LUXEMBOURG & BELGIUM
THE STARTUP MAGAZINE
Donatienne van Houtryve and Géraldine Biebuyck
Co-founders of Bsit, a collaborative app for organizing babysitting (p.10)
Meet a need Launch of the European Yoviví, the TripAdvisor Startup Network (p.19) for Rental Housing (p.27)
Instilling the Spirit of Innovation at ING (p.20) One-on-one interview with Erik Jacquemart
Yotako Turns Design into Code (p.24)
Discussion with Damien Neuberg and Alfonso García Frey
Product Launch (p.26)
Microsoft Surface Book
S I L I C ONLU XE M B O U R G . LU
10 Startups to Watch in Antwerp (p.31)
The Faktory Invests Pitch Perfect with 5 Million Euros in Bert Boerman (p.44) Connected Objects (p.28) Discussion with Pierre L’Hoest and Simon Alexandre A Coffee with Annabelle Buffart Special 8-Page (p.46) Job Supplement 26 Job Openings, Adopt a Developer Around the World & Career Moves in 10 Startups (p.50) The Beer Industry
Powered by ING
A UN I Q U E F I N T E C H A C C E L E R A T O R AN INTENSIVE 16-WEEK PROGRAMME TO PUT GREAT FINTECH CONCEPTS TO THE TEST AND BRING THEM TO MARKET
APPL Y NOW
WE KNOW THAT TESTING YOUR CONCEPT WITH A BANK REQUIRES TRUE COMMITMENT
WE TAILOR OUR APPROACH TO THE NEEDS OF YOUR COMPANY
For this reason we fully integrate you in INGâ€™s business by appointing a relevant senior-level decision maker as your sponsor for the duration of the programme.
Every company is different. Which is why we offer a personalised programme and we assemble a team of mentors that is tailored to your needs.
WE REALIZE YOU WILL ALSO NEED A NETWORK OF STRONG PARTNERS, A STRONG COMMUNITY AND AN INSPIRING ATMOSPHERE
Powered by ING
Does your startup have what it takes to revolutionise the industry? APPLY NOW
Apply by: December 4, 2016 Programme runs from: March - June 2017
© Olivier Minaire
Editorial HELLO BELGIANS
Please welcome the entrance of Belgium’s startup scene to this third issue of SILICON magazine! In fact, from now on we’ll feature the latest news from the Belgian tech scene in each of our issues. We’ll be able to do this thanks to our Belgian partners, particularly Startups.be, the chief organization promoting Belgian startups. According to Startups.be, there are over 1,500 startups innovating in Belgium – nearly 10 times more than in Luxembourg – and there are 120 organizations offering support to entrepreneurs. Why Belgium? Since the launch of the Silicon Luxembourg website three years ago, we have seen that, very often, the first country favored by a Luxembourg startup for international expansion is Belgium. It’s the largest economic area nearby, we share a similar mentality and common language (in part), it serves as a second test market, etc. Belgian startups often consider Luxembourg as an additional, easily accessible target market with high purchasing power and a significant adoption rate. So, it seemed natural to connect the two ecosystems through a single magazine. In this way, both Luxembourg and Belgian startups benefit from greater visibility with support distributed in both countries – not to mention the exposure they’ll get in the 23 other countries where this magazine is delivered! Take the example of Bsit, a Belgian startup conquering Europe. Donatienne and Geraldine launched the mobile application a year ago and are now counting more than 80,000 users in the four countries they’ve already seduced – Luxembourg included. That’s the magic of the startup world; being able to conquer new markets in record time to answer a need. We are really delighted that the two mum-entrepreneurs are on our cover for the very first Luxembourg-Belgium issue. They embody exactly the purpose of that deep link between the two countries.
An exciting new feature you’ll find right in the middle of this issue is the job supplement, with its cover designed by two very talented artists. More and more, startups are turning to Silicon Luxembourg’s community to find the talent they need. Nearly 80% of the job offers are for IT positions. We wanted to show that the sector is very dynamic and that there are indeed many job openings. This is why we have created the job supplement and the Adopt a Developer event (keep an eye out for the picture report in our next issue!). If you are looking for a new job, perhaps you’ll find it right here! Finally, we continue to innovate and evolve the magazine. We’ve introduced a new “world tour” column, which will take us on an international journey each month as we discover startups from around the world that all innovating in a single industry. First up is the beer industry. Enjoy the read, and please send us your feedback! We cannot wait to hear from you.
