THE STARTUP MAGAZINE
Founder and CEO of Supermiro, the must-see event discovery platform
Super Ideas Time to become “super” stronger (p.10) One-on-one interview with Supermiro’s founder and CEO eLfy Pins
Invest online via equity crowdfunding (p.22) Discussion with Seedrs’ CIO Tom Davies
The A.I. composing classical music (p.24) Discussion with AIVA’s co-founders Pierre and Vincent Barreau S I L I C ONLU XE M B O U R G . LU
Venture Capital in Luxembourg
Special Report (p.30)
Inside South Korean’s ecosystem A touch of Luxembourg in Korea Korean Unicorn Club Top 30 startups to watch in Seoul K-Startup Grand Challenge
Management Notebook (p.36) HR – Mentoring – IT – Legal Accounting – Marketing
Picture Reports (p.42)
Calendar (p.48) Original Recipe (p.49)
Job Board (p.50)
© Anna Katina
Editorial AT TOP SPEED
I hope you had a great summer and that you survived the crazy back to school pace and didn’t overdose on petits fours and champagne at the twenty tech events in Luxembourg this September! Hang in there, there’s even more planned before the end of the year! Let’s talk about this incredible number of workshops, meetups, conferences, keynotes and other events that continue to exponentially fill our agendas. In Luxembourg, there are around a hundred events per year, which, for an ecosystem with between 150 and 200 startups makes for a very high ratio of events to startups. There is certainly no shortage of ideas and speakers, and increasingly we’re seeing international guests coming to speak at events. You may have noticed, that in Luxembourg, the organization of B to B events is like a national sport and the number of business clubs for networking continues to grow. And there are many interesting events coming up this fall—go right to page 48 of this issue and check out the new Calendar section of the magazine so you don’t miss any! With Adopt a Dev, Startup Grind, Startup Weekend and Rockstart Answers you shouldn’t get bored. Speaking about events and the calendar, this magazine features one of the most promising startups in Luxembourg and it just happens to be a company that helps you figure out what to do with your time. I’m walking about Supermiro, of course! Have you already visited the site and subscribed to “SuperNotifs” to explore all the events happening near you? Luckily, founder eLfy Pins gave us a bit of time in between drawing her illustrations—which, among other elements, contribute to the charm and success of the website—to tell us about her startup and upcoming projects. Head straight to page 10 for the details!
This is an exciting issue of Silicon magazine. We’ve covered a lot of interesting subjects such as equity crowdfunding, artificial intelligence, innovation and urban mobility. Our management section has grown this issue. Our picture report will give you a taste of the best events we’ve recently attended. The new job board section is for those who aspire to join a startup. And of course there’s a new delicious recipe in this issue! We’ve also included a supplement that’s co-authored with our colleagues of the Luxembourg Private Equity & Venture Capital Association to give you an up-to-date snapshot of the state of the venture capital scene in Luxembourg. Finally, in this issue, we take you on a long flight and immerse you in South Korea’s dynamic digital ecosystem. Thanks to Younhee Kim, the director of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office—and her network—we were able to explore Seoul and its startups, which are bubbling with new ideas. We present 41 of them to you in this issue! In fact, we invite you to get to know the Korean Unicorn Club, including the 11 startups that have already exceeded the one billion dollar mark!
04 LEGAL NOTICE
EDITOR IN CHIEF Charles-Louis Machuron (email@example.com)
COVER PICTURE Olivier Minaire (firstname.lastname@example.org)
COVER & LAYOUT The new design of Silicon was made by DEUUX©. They are a duo of Belgian talentuous designers. (email@example.com)
WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM Adrien Rollé, Alefiya Sana, Ana Isabel Martinez, Anas Budchich, Diego De Biasio, Emmanuelle Ragot, Jerry Weyer, Kelvin Caldwell, Luis Galveias, Margaux Raab, Nathan Millard, Rachel Gaessler, Rostislva Petkova, Younhee Kim.
PHOTOGRAPHY Anna Katina, Olivier Minaire, Craig Kirkwood, SAR. Factory
PROOFREADING Eve Greenstein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PRINTING Imprimerie Centrale 15, rue du Commerce L-1351 Luxembourg
SALES MANAGEMENT Charles-Louis Machuron (email@example.com) NEXT ISSUES - NOVEMBER 2016
Belgium’s Tech Ecosystem
- DECEMBER 2016 - JANUARY 2017 The Future of Recruiting
BOOK YOUR ADVERTISING SPACE NOW! By Oct. 28th for November’s issue By Nov. 25th for Dec.-January’s issue
COPIES 5000 copies shipped to recipients in 25 countries. Hello world!
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AT TOP SPEED
BUSPRENEUR FIRESIDE CHAT OH MY PITCH! LET’S PARTY
TIME TO BECOME “SUPER” STRONGER One-on-one interview with Supermiro’s founder and CEO eLfy Pins
Breaking news Crowdfunding Story
INVEST ONLINE IN STARTUPS VIA EQUITY CROWDFUNDING Discussion with Seedrs’ CIO Tom Davies
24 Fit4Start’s Startup AIVA, THE ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE COMPOSING CLASSICAL MUSIC Discussion with AIVA’s co-founders Pierre and Vincent Barreau
3 Questions for
FALK FERNBACH SocialCar’s Luxembourg project leader
VENTURE CAPITAL IN LUXEMBOURGi In cooperation with LPEA (Luxembourg Private Equityi & Venture Capital Association)i
A TOUCH OF LUXEMBOURG IN KOREA Insights from the Luxembourg Trade Investment Office in Seoul KOREAN UNICORN CLUB 11 startup companies that have surpassed the one billon dollar mark K-STARTUP GRAND CHALLENGE The first accelerator program for international startups TOP 30 STARTUPS TO WATCH IN SEOUL Startups investors should keep a close eye on
How do I gamify my hiring process? How can a mentor help me grow my startup? Which technology should I use to develop a mobile app? How can I protect the know-how and business secrets of my startup? What are the steps required to set up my startup in Luxembourg? How can I optimize my SEO?
STARTUPBUS STARTUP GRIND SÜDWEST-PICTH STARTUPPERS NIGHT
A Coffee with… SERGIO RESTREPO Head of Business Support at 2Gears
SAVE THE DATE Events you should not miss in October, November and December
Original Recipe PEAR TART WITH FOURME D’AMBERT Rostislava Petkova (Vins Fins)
Face to Face
FEAR OF FAILURE IS DRAGGING EUROPEAN ENTREPRENEURS DOWNG In cooperation with FACE Entrepreneurship’s team
Inside South Korea
Corporate meets Innovation AT THE HEART OF BIL’S INNOVATION Discussion with Pierre-Olivier Rotheval, BIL’s Head of Innovation
Job Board FIND YOUR DREAM JOB Latest job openings at startups in Luxembourg
(See more pictures on page 42.)
On September 3, fintech startup Trustful pitched in Luxembourg, a few days before winning the StartupBus Europe contest at Pirate Summit.
ÂŠ Craig Kirkwood
Fireside chat (See more pictures on page 43.)
On September 13, Raoul Mulheims, CEO of Digicash Payments, was the guest of Startup Grind Luxembourg.
© Anna Katina
Oh My Pitch
(See more pictures on page 44.)
On September 22, SAR.Factory organized its first Südwest-Pitch in Luxembourg, at Technoport. Startup Yôllty won this outstanding pitch session. © SAR.FACTORY
© Anna Katina
(See more pictures on page 45.)
On September 26, 150 happy people enjoyed one of the geekiest parties in Luxembourg, organized by Banque Internationale à Luxembourg.
11 ENTREPRENEUR INTERVIEW
Time to Become “
ELFY PINS FOUNDED SUPERMIRO, AN ONLINE EVENT DISCOVERY PLATFORM THAT FINDS ALL THE EVENTS GOING ON AROUND YOU IN REAL TIME. IN THE SPAN OF JUST A YEAR AND A HALF, IT HAS BECOME A MUST-USE PLATFORM. THE STARTUP HAS CONVINCED A WIDE RANGE OF PARTNERS TO INTEGRATE SUPERMIRO INTO THEIR WEBSITE OR INTRANET, AND MANY OF LUXEMBOURG’S TIER ONE ADVERTISERS ARE PAYING CUSTOMERS. FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF THE FULL-SCALE TEST IN LUXEMBOURG – AND THE WORD-OF-MOUTH BUZZ IT HAS GENERATED – SUPERMIRO IS TARGETING BRUSSELS AND PARIS NEXT AS IT CONTINUES IN ITS QUEST TO ROLLOUT ACROSS ALL OF THE LARGE EUROPEAN CITIES. WHAT SUPER GROWTH!
PLEASE DESCRIBE SUPERMIRO TO ALL OF OUR READERS. How many times do you tell yourself “I’d love to go out and do something cool nearby, but I don’t really know what to do”?
an unsuccessful search on the Internet. They find today’s online event-finding solutions “messy and boring.”
Eighty percent of the people in the 20-49 age group are looking online for events to go to at least once a week, but 70% of them give up or just go to the usual places after
Supermiro uses a subtle mix of technology and handcrafted design to make event discovery simple and fun. We have developed a solution to shake things up and get people out
there, to boost their mood, and also boost local businesses. Life is too short to be bored!
12 ENTREPRENEUR INTERVIEW
HOW DID THE LAUNCH GO? HOW DID YOU GET THE MESSAGE OUT? Our target market is all of Europe but we decided to test market the product in Luxembourg. We launched our minimum viable product Supermiro.com in 2015 and quickly realized how viral the product was. We pitched the project to friends who loved the product and they recommended Supermiro to their friends, who then recommended it to their own friends... the number of referrals was crazy! Six months after the launch we had already built a community of 10,000 addicted fans in Luxembourg, without paid advertising, generating great word-of-mouth buzz for Supermiro and driving passion around the brand. Even Prime Minister Xavier Bettel encouraged us on Facebook!
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF YOUR TEST MARKET IN LUXEMBOURG? Without disclosing sensitive data, we can tell you that today we have 120,000 page views per month and our market penetration in Luxembourg is way above our early expectations. Another key metric for us is that 85% of existing users and 65% of paying customers told us they would be “very disappointed” if they could no longer use Supermiro. Our market test in Luxembourg has been a big success for the team. Now it’s time for us to expand abroad.
HAVE YOU ESTABLISHED PARTNERSHIPS? Right from the start of the project we managed to get the attention of big players. We have developed strategic partnerships to integrate Supermiro on the RTL website and on the intranet of large companies in order to get visibility and referral traffic. As we continue to grow and build credibility around Supermiro, we look forward to landing bigger partnerships to make us better, faster and stronger.
14 ENTREPRENEUR INTERVIEW
DO YOU ALREADY GENERATE REVENUE?
HOW ARE YOU FUNDED?
Yes, we do! Event organizers can have their events listed for free on Supermiro, and then they can buy boosters at a minimum of €150 each in order to increase visibility of their events. Soon they will be able to unlock additional business features by paying a monthly subscription, starting from €100 per month.
We self-funded the development of the platform, and then our sales allowed us to bootstrap the test phase in Luxembourg and achieve product/market fit.
We also sell highly differentiated ad formats to advertisers. We have tested a unique concept where ads are illustrated and fully integrated in the Supermiro experience. The response from the market has been extremely positive. In one year we have converted 20+ top advertisers into paying customers.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ADVERTISING CONCEPT. We believe we do advertising like no one else in the market does. Our value proposition to advertisers is to associate their brands with the tone and charm of Supermiro to make ads more engaging and more impactful. In pilot tests we organized with advertisers, the advertisers measured up to 10 times higher clickthrough rates than with traditional ads in other media. Ads on Supermiro are fun and non-intrusive. It’s a winwin situation with happy users and happy advertisers. And in a display advertising world where ad blockers continue to grow and pose a big problem, we trust we have built a good solution.
