BVA Private Equity & Venture Capital Award 2019

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This fall we celebrated the second anniversary of the BVA Private Equity & Venture Capital Awards.

Our aim is to reward and celebrate high-performing Belgian companies that are backed by a private equity or venture capital investor, thus highlighting private equity as an asset class supporting the development and growth of Belgian businesses. By creating three award categories, we reflect the three major archetypes in our industry; Venture, Growth and Buy-out. The direct financial return for the private equity investor does not constitute the decisive factor for selecting the award winners.

On October 3rd 2019, the winners were revealed at our second Awards ceremony. We want to congratulate icometrix as the winner of the category Venture Company, Guardsquare as the winner of the category Growth Company and Inula as the winner of the category Buy-out Company.

2019 Award Nominees

Buy-out company

Inula Group (winner) was created following the merger of Pranarôm and HerbalGem, two pioneering laboratories specialized in natural therapies, founded in 1985 and 1986 respectively. Inula is a key player in the herbal remedies market, specializing in fast growing sub-sectors such as aromatherapy, gemmotherapy and Bach flowers, through three brands: Pranarôm, HerbalGem and Biofloral.

House of Talents was established in 2008 by Steve Rousseau and groups 12 different business units: Sales Talents, Care Talents, Financial Talents, HR Talents, Executive Talents, DigiTalents, Next-ICT, BTS Food, Arcq, Chaintec Group, VALUEbuilders Group and MIDES. The group outsources more than 1.250 specialists in different niche markets and operates in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ardena is a pharmaceutical Contract Development & Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) with more than 250 qualified professionals and six state-of-the-art facilities across Western and Northern Europe. Ardena is a one-source contracting partner to help biotech and prominent blue-chip companies navigate the drug development process from molecule to clinic.


Growth company

Guardsquare (winner) is the global reference in mobile application protection. The company develops premium software for the protection of mobile applications against reverse engineering and hacking. The products are used across the world in a broad range of industries, from financial services, e-commerce and the public sector to telecommunication, gaming and media.

Newtec is specialized in designing, developing and manufacturing equipment and technologies for satellite communications. As a pioneer in the industry, Newtec is dedicated to creating new possibilities for the broadcast, consumer and enterprise VSAT, government, cellular backhaul and trunking and mobility, offshore and maritime markets.

Itineris was founded in 2003 by Edgard Vermeersch, providing integrated business solutions fully focused on power, gas and water distributors and retailers. Itineris utilizes its software solution UMAX™, a leading Customer Information System (CIS) to manage a utilities’ complete meter-to-cash process from quotation management, up to invoicing and collection.


Venture company

Icometrix (winner) is the world leader in software solutions to obtain clinically meaningful data from brain MRI and CT scans for patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease, Stroke, etc. The fully automated icobrain software is FDA approved and has market approval in Europe, Japan, Canada, Brazil, and Australia.

iTeos Therapeutics is a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to transforming the lives of persons living with cancer by designing and developing next generation immunotherapies. The company is based in Gosselies, Belgium and Cambridge, MA, and was founded through the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) and the de Duve Institute (Université Catholique de Louvain).

Confo Therapeutics is a VUB-VIB spin-off co-founded in 2015 by VIB and Capricorn Venture Partners with the support of MINTS, PMV, QBIC and V-Bio Ventures. The Company is building a portfolio of first-in-class programs based on its proprietary Confo® technology which derives highly specialised camelid single domain antibodies or “ConfoBodiesTM” which stabilize G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in a conformation of interest for drug discovery.

  • Venture company of the year, defined as a company backed by a venture capital firm, where the investment was primarily aimed at developing an innovative product or service, at scaling-up the company or accelerating the go-to-market process;
  • Growth company of the year, defined as a company backed by a private equity firm, typically through a minority investment, that is looking to expand and improve operations or enter new markets in order to accelerate its growth;
  • Buy-out company of the year, defined as a company backed by a private equity firm holding a majority or a controlling stake, and financed through a mix of equity and debt.
  • A long-list of companies, nominated by the BVA members and selected industry observers, is compiled by the BVA (April-May)
  • The jury selects three nominees in each award category (June)
  • Each nominee completes a concise company presentation template (July-August) and the CEO gives an in person presentation to the jury, who elects the winner in each category (September)
  • The name of the winners are disclosed at the occasion of BVA Awards Ceremony & Cocktail (October)

The jury will be asked to assess the awards against the following criteria.