04 LEGAL NOTICE
EDITOR IN CHIEF Charles-Louis Machuron (email@example.com)
COVER PICTURE Bsit, Donatienne Van Houtryve and Géraldine Biebuyck (Bsit)
COVER & LAYOUT Silicon was made by DEUUX©, a duo of talented Belgian designers. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM Alefiya Sana, Diego De Biasio, Frederik Tibau, Gabriela Fernández, Hanna Bonnier, Jerry Weyer, Nicolas Roland and Nicolas Valaize.
PHOTOGRAPHY Anna Katina (email@example.com)
SALES MANAGEMENT Charles-Louis Machuron (firstname.lastname@example.org) NEXT ISSUES - DECEMBER 2016 – JANUARY 2017 The Future of Recruiting
- FEBRUARY 2017
The Future of FoodTech
BOOK YOUR ADVERTISING SPACE NOW! By Nov. 30th for the December/January issue By Jan. 31st for the February issue
COPIES 5000 copies shipped to recipients in 25 countries. Hello world! If you want to distribute the magazine at your office, incubator, co-working space, accelerator, cafe, restaurant, shop, concert hall, event... just drop us an email!
Eve Greenstein (email@example.com)
Charles-Louis Machuron 8, rue George C. Marshall L-2181 Luxembourg
IBAN: LU95 0023 1917 9252 5500 BIC: BILLLULL
Print Solutions 49, rue de Mühlenbach L-2168 Luxembourg
Business permit: 10068962 / 0 VAT number : LU28575161
LHOFT STORY INDUTECH 300 SQUARE METERS PRODUCT LAUNCH
BORN TO BE INDISPENSABLE One-on-one interview with Bsit’s Co-founders Donatienne van Houtryve and Géraldine Biebuyck
3 Questions for… GONTRAN POIROT 6zero1’s Program Leader
YOTAKO TURNS DESIGN INTO CODE Discussion with Yotako’s Co-founders, Damien Neuberg and Alfonso García Frey
MICROSOFT SURFACE BOOK
26 JOB OPENINGS, ADOPT A DEVELOPER, CAREER MOVES
Management Notebook How to define the valuation of your startup How to have well-drafted conditions How to get traction on social media
Product Launch 48
SPECIAL 8-PAGE JOB SUPPLEMENT
Fail/Succeed FAILING FORWARD CONFERENCE Testimonials
INSTILLING THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION AT ING One-on-one interview with Erik Jacquemart
ANTWERP 10 Startups to Look Out for
THE FAKTORY INVESTS 5 MILLION EUROS IN CONNECTED OBJECTS Discussion with Pierre L’Hoest and Simon Alexandre
Jewel of the Month
YOVIVI, THE TRIPADVISOR FOR RENTAL HOUSING Discussion with Yovivi’s co-founders, Teresa Castaño and Jorge Guillén
Picture Reports FinTech House InduTech Incubator Co-working Space #MolenGeek
Pitch Perfect with…
BERT BOERMAN Co-founder and CEO at Governance.io
A Coffee with…
ANNABELLE BUFFART Geekette and Café Numérique Arlon Leader
UPCOMING EVENTS Events you should not miss in November and December
STUFFED PATIDOU Hanna Bonnier (Le Phare du Kanaal)
Around the World
IN TEN STARTUPS The Beer Industry
(See more pictures on page 40.)
On October 17, a virtual groundbreaking of the new incubator LHoFT – Luxembourg House of Financial Technology – was organized by Luxembourg for Finance.
© Luxembourg for Finance
(See more pictures on page 41.)
On October 26, Paul Wurth, an international engineering company, officially inaugurated its new incubator for innovative companies and individuals, InCub.
ÂŠ Paul Wurth
300 Square Meters
(See more pictures on page 42.)
On October 27, a new co-working place, The Office, opened in Luxembourg City. The industrial style designed space houses open spaces, meeting rooms, a workshop room and a café. © The Office
(See more pictures on page 26.)
The Surface Book, the first laptop from Microsoft’s Surface family, will be available in shops in Luxembourg from the end of November.