HOW MANY EVENTS DO YOU SHOW ON SUPERMIRO AND HOW DO YOU COLLECT ALL THESE EVENTS? On Supermiro, each week, we show 300 to 500 events happening in Luxembourg. The algorithm we developed – the “SuperAlgo”– is able to automagically aggregate 500 events in five minutes from hundreds of sources on the web, ensuring the variety of our content. We also make sure our content is easy to read so that users immediately understand an event at first glance.
YOUR SUCCESS IS ALSO DUE TO YOUR UNIQUE GRAPHIC DESIGN. WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? I find the web cold, formatted, and somewhat boring. We created Supermiro to put a smile on people’s faces. This is a critical part of Supermiro’s DNA. We make funny and charming illustrations in order to create a feel-good atmosphere and give the site a local touch. Visit our website and you’ll see that it’s fun and it looks like it’s made in your city. This is Supermiro’s secret sauce for building authentic relationships with the local community.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR SUPERMIRO? Brussels is the perfect market to start duplicating the operations plan that we have built in Luxembourg. We’ve measured similar customer needs over there and primary competitors do not stand out. Right after that, we’ll look toward Paris and a rollout throughout France. The end game is to cover Europe and become the ultimate personal assistant to inspire and organize the social life of millions of people.
WE HEARD YOU ARE LAUNCHING A NEW PRODUCT THIS MONTH? Indeed! We’ve just launched our “SuperNotifs,” an email notification service to help you discover the most exciting upcoming events around. The more you use the service, the better customized it will get. You will never miss your favorite events again! We are currently measuring the impact of this new feature, but already expect our page views to quickly jump to 500,000 per month, in Luxembourg alone. The more you use the service, the better customized it will get thanks to our recommendation algorithm.
15 ENTREPRENEUR INTERVIEW
2015 Supermiro starts test market in Luxembourg in early 2015 50,000 page views per month
2016 The site lists up to 500 events each week in Luxembourg 120,000 page views per month
2017 Expansion into Brussels and Paris planned
Technoport’s latest news TECHNOPORT IS READY TO WELCOME FOUR NEW COMPANIES! At the beginning of October (a few days before the publication of this magazine) the Board of Directors of Technoport will decide on whether to officially approve for the incubator the four new companies described below. If approved, it would raise the total number of companies in the program to 118.
MU-DESIGN SÀRL is a company we presented in the last issue of Silicon magazine. The startup mixes great design with technology to create smart, innovative and emotional products, breeding new and exciting tech species. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR FIRST MAJOR PRODUCT IS AVAILABLE AT HTTP://MU-DESIGN.LU/STORE/UL
EXAMOTIVE SA was founded on the belief that the way cars are used is about to change… fundamentally. Developed initially to power a large car sharing operation, ExaMobility is an end-to-end software platform that has evolved to enable a raft of automotive mobility solutions. Car manufacturers, fleet operators and transport providers can benefit from ExaMotive’s unique approach to enabling multi-user automotive solutions. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.EXAMOTIVE.COM
DEEP SPACE INDUSTRIES EUROPE SÀRL is a company active in the fields of asteroid mining, small spacecraft technology and the prospection of space resources. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.DEEPSPACEINDUSTRIES.COM
GUALA CLOSURES (GC) EUROPEAN INNOVATION CENTER is not a startup but fits into the second segment of companies that the incubator can support, namely foreign companies that want to establish R&D activities in Luxembourg. GC is an Italian group, and a worldwide leader in the development and production of caps and closures for the spirit, wine, beverage and oil markets. With 25 plants across five continents and 4,000 employees, it produces more than 14 billion caps per year. The Group is also present in the Pharma and PET markets and has chosen Technoport’s industrial facilities in Foetz to rampup its innovation activities here in Luxembourg. The Center should be officially launched at the beginning of 2017. Interactions with startups are foreseen. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.GUALACLOSURES.COM
TECHNOPORT SPEAKER AT THE EBN ANNUAL CONGRESS The theme of this year’s EBN congress that was held from September 28 to 30 in Guimarães (Portugal) was “Design for innovation.” Technoport was invited to speak on the subject matter of “Disruptive Business Spaces and Ecosystems.” With design and creativity being two important drivers for innovation within companies, the team shared its experience on how an incubator like Technoport has been able to reinvent itself by including these two dimensions in its strategic development. These changes are now generating positive spillover effects on the whole eco-system in which the incubator operates. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CONGRESS IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.EBNCONGRESS.EU
TECHNOPORT SUPPORTS THE BIGBOOSTER INTERNATIONAL STARTUP ACCELERATION PROGRAM! BigBooster is a unique international non-profit acceleration program for early-stage startups in Bio & Health, Informative Tech and Global Impact. BigBooster enables them to cross borders and take the leap to global markets. Organized around Lyon (France) and Boston (U.S.), two worldwide renowned hubs with strong innovation ecosystems, BigBooster’s distinctive model is based on two intensive three-day Booster Camps, one in Lyon and one in Boston, with top-notch mentors and experts, and inbetween ad hoc mentoring. Technoport will be part of the jury and mentors during the camps. The program is open to French and international startups with a focus on the EMEA region that are looking to provide businesses, endusers and citizens with cutting-edge technologies through breakthrough innovations. The first season has met tremendous success with 500+ applications (out of which over 50% are international), 200 mentors, experts and a jury to support 72 selected startups, with an overall satisfaction rate exceeding 90%. Technoport is excited to be a part of the 2nd season! MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.BIGBOOSTER.ORG
THE 8TH EDITION OF STARTUP WEEKEND LUXEMBOURG ANNOUNCED! Technoport is proud to host, for the 8th time, Startup Weekend Luxembourg from November 25 - 27. Organized by a great team of volunteers, coaches and jury members, this edition will again be open to anyone, so if you have a business idea to validate or if you want to join a team and enjoy a unique experience of building a startup within 54 hours, then sign up now at: HTTP://WWW.UP.CO/COMMUNITIES/LUXEMBOURG/ LUXEMBOURG/STARTUP-WEEKEND/10005
SMART & LIVING CITY CONFERENCE 2016 @TECHNOPORT On November 24, Technoport will be delighted to welcome the 4th edition of the Smart & Living City conference to their incubator. This conference was born out of the desire of Neobuild and the CDEC to enable the emergence of these concepts in Luxembourg. In a context of rapid change and unprecedented massive urban development, the concept of Smart City is becoming a major topic since it provides an adequate response to urban areasâ€™ economic and environmental challenges. Combining the ever-increasing dimensions of Sustainable Building, Energy and Mobility, with those of use and connectivity, Smart City is nowadays a central theme for many
European and international projects and economic development strategies. Moreover, it represents a considerable and very dynamic economic potential. Technoport joins this event for the first time as a Partner, as they see huge opportunities for startups and their digital fabrication laboratory (FabLab) in these areas. MORE INFORMATION ON THE CONFERENCE IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.LIVINGCITY.LU
TECHNOPORT BECOMES NETWORK PARTNER OF STRIPE ATLAS One June 30 Technoport got the official confirmation form Stripe Atlas that they were selected to be amongst their Network Partners. The Stripe Atlas Network includes over seventy of the worldâ€™s top accelerators, investors, and partners dedicated to
helping the most promising startups become global companies. The startups referred by the network partners will have priority access to the private Atlas beta, which enables entrepreneurs around the world to start a global Internet business. This partnership will help Technoport support their companies to go international. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.STRIPE.COM/ATLAS
READ MORE ON SILICONLUXEMBOURG.LU
MICROSOFT MOVES TO CONNECTED OFFICES The employees of Microsoft Luxembourg have moved to a new, “intelligent” office. Internet of Things (IoT) partner vyzVoice implemented Chorus, their Azure-based platform, which gathers data such as air quality from existing industrial installations and additional sensors. Microsoft aims to create the best place to work for its employees and to guarantee their well-being. This is the first phase in the company’s campaign to improve its working environment through IoT. Ultimately, with this project, Microsoft wants to inspire others to initiate their own digital transformation.
BIL LAUNCHED MY|HOME IN PARTNERSHIP WITH STARTUP NEXVIA In keeping with its commitment to innovation, BIL is launching my|HOME, a property website. Supported by the technology and expertise of Luxembourg startup Nexvia, BIL is offering its clients an innovative, comprehensive service with home buying decision tools that are unparalleled in the marketplace.
SCORECHAIN LAUNCHED ITS NEW BITCOIN ANALYTICS PLATFORM The Luxembourg-based startup has just released a new version of its product Scorechain, with a new design, new interface, new logo and most importantly, a lot of new features. The online platform offers activity reports and advanced analytics for AML – Anti Money Laundering – and KYT – Know your Transaction – in order to assess risks of Bitcoin movements and provide the needed tools that help its regulation.
A HIGH IN VITAMIN CONCEPT A glass of orange juice is good for your health. Having the ability to consume one anywhere is what the startup Natur é you is trying to provide. The company installs its free, fresh-squeezed orange juice vending machines in large enterprises, public squares and shopping centers. Director Thierry Amougou talked to us about his startup’s concept and the markets he intends to bring vitamin C to next.
NYUKO PRESENTED ITS NEW ACCELERATION PROGRAM nyuko announced the launch of its new startup accelerator program, nyuko acceleration cycles. The accelerator, located in the district of Hollerich, decided to step its program up a gear and support project leaders in developing their more mature concepts rather than just in the realization of their initial business ideas. Note that the first fifteen entrepreneurs are expected to start at nyuko on October 20th!
FIT FOR START: FIVE NEW STARTUPS SELECTED On Thursday, September 29, Fit for Start held its graduation day event for its spring 2016 startups, and also presented the five new startups selected for the next edition of the public acceleration program. Fit for Start was officially launched last March by the Ministry of Economy, Luxinnovation and Technoport. Adapti. me, AIVA Technologies, Passbolt, Starwear and Yôltty are the five new companies selected for the autumn edition.
ETIX EVERYWHERE SELECTED FOR THE STARTUP EUROPE COMES TO SILICON VALLEY PROGRAM (SEC2SV) SOLUX LAUNCHED ITS MOBILE APP Looking for an event or an idea for where to go out in Luxembourg? This is now possible with the SoLux mobile application. Mickaël, one of the co-founders, told us more about the concept, business model and ambitions of this group of buddies who find you all the gems.
The Luxembourg startup Etix Everywhere was among the 18 most innovative European startups selected for the prestigious Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley (SEC2SV) program, which was held from September 12 - 21, 2016.
The Generation of the Slashers They are graphic designers during the day—slash—DJ at night, bank employee/ photographer/festival organizer, consultant/software developer/entrepreneur, real estate agent/yoga professor, etc. The number of people pursing more than one professional activity at the same time just keeps growing. Popularized ten years ago, particularly following the publication of the book One Person/Multiple Careers, written by Marci Alboher, this term comes from the slash sign (i.e. /) that separates the various jobs the individual holds concurrently.
ENTREPRENEURIAL SLASHERS In France, according to a study published at the end of August 2016 for the SME exhibition, there are now more than 4 million Slashers, i.e. 16% of the active population. Seventy-seven percent of them hold their second job in a sector different from their primary one. According to Alain Bosetti, chairman of the SME fair, “The Slasher phenomenon can be explained by, at least, three reasons in France: the auto-entrepreneur regime that has simplified the lawful exercise of a complementary activity; the collaborative and last-minute job platforms that facilitate linking directly with potential customers; and mobile technology (smartphones and tablets) that can work anywhere, anytime.” Thus, 32% of Slashers specify that they exercise their second activity as an entrepreneur (autoentrepreneur, freelancer, business partner). In Luxembourg, the ability to work in an independent manner while retaining one’s professional activity, coupled with the imminent law coming into force that will enable an individual to create a company with just a euro in capital, should greatly increase the number of individuals who choose to pursue their passion… and earn income doing so.
