Venture capital investors play an important role for growing companies. Not only do they raise capital, but they also actively support and bring expertise to the companies they invest in. In addition to stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation, private equity players provide the necessary resources to achieve companies' business growth and continuity. They put their years of experience at the service of companies and help them to become more professional. Thanks to this follow-up and by working closely with the management teams, venture capital investors support the growth and profitability of a company.
Three worthy winners
The three winners were selected from nine nominees divided into three categories. The Venture segment includes young companies developing and marketing an innovative product or service with the support of a venture capital investor. The Growth segment features companies that are substantially expanding their business through organic growth or an acquisition policy. They bring a financial partner on board, without the latter aiming for control. The Buy-out segment involves the transfer of the business and growth of companies brought about by management and a private equity investor with a controlling stake.
"The winners, like the other nominated companies, show how private equity can facilitate the rapid growth of Belgian companies without losing sight of the long-term vision. With Qover, Lansweeper and Sylphar, we have three great examples of companies that, together with their employees and private investors, have realised their potential, and created a lot of jobs," says Sabine Vermassen, Chairwoman of the BVA.
Venture Company of the Year: Qover
Qover is a fast-growing insurtech company based in Brussels that develops technology to customise insurance. It does not cover the risks itself and cooperates with major insurers in this respect. Qover was founded in 2016 and employs 110 people. The company has already attracted a number of great clients, including Tesla.
Qover came out on top because of its innovative and disruptive business model. The solution it offers is ready to scale up internationally in the next few years. The jury also praised the excellent cooperation between the company and venture capital investors.
Other nominees in the category were Aerospacelab and Precirix.
Growth Company of the Year: Lansweeper
Lansweeper is a software company founded in 2004 with offices in Grembergen and Austin (Texas). It developed an advanced platform that helps companies better manage and protect their IT equipment and networks. The company has more than 25,000 clients and employs 200 people.
The jury was impressed by Lansweeper’s excellent financial track record, both in terms of turnover and profitability. It succeeded in transforming itself from a Belgian into an international technology story. Finally, the excellent partnership with Dovesco and the entry of top fund Insight Partners will help the company to scale further internationally.
Efficy and Fedrus were also nominated in this category.
Buy-out Company of the Year: Sylphar
Deurle-based Sylphar sells prescription-free pharmaceuticals, health and beauty products. The company employs 80 people and has a high-performance sales network. The Sylphar brands are sold in more than 50 countries.
The jury chose Sylphar because of the spectacular digital transformation of its sales process. In five years, online sales rose from 0% to 80%. In addition, their strong international expansion and rapid product development were also convincing. And finally, the cooperation with Vendis Capital was excellent and an exceptional financial result was achieved in the sale to Karo, a company in the Swedish EQT portfolio.
In addition to Sylphar, House of HR and Baobab Collection were also nominated.
Importance of private equity for the economic fabric
Investments with venture capital are increasingly having a positive impact on society. By allowing companies to grow, jobs are created, which benefits society. Today, venture capital investors are active in some 1,000 companies, which together account for more than 200,000 jobs.
Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking and Member of the Executive Board of BNP Paribas Fortis: "As co-founder of the Private Equity Awards, we are convinced that private equity is an excellent financial instrument to help Belgian companies move forward. Private equity stimulates sustainable economic growth and really boosts companies. Not only innovative scale-ups, but also companies that wish to make the transition to a more sustainable business model through extra investment. The Belgian private equity sector is doing very well and has evolved into a fully-fledged ecosystem that is equipped for the future. At BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, we currently manage a portfolio of 650 million euros, about half of which is via funds and the other half via direct investments. Our ambition is to make this 1 billion euros by 2026."
About BVA & BNP Paribas Fortis
The Belgian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (BVA) is the interest association of venture capital investors in Belgium. The BVA is the point of contact for anyone who wants to know more about these investors and about the private equity and venture capital market in Belgium.
The BVA was established in 1986 and currently has 134 members. Members are professional national and international investors who invest venture capital in Belgium. Associate members are involved in this type of investment in a professional or business context.
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity is the venture capital company of BNP Paribas Fortis and has been operating in the private equity market in Belgium since the 1980s. BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity currently acquires minority stakes and provides mezzanine financing to high-performance medium-sized companies. BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity also invests in specialised venture capital and private equity funds in the Belgian market. Direct holdings of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity include Studio 100, JAC, eTheRNA, Novy, Penne, Quality Assistance and PointChaud.
Secretary General BVA
+32 496 57 90 16
BNP Paribas Fortis Spokesperson
+32 475 78 80 97