10 ENTREPRENEUR INTERVIEW
Born to Be
Indispensable Writer Charles-Louis Machuron Photographer Bsit
ONE YEAR OLD. THEIR BABY IS JUST A YEAR OLD. AND WITH ALREADY MORE THAN 80,000 USERS IN FOUR COUNTRIES, THE LEAST WE CAN SAY IS THAT ITS FIRST STEPS ARE MORE THAN PROMISING! IN NOVEMBER 2015, DONATIENNE VAN HOUTRYVE AND GERALDINE BIEBUYCK GAVE BIRTH TO A COLLABORATIVE APPLICATION FOR ORGANIZING BABYSITTING SIMPLY AND EFFECTIVELY, AND ABOVE ALL, WITH TRUSTWORTHY BABYSITTERS. THE STRENGTH OF THEIR APPLICATION LIES IN ITS COMMUNITY APPROACH WHERE REVIEWS AND USER RECOMMENDATIONS PROMOTE THE HIRING OF RELIABLE BABYSITTERS. BOTH MUMS CONFIDE TO US HERE THE STORY OF THEIR SUCCESS AND THEIR FUTURE DESIRES FOR THEIR QUICKLY GROWING BABY.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE CONCEPT OF BSIT? We wanted to simplify the lives of parents. Bsit is an application that connects parents with babysitters, enabling them to easily hire a babysitter. With a few clicks on the app, you can find and contact a reliable babysitter. How do we ensure that the babysitter is trustworthy? Through a collaborative model, Bsit has managed to “digitize” the notorious word-of-mouth – for
what could be better in the quest to find a first-class babysitter than the advice and approval of a friend?
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF THIS APP? We are two active moms working full time and we had had enough of the large hassle involved when it came to finding a babysitter, especially when we needed one at the last minute. Sometimes we had to refuse invitations or cancel plans at the
last minute when we weren’t able to find a babysitter. We wanted to implement a solution that gives room for the unexpected. Sites that offer sponsorships or interviews were not suitable for us.
“Our commission formula is simple: we charge an extra 15 minutes of babysitting.”
12 ENTREPRENEUR INTERVIEW
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH? HOW DID THE IDEA MATERIALIZE? We wanted to make our lives easier and, by extension, other parents’ lives, through a collaborative experience. We also were fortunate to meet the right people at the right time. From the start we were very well surrounded by talent. We had highly skilled IT and technical teams with whom we shared the same motivations. This was very valuable.
the actual duration of the babysitting session. The commission therefore depends on the hourly rate, which is defined by the parent at the time of arranging the babysitting session.
WHAT ARE THE FIGURES RECORDED SINCE THE LAUNCH?
Since our launch in November 2015, we have acquired more than 80,000 users, including 50,000 in Benelux and 30,000 users in France, a market that we only officially began targeting in September 2016. The ratio of WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS MODEL? users is about 50% parents and 50% HOW YOU DO YOU EARN MONEY? babysitters. Our business model is based on volume, so through growth. Our goal is to become the leader in all countries. Our commission formula is simple: we charge an extra 15 minutes of babysitting, no matter
HOW DO YOU GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT YOUR APP? The most important marketing weapon for us is word-of-mouth. Our users are our best ambassadors. Social networks help us a lot. The
media also helps us tremendously, especially when we launch in a new country. Finally, we also allocate resources internally to expand our target markets, as we’re doing in France right now. All in all, we are already ten people.
“Since our launch in November 2015, we have acquired more than 50,000 users in Benelux and 30,000 users in France.”
13 ENTREPRENEUR INTERVIEW
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS IN YOUR DEVELOPMENT? First we wish to firmly establish our presence in France. Then we would like to quickly expand into new countries, such as England, Switzerland and Germany. Our secret dream - well, we guess not so secret anymore - is to be present everywhere in Europe. We would also like to extend our services to all that is related to “child care.” For this, we rely on our users to let us know the additional services they need. Another of our babies also allows us to build a strong local connection and create trusted communities. It is our myBsit platform. Specifically, a club, an association or a group can create its own community within Bsit. We took the example of Les Gens de Confiance (translated in English to Trusted People), a French site that allows for secure group announcements and counts over 110,000 members. The fact that there is a “Trusted People” community on Bsit reinforces the feeling that parents are getting reliable recommendations and reviews of available babysitters on our platform.