THE BAR CORNER ON THE RIGHT TRACK
FINTECH ZONE OPENED ITS DOORS
Find a bar – and events at a bar – near you with mobile app The Bar Corner.With 5,000 users already, and 1,000 bars referenced, the app is currently available in Luxembourg , as well as Metz and Nancy, France; it will soon be available in Strasbourg and Paris. 500 people attended the opening party on September 22at Rotondes in Luxembourg City and the next monthly meetups will beannounced soon. Should you want to join the team, C.K Webapp is looking fortalent. Have a look at the Job Board on page 50!
Matt Elton and Leen Cuypers, Finnolux’s founders, launched the Fintech Zone,a place where local as well as international FinTech startups can create apresence in Luxembourg. The team is specifically working with growth-modestartups from around the globe, helping them to bring their products to the heart of the European Union. They have put together a unique package of partner servicesthat bring together all the required pieces to setup the FinTech businesses in Luxembourg.
Spotted on Instagram
6ZERO1, THE FIRST INCUBATOR FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS IN LUXEMBOURG 6zero1 has the exclusive vocation to host and support the development ofsocial enterprises that aim to develop economically viable activitieswhile providing support to people in fragile situations; fight against exclusion and inequality; promote gender equality and territorial cohesion; and develop educational, cultural and creative activities.
Patrick Kersten (right), founder of Doctena, alongside Frank Hollerich, Corporate Relationship Manager at BIL.
Doctena receives BIL financing
Through the Innovfin programme, BIL has EUR 60 million – half of which is guaranteed by the European Investment Fund – to issue loans to innovative companies. The bank is also an elite partner to several Luxembourg start-up support organisations including Technoport, nyuko and Innohub. Calling all innovative start-ups and established businesses: go to www.bil.com
Since December 2015, Doctena has received financing of EUR 3 million from BIL as part of Europe’s Innovfin programme, which aims to support the development of innovative businesses. Meeting with Patrick Kersten, the first BIL client to have benefited from this.
Mr Kersten, how would you pitch Doctena? “Doctena is a referral platform that lets patients book appointments with a doctor on modern media. We are present in Luxembourg, where we are already turning a profit, as well as in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium, where we recently bought out our rival, Docbook. In total, Doctena now has more than 1,000 doctors signed up, and 50,000 patients with an account.”
«Before, the bankers that
I approached always asked me to put up one euro for every euro borrowed.»
What is your company’s business model? “Our business model is based on getting doctors’ surgeries to buy subscriptions. We provide them with a diary management application hosted on the cloud. The advantage is that even when a doctor’s surgery is closed, patients can still book an appointment 24/7.” What have been the major stages in Doctena’s financing? “With each launch in a new country, we have arranged a new round of financing and raised money from private investors. In 2015, I was reading the papers and discovered the partnership between BIL and the European Investment Fund as part of the Innovfin programme. We immediately expressed an interest and our application was accepted: BIL lent us EUR 3 million to continue rolling out Doctena in Europe.”
Rather unexpectedly? “Absolutely. Frank Hollerich, our Relationship manager, quickly saw the advantages of our structured approach and was enthused by the fact that Doctena had received an award from the Ministry of the Economy through the Young Innovative Enterprise programme. As project backer, my previous career also weighed in. BIL takes a different approach to the other bankers that I had contacted, and who asked me to put up one euro for every euro borrowed: the financial guarantee that the Innovfin programme provides makes it easier for BIL to support businesses that have not yet reached their break even point.” What is the next step for Doctena? “A fifth country. With this long-term financing plan, we will be launching our services on this new market by the end of 2016. This should consolidate our second place among Europe’s top three leaders in this industry.” www.doctena.lu
The number of healthcare professionals in the Benelux region, serving a population of 28 million.
“A successful serial entrepreneur, Patrick Kersten quickly convinced us to place our trust in him. While we strongly believe in Doctena, we have just as much faith in his project leadership skills.
This is essential if we are to commit to a company.” Frank Hollerich Corporate relationship manager - BIL
With the help of experts who know your market inside out, we design elaborate products and develop innovative solutions that meet the needs of small, medium-sized and large enterprises, freelancers and other self-employed individuals.
Together for you
Banque Internationale à Luxembourg SA, 69 route d'Esch, L-2953 Luxembourg, RCS Luxembourg B-6307 - T: 4590-1 www.bil.com
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Startups via Equity Crowdfunding ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE BEST STARTUPS IN WHICH TO INVEST AND WANT TO SCREEN AS MANY PROJECTS IN EUROPE AS POSSIBLE? THE CROWDFUNDING MODEL MIGHT BE A GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL OR BUSINESS ANGEL. WE ASKED TOM DAVIES, CIO AT SEEDRS, A EUROPEAN CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM, TO EXPLAIN HOW THIS MODEL WORKS AND THE BEST PRACTICES, AS WELL AS GIVE US EXAMPLES OF SUCCESS-STORIES AND TELL US ABOUT THE RECENT OPENING OF A BENELUX OFFICE AND THE NOMINATION OF A DEDICATED BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER FOR LUXEMBOURG.
WHAT IS SEEDRS AND THE PURPOSE OF THE PLATFORM? Seedrs is a leading European equity crowdfunding platform and was the first regulated and authorized platform of its kind in the world at launch in July 2012. We operate out of the UK under the FCA, but have recently launched a representative office covering Benelux and will soon be launching stateside out of New York under the JOBS Act Title II for accredited investors. Seedrs allows all types of investors across 48 countries to invest as little or as much as they like (from £10) in businesses they believe in and share in their future success. And it allows ambitious businesses in all sectors to raise capital and build community through an efficient, online process.
HOW MUCH FUNDING CAN A STARTUP RAISE ON YOUR PLATFORM? ANY EXAMPLES? Startups and growth-focused businesses can raise anywhere from 50,000 to 5 million euros. Seedrs has funded more than 380 deals since it launched and over £150 million has been invested in campaigns on the platform. Prior to launching the new office, Seedrs had already funded one Belgian company, Maily, which is an email platform for young children that is also backed by prominent venture capital firms Seedcamp and Faber Ventures. We are really excited about working with entrepreneurs in Luxembourg, Amsterdam and others in Belgium in the coming months.
Seedrs’ Success Stories MAILY – In May 2014, Maily became the first business to receive venture capital investment alongside crowd investment, raising a total of almost £300,000 on Seedrs. ADLUDIO – In July 2014, Seedrs launched the world’s first convertible equity crowdfunding campaign, featuring Adludio (then known as Future Ad Labs). CHAPEL DOWN – In September 2014, Seedrs launched the world’s first equity crowdfunding campaign for a publicly traded company—Chapel Down. VENREX – In September 2015, Venrex was the first Venture Capital fund to be raised on a crowdfunding platform, raising £1.5m TANDEM – In June 2016, Tandem, an innovative challenger bank recently raised more than £2 million on Seedrs, a million of which was funded in less than one minute. Some of the key deals that have been funded in the last 12 months include: Landbay at £2.6m, Coinsilium at £1.1m, Curious Brew at £1.7m, Tossed at £1.2m, FreeAgent at £1m, Assetz Capital at £3.2m, Pod Point at £1.4m, Seedrs at £2.58m
SINCE ITS LAUNCH, SEEDRS HAS TREBLED ITS TURNOVER BETWEEN 2013-14, AND AGAIN IN 20142015.SEEDRS WAS RECENTLY NAMED THE MOST ACTIVE INVESTOR IN PRIVATE COMPANIES IN THE UK IN A REPORT FROM INDEPENDENT RESEARCH FIRM BEAUHURST. THE REPORT, THE DEAL 2015/16, ALSO SHOWED THAT THE PLATFORM HAS OVER 52 PERCENT MARKET SHARE WITHIN THE UK EQUITY CROWDFUNDING SPACE.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO OPEN A BENELUX OFFICE?
biotech, drone, robotics and IoT entrepreneurs.
Seedrs has long accepted investors and entrepreneurs from across Europe, and it has an office in Lisbon for software development. But in launching its
Thierry Zois, who will be based out of the new office, is a Luxembourg local and is really excited to be focusing on uncovering inspiring entrepreneurs in his hometown. The launch of the Benelux representative office marks the beginning of on-the-ground expansion in Europe, and Seedrs intends to open further offices in the near future.
Amsterdam representative office covering Benelux, Seedrs is putting a commercial team on the ground outside the UK for the first time and it was,
quite simply, the right time to do so. It has been in the pipeline for some time; back in October 2015 we announced a partnership with leading Benelux bank ING and in July this year Seedrs was granted an EU-wide Financial Services Passport by the UK Financial Conduct Authority which allows Seedrs to provide services anywhere in the European Union. We have always had a pan-European vision for Seedrs, and the launch of our Benelux office brings that vision one step closer to reality. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR THE LUXEMBOURG MARKET? We have been very impressed by what we have seen of the early-stage ecosystem in the Benelux more widely and we made our first step into the region last year when we partnered there with ING. Now we are looking forward to Seedrs becoming a key player in providing finance to startup and growth companies across the three countries, and Luxembourg is undoubtedly one of Europe’s leading fintech hubs. You only need look at the number of future unicorns like Mangopay, Cashcloud and Wikio Group that are all based out of Luxembourg, never mind the reality that all of the big players including Amazon, AOL, Skype have European HQ’s there for a reason. It is a no brainer for Seedrs to want to be part of the revolution. Luxembourg is focusing on innovation, at all levels: from the scientific research, modernized universities, and indeed a fast growing startup community. We are hopeful that Seedrs will work with some innovative
HOW TO SUCCEED IN A CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN (ON YOUR PLATFORM)? There are a few questions a company should ask itself before launching an
equity crowdfunding campaign. The first is: Do you have sufficient time to dedicate to your campaign?
Equity crowdfunding is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and effort prior to, during and post raising capital, so just pitching on a platform like Seedrs doesn’t mean you will be successful in raising capital. You are putting your business out there very publicly, so being sure you are confident in your target is key and heading into the campaign with a support network of your own is critical. Are you willing to give up equity in exchange for capital? This is how equity crowdfunding works. Make sure you fully understand the difference between equity, rewards and debtbased crowdfunding before launching a campaign. Make sure you select your equity crowdfunding platform carefully. Not all platforms are created equal and there are structural differences between each one.
4 Seedrs’ Assets - At Seedrs we use a nominee structure to manage the large group of small investors while still allowing them to have the same rights a larger investor would (e.g. voting, information and pre-emption rights).
- Some platforms get around this by offering small investors a sub-class of shares without voting and preemption rights. In addition to this being bad for investors, it can cause difficulties for entrepreneurs if they exit the business.
- For entrepreneurs it means only one legal shareholder (Seedrs) appears on their cap table, even if hundreds or thousands have invested in their campaign.
- Seedrs also holds investors money, which means that entrepreneurs can access working capital very quickly after they reach their funding target without having to chase hundreds of individuals.
ONCE YOU HAVE CHOSEN YOUR PLATFORM AND DEDICATED A GREAT DEAL OF TEAM TIME TO MANAGING ALL ELEMENTS OF THE CAMPAIGN PRE, DURING AND POST LAUNCH, IT’S CRUCIAL TO DRAFT A REFINED AND INSPIRING PITCH ABOUT YOUR CONCEPT OR BUSINESS, WITH AN ENGAGING VIDEO TO SIT ALONGSIDE. THESE NEED TO BE SUBMITTED FOR APPROVAL BY SEEDRS INVESTMENT TEAM WHO CARRY OUT IN-DEPTH DUE DILIGENCE ENSURING ALL CLAIMS ARE FAIR, CLEAR AND NOT MISLEADING. YOU ALSO NEED TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE SUPPORTING YOUR CAMPAIGN LAUNCH WITH DIGITAL MARKETING AND PR ACTIVITY TARGETED AT EXISTING NETWORKS AS WELL AS NEW ONES. FINALLY, ONCE THE CAMPAIGN IS LIVE, YOU NEED TO BE ON HAND TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS FROM INVESTORS IN A TIMELY MANNER. THESE ARE THE CORE INGREDIENTS TO THE PATH TO SUCCESS.
