Start it @KBC and Pfizer launch new partnership

Start it @KBC and Pfizer launch new partnership

  • Startups gain access to highly-regulated healthcare sector
  • While profiting from Pfizer’s international network and expertise
  • Boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in Belgium

OSTEND – Pfizer, the global pioneer in the development of innovative medicines and vaccines has joined forces with Start it @KBC, Belgium’s leading accelerator. The brand-new partnership was officially announced during the 3-day startup festival Start it @KBSEA, a joint initiative of Start it @KBC and the City of Ostend. The collaboration opens the doors to the highly-regulated healthcare sector for healthtech startups. The latter not only profit from extra knowledge and expertise but also access to Pfizer’s international network. All with the aim of boosting innovation in the field of medical technology.

While Start it @KBC can already boast successful collaborations with Voka Health, imec and several large hospitals, Pfizer is the startup community’s first structural healthcare partner. The partnership will enable the accelerator to offer its medtech startups an international platform as well as optimised support. They will, namely, be able to use Pfizer’s international network and call on top experts from within the company’s ranks for coaching or mentorship.  

“For Start it @KBC, this partnership opens more than just one door. Primarily because we have more than 50 startups from the healthcare sector under our wing. They now have access to the expertise and international network of one of the largest biopharmaceutical players in the world. We are therefore extending a warm invitation to all healthtech startups to sign up for our next selection round in September,” says Lode Uytterschaut, founder of Start it @KBC.

Innovations and challenges
Pfizer has been active in Belgium for more than 50 years and, with its four specialist sites in Puurs, Elsene, Zaventem and Anderlecht, boasts an impressive track record when it comes to expertise and innovation. The American pharmaceutical company develops and manufactures medicines and vaccines which it subsequently distributes around the globe. More than that, however, the company is constantly on the lookout for innovations with the potential to enhance quality of life for patients under the motto, “We innovate to improve your life. Let’s connect!” Particularly innovations with a strong focus on patient empowerment are encouraged, whereby patients can manage their own disease or condition in close consultation with a professional care provider.

Through the partnership with Start it @KBC, Pfizer hopes to call on the creativity and brain power vested within the Start it @KBC community.

“We are convinced that innovation can find its way to patients, doctors and hospitals faster, simply by working together. For us, this partnership with Start it @KBC is therefore an ideal way to link our own expertise in pharmaceuticals to the technological knowhow vested in startups. Together, we hope to be able to develop innovations that help patients even faster,” says Karel Van De Sompel, Country Manager and Managing Director of Pfizer in Belgium.

Belgium, Health Valley
Belgium can boast a great deal of innovative talent when it comes to healthcare and medtech, the collective name for innovative applications in the field of medical technology. Unfortunately, that talent often does not attract the attention or recognition it deserves. In order to realise all that latent potential, Pfizer has agreed to provide access to its expertise for startups within the Start it @KBC community.

“We intend to assume our responsibility and place our expertise at the disposal of startups looking to make an impact within but also outside the healthcare sector. We are keen to work together on specific challenges where technological innovations can be of added value for patients. That could range from oncology, inflammation, rare diseases, cardiology, vaccines, but also, for example, distribution or tracking of medicines, etc. Together with Start it @KBC, we hope to fuel Belgium’s ambition to become an innovative ‘health valley’ driven by technology,” concludes Karel Van De Sompel.

Healthtech startups wishing to join Start it @KBC should submit their application for the next pitch wave before 18 September via


About Pfizer Belgium
Pfizer invents, develops, manufactures and distributes medicines and vaccines. Pfizer is committed to improving the health and well-being of everyone in every phase of their life. Together with governments and other health partners, Pfizer contributes to an affordable and accessible quality healthcare. The patient is at the heart of this process.

Thanks to the technological expertise, the skilled and well-trained workforce and the high level of academic research, Pfizer continues to invest in Belgium year after year. Pfizer employs 2,600 workers in Belgium, representing 3% of Pfizer's total workforce worldwide. Pfizer Belgium has four sites: 1) Anderlecht, where the Pfizer Clinical Research Center is located. It is a fully equipped Phase 1 research center. Together with the research center in New Haven (US), it is one of the two Pfizer Phase 1 research centers in the world, 2) Ixelles, the Belgian headquarters, 3) Puurs, the Pfizer manufacturing and packaging site for injectables and 4) Zaventem, the Pfizer Logistics Center.

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About Start it @KBC

Start it @KBC is Belgium's largest accelerator and supports and promotes entrepreneurs with an innovative idea and scalable business model. The international Start it @KBC community consists of a network of more than 830 startups and scale-ups that share their experiences and expertise.

Start it @KBC was founded in 2014. The accelerator is founder-centric and offers their program completely free of charge. Start it @KBC does not take shares in the startups and only imposes one condition: the joint pursuit of maximum economic and social impact, diversity and sustainability.

The Belgian hubs of Start it @KBC are located in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Hasselt, Kortrijk and Leuven. In addition, Start it @KBC has international offices in Budapest, Gyor and Prague and pied-à-terres in New York, San Francisco and London. Since 2017, Start it @KBC is a member of the exclusive Global Accelerator Network (GAN), which offers the startups additional expansion and sales opportunities abroad, as well as a wealth of benefits from technology partners worldwide.

Start it @KBC has strategic partnerships with large companies to better support startups. Today, strategic partners of Start it @KBC are Accenture, DPG Media, KBC, and Telenet. Since 2019, Start it X also immerses intrapreneurs of corporate companies in the Start it @KBC network.  

Startups who want to participate in the one-year Start it @KBC acceleration program and wish to make free use of mentoring, network, workshops and co-working spaces, can apply throughout the year via the website:

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