Key Figures 2015
LAUNCHING OF THE APP AIRBSIT, LATER RENAMED BSIT
80,000 USERS 4 COUNTRIES COVERED
HOW DO YOU RECONCILE YOUR LIFE AS MOM-ENTREPRENEURS?
BELGIUM, LUXEMBOURG, THE NETHERLANDS AND FRANCE
As all active moms, we have indeed chosen to keep our respective professional activities and have arranged our schedules accordingly. We often have to tackle the question of how to best balance family life and work within our own company. However, when it comes to our app and platform, we find the energy to put in the hours at work because we are passionate about what we do. And as we have said, we are not doing it alone – we have a dynamic, high caliber team.
LAUNCH OF MYBSIT PLATFORM AVERAGE HOURLY RATE FOR BABYSITTING IN BELGIUM: EUR 6.35
2017 TARGETING 3 NEW MARKETS: GERMANY, UK AND SWITZERLAND
14 BREAKING NEWS
Breaking READ MORE ON SILICONLUXEMBOURG.LU
2 MILLION 2Gears S.A., the award-winning creator of the Governance.io investment fund oversight solution, has raised a funding round of €2m. Backed by an undisclosed group of senior sector specialists, the round includes debt financing under InnovFin (EU Finance for Innovators Initiative). Founded in 2011 by brothers Bert and Rob Boerman, 2Gears S.A. is a RegTech software development company based in Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Awarded “Luxembourg FinTech Startup of the Year 2016,” 2Gears S.A. is the creator of the pioneering investment fund oversight platform, Governance.io. This powerful Governance, Risk and Compliance solution enables professionals to transparently organize and exchange all data, documentation and controls of the investment funds they manage. The company intends to use the funds to further accelerate development of the platform and fuel international expansion to four new EU markets. “The UK, Ireland, Germany and France are at the top of the list as we make headway developing our global strategy to meet increasing demand,” says Bert Boerman, CEO and Co-founder of 2Gears. “The 11-strong team is also set to expand with six new job openings released this month.” The platform was recently enhanced with the third-party oversight module.
“This will allow the execution of online risk reviews of delegates such as investment managers and fund distributors,” explains Rob Boerman, CTO and Co-founder. “We’ll be launching another module for the management of meetings, meeting packs and board packs next month, with more functionalities in the pipeline for Q1 2017.”
© Anna Katina
GIRLS IN TECH BECOMES WIDE Girls in Tech Luxembourg changed its name and will now operate under the name WIDE, which is an acronym for «Women in Digital Empowerment.» The organization remains chaired by Marie-Adélaïde Gervis, Marina Thiriet and Annabelle Buffart. This change of identity confirms the independence of the organization. It aims to better reflect the actions that have been undertaken on the ground for already close to 3 years. It also underlines the will to offer initiatives tailored to the specificities of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It happens at a moment when the organization has clearly been recognized as a key player regarding the issues surrounding the participation and visibility of women in the IT and digital sectors in Luxembourg.
“WIDE, women in digital empowerment, embodies the growth of our organization.” explains Marie-Adélaïde Gervis. “This new name expresses how the spectrum of our actions is widening, in terms of both themes and targets. We, thus, have the opportunity to create a lasting impact addressing the needs which we identified in the field,” continues Marina Andrieu.
The team remains unchanged and will continue to carry out its mission in Luxembourg in close cooperation with its historical partners: Amazon, Microsoft, Digital Lëtzebuerg – Service Média Communication, le Ministère de l’égalité des chances, le Service National de la Jeunesse (SNJ) & BeeCreative. New projects are being launched, in particular with the intent to lead new initiatives targeting the field of youth and education.
NEW COWORKING SPACE A new coworking space – The Office – has opened in Luxembourg City. The concept was created and developed by a highly motivated and determined young woman, a Polish entrepreneur in Luxembourg. Months of hard work and overcoming numerous obstacles are finally paying off and Gosia Kramer is launching her project. The Office was created by people who face the same issues that startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs face: expensive rental offices in Luxembourg, high start-up costs, limited access to industry events and few possibilities to grow their networks.