24 FIT4STARTâ€™S CORNER
AIVA: The Artificial Intelligence
Composing Classical Music
25 FIT4START’S CORNER
STARTUP AIVA —ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE VIRTUAL ARTIST— ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF ITS ALGORITHM FOR COMPOSING CLASSICAL MUSIC. STARTED BY TWO BROTHERS, PIERRE AND VINCENT BARREAU, COMPUTER AND A.I. ENTHUSIASTS, AIVA HAS JUST BEEN SELECTED FOR THE PUBLIC ACCELERATION PROGRAM FOR EMERGING AND INNOVATIVE STARTUPS, FIT FOR START. OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, AIVA WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REFINE ITS BUSINESS PLAN, DEFINE ITS STRATEGIC LINES FOR DEVELOPMENT AND BEGIN TO CONQUER A MARKET NOT ALWAYS INCLINED TO DIGITAL INNOVATION.
FROM MASTER’S THESIS TO STARTUP Pierre is studying at UCL (University College London), and Vincent is an engineering graduate of Telecom Saint-Etienne. AIVA, the brothers’ Artificial Intelligence algorithm, created from scratch by Pierre, derives its name from a female name of Nordic origin. So, what exactly is their idea? Their plan is to train AIVA to compose unique classical pieces based on scores of all the great composers —Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc.— that are now in the public domain. Their deep learning algorithm continuously analyzes the collected works and can complete unfinished partitions or create entirely new songs. The idea earned them a spot in the public acceleration program for emerging and innovative startups, Fit for Start, and the opportunity to realize their ambitions. The young entrepreneurs expect the coaches to help them optimize their business plan, to advise them on the technical development of their algorithm, to support them in their initial customer search, and help make them credible in the eyes of potential investors. Their compositions have already impressed SACEM—Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music—in Luxembourg and France. AIVA became the first virtual composer to be recorded in a society of authors.
GREY MATTER VS. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Their project, still in the alpha stage, requires more research and development, including the expansion and integration of new features, as well as closer collaboration between man and machine. On the latter point, they are working with professional musicians to validate the learning parameters of their innovative algorithm and to check that the music is well composed and meets the standard of top works before it is recorded. Their wish is not to replace the musicians, and they want to be understood by the artists to whom they reach out and involve them in all stages of validation of AIVA’s compositions.
FROM THE FIRST OPUS TO THE “GENESIS” ALBUM The first compositions of AIVA are already available on the siteaiva.ai. There are 23 works (we’re listening while writing this article!) comprising a harmonious blend of piano pieces and fantasias for symphony orchestra. A first CD-album, titled Genesis, will soon be released. In 2017, Pierre and Vincent’s ambition is to move to the beta phase of the project and create music for films and video games. Eventually, the brothers want to organize their own concerts so that the works are performed in public, and they aspire to finish the third movement of Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 one day! Expect the day when AIVA will be recognized as just as great a composer as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart…the perfect revival for the music market, which is currently struggling.
26 3 QUESTIONS
3 questions for
SocialCar’s Luxembourg project leader
FIND TRANSPORT ALTERNATIVES. INCREASE USE OF COLLECTIVE TRANSPORT. DRAW UP BUSINESS PLANS FOR NEW MOBILITY SERVICE MODELS. USE SOCIAL MEDIA. LUXEMBOURG IS AMONG THE 10 CITIES IN EUROPE WORKING ON THE SOCIALCAR PROJECT. WE ASKED FALK FERNBACH TO DETAIL THE INITIATIVE AND HOW LUXEMBOURG IS POSITIONING ITSELF ON MOBILITY ISSUES.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF SOCIALCAR? SocialCar is a European research and innovation project that seeks to assimilate carpooling into existing mobility systems by means of powerful planning algorithms and integration of big data from public transport, carpooling and crowd sourcing. In other words, SocialCar develops a useroriented platform for planning, booking and integrated payment, combining carpooling and other on-demand services with regular collective transport, in an effort to mainstream the concept of public-private co-modal urban transport. The project unites ITS developers, social and economic scientists, transport engineers, carpoolers and public authorities from Italy, Greece, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Poland, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Spain and Belgium. The key mobility issue that all the regions hope to address via SocialCar is mitigating traffic in and around the city by reducing the large number of people travelling into the city using private vehicles rather than public transport or carsharing.
WHAT ARE THE PROJECT CHALLENGES? As Concept Factory is mainly involved in the challenges that Luxembourg encounters, I will focus on the local challenges. Luxembourg has the second highest number of cross-border commuters in the EEA (European Economic Area). There are more than 160,000 people that commute to Luxembourg every day. Currently, commuting trips into Luxembourg are dominated by solo-car drivers at around 80% of the mode share. As a result, Luxembourg experiences severe parking shortages, congestion during rush hours, high carbon dioxide levels, etc. Commuters play a major role in Luxembourg’s economy by making up almost 44% of Luxembourg’s workforce. Convenient access to the country will increasingly play an even greater role in Luxembourg’s economy. Projections say that the number of cross-border employees will grow by 25% over the next six years to more than 200,000 in 2020. We all have to agree that Luxembourg cannot increase the size of its territory and that we cannot continuously build new roads or increase the size of our existing roads. New roads will generate new drivers, resulting in unchanged traffic intensity. The concept is called induced demand, which signifies that the increasing supply of something (like roads) makes people want it even more.
HOW TO IMPROVE MOBILITY IN LUXEMBOURG? Smart services allow people to combine and share effectively all available means of transport. These services have to be based on smart journey planning information while offering travel alternatives that include connections from carpooling and other on-demand mobility service options at both ends of the public transport journey. Solutions should also provide real-time updates on delays and disruptions, offering instant re-planning of journey options to the destination. Inhere the true potential lies in targeting solo-car drivers by offering a solution that outperforms their car, either on speed, comfort or cost. READ THE FULL INTERVIEW ON
27 FACE TO FACE
FACE Entrepreneurship’s team, from left to right: International Press Officer Ana Martínez, Project Officer Ricardo de Rada, International Communication Officer Javier Magarinos, Project Manager Blanca Rabena and Video Editor Guillermo Verdejo.
Fear of Failure is Dragging European Entrepreneurs Down Text by Ana Isabel Martínez
WHICH ARE THE MAIN FEARS HOLDING ENTREPRENEURS BACK?
The only way to overcome fear of failure is to understand it and discern the main anxieties behind it. FACE Entrepreneurship carried out a Delphi study where a group of experts led by ESADE Professor Jan Brinckmann identified the main worries that entrepreneurs face when founding a business. They concluded that the most common fears can be grouped into six different categories: 1. FINANCIAL FEARS.
Entrepreneurship is flourishing in Luxembourg. The number of people that have chosen this career path increased from 7.1% in 2014 to 10.2% last year. At the same time, government policies aim to boost the creation of new businesses by reducing the associated startup costs and payment requirements as well as simplifying the incorporation process. However, fear of failure is a major setback for potential founders, who often conceive failure as shameful. Forty-two point six percent of people with entrepreneurial intentions in Luxembourg say that fear of failure prevents them from starting up, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report. Entrepreneurship is a key element for the creation of jobs and the development of the economy. Thus, it is necessary to boost it by working through key aspects such as risk aversion, resilience and the current understanding of failure. In order to do this, the European Commission launched FACE (Failure Aversion Change in Europe) Entrepreneurship. This campaign, led by the Spanish communications firm Secuoya Group, promotes entrepreneurship by tackling the emotional side of starting up a business and sharing the stories of successful founders that also had fears and failures along their journeys.
A common denominator for most aspiring entrepreneurs is the fear of losing their income, the capability to pay their expenses or the money invested in the venture. The image of ending up as a penniless or homeless person in the streets seemed to capture many of the common fears. 2. CAREER RELATED FEARS.
Launching a startup often means leaving behind a comfortable job to start out on a project with an unknown outcome. This often translates into a great fear of losing professional standing or professional development. Regarding career risks, experts concluded, “Fears originate from losing one’s life efforts in the professional domain as a previously developed career could be ended (…) and one’s life’s efforts in the education and work domain might be in vain.” 3. SOCIAL PERCEPTION FEARS.
These included fears regarding what others may think or say, as starting a company may be considered a “crazy” or “not normal” choice. Founders are often afraid of being exposed to their friends, family and co-workers, who may doubt or even laugh down their intended idea. Moreover, potential entrepreneurs fear that, if they fail, they may be considered a failure for life and may not be given further opportunities. 4. SELF-PERCEPTION FEARS.
Many entrepreneurs feel that they don’t
have enough connections, knowledge and abilities to start a company. This leads to a decrease in self-esteem, to a feeling of loneliness and sometimes even to a sense of personal failure. These fears, although less frequent than the previous ones discussed, may have a long-lasting psychological impact. 5. FEELING OF LOSING IT ALL.
Experts concluded that, frequently, a mix of these various fears either prominently or in the back of one’s head, and with changing intensity, affects the prospective founder. This results in an emotional “fear-cocktail” that leads to a broad fear of “losing it all” when starting a new firm. 6. FEAR OF LOSING PERSONAL FREEDOM.
While starting a company and being your own boss may at first sight appear to be a liberating experience, there is a great fear among entrepreneurs of losing their freedom to spend time with family and friends or pursue hobbies due to the time commitment and efforts required when starting a company. Most entrepreneurs agree that fear is something normal when starting up and that, rather than hiding it and seeing it as something to be avoided, entrepreneurs should understand it, embrace it, use it to remain goal driven and, finally, overcome it. Moreover, each single failure should be seen as part of a learning process that brings you closer to success. By sharing the experiences of other entrepreneurs dealing with their fears and failures, FACE Entrepreneurship aims to encourage potential founders to fight their fears and embark on their venture. Ana is a journalist and media specialist with focus in globalization and international communications. she is currently the international press officer of the FACE Entrepreneurship project.
At the heart of
BIL’s innovation BANQUE INTERNATIONALE À LUXEMBOURG IS PLAYING A LEADING ROLE IN FINANCING BUSINESSES AND SUPPORTING THE GROWTH OF LUXEMBOURG’S ECONOMY, INCLUDING THE COUNTRY’S START-UP ECOSYSTEM. PIERREOLIVIER ROTHEVAL, BIL’S HEAD OF INNOVATION, DISCUSSES THE BANK’S STRATEGY AND ITS RECENT INITIATIVES TO SUPPORT INNOVATION, AS WELL AS THE UPCOMING ‘STARTUPPERS’ NIGHT THE BANK HAS ORGANIZED TO BRING LUXEMBOURG’S ENTREPRENEURS TOGETHER.
our own services, then we are ready to take our collaborative approach a step further. Innovation also comes from within. BIL is undertaking many projects that will transform the bank over the next few years. For example, we have undertaken a major overhaul of our IT system. We will focus on digitization and on client service innovation across all of our business lines.
HOW DO YOU SUPPORT ENTREPRENEURS – AND STARTUPS – IN LUXEMBOURG? HOW IS INNOVATION A KEY COMPONENT OF BIL’S STRATEGY? Innovation is a central component of our BIL2020 strategy. How can we best bring new services to our clients? How can we improve our current services and processes? Innovation is a mindset that touches all of our activities: from the transformation of our IT system to supporting Luxembourg’s start-up ecosystem.
