Brussels Days in New York in May 2018

Brussels Days in New York in May 2018

Brussels Days, a yearly promotion event to show the world what Brussels has to offer, will take place in New York in May 2018 (May 21-24, 2018).

The event wants to promote a wide range of aspects of the Brussels-Capital Region: its touristic location, its history, its economy and its relationships with the world.

This year Brussels Days will hightlight the following sectors: architecture, fashion and technology.

Economic mission to New York - May 2017

Economic mission to New York - May 2017

Economic mission to New York - May 2017

An economic mission to New York headed by State Secretary Ms. Cecile Jodogne took place in New York in May 2017.

In her capacity as Minister of Foreign Trade, Ms. Cecile Jodogne was accompanied by a delegation of 20 Brussels-based companies:

  • 3E
  • A2M
  • By layers / Les Skewies
  • CO2logic
  • Carine Gilson/Maille France
  • Christa Reniers
  • Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc
  • Editions Souveraine
  • JDS Architecture
  • KateArt
  • LIFE
  • Nemo33/Spirifer
  • Numeca
  • ORG Architecture
  • Product Service
  • PYCO
  • Taxistop
  • Vervloet
  • ZebraBook

Among many activities during this mission were meetings and visits at:


  • Office of Sustainability of the NYC Office of the Mayor
  • Brooklyn Borough President's Office
  • Urban Green Council
  • Google
  • Kaufman Astoria Studios
  • Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce


as well as several seminars




Connecting Brussels with Silicon Valley - ICT Mission 2016

Connecting Brussels with Silicon Valley, October 24-28, 2016


Almost each year, Brussels Invest & Export Office in San Francisco organizes an ICT Mission to introduce Brussels-based companies to the Silicon Valley ecosystem of founders, subject matter experts, and investors. For its 3rd edition, BIE in San Francisco welcomed eight amazing startups - iDklic, Urbantz, Upcall, Facility Lockers, Emixis, Lansrode Capital Management, Pyco Group, and Himeta. – to participate in its ICT Mission Connecting Brussels with Silicon Valley. For startup companies the world over, Silicon Valley conjures up hockey-stick startup growth, vast networking and funding opportunity, and cutting-edge technical innovation. Indeed Silicon Valley is a new territory for Belgian Startups, and an important one: The US has witnessed a tenth-consecutive quarter [since 2014Q1] of more than $10 billion in venture capital invested in a single quarter according to the Q22016 Money Tree Report, and the Silicon Valley region has claimed the top regional spot in dollar amount invested since 1995 according to Regional Aggregate data provided by PwC’s Money Tree Report. The evening before events began, delegation participants met at the historic Tonga Room, established in 1945, in the Fairmont Hotel, to become acquainted and prepare for the start of an intense week-long program in Silicon Valley.

Connecting Brussels with Silicon Valley, Stanford University Tour, October 26, 2016

From left to right, front row: Juan Bossicard of Impulse Brussels, Galen Reichbaum of Brussels Invest & Export, Eric Gabrys of Brussels Invest & Export, Marc Daugherty of Brussels Invest & Export, Miriam Taub of iDklic, and Maxime de Caritat of Facility Lockers

From left to right, back row: Michaeal Darchambeau of Urbantz, Olivier Costa of Brussels Invest & Export, Alain Decorte of Lansrode Capital Management, Youri Balcers of Himeta, Philippe Druez of Emixis, Jean-Charles Figoni of iDklic

Text Box: Connecting Brussels with Silicon Valley, Stanford University Tour, October 26, 2016 Text Box: From left to right, front row: Juan Bossicard of Impulse Brussels, Galen Reichbaum of Brussels Invest & Export, Eric Gabrys of Brussels Invest & Export, Marc Daugherty of Brussels Invest & Export, Miriam Taub of iDklic, and Maxime de Caritat of Facility Lockers From left to right, back row: Michaeal Darchambeau of Urbantz, Olivier Costa of Brussels Invest & Export, Alain Decorte of Lansrode Capital Management, Youri Balcers of Himeta, Philippe Druez of Emixis, Jean-Charles Figoni of iDklic