The idea behind The Office is to enable people to make more connections and offer an inspiring space to share ideas and serve as functional facilities to collaborate. That’s why Kramer created an industrial style place that is located in the city center, in a building with a six-meter high ceiling, 100 year-old post-factory windows and handmade bricks. Her hope is to open up horizons and remove borders between people. “We believe that as a community we are stronger,” says Kramer.
“We have a co-working area where people can work together, several meeting rooms of various sizes and a large workshop room, with everything designed to create positive energy. But who wants to just work all day long? People can also take a break in our chillout area, hang out on the hammock, doze off on the sofa or listen to music to clear out their mind. In case of a hunger attack, The Café is located under the same roof and serves fresh meals every day. We provide the space, so that together we can create the community that works.”
16 BREAKING NEWS
Technoport TECHNOPORT LAUNCHES A DIGITAL EXPERIENCE STUDIO WITH THE SUPPORT OF JOIN. Technoport SA is pleased to announce the launch of its DXStudio (Digital Experience Studio). The DX-Studio is a digital workshop facility that supports entrepreneurs in developing innovative digital technologies. The DX-Studio has come to life thanks to a strategic partnership that Technoport entered into with JOIN. The idea behind the DXStudio is motivated by the growing need of digital entrepreneurs to design and test new consumer technologies on the latest media hardware and software. Smart connectivity, augmented and/or virtual reality headsets, to name a few, are the targeted technologies digital entrepreneurs are using to bring new customer experiences to market.
“A common hurdle that we observed for these entrepreneurs is to acquire or even access the latest technologies to design and test new digital customer experiences. We are very proud that JOIN partnered with us on this specific project. They share some important values with us like those of innovation, simplicity and customer centricity that are crucial for our DX-Studio.” Diego De Biasio, CEO of Technoport.
The DX-Studio will work on a model similar to that of the FabLab. Startups will have access to shared resources and the available equipment in the studio will grow based on needs that are identified. The initial technologies that will be made available are mobile hardware (Multi OS Smart phone/tablets/watches) and VR headsets. “We’re very much delighted with the partnership of Technoport, which allows us to support startups by providing high-tech devices and organizing enduser tests inside our Shops that will allow them to validate the technical tests done inside the DX-Studio,” announces Pascal Koster, CEO of JOIN Experience. “We are of course also very happy to give free telco, IT & Cloud coaching,” added Koster.
TECHNOPORT SUPPORTS LUXEMBOURG INTERNET DAYS! Luxembourg Internet Days has become THE event that both establishes a yearly state of account of the ICT sector in the Greater Region and takes the lead in analyzing innovative business models and concepts and promoting promising trends. The genetics of the event have led it to address buzz topics from non-mainstream angles. This year, on November 22 and 23, the topics are Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain technology, and impressive sector experts will be present. The Blockchain track will unveil the wide-ranging nonmonetary, technical and legal aspects, while the IoT theme will look way beyond the proverbial “talking fridge” during keynote speeches and interactive panel discussions.
On a sidetrack, the startup forum will dedicate workshops, lectures and exchanges to entrepreneurs and inspired individuals ready to transform their idea/concept into more. That’s where Technoport will present on: “Rapid Prototyping Resources for Your IoT Project – How You Can Benefit from the FabLab Resources” on November 22. Feel free to check out the updated event calendar at www.luxembourginternet-days.com.
TECHNOPORT TO SUPPORT LUXCON 2017 Technoport is proud to support the 4th edition of LuxCon 2017, which will take place from April 22 to 23 at Forum Geesseknäppchen in Luxembourg town. Luxembourg’s Festival of the Fantastic – called LuxCon – is organized by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Society Luxembourg (SFFS), which is a nonprofit association.
During those two days, a range of different activities, such as interviews, gaming demonstrations, workshops, readings, panel discussions, merchandise sales, art exhibitions, etc., will be brought to an audience of all ages from the Greater Region, including Germany, Belgium and France. All of this takes place on three floors with a surface area of more than 2,000 m². Last year, LuxCon attracted over 3,300 attendees from all walks of life with the majority being young people aged 14 to 24. This audience is typically immersed in new media and science fiction, fantasy and horror narratives on TV, in movies, literature, comics and video games. The second most important demographic is young families with parents who have grown up with early video games and other fantastic genre media. LuxCon is still looking for further sponsors to support them in their venture, so don’t delay and take a look at www.luxcon.lu or www.sffs. lu. Get in touch with them and make sure to join us next year!