For the Growth and Buy-out Company of the Year:

  • Building an attractive, distinctive business which stands out from others in its sector;
  • Skilled execution of particular projects, including product innovation, acquisition, capital investment, international expansion, marketing innovation;
  • Evidence of great and authentic leadership, including development of a strong, progressive culture and wider contribution to society;
  • Overall evidence of growth, including profit growth and returns on exit.
  • Evidence of a bold, decisive plan, well executed. Positive impact on employment and the local economy (in case of business transformation)

For the Venture Company of the Year:

  • Particular focus on bringing to market new and high impact innovations;
  • Evidence of skill in the way innovations have been translated into products, for example partnerships, regulatory hurdles overcome, technical challenges navigated;
  • Financial success to be judged not by reference to profitability: external validation still essential but more likely to be by revenue growth, significant contracts and external investment from respected investors at increasing valuations.

A jury composed of industry experts, entrepreneurs and BVA board members will draw a shortlist and finally select the winners.


Jan Alexander

Jan Alexander is head of Fund Investments within Participatie Maatschappij Vlaanderen (PMV), a regional investment company. Jan joined PMV in 2013. Between 2001 and 2013, he was legal counsel with KBC Private Equity. Jan is familiar with seed, early stage, growth and buy out investments. Jan started his career at DLA Piper.

Jan holds board positions at funds managed by Gimv, Vectis, Volta, V-Bio, Fortino and LSP. He is the current chairman of the Belgian Venture Capital & Private equity Association.

Jan holds a law degree from the KU Leuven.


Jean-Pierre di Bartolomeo

Jean-Pierre Di Bartolomeo is chairman of the Board of Directors of SOWALFIN, BVA Board Member since 2005 and BVA Chairman during 2013-2014. His activities on behalf of the Walloon Government (e.a. he is in charge of the Guarantee Fund for the Walloon Region) contribute to his expertise in the field of SMEs’ financing solutions. Mr. Di Bartolomeo’s professional background includes management and financial consulting (DELOITTE & TOUCH – PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPERS), loan activities at the FWPMI (SRIW Group), creation and management of the SIAW (loans to SMEs in the Agricultural-and-Food Industry) and management of holding companies at the SOCIETE EUROPEENNE DE BANQUE (COMIT Group, Luxembourg). Mr. Di Bartolomeo graduated from the University of Liège (Finance) and holds a Master Degree in SMEs’ financing (DURHAM UNIVERSITY Business School, UK).


Guy Mampaey

Guy Mampaey joined Gimv in 1981 and became responsible for the Buy-Out and Growth Department in 1989. Under his leadership, specific funds were set up for SMEs (KAMOFIN), start-ups (Take-Off Funds) and investments in Central and Eastern Europe (Fund New Europe). He was part of the steering committee at Gimv’s IPO in 1997 and the acquisition of Halder in 2000. He also set up a European relationship network with buy-out funds through investments in third party funds.

He is former chairman of the BVA (Belgian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association).

Guy invested in and supported companies in their business building, buy and build strategy and exits (IPO and trade sale) in various sectors and business phases. He was a director of DEME, EBT (European Bulk Terminals), BMT, VCST, H. Essers and Zonen, Westerlund. Today he is chairman of Incendin (Ecochem International), Sureca (Contraload), Vectis Participations II and director at Grandeco and PAI (Port of Antwerp International). His broad experience is useful in the further development of the various Gimv platforms.

Guy obtained a master’s degree in Applied Economics from the University of Antwerp.


Raf Moons

Raf Moons is Head of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, the captive private equity branch of BNP Paribas Fortis. Raf joined Fortis Private Equity in 1999 focusing on seed and early-stage investments. In 2011 he was appointed Investment Director in the Direct Investment team of BNPPF PE. Before being active in Private Equity, Raf worked at Imec as industrial advisor in the business development department and started as scientific researcher at Imec/KU Leuven. Besides within BNPPF PE, he currently holds board positions at Studio 100, Het Anker, Epimède and Gemma Frisius-Fonds.

