5.4 min read

Birdhouse Ventures

Birdhouse raises 20 million from 62 business angels and 4 institutional players for a new European investment fund

Jan-Willem Callebaut, founder Birdhouse

Antwerp | January 31, 2023

Leading Belgian accelerator Birdhouse is launching its own investment fund. Birdhouse Ventures, which is currently worth EUR 20 million in committed capital, will provide extra support to help growth companies in its accelerator program reach their international ambitions. Both business angels and institutional investors are joining the fund. “We now have a complete offer to speed up the scale-up process of promising young companies: from in-depth advice through the accelerator to essential capital via the venture fund,” said founder Jan-Willem Callebaut.

Full-service offer thanks to growth financing

As one of the country’s most prominent accelerators, Birdhouse now also offers funding for participating startups and alumni. Birdhouse Ventures is the final link in the accelerator's strategy to help technology companies grow faster. The fund is starting with EUR 20 million in committed capital, but wants to grow to EUR 25 million this year, driven in part by the great interest it has inspired. Birdhouse Ventures managed to convince not only about 60 business angels, but also institutional investors including COI, FPIM Relaunch, the Flemish investment company PMV and Finance & Invest Brussels to get involved.

The funds will be used to provide each startup selected by the accelerator with initial funding of EUR 100,000 through a convertible loan. While these are often companies in the pre-seed and seed phase, Birdhouse Ventures also offers resources to provide follow-on financing to companies in more advanced phases after completing the program, with the option of investing up to EUR 1.5 million per company.

"In this economic climate, it has become more important than ever for a startup to be surrounded by people who can help lay the right foundations for a successful growth trajectory. These are essential criteria for finding the necessary funding to fuel continued growth"

Jan-Willem Callebaut

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.

About Birdhouse

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.

About COI

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.


About PMV

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.