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
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:
- By layers / Les Skewies
- Carine Gilson/Maille France
- Christa Reniers
- Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc
- Editions Souveraine
- JDS Architecture
- ORG Architecture
- Product Service
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
- 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
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.
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.
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”.
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