by Alan Hope,
Leuven-based WeWatt, which manufacturers the desks with pedals for users to charge their digital devices, is looking to business angels to expand production and develop software for use in similar products
The Leuven-based start-up WeWatt, which develops desks with cycle pedals so users can produce their own energy, has raised €200,000 in venture capital from investors in Germany and Flanders, the company said. WeWatt, an initiative of former Flemish minister Patricia Ceysens and entrepreneur Katarina Verhaegen, was represented in Canada last week at an economic mission.
The company is known for its pedal desks installed in public places, such as Brussels South Station and Brussels Airport. Users can pedal to produce enough electricity to charge their digital devices. The furniture is also installed in Schiphol and Calgary airports and in Paris’ North Station.
Ceysens was minister for science and innovation from 2007 to 2009 and continues to serve as a member of the Flemish parliament for Open VLD. “Our products are being picked up in other countries,” she told Trends magazine. “Right now there are about 300 WeWatts in 20 countries.”
Earlier in the year, the company increased its capital and also raised its first package of capital from outside investors, two of whom also joined the WeWatt board. “We opted for business angels because we want to attract financial resources but also the experience and advice these people can offer,” Ceysens said. “It’s a matter of smart money.”
WeWatt made €300,000 in sales in 2014 but has no employees. Ceysens and Verhaegen have decided to concentrate on the B2B market. “We have a European patent and intend to sell our technology to companies that want to install it in their own furniture,” Ceysens explained. “That would be a solid model for bringing a wide variety of designs to the market using our technology.”