Belgische veilingsite voor peperdure topduiven: “Wij hebben belangrijke rol gespeeld in de professionalisering van de sector”

“We have played an important role in the professionalization of our sector”

Pigeon Paradise (PIPA) founder Nikolaas Gyselbrecht

1.6 million euros. An anonymous buyer from China paid that record amount (for Europe and for a female copy) in 2020 for New Kim, a racing pigeon from Berlaar. The pigeon was sold through the Belgian auction site of Pigeon Paradise (PIPA). His regular customers include the brother of the Emir of Qatar and the President of South Africa, says founder Nikolaas Gyselbrecht.

  • How? Nikolaas Gyselbrecht
  • Since? 1999
  • Employees? 27 in Belgium, around 90 worldwide
  • Revenue? About 35 million euros

Nikolaas Gyselbrecht comes from a family of pigeon fanciers. His great-grandfather, two grandfathers, three uncles: all obsessed with the pigeon sport. His father, together with an uncle and his grandfather once won ‘the Barcelona’, the flight of flights, which is more or less the Champions League of the pigeon sport.

“I started Pigeon Paradise as a website with news about the pigeon sport. That had started as a hobby, but that website grew and received more and more visitors from all over the world. At a certain point I was faced with a dilemma: either I stopped, or I looked for a revenue model. This is how Pigeon Paradise has evolved into an online auction site for exclusive racing pigeons.”

Christie’s of the pigeon sport

That exclusive character is important, emphasizes Gyselbrecht. “People sometimes ask me if Pigeon Paradise is like an eBay for the pigeon sport. I always answer that we are rather the Sotheby’s or Christie’s of the pigeon sport. We don’t just sell any pigeon from anyone who plays with the pigeons in their spare time. No, we screen the racing pigeons that we sell through our auction site very well, as well as the people from whom we auction pigeons.”

“In the past, racing pigeons were traded through all kinds of intermediaries. We have made those transactions transparent, you are 100 percent sure that you are not buying a pig in a poke. As a buyer you know exactly where the pigeons have been bred and what they have already achieved. The pigeon sport has become a professional sector, involving millions. I think we played an important role in that professionalisation. Be careful, that did not happen automatically, we really had to fight and fight to realize that cultural change.”

Brokers and growers

Today, Pigeon Paradise has evolved even further, explains Gyselbrecht. “We are no longer just an auction site, we also assist the breeders in selling their pigeons. A bit like a football player has an agent, so to speak. PIPA also has its own breeding line, although it is more of a hobby project. As a broker, advisory body and grower, we have created a stable revenue model.”

Every week we present – in random order – a company from the list of 30 most innovative tech start-ups and scale-ups that Omar Mohout put together especially for Bloovi and that we Flanders Tech 30 baptized. These companies have already been discussed:

  1. D-CRBN
  2. Foodpairing
  3. SoundTalks
  4. Goodless
  5. Swimtraxx / Capetech
  6. Solergy
  7. IVEX
  8. IPEE
  10. Slimbox
  11. QelviQ
  12. CoMoveIT
  13. Moonbird
  14. Arani
  15. CADSkills
  16. Alberts
  17. Westray
  18. Urban Crop Solutions
  19. Tractonomy
  20. Bloomlife
  21. On-Hertz
  22. Magics Technologies
  23. dotOcean
  24. Morrow
  25. Seafar
  26. ElmediX
  27. Pigeon Paradise

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