The Faktory, located in Liège, is both an accelerator for technology startups and seed investment fund. It was founded in 2013 by Pierre L’Hoest, a Belgian entrepreneur and businessman who is perhaps best known for his TV slow motion technology. Assisted by Simon Alexandre in his new business, The Faktory aims to support and create projects based on disruptive technologies that enable new products, primarily in the ICT sector, to be worldwide leaders in niche markets. The Faktory is currently incubating 11 specialized startups in the areas of: Internet of Things and connected devices, drones, video games, applications, energy harvesting and microprocessors, and wellness and leisure technologies.
(Featured Image: Simon Alexandre and Pierre L’Hoest / Image Credit: The Faktory)
Vision and experience
In 2011, when Pierre L’Hoest left EVS after 28 years of an extraordinary technological adventure that saw him become the world leader in replay and slow motion technology, he had a desire to pass on his experience to other entrepreneurs and support their innovative ideas. This appetite for R&D and disruptive projects led him to launch The Faktory, a hybrid model combining both a startup accelerator and seed investment fund, in 2013. The incubator, located in the suburbs of Liège, mainly follows the Lean Startup model to accelerate young startup gems discovered in Europe. The Faktory team consists of a dozen experts in various specialized fields and includes: Jean-Pierre Pironnet for investment and financial advice, Yves Joskin for technology and innovation matters and Nicolas Biet for financial analysis.
5 million euros invested
In addition to incubating 11 startups and investing time in supporting their development, The Faktory is also investing financially, leveraging them all through investments from other public, private and research organizations. In total, The Faktory has already invested €5 million in so-called ICT projects, its main area of focus. The projects incubated and invested in are particularly innovative in the field of the Internet of Things. “The projects combining hardware and big data especially speak to us,” says Simon Alexandre. The team completes a 360° analysis of each promising project and contributes a unique level of involvement to the development of each startup with which it works. “We place ourselves more as a partner than as an incubator or a VC. We want to create added valu e in the projects,” adds L’Hoest.
A green building in construction
The Faktory is currently based in Liège Science Park on the premises of EVS, close to other technology companies and a green environmental framework. In a few months, the accelerator will relocate to the heart of Liège, Quai Marcellis, to an avant-garde building designed by L’Hoest, an architect by training. This innovative, green energy, fully connected building will bring under one roof The Faktory, housing and an ambitious urban agriculture project executed in partnership with the University of Liège. “Our goal is to build a building in the image of what the city will be in 30 years,”concludes L’Hoest. Through this project, The Faktory aims to become a leading European accelerator, based in Belgium.
Zoom in on 3 startups
Foobot is a smart air quality analyzer that monitors in real time the quality of indoor air. Foobot checks for pollutants and sends recommendations to connected devices that can automatically provide homes and offices with fresh air when needed. – Learn more at foobot.io
Pioupiou is a connected wind gauge that analyzes wind speed, direction and gusts in real-time. This anemometer can be installed anywhere, even where there is no electricity or Internet. It’s very useful for paragliders, windsurfers and kite surfers. The completely autonomous, compact and ultra-light weather station should also be of interest to those in the agriculture sector. – Learn more at pioupiou.fr
e-peas is a startup producing semiconductors that recover ambient energy to increase the life of batteries and make them self-powered. The know-how of e-peas has already attracted manufacturers of connected objects that are eager to minimize the energy expended by their devices and benefit from e-peas’ development kits and network of experts. – Learn more at e-peas.com
This article was first published in SILICON