Antwerp start-ups seize business opportunities in Germany

Antwerp start-ups Geckomatics and Condugo had the opportunity to participate in UnternehmerTUM. They talk about the benefits of this programme and how it helps start-ups to expand globally.

© Copyright: UnternehmerTUM


Start-ups with global ambitions feel at home in Antwerp, as demonstrated by Geckomatics and Condugo. Thanks to the city of Antwerp, they had the opportunity to take part in a programme organised by UnternehmerTUM in Munich, as an introduction to the German market. Bert Cattoor of Geckomatics, Tijs Vangrunderbeek of Condugo and Marisa Schneider of UnternehmerTUM talk about the benefits of this programme and how it helps start-ups to expand globally.

Small start-ups, global solutions

Antwerp based start-ups Geckomatics and Condugo both have an innovative solution which can also prove useful on a global scale. Geckomatics uses Artificial Intelligence to create digital inventories of city infrastructure. Condugo maps the energy management of companies active in the (petro)chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

Bert Cattoor (Geckomatics): “We produce 360° imagery of cities, comparable with Google Street View. Our software is able to recognize elements in these images. Recently, the city of Hasselt in Belgium asked us to make an inventory of all trees in the city. Our software not only recognizes the trees, it also measures them correctly and positions them on the map. The result? An accurate map of all trees in the city. We can do this with everything within a city’s infrastructure: traffic signs, street furniture and more.”

Tijs Vangrunderbeek (Condugo): “Companies use our solution to gain a clear view on their, sometimes very complex, energy flows. In the past years, we were able to build expertise by carrying out assignments for companies in the port of Antwerp. Now we are ready to globalize our solution.”

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting
Copyright: UnternehmerTUM

UnternehmerTUM, a gateway to Munich’s local ecosystem

UnternehmerTUM, founded in 2002 and linked to the University of Munich, is a leading centre for innovation and business creation in Europe. Experienced teams help start-ups with the development of products, the implementation of ideas and much more.

Marisa Schneider (UnternehmerTUM): “We were very happy to host Geckomatics and Condugo at UnternehmerTUM this fall. It was a pleasure to work with both start-ups and to see how passionate they are taking on their internationalization. Their ideas show great potential for the German market and with UnternehmerTUM’s one of a kind innovation platform, the teams got first access to the local ecosystem in Munich. Condugo and Geckomatics took part in UnternehmerTUM’s Landing Pad, a soft-landing platform that gave them the opportunity to make first contact with the German market and the Munich Start-up Ecosystem. Both companies also benefited from different start-up trainings.”

High level

Tijs Vangrunderbeek (Condugo): “The German market has high potential for us and Bavaria is home to a massive petrochemical and pharmaceutical industry. We are very satisfied about the programme. We benefited from customized coaching on a very high level. Simultaneously, we were able to share ideas and experiences with other start-ups. We are convinced that we planted a lot of seeds during this programme.”

Bert Cattoor (Geckomatics): “We already operate in a number of international markets, from Israel to Italy and hopefully soon in Chili and Australia. Nevertheless, stepping-stones such as these are very welcome to tap into new markets. Thanks to this programme we now have a network in Germany. It was a great experience for us. UnternehmerTUM’s staff members know what they are talking about and all workshops had great value. Next week, we already have a follow-up meeting with a German organization.”  

Win-win situation

Marisa Schneider (UnternehmerTUM): “The cooperation with an innovative city like Antwerp gives us the opportunity to help start-ups grow that are past the business modelling phase but have entered the scaling phase. A great opportunity for both sides - we hope that other international cities will see this as an inspiration. We are already looking forward to the 2021 edition. This time we would like to see even more teams from Antwerp and even the entire Flemish Region joining us. Munich is waiting for you!”   

Bert Cattoor (Geckomatics): “We are very happy that the city of Antwerp gave us the opportunity to participate. I really recommend other start-ups to join as well. Even more, I would like to launch a call to action to Flanders and Belgium: why don’t we organize a similar event in our region?"

Tijs Vangrunderbeek (Condugo): “We also appreciated the opportunity. It’s definitely a win-win situation: as a start-up we have learned a lot and at the same time the city of Antwerp presented itself as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship."

Would you like to know more about Antwerp as an attractive city for business and innovation? Read our page about digital innovation in Antwerp.