The next morning, with Henri Vantieghem the Consulate General in Los Angeles and Oliver Costa the Trade and Economic Counsellor to the European Union in attendance, Connecting Brussels with Silicon Valley kicked off. Rick Rasmussen, an expert in entrepreneurship and technology, provided insight into the “secret sauce” that potential investors are looking for when evaluating a business pitch, while Nathan Gold, “the demo coach”, shared effective strategies for story-telling. A team of entrepreneurs-turned-investors - Rick Rasmussen, Jeff Wallace of Global Kinetics, and Naeem Zafar of Concordia Ventures - provided an afternoon of business mentoring on validating each company’s product or service as a fit for the US market, and working with the startup co-founders to fine-tune their business position. Ronald Star, our host for the first two days of our program at the law firm Arnold & Porter, spoke to Belgian Startups about incorporating in the US as it relates to considerations of equity, financing, intellectual property, and compensation incentives. Hopsy, an innovative craft-beer distributor, co-founded by a Belgian Sebastien Tron, presented on how Hopsy has gained tremendous traction within the investor community due to its innovative approach to the traditional supplier-to-consumer distribution model. Having been around for a little over a year and a half, Hopsy boasts an impressive board of advisors and investor list  that has bode it well in developing a HomeTap machine in partnership with Nespresso and KRUPS (Link).



Later on, practicalities on immigration, banking, and international taxation were covered by Alcorn Immigration Law, Julien Christiaens of Bank of the West, and Rowbotham Partners, respectively. Sophie Alcorn, of Alcorn Immigration Law, highlighted the E-2 Investor Visa among various Visa Pathways to the US. The E-2 Visa is available to treaty countries, of which Belgium is one, and affords a minimum of $100 investment to develop and direct a US company, allows a permit-holder to stay 2 years at a time with indefinite renewal, and spouses may get work permits. Sophie, as well, guided us on a tour of Stanford University her alma mater. During this tour, she spoke of the importance of the rich ecosystem of universities, large corporations, investors, and founders. We also had the opportunity to take in a view of the campus from the Hoover Tower, which consists of an historic library, cast iron church bells manufactured in Belgium, and the emblematic Belgian Gates.


Later that day, our group visited LinkedIn’s brand new headquarter-campus after its acquisition by Microsoft corporation. Our delegation had a short break during which we got to take the campus bikes for a spin. That afternoon we learned how data science at LinkedIn plays a pivotal role in customer retention, product development, and business growth from our guid Albert Cui


The next day our group visited The Batchery, a global incubator for seed stage entrepreneurs located in Oakland, where we learned the distinctions between incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces, as well as had the opportunity to hear from US entrepreneurs Ucella and Shipbird, startup companies similar in many ways to Facility Lockers and Urbantz, respectively, within the fast-growing delivery and logistics sector. 





As well, a breakfast reception at the collaborative workspace and innovation hub, The Vault SF, introduced us to Paul Kallmes a specialist in the global venture capital and intellectual property domain, who provided advice on how to further grow your company while keeping your IP protected. As well, a breakfast reception at the collaborative workspace and innovation hub, The Vault SF, introduced us to Paul Kallmes a specialist in the global venture capital and intellectual property domain, who provided advice on how to further grow your company while keeping your IP protected.





In the second part of the mission, our participants had the opportunity to engage in the American and very-much-silicon-valley-tradition of pitching a business idea to a panel of potential investors. They began with a pitch rehearsal at Foreign Startups Mixer and Pitch Night founded by Pawan Mehra in 2013 with the goal of integrating technology with diversity and cross-cultural connection. Pawan noted, “it was fun hosting your group and meeting the promising entrepreneurs from Brussels”.


