With The Big Score Sessions,network organization Startups.be | Scale-Ups.eu opted for a sector-specific approach this year. The organization and Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship(VLAIO) joined forces to connect early stage tech startups working within a specific field with relevant investors, companies and experts from that respective sector. As a spin-off event of the annual The Big Score, matchmaking between founders and investors was the key focus of the sessions.
Eight sessions, eight startups,eight minutes
Thanks to eight industry-specific sessions, spread over three months, 64 Belgian tech startups got the chance to pitch their innovative solution to a total audience of 700+ consisting of investors, corporates and peers. Each time, the focus was on a growing industry; logistics and mobility, gaming, fintech, sustainable manufacturing,health and wellness, hrtech, manufacturing and finally marketing. Each session gave the stage to eight startups, who received live feedback from various experts and could network afterwards with the audience who could follow the live stream remotely.
“To get ahead of the competition you need to get in touch with the right people faster, you need to be able to reduce your time as much as possible. By focusing on sector-specific ecosystems, we want to accelerate (young) startups to immediately meet the right partners.” –Charlotte Gréant, general manager Startups.be | Scale-Ups.eu
Together#StrongEntrepreneurship at The Big Score Gaming Session
As second session and industry Startups.be | Scale-Ups.eu chose 'gaming', a not always obvious choice and often forgotten innovative domain. The Belgian gaming sector is getting international recognition by consumers and investors worldwide. Venly (formerly Arkane Network), who took part in The Big Score Gaming Session, recently raised extra funding from Tioga Capital, a European venture capital fund.
And when you think of"gaming" in Belgium you quickly end up in Kortrijk. There you can find Howest college, where their bachelor in digital art and entertainment(DAE) has won several awards. In addition to the school, you also have DAE Studios,an accelerator for game technology, which is housed in Hangar K, a co-working place but also an incubator and launch pad for corporate innovation.
No surprise that The Big Score Gaming Session decided to work with Hangar K as a session partner and they immediately became the physical stage for the eight gaming startups.Hangar K is not only home to Howest University College and DAE Studios, but also to many Belgian gaming startups. In other words, a perfect addition to the global network of tech investors and corporates of Startups.be | Scale-Ups.eu. And add even more emphasis on the message, Flanders DC, the contact point for entrepreneurship in the creative sector, and FLEGA vzw, the official Flemish gaming federation, jumped on the wagon.
“VLAIO wants to give startups working on future-oriented technology every opportunity. They often have difficulty finding the right investor, who can provide them with the much-needed funding and know-how to develop an innovative solution. The Big Score Sessions provide an important matchmaking platform with sector-specific partners who can give them the push they need. We are happy to support this initiative from VLAIO.” – Mark Andries, administrator-general VLAIO
An innovative eight lined-up
The players were carefully brought in by various sourcing partners including Start it @KBC, Netwerk Ondernemen, Birdhouse,Scaleup Vlaanderen and Voka. Not coincidentally, all important partners in the extensive VLAIO #StrongEntrepreneurship network. Thanks in part to them, the eight chosen Belgian early stage startups found their way to The Big Score Sessions stage. The eight included game studios and SaaS startups with innovative game technology as their product. On March 10, 2021, the time had come and all the players came together; Arkane Network, Cybernetic Walrus,eXiin, Kayzr, MoonMonster Studios, Polygoat, Salty Lemon and Triangle Factory.
After the eight-minute pitch,an expert panel asked challenging questions and gave interesting feedback. The expert panel for this particular session consisted of Jean-Marie Vliegen(Business Angel - Business Angels Netwerk Vlaanderen), Steven Spittaels(Managing Partner - Freshmen), Pascal Cools (Managing Director - Flanders DC)and Vincent Vanderbeck (CEO - Hangar K). Not only for the participating startups of great added value, also for the larger audience of investors, corporates and fellow startups, who could follow everything through the live stream, useful to get more insight into the pitching companies.
“Unique opportunity to see what is going on in the Belgian gaming industry. Fantastic to see that there is a lot of talent available and investors should consider them as a great investment opportunity.” – Jean-Marie Vliegen, business angels Business Angels Netwerk Vlaanderen
Gamechangers break record scores
Afterwards, all participants were able to connect through the online networking tool Conversation Starter. Startups had the opportunity to further introduce themselves to, international and national, potential investors and interested corporates for possible cooperation, and vice versa. And all with one common goal in mind: to score deals! With over 170 one-on-one video calls, or better 2,100+ minutes of industry-focused networking, a top score was achieved. Which only emphasizes the strength and innovative nature of the Belgian gaming sector, and more over also reflects the great interest in this domain. Something that the partners of The Big Score Gaming Session already knew and, together with Startups.be |Scale-Ups.eu and VLAIO, shown beyond the industry.
“ Inspiring and refreshing pitching event aimed at Belgian game studios, which was a first!Great to get the chance to meet all the interesting angels, VCs, publishers and corporates.” – Gilles Vancoillie, co-founder MoonMonster Studios
“The Big Score Gaming Session brought the Belgian gaming landscape closer together in a well-organized format. Highly recommended for anyone looking to expand their network with thought leaders, investors and corporate innovators.” – Thomas Cortebeeck, general manager Kayzr
The Big Score Sessions 2022
The first year of The Big Score Sessions was organized remotely as a result of the corona pandemic. Pitching startups and the expert panel met live, all other spectators could follow via live stream from their(home) office. The second season, of a total of four sessions, will take placelive at four different locations across Flanders. Both the startups and experts, as well as the audience of investors and corporates can follow along on the spot. The collaboration with sourcing partners will continue in 2022,but startups themselves can now also apply to pitch. Through the online form,they can indicate in which fields they are active and why they deserve a spot on the session stage.
Check out the after movie of The Big Score Gaming Session