Raf holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the KU Leuven and obtained an MBA at Vlerick (KU Leuven).


Jos B. Peeters

Dr Jos B. Peeters is Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Capricorn Venture Partners, an independent European manager of venture capital and equity funds. investing in innovative European companies with technology as competitive advantage. Capricorn Venture Partners is based in Leuven, Belgium, and licensed by the FSMA (the Financial Services and Markets Authority in Belgium). Currently it is managing its Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund, Capricorn ICT Arkiv Fund, Capricorn Health-tech Fund and Capricorn Cleantech Fund, is the management company of Quest for Growth, quoted on Euronext Brussels, and investment manager to the Quest Cleantech and Quest+ Funds.

Jos is regarded as one of the pioneers of the European venture capital industry, being active in this area since 1985. He is a founder and director of EASDAQ, which is relaunching as Equiduct, a regulated market for secondary trading in Europe.

Jos has a PhD in Physics from the University of Leuven. He was co-founder and first chairman of BVA, and is past chairman of Invest Europe, the European association for private equity, venture capital and infrastructure (previously EVCA).


Pierre Rion

Baron Pierre H. Rion is MSc (Civil electrical engineer electronics-IT), graduated from the University of Liège in 1982, After having launched his first IT company in 1984, he took over the reins and destiny of IRIS .The optical-character recognition (OCR) developed by the company has since become an international standard. Since 1995, Pierre Rion has developed a vocation as a Business Angel devoted to boosting the regional economy. He is – or has been – an active investor in ventures like Pairi Daiza, DCinex, Belrobotics, the E-Capital fund and in about ten other Walloon SMEs. He was also chairman of the Cluster TWIST and the Board of EVS Broadcast Equipment for 13 years. Today, he chairs the Boards of Cluepoints, Belrobotics-Yamabiko Europe and Banque CPH and is among others a director of Multitel, FNRS and Nivelinvest. Since 2015, he chairs the “Conseil du Numérique wallon” as well as the jury of the digital investment fund W.IN.G (Wallonia Innovation and Growth) within the framework of the “Plan Marshall 4.0”. He also was awarded the prize of Economic Leader of the year 2016 at the Lobby Awards.


Annie Vereecken

Born in Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) on the 24st of December 1951, she graduated as a pharmacist in 1974 at the Catholic University of Louvain. With an additional training in clinical pathology, which ended in 1977, she started a clinical lab with focus on gynecological endocrinology and pathology. In the year 2000 she ended as the best in class at the Vlerick Management School-Ghent with a thesis on the evolution of medical labs in Belgium. In view of this paper, she acquired the Algemeen Medisch Laboratorium (A.M.L. bvba) in Antwerp in 2001, with an additional acquisition in 2004 of the hospital lab in Lokeren (East Flanders). In 2007, with a change in legislation, the private equity company Waterland bought 50% of the lab shares. Several acquisitions later the whole lab business was sold to Sonic Healthcare Ltd. in 2010, an Australian company, which is worldwide number 2 in pathology services, spread over 3 continents. She is a founding member of LIFE Leuven vzw and participated from the start in GIFT vzw (Genk). Together with Willem Ombelet, she organized several meetings on Andrology and In vitro Fertilization. Her special interest in prenatal diagnosis with focus on screening for Down Syndrome, resulted in several post docs, and the change to non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) was the next challenge.


2019 BVA Awards

Discover the nominees and winners of this year. Be sure to watch our after movie for the highlights of the evening.


Venture Company

Growth Company

Buy -out Company


2018 Nominees and winners

The nominees from last year in the category Venture Company were Multiplicom, Silverfin and Ogeda. The Winner was Multiplicom (now part of Agilent Technologies Inc.). They develop, manufacture and commercialize molecular diagnostic solutions, provided as kits, which enable personalized medicine.

For the category Growth Company the nominees were Intelligent, Collibra and Lineas. The winner was Intelligent, a European leader in managed services and outsourcing for complex and critical applications on scalable cloud-platforms.

In the last category Buy-out Company Desotec, Newpharma and Destiny were nominated. The winner was Desotec, a leading European provider of mobile filtration technology through a unique and circular service concept.