Using the feedback from this event, our Belgian startups polished their pitches for the Belgian Entrepreneurs Pitch Night hosted by Brussels Invest & Export at BelCham | The Belgian American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square neighborhood. The panel of potential investors during the formal pitch night included Valley stalwarts - Dr. Ronald Weissman of the Band of Angels, David Smith with FirstCapital-US, Radhika Iyengar-Emens CEO of DoubleNova, Jorden Woods president of Silicon Valley Fundraising, and Philippe Jansen a General Manager in nano-technology labs formerly with IMEC and currently with Texas Instruments Kilby Research lab. These panelists asked tough questions and gave honest feedback, ultimately encouraging each company to reflect on how their current business model would have them achieve their business goals within the US Silicon Valley business environment. Michael Darchambeau of Urbantz was selected the winner of the Pitch Event by the investor panelists, and awarded a 2-week office space to l’Atelier at BelCham. The winner of the best presentation was Youri Balcers with Himeta Technologies.



On the final day of the mission, Belgian startups attended the 500 Startups Pitch Day of David McClure’s 500 Startups, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator that manages $200 million in assets, to experience a high-stakes entrepreneurial-investor forum.

Text Box: 500 Startups Demo Day – Batch 18


Throughout the mission, each company met with potential businesses and partners, for example: A pharmacy sales manager with CVS one of the top 4 largest pharmacy retail chains throughout the US; a manager at InstaCart as well as at Good Eggs, both are popular internet-based grocery delivery services in the Bay Area; and, a specialist in the intersection of intellectual property management, venture investment, and foreign start-ups entering the US. The co-founder of Urbantz secured three pilots with US partners, and provided Brussels Invest & Export the following feedback: “I would like to thank you so much for the amazing week we spent together and that you have organized so well. I really would like to keep in touch to connect Urbantz to Silicon Valley. You did a very good job for us. In addition, you are a great time and this is very important”. Indeed, A US business partner in the logistics tech domain, who had met earlier in the week with Urbantz and Facility Lockers, commented that, “[Facility Lockers] and [Urbantz] were strong meetings with bright entrepreneurs”.

On the final evening of the Mission, the delegation met at the downtown Hilton for a Bon Voyage meeting to recap the week’s events before their return to Brussels. The Co-founders of iDklic felt they received important guidance on how to better target their services so as to increase revenues more exponentially, and had the following to share: “thank to both of you for this mission. We learned a lot from this experience in Silicon Valley”; moreover, iDklic co-founders shared that they saw the opportunity that perhaps in the future they will find themselves pitching in front of a large audience such as at 500 Startups. Additionally, Facility Lockers Co-Founder shared his thoughts, “Thanks a lot for the great job and opportunities you created for us”.


Zipcar is coming to Brussels

Drawing on the European concept of car-sharing, the US-based Zipcar company is bringing the wheel full circle by setting up operations in Brussels, the home of the European institutions. The Zipcar concept is designed to give customers easy access to the short-term usage of various types of vehicle, with fuel and insurance included. The service combines state-of-the-art technology with member-driven user experience. Zipcar poses the question on its website: ‘Think your city is ready?’ Evidently Brussels is.


NEWTREE has opened its second retail location in downtown San Francisco. Located
at the corner of Battery St and California St, NEWTREE continues to offer an urban oasis for people to engage all senses, reconnect with the harmony of nature and savor life with no compromise.
From floor to ceiling, the NEWTREE café features sustainable, recycled, repurposed, non-toxic and energy-efficient materials. The bright and modern space is inspired by nature and creates an intriguing invitation with its glowing recycled glass counter and handcrafted bamboo canopy. Sustainable bamboo is also used for all the built-in cabinetry, shelving and stools. In addition to energy-efficient lighting and appliances, zero-VOC paint covers the walls and reclaimed pebbles make up the floor. "Constructing this new space in a sustainable way is still as important to us as our menu and products being organic & Fairtrade," said Benoit de Bruyn, founder and CEO of NEWTREE. "We wanted to go further by creating an incredibly special experience where people can savor delicious, healthy food in an environment of harmony. We call this "savoring life with no compromise" and it has been a thrill to bring it to life."
Half café and half chocolate shop, NEWTREE treats guests to a wall of chocolate where one can sample any flavor and savor the aromas of its chocolate innovations. "In the future, customers will be able to craft their own chocolate bars and every month we will elaborate a unique bar" said Benoit de Bruyn. NEWTREE's award-winning products include gourmet Belgian chocolate bars,
spreads and soft waffle cookies that are developed with strict requirements on taste, quality and ethical sourcing. Crafted with organic and Fairtrade cacao from the Dominican Republic and Peru, NEWTREE chocolate is a proprietary blend with intense cacao flavor, fruity notes and sustainable ingredients.
Extending this philosophy to their new café menu, NEWTREE offers unique gourmet & healthy food and beverages made fresh daily. Classic recipes are made healthier with local and organic ingredients, responsible portions, and less fat and sugar. The sustainable
menu features a selection of pastries, salads, sandwiches, soups and snacks, along with coffee, chai, matcha, tea and hot chocolate. Signature items made with NEWTREE chocolate include brownies, mendiants, Liege waffle, muffins, florentins and vegan hot chocolate.
The NEWTREE café is open Monday through Friday from 6.30am to 6pm. 311 California St, San Francisco, 94104 CA. The first NEWTREE café is located at 1 Ecker Pl, corner of Market & Stevenson Street. 