18 BREAKING NEWS
Make a Difference at TechCrunch Disrupt !
The Startups.be delegation that visited TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco in September certainly stood out from the crowd. What were the most important lessons the Belgians learned in the city by the bay? The top lessons learned were that they have to think BIG, and that everybody’s doing business at the speed of light in Silicon Valley. TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco must be the complete opposite of Web Summit in Europe. Being a relatively small (and rather expensive) event, Disrupt still manages to attract a very interesting and highly selective mix of entrepreneurs, developers, investors and journalists from all over the globe. One of the advantages of the small scale of Disrupt is that the startups that present actually get all of the attention they deserve. That was certainly the case for the Belgian companies that made the trip to San Francisco and pitched at the Belgian Startups.be booth. Our delegation didn’t exactly win the startup competition during Disrupt (maybe next year, never say never ;-)), but ‘team Belgium’ did win the hearts and minds of the press, the investors and other interesting people. “Although we only had a booth for one day, it was most certainly a rewarding experience,” confirms Peter Ryckaert, the founder of Crowdbeamer. “We’ve been approached by several large companies expressing their interest in our solution. Firms such as Merck, Toyota and Bosch are only a few of the contacts we made during the event.” “Visitors at our booth were always very relevant to our business,” adds Peter Wellens from Chestnote. “We had a promising chat with the marketing
manager of Universal - who’s interested in using Chestnote to announce big movie releases - and we were able to talk about Chestnote with tech heavyweights like Scott Belsky from Benchmark Capital and Aya Zook from Microsoft Ventures. An amazing and inspiring experience indeed!”
UNIQUE BELGIAN STARTUP COCKTAIL “What we also noticed is that the Belgian tech companies are completely ‘on par’ with their American counterparts, certainly when you look at things on a technical level,” says Wouter Vandenneucker from Cr3do. “It’s not that our international competitors have better technology or better ideas. After our visit to TechCrunch Disrupt and to San Francisco, I’m more convinced than ever that - also in Belgium - we have a unique startup cocktail that can work.” Vandenneucker: “San Francisco is known throughout the world as a place where key insights are being shared within the startup community. And that’s one of the things we take away from this trip: as a startup, we’re part of an ecosystem. An ecosystem that can only thrive when we stand together and provide value for each other. That’s exactly what initiatives like Startups.be, StartIT@KBC and Corda Campus stand for and aim to accomplish.” Our startups also learned that doing business in the US goes really fast. One day before the TC Disrupt kickoff, the EventPulse team randomly met a big shot American entrepreneur at a bar in
Writer Frederik Tibau Photographer Startups.be
Las Vegas. Two days later, that man flew to San Francisco to have a meeting with founder Jan Vanderhasselt and examine in what way his event-platform could be used for the 2020 Expo in Dubai. “When in America, always assume a positive intent when you talk to people. And also, while doing business,” affirmed lawyer Pieter Gunst from Legal.io, who lives in San Francisco. Another key element that Wim Sohier of Flanders Investment & Trade stressed, is something that every American learns during childhood: “Think big, and don’t be too humble, even if you’re small. Get others to believe you’re big, and you’ll become it.”
19 BREAKING NEWS
Writer Gabriela FernĂĄndez Photographer European Startup Network Startups.be
European Startup Network
A common voice for startups so that more can start, scale and succeed in the EU. The initiative to build and strengthen national startup ecosystems was officially launched in September. Karen Boers, co-founder of the ESN, explains the main objectives and what is coming up for the organization
WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN STARTUP NETWORK (ESN)? The ESN constitutes the European umbrella organization representing startups. It brings together 16 democratically organized, non-profit and independent startup associations from the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and United Kingdom.
WHAT IS THE MAIN GOAL OF THE ASSOCIATION? The ESNâ€™s main goal is to harmonize and empower European startup ecosystems with respect to entrepreneurial culture, market access, and the legal environment. Together with Lisa Schreier, we are the current directors of the ESN in Brussels and Berlin.
WHICH CONCRETE ACTIONS WILL THE ESN TAKE TO ACHIEVE ITS GOALS?
