European network with big names
The structure of the venture fund is unique: in addition to Birdhouse founder Jan-Willem Callebaut and partner Alexandra Buekens, seasoned entrepreneurs from the Birdhouse mentor network will be involved as venture partners to support companies before and after the accelerator program. This way the knowledge network that typifies Birdhouse is anchored in the young companies, which continue to have access to its international network, even after completing the accelerator process.
“The strength of this fund is the strong combination with the accelerator program, in which the network plays a key role. Startups are advised by experienced entrepreneurs throughout the intensive program, which not only increases the startup’s chance of success, but also helps to substantiate follow-up investments in high-potential startups,”
Tim Duhamel, Venture Partner
Fund partners Callebaut and Buekens are also backed by an investment committee including several heavy hitters from the European investment landscape: Renaat Berckmoes (Fortino Capital), Frank Claassen (Newion), Catalina Daniels (ex-McKinsey and ERA, the largest accelerator fund on the east coast of the United States) and Koen De Waele (Volta Ventures) are some of the veteran members who have been around the block of venture capital.
Frontrunner in AgeTech with grand ambitions
Like the accelerator, the investment fund also has a particular interest in startups in agetech (technological solutions aimed at the fast-growing (and high-needs) older adults market), the vertical through which Birdhouse took its first steps into the international arena in 2022. Eight European agetech players have already taken part in the accelerator program, and its mentor network includes (international) agetech experts who are able to provide specific added value to these companies. The aim is to become the leading player at European level in the agetech vertical in the short term.
At the same time, Birdhouse and Birdhouse Ventures welcome growth companies from many other sectors. This diversity has proven to be key to building a solid ecosystem of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors over the past seven years. Success stories such as Kadonation, TechWolf, Beerselect and Hoplr, among others, have arisen from this varied pool. The accelerator also continues to build its international network of mentors, advisors and co-investors, while forming a valuable alumni network.
In order to realize these grand ambitions with the right focus, a shift is taking place in the Birdhouse accelerator management itself: Jan-Willem Callebaut is stepping down from his role as CEO and handing over the position to Pablo Oeyen, who joined the management team two years ago as partner. Oeyen will zero in on Birdhouse's plans to continue to grow as a major name for startup support in Europe as an accelerator and early stage fund, in addition to nurturing its strong permanent anchor in Flanders and Brussels.
Birdhouse is one of Belgium’s top accelerators. Since it was founded in 2016, over 6,000 startups have registered for the accelerator program, of which 153 companies were selected. Of these, 64% raised funding totaling more than EUR 90 million after or during the program: an impressive success rate in the venture capital world. One of Birdhouse's unique strengths is its extensive network of involved mentors and advisors, with more than 160 members available to help startups improve their product and company.
About FPIM “Relaunch for the future NV”
Relaunch for the Future NV was founded by the Federal Holding and Investment Company (SFPI-FPIM) to work together with the federal government on specific projects and conduct its own investment policy in the interest of the Belgian economy. FPIM Relaunch invests in companies whose business model demonstrates an important contribution to the transition in terms of mobility, inclusion, productivity or digitization.
COI (Centre for Support for Digital Innovation) provides financial support to entrepreneurs and initiatives that are innovative and socially relevant in the development of the information society.
PMV finances promising Flemish companies from the very start, up to and including growth and internationalization. PMV offers tailor-made financial solutions to all entrepreneurs with a good business plan and a strong management team through capital, loans and guarantees. They also realize projects with and for the government, in collaboration with various partners, that further prosperity and wellbeing in Flanders.
About Finance & Invest Brussels
Finance & Invest Brussels facilitates and completes the funding mix for companies creating value in the Brussels-Capital Region. They provide concrete solutions for the financial needs of entrepreneurs in the form of loans, participations or guarantees at key moments in their development.