“The approach of biotope is more holistic than the average incubator”

When you are a starting entrepreneur, finding the perfect incubator isn't just about ticking boxes; it's about finding a place where your concept can mature and you as a founder can grow. Let's hear what sets biotope by VIB apart, straight from those who've experienced its magic.

“We have been doing this for five years and went through multiple incubator programs, but for a number of reasons we found biotope the most impactful one,” says John Abousawan from Biofect Innovations. “The basecamp is incredibly interactive and intense: eight-hour days, immersed in collaborative workshops, guided by industry veterans and experts…”

Coralie Misson from Minagro described biotope’s basecamp as “a dynamic startup accelerator program where you connect with diverse people globally, learn about fundraising, and strengthen teamwork. Led by experts, this program focuses on practical skills and mentorship to help startups succeed in the competitive business world.”

Matching the right idea with the right team

Ali Osman and Harry Barraza from PFx Biotech experienced how eye-opening exercises helped them understand not just their business but also themselves and each other on a deeper level. 

“The approach in biotope is more holistic than the average incubator. They want both the company and the team to grow. We had to talk a lot about what drives us as individuals in making our startup a success. Although we know each other very well, in our day to day, we always put the business on the agenda. It was fantastic to get to know more about each other’s motivations. This reassured us that we are on track with the right team.” 

Johan Jacobs and Paul Mozdziak of FlyBlast shared a similar sentiment. They got even more time to dive deeper during their commute: “Before and after every day of the basecamp, we drove from Antwerp to Ghent and back. This gave us an hour together, which was really good for us to rehash the topics of that day and go through everything we picked up during the sessions.”

“The basecamp is incredibly interactive and intense: eight-hour days, immersed in collaborative workshops, guided by industry veterans and experts.”

John Abousawan, Biofect Innovations

Learning from peers

One aspect participants appreciated above all else is to learn from the experiences of startups in earlier cohorts. What were their barriers and fears? How did they navigate those challenges? 

“Even if we operate in different sectors, the hurdles they faced were not very different from ours,” said Harry Barraza. “These sessions also demonstrated that there were different ways of getting to the end point. That was really enlightening and inspirational to hear.”

Gilles Crahay, Poly Pea co-founder, put it like this: “The biotope basecamp is the opportunity for start-ups to take the time for preparing their ascension: check if our equipment is complete, get coached on climbing methods, meet other founders around the fire and strengthen bonds within the team.”

Forging lasting connections

“One of the big advantages of being part of an incubator like biotope is that you’re immersed in an ecosystem of people who have the expertise and industry connections you need to succeed,” says Nicky Daisy, co-founder and former managing partner of The Yield Lab Europe and current member of biotope’s investment committee.

The value of this network is echoed by Ilana Taub, co-founder of Bolder Foods, who joined the very first edition of the biotope basecamp back in spring 2022. “Through the biotope mentors and network, we’re receiving the additional support we need to grow.  We really see the startup coaches as more than just advisors—they are part of the Bolder Foods team.”

Perfecting the pitch

The grand finale of our basecamp is pitching in front of the investment committee. Multiple participants point out biotope’s emphasis on substance over style: “In other accelerators there was a big emphasis on the pitch: putting the right message together and making sure you could sell it in under x minutes. The pitch was usually the key component of the training. The biotope team invested much more energy in getting your idea clear before trying to represent it in a pitch.”

Delivering the pitch to the committee has been a positive experience for many participants. It was definitely the case for Osman and Barraza of PFx Biotech: “At the end of the day, you either convince them or you don’t, so you need to bring all your learnings to the pitch. What makes biotope unique was how much we could zoom in on the technology.”

“We could tell from the questions that the committee put to us that they really understood the problem and how we planned to tackle it. Our pitching experience with biotope was very different from what we’d done before—more challenging, but also more rewarding.”

“What makes the pitching experience at biotope unique is how much we could zoom in on the technology.”

Harry Barraza, PFx Biotech


If you’re ready to refine your strategies, expand your networks, and unlock your fullest potential, come join us on this transformative journey. The call for the fifth edition of our basecamp is open until March 31st, 2024.

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