Antwerp climbs to 6th place in the European ranking of scale-up cities

Antwerp has recently climbed to 6th place in the new Manufacturing Tech Report. In the report, the technology federation Agoria and the research centre Sirris analyse the digital technology landscape for the manufacturing sector. They benchmark comprehensive data on innovative technology companies from their own country with data from other European cities. This 6th spot places Antwerp among the European elites.

Excellent 6th place ranking in terms of the number of investments

  • Antwerp earned this 6th spot in the category 'number of capital transactions'.
  • The city owes this ranking to big deals at Aloxy, Qpinch, Rombit and Iristick, among others.
  • Antwerp rose from 8th to 6th in the ranking and consolidated its position among the top 10 based on the number of deals.
  • Antwerp overtook Paris in the ranking
  • Place 1 to 5: Munich, Berlin, London, Stockholm and Oslo.

The power of Antwerp's innovation network The Beacon

There can be no doubt that Antwerp owes its ranking largely to companies active in the innovation network around The Beacon. For about a year now, the innovation hub has attracted more than 60 start-ups, scale-ups and corporates. Rombit and Aloxy, among others, are part of the innovation hub on the Eilandje in Antwerp. They develop digital applications for the port, industry, logistic and construction sectors. All these sectors are already clustered in the Scheldt metropolis, which is an enormous asset.

Bart Steukers, director of context at Agoria: "The Beacon is highly relevant for the valorisation of innovation technologies in the port, industry and construction sectors. The coming years promise to bring a lot of value creation and therefore economic growth."

City, port and industry working together

One of the companies actively engaged in The Beacon is Aloxy. The company significantly contributed to the city's high ranking. It is a spin-off of the University of Antwerp and the research centre imec. The start-up creates Internet of Things applications relevant for industry players.

Maarten Weyn, Aloxy co-founder: "Thanks to co-creation with major petrochemical players, Aloxy is able to focus on this sector's top priorities. The characteristic cooperative spirit and proximity to the city, port and industry ensure that innovation takes place together, involving the entire value chain and not individual companies separately.  Innovation networks such as The Beacon play a crucial catalysing role in this regard."

Even Antwerp technology companies outside The Beacon network are getting involved to stimulate growth. Qpinch developed an installation that converts half of the residual heat in the petrochemical industry into heat for the production process. As a result, the tech company was able to convince investors with a successful capital round. Antwerp also owes its 6th place in the ranking to this company.

Antwerp: 2nd in the broader scale-up landscape in Belgium

The researchers further analysed the broader scale-up landscape in Belgium.

  • After Brussels, Antwerp is the 2nd-placed city in Belgium in terms of number of created start-ups and scale-ups.
  • Antwerp holds the top position in logistics and supply chain. In both blockchain and chatbots as well as in the space industry, the Scheldt metropolis leads the way in the application of these new technologies.
  • The Beacon-based imec.iStart: is the 5th best European accelerator, based on the number of scale-ups that have received funding.

Antwerp continues its growth as an innovative business city

In the coming years, Antwerp wants to continue strengthening its position as a scale-up city. Its ambition is clear: to rub shoulders at the top as an innovative business city.

New growth companies, such as Twikit, AirShaper and Think 3D, are already up and running. The University of Antwerp also plays an important role in the local ecosystem. It consciously opts for pre-incubation and valorisation of applied research.

More about The Beacon in Antwerp 

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