Lys Medical is one of our ex-members we at incubators.brussels are very proud of. Their experience just reads like a perfect success story. We had a talk with CEO and founder Benjamin Mertens about how things all sudden went much quicker than expected.
What does Lys Medical do?
A spin-off from the Université libre de Bruxelles founded in 2018 we develop and manufacture endoscopic devices from the idea to the CE marking. Our first product is the Iriscope, a reusable miniaturized videoendoscopic probe for lung screening, that can access areas regular endoscopes cannot access. Our other products are measurement devices also with a much better accuracy than devices currently available on the market.
Why did you choose BLSI as an incubator to develop your company?
At first, we just needed a place to work. We chose the incubator BLSI because they offer ready to use facilities. Everything is there, from phones, printers, and coffee machines to professional reception for suppliers and clients, different types of meeting rooms and workspaces, such as offices and labs.
What were the most important advantages you found at BLSI?
As we diversified our activity and grew as a company, we were able to occupy different and bigger spaces. For example, access to different labs was important for our prototyping. Our original plan was to do research and development for innovative devices and to outsource the production.
But at BLSI we realized we could go further. BLSI offered the possibility to test our own manufacturing. I am sure that thanks to that today we are offering better quality than if we had sticked to the original plan.
Are you saying you changed your business model thanks to your experience at BLSI?
Yes, we did, as we had the chance to test the industrialization part in a safe setting.
And so, you left BLSI sooner than expected…
Yes. Once we decided to do everything in-house from idea to manufacturing and CE marking, we needed more space. Last year, Lys Medical moved out from BLSI to own bigger premises.
Why would you recommend a young entrepreneur to choose an incubator?
First, an incubator like BLSI offers comfort. Everything is there. The facilities are modern and qualitative, and it’s located in a nice easily accessible area where one can receive suppliers, partners, and clients in a professional setting.
Secondly, for its modularity. At an incubator you can rent offices, labs, meeting rooms according to your needs. It’s very flexible to move from a smaller space to a bigger one.
And, finally, there is the community. Being surrounded by other start-ups from the same sector who have gone through similar experiences, and with whom you can have a chat at the coffee corner or whom you can ask for advice is more than just a nice to have.
For Lys Medical things went fast in 4 years’ time. Looking back at it, what advice would you give to starters now?
Technically, I’d say: ‘Don’t neglect manufacturing!’ It’s difficult to get there and you need good laboratories for it. But my experience is that it’s worth it. It adds huge value to what you do.
From an organizational point of view: ‘Stay agile! Sometimes you just need to change gear quickly. So don’t put yourself barriers you would regret afterwards. This includes being able to question yourself if necessary. Your first idea might not be the best one. If that turns out to be the case, you must act.
And a last one: Don’t underestimate the importance of contact with other project owners. You can learn a lot from each other.
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us. Wishing you best of luck and success with Lys Medical.
(BLSI) is located in the Brussels campus of UCLouvain, close from the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, offering members easy access to academic facilities and support.
Does this success story make you want to take your startup to the next level ? Then have a look at one of our 4 incubators. Each of them focuses on specific innovative sectors: life science with BLSI, sustainable economy with GreenBizz, technology with ICAB and finance with EEBIC.