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Flanders-based scale-up UgenTec, a specialist in innovative software for diagnostic tests, is growing at full speed. The company from Hasselt is being acquired by Swedish investment fund Summa Equity. “This is a great success story – and we now get additional oxygen to realize our growth ambitions,” says founder Wouter Uten.

1 million tests and counting

UgenTec, which is part of the Corda Campus in Hasselt (Flanders), develops and sells software that can be used by labs to automate the entire workflow for performing diagnostic tests. As a result, these labs can run higher volumes with fewer people. The company was founded in 2014 by Wouter Uten, a computer scientist from Flanders who started his first business at the age of 18, creating websites for SMEs. But with UgenTec, which started as an offshoot of an internship project, he shifted up a gear.

The university hospital in Utrecht was Uten’s first customer: “The first steps are the hardest. It takes time to convince the world of your relevance.” Today, UgenTec works for more than 300 labs. Worldwide, over 100 million tests have already been performed using the software from Flanders – and that’s just the beginning.

Big plans

UgenTec been doubling its sales figures for several years in a row. The COVID pandemic, coupled with the need to detect the coronavirus on a large scale through lab tests, has greatly accelerated the company’s growth. In 2020, UgenTec posted more than EUR 5 million in revenue. One year later, in 2021, this number went up to reach EUR 11.4 million while the company posted EUR 3.9 million in net profit.

“This is a great success story,” Uten comments. “With the arrival of Summa Equity, we can accelerate even more.” The Swedish investment fund replaces LRM and Heran Partners, among others, in the shareholding constellation, acquiring the majority.

We get additional oxygen to realize our growth plans as well as the opportunity to further increase our positive impact on healthcare.

Wouter Uten
founder of UgenTec

UgenTec plans to increase its workforce from 60 to over 100 by the end of 2023. “New employees start almost every week,” says Uten. “We recruit both locally and internationally. But the core of our technological development remains in Flanders.”

International growth

UgenTec’s software is currently mainly used for PCR tests to detect DNA in samples. Examples include tests for infectious diseases such as COVID-19 as well as tests for the identification of genetic markers to determine which medication will work best for cancer patients. The agricultural sector also shows interest in the software to screen, for example, which crops and seeds can produce the greatest yield.

Steven Verhoeven, CEO of UgenTec, wants to optimize the platform for even more types of tests. Further internationalization is also high on the agenda. “In the US, for instance, we now employ about 5 people,” Verhoeven explains. “But to serve the entire US market, we will need to expand. There’s much potential out there.”

Part of a full-blown ecosystem in Flanders

UgenTec is just one of the many start-ups, scale-ups and other businesses that make Flanders’ ecosystem for life sciences & health so successful. Want to unravel this ecosystem in a virtual yet interactive way? Head to the Flanders360 platform and discover 300+ successful companies, universities, R&D centers, incubators and other players active in Flanders’ life sciences & health industry.

Alternatively, check out our industry overview to learn more about the available tax, legal and other incentives for establishing your life sciences & health hub in Flanders.

Reported by
newspaper De Tijd

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