We decided early this year to partner with nyuko and Technoport, two essential structures that help start-up entrepreneurs get their projects off the ground. We share their vision of making Luxembourg a start-up nation and of emphasizing the importance of fostering entrepreneurship. The positive sideeffect of this support is that we know who the entrepreneurs are, we know what’s going on in the market and what the latest tech trends are. And if we see an innovative service that would make a valuable addition to
Our main role is to help start-ups to obtain financing. This can take many forms. As a Luxembourg bank, we play a leading role in financing businesses and supporting the growth of the national economy. In July 2015, we signed a deal with the European Investment Fund that allows us to benefit from the InnovFin guarantee. We have committed to provide 60 million euros over two years in support of innovative Luxembourg SMBs. With this program, 50% of the value of our loans is guaranteed by the EIF. By partially reducing the cost of BIL’s risk, the innovative company can get a better interest rate. MOREOVER WE CAN ASSIST STARTUPS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR FRESH CAPITAL IN FINDING INVESTORS. We are also one of the initial backers of the Digital Tech Fund, which provides seed financing to entrepreneurs developing innovative companies in the area of digital technology. And of course by supporting Technoport and nyuko, we are supporting entrepreneurs.
ecosystem. Organisations such as Technoport and nyuko do a tremendous job of supporting innovative companies. Financing is also crucial in allowing the ecosystem to thrive, and significant progress was accomplished the past year. At BIL, we want to do our part! From my perspective, the fascinating part of our financing activities is that we have to dig deeper into the business models, not just scratch the surface, because doing so reveals some fascinating elements of start-up ideas, technology, design and business models. We are lucky enough to have gems in Luxembourg. I am personally very interested in the Internet of Things, e-commerce, and of course, FinTech.
WHAT ARE THE KEY INDUSTRIES YOU ARE LOOKING AT? There are two answers to this question. On one hand, as a bank for entrepreneurs, we are interested in all industries and we see strong business models in every field. The same applies to innovative companies: we look at all industries, regardless of the field. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN WE LOOK AT START-UPS IN TERMS OF A PRODUCT OR SOLUTION ADOPTION PERSPECTIVE, WE ARE INTERESTED BY BUSINESSES THAT CAN HELP US INCREASE OUR EFFICIENCY, IN FIELDS SUCH AS PAYMENTS, DATA ANALYTICS, REGTECH, ETC. Again, as a bank, we also want to meet companies that can help us improve our value proposition and client experience, which is obviously why we’re interested in FinTechs.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE LUXEMBOURG’S ECOSYSTEM FOR START-UPS? I am amazed by the diversity, dynamism and energy of the
(See Startuppers Night’s picture report on page 45.)
A Touch of
INSIDE SOUTH KOREA
DID YOU KNOW THE GRAND DUCHY HAS OPENED A REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE IN SOUTH KOREA? YOUNHEE KIM, REPRESENTATIVE AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LUXEMBOURG TRADE & INVESTMENT OFFICE IN SEOUL, TALKS ABOUT THE BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES SHE PROVIDES TO COMPANIES CONDUCTING BUSINESS FROM AND WITH LUXEMBOURG.
“LTIO Seoul is promoting Luxembourg startup events (ICT Spring, Luxembourg Internet Days...), support programs (Fit4Start, Digital Tech Fund…), and the overall ecosystem to Korean startups. We also try to let Luxembourg startups know about the international startup programs taking place in Korea, such as ‘K-Startup Grand Challenge.’ I was told that 12 Luxembourg startups applied for the K-Startup Grand Challenge this year. I hope they have good results in the event and make a stepping-stone in penetrating the Asian market. LTIO Seoul regularly organizes Korean startups’ visits to Luxembourg to introduce new technologies and to network with Luxembourg investors. We can also help Luxembourg startups which try to expand their market to Korea by connecting them with potential partners, buyers, distributors and investors.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION YOU CAN CONTACT THE OFFICE DIRECTLY AT THE ADDRESS LISTED BELOW OR VISIT THE WEBSITE INVESTINLUXEMBOURG.KR
TRADE AND INVESTMENT OFFICE - SEOUL 1, JANGKYO-DONG CHUNG-KU 1102 JANGKYO BLD SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
31 INSIDE SOUTH KOREA
KOREAN UNICORN CLUB
Whether cheering for an unlikely hero in a movie or rooting for the success of a sports team that has been having a bad season, there is something inside of us that wants to cheer for the “little guy.” As humans, we want to reward those who work hard in order to overcome all obstacles placed in their way. The world of business and technology is no different. So much so that there is a special term for startups that beat the odds and become economic powerhouses. Unicorns are startup companies that have been valued at – or above – a billion dollars by market investors. Many of the most successful unicorn startups have been founded in America, but there are other regions where notable startups have made it. Korea, is one such place. So far, eleven South Korean startup companies have managed to surpass the one billion dollar mark. Collectively known as the Korean Unicorn Club, these companies have changed Korean society’s perception of startup companies and are inspiring a new generation of fledgling Korean entrepreneurs.
COUPANG Founded in 2010, Coupang began as a Korean answer to Groupon, but has developed over the years into a fully fledged e-commerce provider. Their vast online shop offers a curated selection of diverse merchandise including fashion, beauty products, home goods, decor, electronics and sporting goods. The platform is constantly innovating new services, adding a mobile shopping platform, same-day delivery and personalized recommendations. In 2015 the company raised USD 1 billion from Softbank and has since rolled out a comprehensive last mile delivery service, making it the clear leader in Korea’s vibrant e-commerce market.
GMARKET Gmarket has been the leading e-commerce marketplace in Korea since its founding in 2000. Initially Gmarket functioned as part of a consulting group, but soon became popular enough to operate as a stand-alone website. Gmarket was acquired by EBAY
Inc. in 2009, but continues to operate as a separate service. Post acquisition, Gmarket has upped its efforts to reach international consumers. In 2013 the company launched its Global site in order to make their service easy to use for customers that don’t speak Korean. Most recently, they developed a mobile app that provides customers with a more convenient shopping experience.
NEXON Nexon is a global developer and publisher of free-to-play PC and mobile online games. Founded in 1994, Nexon has proven to be a pioneer in the world of interactive entertainment software. They are most notable for developing the most played online game in South Korea (KartRider). Played by over 30% of the population, the game is largely considered Korea’s national game!
Com2uS is one of the largest mobile game developers in South Korea.
Founded in 1998, the company got its start developing Java based games for mobile phones. Com2uS were among the first gaming companies to tap into the potential of smartphone gaming systems and their efforts have had a profound impact on Asia gaming industry. Currently the company has offices in China, Japan and the United States, and is focused on increasing its global presence.
DAUM Founded in 1995, Daum is a Google-like web portal that offers a variety of free Internet services to web users. Their most popular services include: web-based email, Internet forums, news search and navigation (maps). In 2006 Daum launched the blogging service Tistory, which later became one of the top five most used sites in Korea. It has gone on to develop additional services like its video sharing service (tvPot) and cloud services (Daum Cloud).
NCSOFT Established in 1997, NCSOFT became an online gaming powerhouse after the successful release of its flagship title, Lineage. They have since released several other MMORPGs – like Aion and Guild Wars – that have garnered rave reviews and achieved massive sales. However, NCSOFT does more than produce best selling games; they also do philanthropic work. In 2012 the company founded the NCSOFT Cultural Foundation, an organization that develops software for handicapped individuals and donates funds to several charities.
Smilegate is the company behind the mega-hit First Person Shooter (FPS) CROSSFIRE. One of the world’s most played online FPS games, Crossfire has over 6 million concurrent users and 500 million subscribers worldwide. In China alone the company brought in over 1 trillion KRW (around 4.6 billion USD). Founded in 2002, Smilegate strives to develop timeless games that can be enjoyed by a multitude of generations. Recently the company has made several efforts to improve Korea’s startup ecosystem by creating a business incubator and mentorship program for startups operating in Korea.
YELLO MOBILE Yello Mobile is a mobile business platform that operates in the areas of: e-commerce, digital entertainment, online marketing, and “O2O” (applications that facilitate offline-toonline transactions). Worth over four billion USD, Yello Mobile is the second highest grossing startup in Korea. This is a highly impressive feat considering the company’s young age. Founded in 2012, Yello Mobile is the youngest company to be included in the Korean Unicorn Club. At the time of writing, the company is comprised of more than 40 companies. The most notable of them include: Coocha (home shopping app), Alammon (a morning call service), 1km (a social dating application) and Emotion (a web agency). YELLOMOBILE.COM
32 INSIDE SOUTH KOREA
NAVER Naver Corp. is responsible for developing South Korea’s top search portal “Naver.” To date more than 25 million Koreans have Naver as their default browser’s home page. In other words, more than 80% of South Korean web users prefer Naver to other search engines, making Korea one of only three countries – China and Russia are the others – where Google is not the dominant search engine. Following the success of its main search engine Naver Corp., it has created several more, including a search portal for children (Jr. Naver) and one for donations (Happybean).
KAKAO Kakao is a global lifestyle platform with a diverse array of services that allow smartphone users to send messages, make phone calls, play games, shop and much more! Most users enjoy the app because it allows them to send and receive messages for free without giving out their phone numbers. The massive spread of Kakao in Korea makes it hard to believe that the app was launched in 2010. In fact, 93% of smartphone owners in South Korea have the app installed on their phones. After merging with Daum in 2014, the company has been focusing on expanding their product offerings. The largest venture thus far came with the launching of its taxi hailing service Kakao Taxi in 2015.
LINE LINE app is a communication app developed in 2011 that allows users to make free voice calls, group chats, and send messages twenty four hours a day. It integrates various social elements into its software that are meant to enhance the experience of app users. LINE app has over 600 million users worldwide. Most recently the company has released an app called Popcorn Buzz, which allows users to converse with up to 200 people at the same time.
K-Startup Grand Challenge: the first accelerator program for international startups THIS PAST SPRING, THE SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED THE CREATION OF AN ACCELERATOR PROGRAM FOR STARTUPS FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD: K-STARTUP GRAND CHALLENGE. CONDUCTED AND FINANCED BY THE GOVERNMENT, IT PRESENTS AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY FOR STARTUPS INTERESTED IN RUNNING THEIR BUSINESS IN KOREA. THE GLOBAL STARTUP ACCELERATION PROGRAM AIMS TO INCREASE THE AWARENESS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN KOREA FOR STARTUP COMPANIES. THE K-STARTUP GRAND CHALLENGE PROMOTES THE EXPANSION OF OPEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEMS IN ASIA AND ASSISTS SOUTH KOREA’S EFFORT TO BECOME A PROMINENT STARTUP HUB WITHIN THE APAC REGION. IT IS ALSO INTENDED TO BOOST THE COUNTRY’S CREATIVE ECONOMY. TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAM, THE MINISTRY OF SCIENCE, ICT AND FUTURE PLANNING COLLABORATED WITH SEOUL-BASED ACCELERATORS ACTNERLAB, DEV KOREA, SHIFT AND SPARKLABS. THE PROJECT ALSO RECEIVED BACKING FROM INDUSTRY GIANTS LIKE SAMSUNG , LG , HYUNDAI, KAKAO AND NAVER.
Image Credit: Born2Global
HOW DOES IT WORK? Round 1 80 startup teams are invited to Korea and receive full financial and administrative support. Round 2 40 teams are fully supported getting $4,100/month for 3 months and a place in a Korean acceleration program. Round 3 After participating in a demo day, the 20 remaining teams each receive a settlement support fund of $3,300. Round 4 The top 4 teams receive additional grants ranging from $6,000 to $100,000. They may also receive investment funds from Korean accelerators against equity.
OBJECTIVES AND TARGETS • To increase the entry rate of promising foreign startups into the Korean market. • To support foreign startup companies entering the Korean market and help them establish a foundation for expanding into other Asian countries. • To increase the number of foreign professionals operating within South Korea. MORE INFO K-STARTUPGC.ORG The Pangyo Global Startup Campus was designed to nurture more than 200 startups. It is Korea’s largest start up complex near Seoul and is equipped with the latest technology and resources.
33 INSIDE SOUTH KOREA
Top 30 startups to watch in Seoul The advent of supercomputers has led countries around the world to compete for the title of “most technologically advanced nation in the world.” A cursory look at technology usage around the world reveals that Seoul, South Korea is a serious contender for the title. When walking the streets of Seoul it is common to see people using the latest technologies. Furthermore, Koreans are known to experiment with new technologies and are eager to participate in consumer testing studies. This information is hardly surprising however, considering the fact that South Korea is one of the most wired countries the world. Approximately 95% of the country is Internet accessible and its connection speeds are unmatched. It goes without saying then, that South Korea’s connectivity and openness toward technological advancement make it the perfect breeding ground for innovative startups.