Nozon presents at Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Meetup

Nozon, a post-production facility delivering high quality visual effects, 3D animation and fully immersive 360 degree CG movies, introduced their product PresenZ to the Silivon Valley community at their latest Virtual Reality Meetup. 
PresenZ is a new patent pending technology that enables interactive parallax in pre-rendered 360 degree movies. Head positional tracking can be taken into account while viewing a pre-computed CG movie. PresenZ allows to have the image quality of a Sci-Fi blockbuster together with the complete immersive feeling of a real time game engine. 
Silivon Valley Virtual Reality is a community of VR developers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and early adopters who meet regularly to listen to presentations from VR pioneers and innovators. Their meetup group can be found via the link:

Olivier Dachkin opens first hair salon in the U.S.

With more than 100 salons in Europe, Olivier Dachkin is an industry front-runner, providing quality hairdressing and high-quality products. Now, San Franciscans are also able to benefit from their expertise as Olivier Dachkin's first hair salon in the U.S. opened its doors in the Westfield Mall in the beginning of January 2015.

Brussels Best Exporters 2013

On February 18th, 2014 the Brussels Best Exporters prizes were awarded by Brussels Invest & Export and BECI. These export awards reward Brussels-based companies that have achieved particular success in foreign markets
Winner in the "goods" category : Numeca International
Founded by Professor Charles Hirsch in 1992, Numeca develops fluid mechanics simulation and design software, at the cutting edge of technological innovation.
Winner in the "services" category : Telelingua International
Telelingua is a multilingual technical translation company, founded in Brussels in 1985. It has subsidiaries in France, the United States, Germany and China. 70% of its turnover comes from export
Numeca and Telelingua have succeeded Maille France, a haute couture lingerie company, and the design engineering company 3E, which specialises in renewable energy and energy efficiency, the two prizewinners from 2012.
Two other companies were also nominated in each category :

Paypal opens its new Belux office in Brussels

See Paypal press release here

Belgian Entrepreneurs Night at NEWTREE Café in San Francisco

In the context of the Belgian Ecoomic Mission to the United States with HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium and Ministers Didier Reynders, Jean-Claude Marcourt and Céline Fremault, the Belgian entrepreneur community in the Bay Area shared their success stories at NEWTREE Café.

Formal signing ceremony between Belgian and US law firms in San Francisco

On June 6, 2013, HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium and his ministers attended the formal signing of the MOU between Brocorens, Bervoets and Defauw, of Brussels, and the U.S. firms Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith PC, Weisbroth Law and Webb Legal Group.

Swantegy is now in Chicago, Illinois and Boynton Beach, Florida

Brussels-based PR company Swantegy has now two offices in the United States: in Chicago, Illinois and Boynton Beach, Florida.

Le Pain Quotidien opens a new location in the United States

Le Pain Quotidien, founded in Brussels in 1990 by Alain Coumont, is now a well-known international chain. In July 2013 it opened its new location in the United States – in Park Slope, an affluent historical neighborhood of Brooklyn. It is the chain's 32nd location in New York City and 73rd in the United States.