Strengthening the digital landscape
Innovation is part of Telenet’s DNA. With super-fast Internet, innovative digital television, and ongoing investments in the network, the Mechelen-based company is giving the digital economy a boost. Since start-ups are essential for the digital ecosystem, Telenet is encouraging young business talent via Telenet Kickstart, powered by Idealabs. Over a two-year period, Telenet is investing one million euros in the entrepreneurial landscape with this project.
Eight strong start-ups ready for the accelerator programme
Last summer’s recruitment campaign was a success, with almost 200 fully fledged entries. After a strict initial selection, 25 teams were retained and invited for two pitch rounds before a professional jury. Finally, seven start-ups were selected with innovative ideas within three fields, which are part of Telenet’s core activities:
- HeyHey Apps: Charm cat lovers with a funny app which records the brainstorms of their pet.
- Spionkop: Put Fantasy Sports on the map as an enjoyable social event for every football fan.
- FlatNinja: Bring together the perfect flatmates thanks to a Tinder-like app.
- Happs: Motivate children with dyslexia to learn to read using an educational adventure game.
- Stucom: Help occupants and landlords of student houses to share and solve questions and complaints more efficiently.
- Cumul.io: Instant visualisation of complex information in stylish interactive dashboards.
- Transformy: Save time by converting lists into other lists with one example.
The eighth team is AcademicLabs, the winner of the Battle of Talents competition 2014-2015. Battle of Talents gives students from Flemish colleges and universities the chance to develop their ideas into real business plans interactively and in a safe environment. Telenet is one of the regular partners of Battle of Talents, so Academic Labs have earned a wild-card for the end of February to stand on the start line of Telenet Kickstart. With their project, they want to bring the sharing economy to the research world and make it more accessible.
Telenet Kickstart, powered by Idealabs
The eight selected start-ups are housed with the Idealabs hub in Antwerp. There they follow an intensive and instructive accelerator programme consisting of three parts. During the Shape phase, the start-ups consider the product definition, the road map, and budgeting. Subsequently, during the Build phase, they work on a prototype and the further product development. In the final phase (Launch), their product develops into a brand and they determine the marketing strategy. After four months, the start-ups are ready to launch their product. During this accelerator programme, each team receives € 25,000 financial support and they can count on the intensive guidance of the Idealabs team, mentors, and experts. Furthermore, they are also supported by the regular partners from the very start: Acerta, Craftzing, Deloitte, Laga, Ticka, and These Days. Two new partners will be joining them this year, namely Bell Labs (Alcatel Lucent) and ING. The most promising start-ups progress to the growth programme, which helps them grow into fully fledged enterprises.
Nicolas Verellen, founder of Idealabs: ‘Telenet Kickstart, powered by Idealabs, is a unique accelerator, thanks to a well-founded coaching and training programme and an extensive network of experts and mentors. This is possible partly due to our regular partners Acerta, Craftzing, Deloitte, Laga, Ticka, and These Days. We’re also looking forward this year to welcoming Bell Labs and ING for even more effective support in the areas of innovation and corporate management. Furthermore, activities which bring together and inspire all young entrepreneurs, such as pitch nights, testing nights, presentations, or workshops, give our teams a treasury of helpful tools.’
John Porter, CEO Telenet: ‘Digital technology means that society can progress at lightning speed and is the driving force for economic growth and employment. Via the Digital Belgium plan, the Belgian federal government has drawn up a clear aim to boost young enterprise by 2020. As a company which makes digital innovation one of its top priorities, we aim to be a catalyst to help promising entrepreneurial talent out of the starting blocks and help digital start-ups to grow. To this end, we actively investigate regular cooperation with accelerators/incubators, investors, and industrial partners. The Telenet Kickstart programme, powered by Idealabs, fulfils this ambition in practice. Today, we are very proud of the eight start-ups which are itching to develop their innovative ideas into a market product and a successful company.’
Telenet Kickstart | 8 New Startups