This milestone once again proves BAN Vlaanderen’s indispensable role as a financing platform for young and start-up companies in Belgium.
OneBonsai has raised a major funding round. Two business angels from BAN Vlaanderen will join them and contribute € 200,000 together. In addition, two extra investors provide an additional financial injection of € 100,000, bringing the total to € 300,000. This additional capital should enable the company to further enter the European market and expand the existing sales and development team.
OneBonsai was founded in 2013 as a developer of Web & Apps, but soon understood that developing training courses in VR had a lot of potential. In 2017, the first steps were taken via a consultancy model for VR solutions. OneBonsai soon offered tailor-made solutions for the industry, with specific attention for training in VR. Now the company is entering the next phase, offering industrial safety training, like on the use of fire extinguishers and training for medical personnel. This technical knowledge and the possibilities that VR offers regarding remote training, ensured that OneBonsai was able to offer the perfect solution to its customers in the Covid-19 period.
To make the investment even more attractive for the customer, OneBonsai now offers its VR training courses based on the SaaS model (Service as a Software) and a monthly fee. Clients are major players in healthcare, warehousing, defense and the manufacturing industry. The company is surfing in a new but rapidly growing market and was able to further increase its turnover year-on-year. This turnover tripled in 2019, while the number of permanent employees grew from 2 (in 2019) to 10 employees today.
According to BAN Vlaanderen, the funding of OneBonsai means the closing of a 400th deal - an absolute European record.
BAN Vlaanderen has experienced sustainable growth in its fifteen years of existence; since its start-up in 2004, 1506 projects have been submitted to investors within BAN Vlaanderen with an average financing request of € 413,600.
The total amount invested by business angels in young companies is approximately € 60 million in the first round (not counting follow-up financing). Because business angels often open the door to additional co-financing by other players, the total financing released as a result is estimated at approximately € 300 million. Especially players in ICT and services (35% and 16% respectively), closely followed by a fast-growing health sector, know how to find their way to BAN Vlaanderen.
For young companies, the added value of business angels, the experience, knowledge and network that they contribute, often appear to be a crucial element in their growth. To frame this even better, BAN Vlaanderen developed a new "WISE" strategy in 2019, which is aimed at achieving the smartest synergy between expertise, capital and entrepreneurship.
At the beginning of this year, UHasselt students conducted an empirical study among 423 companies that pitched to BAN Vlaanderen business angels during the period 2009-2013. In addition, for the companies that signed a deal, an additional analysis was made per year after the financing and over a period of 8 consecutive years.
This empirical study of BAN Vlaanderen’s files demonstrates that the entry of a business angel has a growing positive impact on the measurable performance of the financed companies. This positive impact increases the longer the business angel is on board.
“A sustainable cooperation and growth trajectory, therefore, of which parameters such as Intangible Fixed Assets indicate that the growth difference has already been pronounced after 4 years and is increasing further. Business angels of BAN Vlaanderen once again prove their important role for those valuable companies in Flanders that are focused on innovation, knowledge creation and sustainable economic growth,” says Vossen.