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A Decade of Growth

10 years Technology Fast 50

Looking into Belgium’s fastest-growing Tech scale-ups.

Executive Summary

Deloitte looks back at the past 10 years of outstanding accomplishments by the top tech companies in Belgium. We believe that this research offers valuable insights not only to founders and their investors, but also to policymakers responsible for fostering an environment conducive to the success of emerging growth companies.

Our key insights

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Key insight 1: Becoming increasingly competitive

Belgium’s top tech companies are becoming increasingly competitive

Key insight 1: Becoming increasingly competitive

The Fast 50 ranking is showing a growing trend in both average and median growth percentages, reflecting the tech industry's increasingly competitive landscape. The threshold for entry has steadily risen, requiring a minimum growth percentage exceeding 200%. In the past four editions, all Fast 50 winners achieved an exceptional minimum growth rate of 7000%, which also highlights the remarkable progress, increasing maturity, and performance of Belgium’s tech sector.

The intensifying competition within the Fast 50 is further emphasised by the upward trend of both average and median growth percentages. This trend is especially noticeable in the record-breaking 2022 edition, where the median growth among the top 50 tech companies soared to an impressive 608%, accompanied by an average growth of 1482%.
 

"The cash flow of a fast-growing company can pose problems, while market penetration takes time. So the first thing to do is to look for external funding for research and development, and immediately think international."
François Moonen, CEO & Founder Elysia

 

Key insight 2: Embracing a growth-oriented mindset

Scale-ups are embracing a growth-oriented mindset, where the focus is on investments rather than profitability

Key insight 2: Embracing a growth-oriented mindset

Fast 50 companies are experiencing a decline in the percentage of positive EBITDA and EBIT numbers over the years, with EBITDA and EBIT margins consistently decreasing. However, this declining trend is less evident in gross margins, which suggests that companies are making more investments. Hence, scale-ups are increasingly prioritising investment-fuelled growth over immediate profit maximisation.
 

"I perceive this as a good thing. It signifies that Belgian companies dare to invest more in order to grow in the long run. While this approach is already prevalent in the USA, it is encouraging to witness Belgian companies departing from our traditionally risk-averse attitude."
Chris Van de Voorde, Founder of JUUNOO

 

Key insight 3: Consistently growing and booming segments

Belgium is characterised by both consistently growing and booming segments

Key insight 3: Consistently growing and booming segments

Media & Entertainment, Life Sciences & Healthcare, and FinTech are consistently Belgium’s top growing segments. Despite being rather new segments in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50, Mobility and Digital Commerce have showcased impressive average growth percentages of 2432% and 629%, respectively, in the past three editions.

Certain industry sectors, which have been in the programme for at least six years, are outperforming others in terms of average growth percentages. The Media & Entertainment segment has emerged as a frontrunner, achieving an exceptional average growth of nearly 600%, driven by pioneers such as Venly (Rising Star winner 2022), Maxflow, and THEO Technologies. The sectors Life Sciences & Health Care and Fintech also displayed impressive growth trajectories, averaging 525% and 481% respectively.
 

"In my previous experience as a competitive swimmer, my coach prioritised the importance of consistently reaching the finals year after year rather than focusing on achieving a single peak year. At EyeSee, we tend to follow the same approach. We set ambitious goals and allow space for innovation, all while keeping sustainable growth as a key priority and ensuring that the organisation is well-prepared for it."
Joris De Bruyne, CEO EyeSee

"In the technology world, there is often no room for a number two. Speed and global growth are indispensable. Still, growth at any cost is not acceptable."
Jan Hollez, Co-founder Deliverect

 

In Belgium, funding rounds are much smaller, government policies are complex and our culture is rather risk averse. As a result, startups must distinguish themselves more to survive, leading to a higher quality threshold. Belgium is therefore an attractive environment for foreign investors to identify promising companies. Our ecosystem is ideal for startups to scale and reach a certain level of maturity.

Sam Sluismans, Technology Fast 50 Programme Leader

Download the report

A Decade of Growth: Belgium’s Fastest-Growing Tech Scale-ups

Analysis of ten years of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 shows that scale-ups are increasingly putting growth ahead of profitability.

Technology Fast 50 programme

Raising the roof for tech innovation

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 encourages and promotes entrepreneurial, fast-growing technology companies by celebrating their achievements, giving them access to Fast 50’s unique network of highly successful entrepreneurs, and opening doors to new opportunities, collaborations and partnerships.