreneurship and excellent at converting these opportunities into startups. However, there is quite some room for improvement in terms of first real growth. Despite the potential, many do not reach the point of market introduction. Often, this has to do with loss of focus, speed and lack of growth capital. With the imec.istart.nl programme, we offer a very nice addition and connection to what is already being offered by knowledge institutions. At Novel-T and Imec, we are taking the lead and we expressly invite knowledge institutions and other partners to join us in order to give as many growth companies as possible a flying start". 

Connecting Dutch and Belgian startup systems

"We are looking forward to rolling out our leading acceleration programme in the Netherlands. Especially to co-producing this with Novel-T as a strong founding partner”, says Sven De Cleyn, programme director of imec.istart. “We believe that the funding offered by imec.istart.nl, together with the unique support programme and international reach of the imec network and our partners, will be great assets for Dutch high-tech and deep-tech startups with growth ambitions. This move also allows us to bring the Belgian and Dutch startup ecosystems closer together, which will create new opportunities for our startups and scale-ups on both sides of the border."


Imec is a world-renowned research centre for nano-electronics and digital technology. The business accelerator imec.istart celebrates 10 years in Belgium, helping more than 250 tech startups in different fields to develop into sustainable businesses. For every euro invested by imec.istart, startups are able to raise 25 euro in follow-on investments. Imec.istart is ranked 1st in the European 'Top University Business Accelerators' and 4th place worldwide (UBI Global). 

Novel-T is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to creating new businesses and innovating existing ones with direct support, acceleration programs, and a powerful ecosystem. The foundation originated from an alliance of University of Twente, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Province of Overijssel, Twente Board and the municipality of Enschede.