Improve Digital wins Rising Star Award 2011, Gatewing from Ghent elected as Most Disruptive Innovator

Prestigious award crowns Improve Digital from Amsterdam as the most promising young starter company in the Benelux
7 October 2011

Brussels, 7th October 2011 – Improve Digital from Amsterdam has been voted winner of the Rising Star Award 2011. The Rising Star Award is part of the Deloitte Technology Fast50 and was created specifically for technology companies that have been operating for less than five years. Eleven nominated organisations – including two Belgian companies (Gatewing (Ghent) and SonicAngel (Herselt)) took up the challenge through Elevator Pitches to battle it out for the title of 'Rising Star 2011', and for one of them to win the right to call itself the most promising young starter company in the technology sector in the Benelux. Improve Digital was awarded the top prize for its accelerating turnover, based on the own unique technology in a competitive market. Gatewing from Ghent received the prize for Most Disruptive Innovator from the Fast50 partner Gimv, for the innovative application of existing technologies, which will cause a significant shift in the market.

During the pitches, the nominated companies were assessed by an independent panel of judges for their growth potential and business plan, based on their own technology. The way in which the CEO was able to convey this company's unique selling proposition clearly and understandably was also one of the deciding factors for selecting the ultimate winner.

Gatewing from Ghent is Most Disruptive Innovator

Gatewing (www.gatewing.com) is active since the summer of 2008 and has seen a fast growth. The young team designs and sells the world's fastest and easiest to use remote sensing solution. Based on its revolutionary X100 lightweight unmanned aircraft, the team has built a solution for rapid terrain mapping that consists of image acquisition field operation and fully digital and automated image processing.

"The selection as Deloitte Rising Star nominee came somewhat unexpected, but it turned out to be a very interesting and fun experience. The recognition as Most Disruptive Innovator is huge for us. We hope this will again be a boost to lift Gatewing to an ever higher level", says Maarten Vandenbroucke, CEO of Gatewing.

Rising Star: Improve Digital is most promising young starter in the Benelux

The judging panel was made up of leading individuals from the technology sector. Jury chairman, Vincent Gravesteyn, is CEO of The Valley, a group of agencies that specialises in interactive marketing communications. Jury chairman Gravesteyn: "The quality was very impressive this year. The nominated companies were already quite remarkable in the pre-selections by their good and thorough preparation and their qualitative dossiers. In the eventual selection, the variation in markets, technological applications and innovative business was striking". Another member of the panel was Elderd Land, partner in investment company Gimv and a member of the board of auditors for a range of companies in the high-tech and ICT sector. The third judge was Ann-Pascale Bijnens, director of Tech Transfer UHasselt, a multidisciplinary team of experienced specialists in the area of innovation and value enhancement.

Improve Digital (www.improvedigital.com) targets internet publishers in Europe and offers them a platform which they can use to increase the revenues of their advertising space. Janneke Nielssen, co-founder of Improve Digital was of course very happy with the Rising Star Award: "We are a very proud winner of this Rising Star Award. This award is a true recognition for the belief in our product and our team. It motivates us to continue walking this path".

Luc Van Coppenolle, TMT Practice leader and partner at Deloitte Belgium stated: "Despite the more difficult economic circumstances, the nominees have showed that young, creative entrepreneurs are able to introduce an innovative product or service on the market in a successful way. These two awards were granted to those who performed best in terms of scalability, turnover potential and their ability to stand out from the others, based on the company's own technology. We are confident that we will soon see a number of these companies in the Fast50 competition. We look forward next year to seeing even more Belgian companies take part in the competition."