BAEDAL MINJOK Seoul-based startup Baedal Minjok is the fastest growing restaurant delivery app in Korea. The app displays a list of restaurants according to a diner’s food preferences and allows them to place orders through the app without having to visit a separate site. BAEMIN.COM
BANKSALAD BankSalad is a financial startup that provides its users with credit card, savings and checkings account recommendations based on their lifestyle and purchase behavior. BANKSALAD.COM
BEATPACKING In fact, the current president – Park Geun-Hye – has taken advantage of these conditions by creating governmentsponsored programs that accelerate the growth of Korean startup companies. The most notable program, the Creative Economy Initiative, annually invests $2 billion USD into the country’s startup ecosystem. Increased governmental support and shifting cultural paradigms have lead to an upsurge of startups operating in Korea. A considerable number of these companies have million – in some cases billion – dollar annual revenues. The increasing profitability of Korean startups has piqued the interest of investors, accelerators and incubators around the world. These developments suggest that South Korea is well on its way toward becoming the Silicon Valley of Asia. Below is a list of 30 Korean startup companies that investors should look out for in 2016.
BEAT app is a streaming service where music fans stream the latest K-Pop songs and share them with friends. They can also use the app to keep track of what their favorite musicians are listening to and interact with other K-pop fans.
4:33 CREATIVE LAB
4:33 Creative Lab is a mobile game company that publishes and develops games across multiple platforms. They specialize in hack and slash MMORPG games and strive to bring mobile gamers a “console like” gaming experience.
8PERCENT 8PERCENT is a Peer-to-Peer lending startup and online financial community that matches trustworthy borrowers and savvy investors. Their service allows users to negotiate the particulars of their loan without involving a middleman. 8PERCENT.KR
CARBONEYED CarbonEyed is a development studio that creates unique, fresh and entertaining games. They specialize in games with visually stunning graphics and simple interfaces.
DiGiFi is a global company that developed a low-orbit satellite that enables Internet access across large areas of land. DIGIFIGN.COM
DUNAMU Dunamu is the developer of News Mate, a mobile application that provides digital copies of newspapers and magazines in Korea. They also designed the Kakao stock tracker app (Stock Plus). DUNAMU.COM
34 INSIDE SOUTH KOREA
Top 30 startups to watch in Seoul
Good Choice is an O2O platform providing access to over 4,000 accommodation options. The service lists and categorizes lodging options according to their location. Good Choice also allows customers to rate and review their visits. Currently, the service is the most popular O2O platform in Korea.
Kaminot is the first robot that teaches children how to code. The robot uses an open-source programming interface that allows the robot to be programmed via computer or tablet. The robot’s appearance is fully customizable.
MyMusicTaste is a crowdsourcing platform helps music fans organize concerts and live events in their city. The site helps bring performers to cities they may otherwise have overlooked.
Funda is a P2P lending platform that allows small specialty shops and retail stores to secure funds. The app helps the owners of small stores locate and negotiate terms with investors with an easy-to-use interface.
Korbit is Korea’s leading bitcoin exchange, wallet and merchant processor. Currently, the startup has 33,500 members and 2,400 merchant accounts.
Opportune is a rewards-based platform created by the Korea Finance Platform, Asia’s first and largest crowdfunding source. This service allows individuals to locate sponsors for their desired projects.
MangoPlate is South Korea’s number one restaurant recommendation app and has a database of over 200,000 restaurants.
Park Here helps drivers locate and reserve parking spaces in advance. This easy to use service is especially useful in large, densely packed areas.
This one-of-a-kind company combines the worlds of beauty and tech. Memebox collaborates with YouTube celebrities and beauty gurus to create beauty packages that address the needs of numerous demographics.
PATI Games is a mobile game developer. Their company specializes in games for younger demographics and social networking sites.
IGAWorks is a company that creates integrated mobile marketing and intelligence platforms. Their services enable app publishers to monetize their apps and increase their profitability.
JANDI is an office messenger custombuilt to meet the needs of business teams and empower them via real-time messaging, file sharing and unlimited data storage. JANDI.COM
35 INSIDE SOUTH KOREA
WEMAKEPRICE Wemakeprice is a Korean e-commerce platform and Internet advertising service. The company specializes in mobile shopping services and is an innovator of product pricing. WEMAKEPRICE.COM
Send Anywhere allows anyone to send files across various platforms, without logging in or signing up for an account.
YAP is a location-based O2O platform that helps consumer locate doctors, restaurants, parking spaces and more! It also compiles a list of coupons that can help members save money on purchases.
SOCAR Socar is an eco-friendly car sharing service that allows travelers to locate and drive nearby rental cars. Similar to Zipcar, users receive a keycard when they sign up for an account. Users are charged according to how many hours they drive the car. SOCAR.KR
YOGIYO Yogiyo is a Korean subsidiary of the Germany based delivery service Delivery Hero. It is an online mobile foodordering platform that helps deliver food to customers with the click of a button. YOGIYO.CO
This company is responsible for the creation of the beauty device Wayskin, a portable gadget that analyzes the skin’s moisture content. Afterward, the device provides suggestions based on current environmental conditions and user hydration levels. WAYSKIN.COM
Zig Bang is a real estate app that helps house hunters find new homes. To date, the app has information on roughly 70% of Seoul’s real estate offerings and has customizable settings that allow users to browse properties that fit their needs. ZIGBANG.COM
Toss is an application that makes it incredibly easy to transfer funds without remittance fees. The app is less complicated than traditional online banking apps and allows users to make secure transactions via text message.
WAY WEARABLE, INC
Yolk is an innovative solar power company that recently launched “Solar Paper,” the world’s thinnest and lightest solar charger.
ZIKTO Zikto is a fitness and activity tracker that analyzes your unique walking pattern to help you walk with the best posture possible. It is also capable of helping users monitor their sleep patterns and the amount of calories burned. ZIKTO.COM
36 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
How do I gamify
my hiring process?
Question from Arthur L. Answer by Margaux Raab
MARGAUX RAAB IS CO-FOUNDER AT NEOJOBS, AN HR MARKETING AGENCY SPECIALIZED IN TRADITIONAL AND OFFBEAT RECRUITING SOLUTIONS.
is important to most job seekers and critical for making successful hires. The assessment process gives companies the opportunity to evaluate the skills of each candidate. It is not possible to think about a hiring strategy without taking into consideration the employer brand.
A GAME AS A RECRUITMENT TOOL
Today, companies are facing a disruption in human resources. Before digitalization, finding and hiring people was a relatively “easy” task because job applicants would simply send their résumés and cover letters in large numbers to the human resources department. However, this is no longer the case. Companies now have to compete harder for the attention of potential talent and find more clever ways of getting them interested in applying. In other words, companies have to seduce potential talent. Moreover, our connected behaviors have changed how we think and act, as well as what we focus on. Therefore, companies have to rethink their strategies for attracting and hiring candidates. A hiring strategy involves various elements including promoting the employer brand and planning the candidate assessment process. Promoting the employer brand means sharing the culture of the company and being transparent and honest with the candidates. This
A way to promote a positive employer brand is to gamify the hiring process. Why? Because everyone likes games. We all play games—just think about your loyalty cards. Don’t you want to have the last box on the card ticked and get a discount? We like games for the challenges, the lessons we learn from them and/or the experience we gain. The advantage of using games in the hiring process is that candidates can be themselves and have fun while applying for jobs. Applying game mechanics to the recruitment process helps to see the true nature of a candidate while at the same time giving the candidate a positive impression of the company.
HOW TO LEVEL UP YOUR HIRING PROCESS? There are different ways to level up your hiring process, going from minimal to maximal gamification. The level of gamification a company is going to include in its recruitment process will depend on the company’s culture, its desire to innovate and the type of jobs it has open. A positive experience by a candidate will have a positive impact on the employer brand.
THERE ARE 4 POSSIBLE LEVELS OF GAMIFIED HIRING: - LEVEL 1: AN ORIGINAL JOB SEARCH
The candidates will usually get their first impression of a company when reading the job description. Therefore, do not hesitate to tailor the job description to the culture of the company and make it entertaining. - LEVEL 2: SERIOUS GAMES
To find the right people, consider using a serious digital game. For instance, L’Oréal implemented a virtual game named Reveal that allowed them to share open positions and detect potential talent. - LEVEL 3: AN INNOVATIVE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY
The recruitment process can be turned into a whole event. You can broadcast the company’s culture, products and services before, during and after the event on social media and in the press. - LEVEL 4: OFFBEAT PERSONALIZED RECRUITMENT To create an enjoyable hiring process for the candidate, your hiring strategy must be well thought through and executed. You have to take into account both the specific aim of your company’s strategy and whether candidates will have fun during the recruitment process. If you think the candidates will enjoy the experience, you are on the right track. Gamification of the hiring process must be implemented with caution. If the candidates don’t enjoy the innovative recruitment approach they may be left with a negative impression of the company. As a consequence, it is important to be guided by an experienced game designer with human resources experience.
37 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
Question from Matt K. Answer by Rachel Gaessler
How can a mentor help
me grow my startup? RACHEL HAS BEEN WORKING IN THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SECTOR FOR THE PAST 16 YEARS AND HAS SUPPORTED MANY PROJECTS AND BUSINESS LEADERS. IN 2010 SHE IMPLEMENTED AND DEVELOPED A MENTORING PROGRAM (BUSINESSMENTORING) WHICH WAS LAUNCHED BY THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. IT HAS BEEN HOSTED BY NYUKO SINCE NOVEMBER 2015. RACHEL IS ALSO A TRAINER IN MENTORING AND COACHING.
There are several ways a mentor can help startups grow. However, before outlining them, please allow me to briefly explain what we consider being a mentor; the profile of a mentor and the ethics linked to mentoring. I consider a mentor being a successful business leader with at least ten years of experience. It is a person who has experienced all the stages of a business including creation, development and takeover, and faced all aspects of corporate management such as fundraising, recruitment, management, etc. So it is someone who has lived through the experience theirself, seen the good and the bad, and has a lot of wisdom to pass on to “young” entrepreneurs. More specifically, in the framework of the BusinessMentoring program, the mentor supports the entrepreneurs on a voluntary basis for about 4 hours per month and adheres to the ethics of mentoring (i.e. no conflicts of interest or financial interests). The role of the mentor is crucial to the entrepreneur. Below are some key benefits that entrepreneurs of startups can profit from:
1. HAVE AN ATTENTIVE LISTENER.
The role of the mentor is to listen carefully to the entrepreneur (“startup therapy”), hear his fears and his doubts. It’s a partner to share the ups and downs of running a company with and someone who can act as a sounding board to help the entrepreneur ask the right questions and feel more confident in the business decision process. 2. SHARE STORIES AND EXPERIENCES, NOT ADVICE.
4. DEVELOP A LEARNING PROCESS.
Sharing and being inspired by a mentor’s experience allows the entrepreneur to learn about himself, about his company and push him to reflect. All of these benefits have an impact on the personal development of the entrepreneur (enhancement and improvement of soft skills) which is directly linked to the evolution of the entrepreneur’s company.
Instead of trying to solve the problems encountered by the entrepreneur, the mentor is willing to share relevant experiences—bad or good—and let the entrepreneur figure out if/how it’s applicable to their current situation. 3. BREAK DOWN THE ISOLATION OF THE ENTREPRENEUR.
In a startup ecosystem, entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to serve their customers better and usually walk their journey alone or with their co-founders. They are running after time, money, clients and are stuck in their daily business, unable to define a long-term vision. Having a mentor helps them to step back from the daily business and look at the market from a fresh perspective and steer them along the right track.
TESTIMONIAL « My mentorship has had a direct impact on my personal development, which is directly linked to my startup’s activity » - Patrick Rahme, Co-founder and CEO of All Square.
38 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
Which technology should I use
develop a mobile app? to
Question from Nathan S. Answer by Anas Budchich
… TO HYBRID
In the world of mobile application development, developers have always been looking for quicker time to deployment, shorter development cycles, and of course better app performance.
FROM NATIVE… Although native applications prove to be the best in terms of performance, their development is no piece of cake. Building native applications means using the native language for each platform: Objective-C or Swift on iOS, Java on Android, or C# on Windows Phone. To put it shortly, this means having to build 3 applications at the same time.
NEXT STEP Building hybrid apps is perfectly fine for some kinds of projects, but certain applications need a smoother user experience, better control of the device, etc. Fortunately, the JS world is evolving extraordinary fast thanks to Facebook. Facebook is helping to bridge the gap between the performance of a native app and the ease of development of hybrid apps. Using React, Facebook is building React Native to allow developers to
CONCLUSION Personally, I think that React Native is the future of mobile development. Between the ease of development, the quality of the apps built with it, the richness of the platform and the support of Facebook, web developers are now able to build native-like applications using technologies that they know. The very meaning of native development may change over the next few years.
39 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
Question from Luisa S. Answer by Emmanuelle Ragot
How can I protect the know-how
and business secrets of my startup?
SOME TIPS FOR COMPANIES
EMMANUELLE RAGOT IS PARTNER AT WILDGEN AND HEADS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TECHNOLOGY, MEDIA & TELECOMMUNICATIONS (IP/TMT) PRACTICE GROUP AS WELL AS WILDGEN 4 INNOVATION, A LEGAL HUB FOR STARTUPS. A STRONG REMINDER OF THE IMPORTANCE FOR A STARTUP TO PROTECT ITS TRADE SECRETS The new EU Directive on the Protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure will be implemented into national law at the latest by June 9, 2018. This Directive will contribute to the creation of a single market in the EU for Intellectual Property Rights. As every IPR—whether copyright, patent, trademark or design—arises from a company that had trade secrets early on, these early stages are equally important to protect. The Directive will have an impact on corporate groups as well as startups, as it aims to strengthen the rights of trade secret holders (i.e. in the course of litigation). In order to be defined as a trade secret, the information must meet three cumulative criteria. It must: be secret, have a commercial value, and have been protected by reasonable steps under the circumstances by the person lawfully in control of the information. What are the expected reasonable steps to keep information secret? Even though each country will have to elaborate on the definition, do not expect that simply labeling the information as a trade secret will suffice. It will be necessary to show evidence of having implemented true protective steps; otherwise the trade secret will not be protected.
An understanding of trade secrets and their protection, and of how to move forward from trade secrets to intellectual property, is of real value for a startup. As a matter of fact, having protected trade secrets is helpful for startups seeking funding and increases the chances of success for the venture. Protection of trade secrets also prevents competitors from using proprietary information without prior authorization. TIPS FOR HOW TO GO ABOUT PROTECTING TRADE SECRETS: 1) WITHIN AN ORGANIZATION It is important to implement reasonable protection and confidentiality restrictions for the most secret and key business information of an organization, since this information may constitute a trade secret. There is no need to file for protection of trade secrets to exist, but the trade secrets need to be adequately safeguarded, otherwise they can be lost, and once lost, the owner will also lose certain associated legal rights and remedies. Sensible precautions can include: •
identifying and tracing of trade secrets and confidential information and ensuring efficiency and reliability of this identification;
evaluating the value of a trade secret;
developing a protection policy;
ensuring employees adhere to honest commercial practices and safeguarding the company against those who do not;
reviewing your training procedures;
ensuring precautionary measures are in place to reduce liability when hiring employees from a competitor;
restraining access to only those persons having a need to know the information;
physically isolating and protecting trade secrets and excluding trade secrets and confidential information from some files;
locking trade secret materials away after business hours and restricting public access to facilities;
maintaining computer security;
reviewing employment contracts and ensuring they sufficiently cover trade secrets
2) IN THE COURSE OF COMMERCIAL RELATIONSHIPS Provisions such as the duration of the utilization of the trade secret, the obligation to discontinue the use of the trade secret, etc. have to be specified in contracts with commercial partners.
3) IN CASE OF LITIGATION An arbitration clause seems to be necessary in order to preserve the confidentiality of the litigation and of the trade secrets themselves in such cases. However, the Directive becomes very valuable when litigation arises in front of an ordinary court. If an infringer steals a company’s trade secrets, the company will have the right to stand before a court in a hearing against the infringer. The company may obtain: •
provisional and precautionary measures such as requesting a preliminary injunction in order to obtain the cessation of the use of the trade secret on an interim basis, during the proceeding;
protection and preservation of confidentiality of trade secrets in the course of legal proceedings in order to keep them secret even though the procedure is public;
after the decision, on the merits of the case, the cessation or the prohibition of the use or disclosure of the trade secret and the adoption of the appropriate corrective measures with regard to the infringing goods, such as the recall of the infringing goods from the market.
All this confirms the need to strengthen the protection of confidential information that has high value and patent it if possible in the next stage of business development. Sharing of trade secrets between startups within the EU and/or the U.S., due to a closer alignment of EU legislation towards recent U.S. legislation, should enable exploitation and sharing of the know-how with privileged business partners across borders. It is easier for companies to grow and seek funding when they can depend on the adequate legal protection of their trade secrets. All of the new opportunities and increased potential for legal protection makes it necessary that corporate entities assess the impact of the new Directive on their businesses as soon as possible.
40 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
What are the steps required to set up in Luxembourg?
ADRIEN ROLLÉ IS CEO AT FINIMMO, A COMPANY THAT PROVIDES TAILOR-MADE CORPORATE SERVICES TO REAL ESTATE, PRIVATE EQUITY AND OTHER TRADITIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT STRUCTURES. HE SPECIALIZES IN STRUCTURING AND MANAGING INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE & PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTMENTS.
STEP 1 – Open a bank account: the first thing you have to write on your to-do list when setting up a new company is to open a bank account with your preferred bank. The KYC (Know Your Customer) procedure might be heavy in some cases but should be quite straightforward if you elect a bank where you already hold an account. Having a longstanding relationship with your bank will also allow you to negotiate the best rates for your account. Cost: dependent on the existing relationship; around €250 per year
Question from Manon D. Answer by Adrien Rollé
Association make the company a legal entity meaning that it can act as such and make commitments to third parties.
STEP 5 – Transfer the share capital: one of the main steps in the incorporation process is the transfer of the share capital to the bank. This amount will be dependent on the type of company you have elected (minimum contribution varies for a SARL or SA) and the amount of cash you are willing to invest in the project.
company: before setting up a company, you need to choose a name for it and ensure it is unique. You can check the availability of a commercial brand name or a company name you plan to use by submitting a request to the Trade and Companies Register.
STEP 6 – Issuance of the blocking certificate from the bank: following the transfer of the share capital, the bank will issue a blocking certificate which provides a confirmation to the Notary that the share capital referenced in the Articles of Association has been deposited with the bank and that the company can be incorporated.
STEP 3 – Choose the type of company
Cost: around €30
STEP 2 – Choose a name for your
to set up: there are numerous types of companies to choose from in Luxembourg but the most common ones are the Limited Liability Company (SARL) and the Public Limited Company (SA). The main differences between the two would be the minimum capital (respectively €12,500 and €31,000), the obligation to appoint an auditor for the SA, the restrictions for the transfer of shares and the rules applicable to the board.
STEP 4 – Draft the Articles of
Association: the Articles of Association are the constitutional documents and the company’s fundamental charter which set out its operating rules. The Articles of
STEP 7 – Organise a meeting with the Notary: once the blocking certificate has been issued and the Articles of Association finalised, a meeting with the Notary is organised. The company is formed through the recording of its Articles of Association. The said articles are lodged by the Notary with the Trade and Companies Register and published in the Official Bulletin.
deblocking certificate, which should be sent to the bank. This certificate will allow the bank to release the funds and make them available to the company.
STEP 9 – Apply for a business license
(where applicable): the right to set up in commercial activities, skilled craft trades and certain specific professions (professions libérales) requires a business permit. The business permit should be granted if there is a physical installation in Luxembourg that includes an infrastructure suitable for the nature and scale of the concerned activity. Cost: €24
STEP 10 – Apply for a VAT number
(where applicable): Value Added Tax (VAT) is a general consumption tax. It is levied on all economic activities. Transactions may be subject to VAT by law or because they are carried out against payment. As a general rule, all persons or companies subject to VAT must register for VAT. To register for VAT, the company must submit an initial declaration to the Land Registration and Estates Department (Administration de l’enregistrement et des domaines - AED). € 250 € 30 € 1,200 € 24
+ + + +
Cost: around €1,200
STEP 1 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 9
STEP 8 – Send the deblocking
FINIMMO'S ACCOUNTING FEES € 0
certificate to the bank: once the company is incorporated, the Notary delivers a
41 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
How to Optimize SEO? Question from Tom P. Answer by Jerry Weyer
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of optimizing your online resources for higher rankings in search engines. You can always buy top ranks at Google or Bing, but do you have the budget? As a Startup, you probably don’t, especially in highly contested niches! Still, there are many ways you can influence search rankings for your startup, app or website without paying thousands of dollars. Here are a few tips and tricks you can apply to get better search rankings for your startup. KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENTS The first item on your SEO agenda should be to create a sound technical foundation for your products. This means keeping up with recent developments in web development and online security standards. Nowadays, you will be punished by search engines if your website is not responsive and doesn’t adapt to smaller screens and mobile devices, or if your website is not accessible via https. It is also never a good idea to use outdated technology, build websites in flash or use anything else but the latest versions of Wordpress. You don’t need to follow all the latest trends, but make sure to keep up with modern standards! Google and Bing each offer online tools to check your website for technical inefficiencies with the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Submit your website, analyze it and see how you can improve the technical aspects of your website. CONTENT MARKETING IS STILL IMPORTANT Search engines have evolved a lot in the last few years and have moved away from simply indexing keywords. Search engines do consider the intent of users’ searches and list first those pages that
JERRY WEYER IS A SOCIAL MEDIA EXPLORER WITH A TASTE FOR POLITICS. IN 2014 HE CO-FOUNDED CLEMENT & WEYER CONSULTING, ADVISING COMPANIES, INSTITUTIONS AND ONGS IN LUXEMBOURG AND THE GREATER-REGION ON DIGITAL COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING.
tend to give the users the answers they are looking for.
view backlinks as evidence that your page is “interesting.”
Even as today’s landscape skews more and more towards “pay to win,” publishing regular and helpful updates in your niche will help your search engine rankings. As such, don’t try to appeal to everyone—it’s better to rank in the top 5 results for a very specific problem than to be on page 3 with your article that tried to target everyone.
Backlinks don’t appear magically; you have to “give” (advice) to “receive” (backlinks). People will only link to your website if you are offering helpful insight, sharing your thoughts, successes and failures, and generally providing valuable input. You are not limited to your blog or social media platforms in this regards: helping out on StackOverflow, Ask.com or Quora will also increase the likelihood that people will click on the link in your profile or signature.
SPREAD YOUR CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA SEO goes beyond optimizing your website for Google or Bing. Depending on your niche, it may be important to show up in the top results in other search results as well. Social media search engines are one of those places where you want to rank in the top spots. As a general rule, try to register an account for your startup on all the major social media platforms, even if you don’t intend to actively use those promotional channels (yet). Set up a clean account with all your contact information in case platform users are using the integrated search engines to look up your business. In order to optimize for good social search results, as with the more common search engines, it is important to optimize your website display for social media. Adding OpenGraph tags to your website will tell sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn what information to display and what image to show in their preview. The same goes for Twitter cards, which allows you to choose how to display your webpages on Twitter. Once your website is optimized for social media, spread your content and interact with your community in order to get people sharing your work. GET THOSE BACKLINKS! Creating and sharing your content is an important part of a good search engine optimization strategy, but it takes more to really get your website ranked in the higher spots. What becomes more and more important are backlinks: other pages linking to your website. Search engines
Backlinks alone are not enough though: the higher the reputation of a website linking to your content, the better for your search rakings. Having 100 spammy .ru websites link to your page might actually hurt your ranking, while having 3 trusted news pages mention your URL might be enough for a serious boost in results. This is where your traditional marketing will come into play: make sure to always ask journalists and reviewers for a link to your website when they cover your startup! OPTIMIZE YOUR APP FOR STORES AND LOBBY TO BE FEATURED If you are developing a mobile application, in addition to having a high ranking for your website, it’s critical that you show up prominently in the app stores. Stores take into account several different factors and you shouldn’t underestimate any of them. Your name, description, screenshots and logo all really do matter! Creating a decent setup in the app stores is similar to the basic steps taken to make your website technically sound for SEO. What really gets your app launched on any store is to be featured. As the featured sections in the Apple and Google stores are edited by people rather than simply by algorithms, you need to appeal to their taste: use a new feature of the platform, create a unique experience in your niche and lobby as much as you can. Keywords and a good description get your app ranked better than other apps, but getting into the “featured” spot really pays off!
StartupBus Europe CONCEIVE, BUILD AND LAUNCH A NEW STARTUP IN 72 HOURS WITH A TEAM OF STRANGERS WHILE CROSSING THE CONTINENT ON A BUS DRIVING 80 KM/H. THIS IS THE PURPOSE OF STARTUPBUS EUROPE, ONE OF THE CRAZIEST CONCEPTS IN EUROPE WITH A FINAL STOP AT THE PIRATE SUMMIT. ON SEPTEMBER 3, STARTUPBUS UK AND STARTUPBUS FRANCE STOPPED BY NYUKO’S PREMISES FOR AN ENTERTAINING PITCH EVENT. (Picture Report © Craig Kirkwood)
Mario Grotz (Ministry of the Economy)
Adriana Ursache (Rockstart) Alexandros Trepeklis (Yollty)
Startup Grind STARTUP GRIND LUXEMBOURG HOSTS MONTHLY STARTUP EVENTS TO TEACH, INSPIRE, AND CONNECT ENTREPRENEURS. ON SEPTEMBER 13, RAOUL MULHEIMS, CEO OF DIGICASH PAYMENTS, SPOKE AT THIS EVENT IN FRONT OF A LIVE AUDIENCE AT NYUKO. (Picture Report Â© Anna Katina)
Südwest-Pitch LUXEMBOURG’S STARTUPS ASSEMBLED ON SEPTEMBER 22 AT TECHNOPORT, THE BUSINESS INCUBATOR AND CO-WORKING SPACE FOR INNOVATIVE STARTUPS IN BELVAL TO LISTEN TO THE FOUR SELECTED TECH STARTUPS—JOBNINJA, LARGOWIND, LINEUPR AND YÔLLTY— PRESENT THEIR BUSINESS MODELS DURING THE 5TH SOUTHWEST-PITCH, HOSTED BY THE SAR.FACTORY AND TECHNOPORT. YÔLLTY WAS THE WINNER OF THIS OUTSTANDING EVENT. (Picture Report © SAR.FACTORY)
Startuppers Night BANQUE INTERNATIONALE À LUXEMBOURG ORGANIZED ONE OF THE GEEKIEST PARTIES IN LUXEMBOURG. ON SEPTEMBER 26, 150 HAPPY PEOPLE RELIEVED THEIR STARTUP STRESS WITH COSPLAYERS, RETROGAMING BARTOPS, 3D SCANNERS AND PRINTERS PERFORMING FACIAL AND FULL BODY SCANS, COOL MUSIC, FRESH DRINKS AND TASTY FOOD! (Picture Report © Anna Katina)
A coffee with...
47 COFFEE BREAK
Text by Alefiya Sana Photography by Anna Katina
AFTER SEVERAL YEARS WORKING FOR A LEADING DUTCH BANK, SERGIO RESTREPO JOINED FINTECH STARTUP 2GEARS AS HEAD OF BUSINESS SUPPORT. ONE YEAR ON, SILICON ASKS SERGIO ABOUT HIS CORPORATE-TO-STARTUP TRANSITION EXPERIENCE.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN A STARTUP?
ARE YOU EVER TEMPTED TO GO BACK TO WORKING FOR A BANK OR LARGE CORPORATION?
It was a no-brainer really. When I first worked with Bert Boerman (cofounder of 2Gears) at the bank, our team launched a new department from scratch. Through Bert’s mentorship and observing how he approaches challenges, I had no doubt that joining 2Gears was going to be an adventure. Whatever happened, I was sure I was going to get a lot out of the experience.
Not yet (laughs). So far so good, and I’m really happy with the choice I made. And I definitely don’t miss the endless rounds of meetings and calls to take decisions; things move at a much faster pace in the startup world.
SO YOU’RE NOT THE RISK AVERSE TYPE THEN? No pain, no gain - that is my philosophy. Not to say that this has been a painful experience of course! For me, this new venture is worth the risk in terms of everything I am learning on the way.
WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING FOR A STARTUP? Imagine a straight line from A to B. Now imagine taking a rollercoaster to get from A to B! It’s exciting, and everyday brings new challenges and achievements. Working for a startup means that you get to be creative in all aspects of the business and not only in your area of expertise. I’m happiest when I’m working in a place where ideas and creativity are an integral part of the culture. It’s not just about product development and client support, but also about coming up with ways to build an efficient working environment and infrastructure.
DO YOU FEEL INSPIRED TO SET UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS? Absolutely. I actually had my own company a few years back which was a real eye-opener, and I also custom-designed specific software for the fund industry in a joint venture with my father’s company. Working for a startup like 2Gears, and for entrepreneurs like Bert and Rob Boerman, inspires me to follow my own creativity and intuition. Perhaps one day I’ll launch my own business again, but right now I’m embracing this experience as I strongly believe in the vision of the company. I’m proud to be part of it.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST MOMENT SO FAR? That’s a tough question. When you work for a startup, everyday brings a new milestone and “best moment”, but if I had to choose then it would be winning the award for Luxembourg FinTech of the Year 2016. It meant a lot to everyone in the team to get recognition for the work we do, and it proves that we are on the right track.
WHAT QUESTION SHOULD PEOPLE CONTEMPLATING JOINING A STARTUP ASK THEMSELVES? “HOW MUCH DO I BELIEVE IN THE PROJECT, COMPANY VISION AND FOUNDERS?” Believing in these three things made my decision to join 2Gears very easy.
WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING FOR TWINS? I can tell them apart now, but it’s funny to see people who are meeting them for the first time do a double-take! And then the “aha moment” when the name of the company takes on greater meaning! Per se, it doesn’t make any difference as they bring very different expertise to the table: Bert is the business guru, and Rob the high-tech wizard.
THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE JOURNEY SO FAR? I love Mondays!
Calendar Register online now so you donâ€™t miss upcoming events! If you are an event organizer and want to publish an event on Silicon Luxembourg please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 18th 18
3x3 Fintech lecture series: Bitcoin and Regulation PwC Cyber Security Day
24th Structuring 25th 25th
and valuating a deal
Luxembourg Internet Days
Startup Grind Luxembourg
Startup Grind Luxembourg
Smart & Living City
Luxembourg Meets Slovenian FinTech Ecosytem
Nov. 14th 17th
22nd and 23rd
Monitoring your investment and planning your exit strategy Adopte un dĂŠv
25th, 26th and 27th
Startup Weekend Luxembourg
Rockstart Answers Luxembourg #2
49 ORIGINAL RECIPE
For 6 people Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking: 30 minutes
F o u r m e d’a m b e r t by ROSTISLAVA PETKOVA (Vins Fins)
ARE YOU HUNGRY? HOPEFULLY YOU ARE STARVING BECAUSE WE HAVE A DELICIOUS RECIPE FOR YOU. DON’T HAVE TIME TO MAKE THIS TART? DON’T WORRY, LET THE TART EXPERT COOK ONE UP FOR YOU. JUST HEAD ON OVER TO VINS FINS, THE COZIEST WINE BAR LOCATED IN GRUND, THE MOST CHARMING AREA OF LUXEMBOURG. ROSTISLAVA (OR ROSSI AS HER FRIENDS CALL HER) AND FRANÇOIS OPENED THE BAR TWO YEARS AGO AND SPECIALIZE IN ORGANIC AND BIODYNAMIC WINES. DISCOVER THEIR SELECTION OF WINES WHICH YOU CAN TASTE ALONG WITH SOME FARMER’S CHEESES, AND OTHER LOCAL PRODUCTS. Preheat oven to 200° C. Unroll the pastry dough and line a mold. Cut sharply the edge flush with the mold; prick base with a fork. Let stand in the refrigerator for the rest of the preparation. Remove the crust of the Fourme and cut the cheese into small strips. Beat the eggs with the cream and a dash of pepper. Peel the pears and cut them into quarters removing the heart and seeds. Then slice each quarter lengthwise into two or three pieces.
one pastry roll three soft pears
gr of Fourme d’Ambert (or Roquefort)
25cl of soy cream or oat cream three eggs freshly ground pepper
Arrange the pear slices in a star shape on the pie shell. Divide the cheese around the fruit, pour the cream and immediately slide the tart in the oven. Bake 30 minutes. Serve with crushed nuts and a glass of semimoeulleux wine.
50 JOB BOARD
J B OPENINGS FIND YOUR DREAM JOB AT A STARTUP IN LUXEMBOURG. IF YOU ARE AN EMPLOYER AND WANT TO POST A JOB OFFER, EMAIL CONTACT@SILICONLUXEMBOURG.LU
HAVE YOU RECENTLY BEEN RECRUITED? ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR CURRENT ROLE? HAVE YOU BEEN PROMOTED? YOUR LATEST CAREER MOVES INTEREST US A LOT. SEND US YOUR BIOGRAPHY AND PICTURE AT CONTACT@SILICONLUXEMBOURG.LU. WE WILL PASS THE INFORMATION ON TO ALL OF OUR ASSOCIATED MEDIA OUTLETS (I.E. WEBSITE, NEWSLETTER AND MAGAZINE).
Senior Backend Developer
Web Frontend Developer
As a Business Developer you will be in charge of acquiring new clients in Luxembourg and the East of France, set up local partnerships, benchmark the competition, organize local events and manage the PR.
As a Senior Backend Developer you will code software for our distributed backend platform, follow up and analyze the performance of the packages your develop, take part of architecture, development, testing…
Junior Project Manager
As a Web Frontend Developer you have to keep up to date with the latest web trends and developments. You are comfortable working on platform that integrates technologies including AngularJS, React, Redux, Node. JS, Socket.io, Docker, MongoDB, RabbitMQ, and Redis.
As a Java/Objective-C Developer you will design work with our CTO to develop the services and tools we are editing for our clients and users. You have to have skills in Big Data (Python) and algoryihm development.
As a Junior Project Manager you will run several parallel projects both internal and for our OEM clients, from definition, specifications to weekly reporting and final delivery, be involved in product decisions…
Senior Software Developer
As a Senior Software Developer you will design and build backend services and applicatons by leveraging your solid software development skills and experience.
As a Product Manager you have to be a passionate product leader who wants to be a strong advocate for our users and our business. You are highly self-motivated and excited about taking ownership of new product and leading cross-functional teams of developers.
Web Marketing and Cross Media Communication Manager BATIMENTSMOINSCHERS
As a Web Marketing and Cross Media Communication Manager you will define the marcom strategy in order to inscrease the audience of the website and boost sales from referencing optimization to remarketing…
Symfony Developer KOOSMIK
As a Symfony Developer you will design and developer an API, suggest and implement improvements and new ideas, document new features and collaborate with other developers…
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