THE MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN STARTUP NETWORK
There are several things coming up for the organization. On one hand, we will focus on scientific research about the European startup ecosystem in order to create transparency and offer factbased policy advice at the European level. To this end, the ESN is the editor of the European Startup Monitor (ESM), an annual study on startups and founder-friendly framework conditions in Europe. On the other hand, we also support the internationalization of startups and facilitate international go-to-market through the development of a soft landing program to ease startups into foreign markets. To that end, we have put together a delegation of startups from different countries to attend Slush, one of the biggest entrepreneur-driven conferences in the world, taking place in Helsinki at the end of November.
THE SUPPORTERS OF THE EUROPEAN STARTUP NETWORK
Instilling the Spirit of
Innovation at ING
Writer Charles-Louis Machuron Photographer Anna Katina
ERIK JACQUEMART IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MONITORING THE STRATEGIC PLAN AT ING LUXEMBOURG AND AS SUCH, HE IS ALSO THE “CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER”. INDEED, INNOVATION HAS A PROMINENT PLACE AT ING, WHETHER IT’S CREATED INTERNALLY THROUGH INNOVATION COMPETITIONS, WHICH HAVE BECOME INCREASINGLY POPULAR WITH EMPLOYEES, OR EXTERNALLY THROUGH COLLABORATION WITH STARTUPS. HOW DOES A BANK WITH 35 MILLION CUSTOMERS AND OPERATIONS IN 40 COUNTRIES MANAGE TO REMAIN AT THE FOREFRONT OF TECHNOLOGY? WHAT CAN AN ACCELERATOR PROGRAM SUCH AS ING FINTECH VILLAGE BRING TO THE BANK?
1/ WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITHIN ING? As “Head of Bank Transformation” I coordinate major initiatives related to the implementation of our strategic plan. We aim to deliver to our customers a superior experience and to be their primary bank, and the one to which they will turn when they have a project. We are a universal bank and the number one bank in the Benelux region, where we have nearly 13 million customers. Furthermore, we have a long and recognized history as a digital banking institution with ING Direct, and that is helping us to implement our strategy. Innovation plays a prominent role at ING. This includes our relationships and projects with Fintech startups and coordination with other entities of ING, in particular to identify innovations that can be brought to Luxembourg. It also influences the transformation of our corporate culture!
“We have adopted a Lean Startup methodology, which provides the necessary agility and experimentation to help us effectively execute our more traditional projects. This is what is meant when we talk about ‘working like a startup.”
HOW IS ING INVOLVED IN THE STARTUP ENVIRONMENT AND FINTECH, ESPECIALLY IN LUXEMBOURG? ING is a bank that offers, in Luxembourg, a wide range of business services to companies of all kinds, including startups. We are already the bank of choice for many startups, including those in the Fintech sector, and we offer services such as the management of their accounts and cash flow.
“ING has created - on the sidelines of the bank - some Fintech startups: Payconiq, Twyp and, more recently, Yolt aggregator.” ING is definitely one of the most dynamic banks in the Fintech sector. ING works with more than fifty Fintech companies. Our size allows us to try out lots of Fintech products and services in different locations and, if successful, bring them to other countries. ING has acquired or bought stakes in several Fintech startups, proposed new services by integrating certain offerings, tested new designs with others and even created - on the sidelines of the bank - some Fintech startups: Payconiq, Twyp and, more recently, Yolt aggregator. In Luxembourg, we are the only bank partnering with crowdfunding platforms. These are big names (Seedrs and KissKissBankBank), but we also continue to work with local Fintech startups when appropriate. Finally, in the Netherlands, we have a full team working on opportunities related to the Blockchain.
2/ HOW IS INNOVATION ENCOURAGED INTERNALLY AT ING? Alongside external innovation with Fintech partners, there is a clear commitment to creating a culture of innovation at ING. To encourage innovation across our entities, we host internal competitions in which employees submit innovative ideas and receive coaching in order to develop their ideas. The fourth edition of the competition will start soon. The finalists win a budget for implementing their ideas. We also now have an internal incubator that supports the winning teams. It is through this competition and incubator program that some new Fintech startups were created by ING. Another concrete example is the adoption of an innovative methodology largely inspired by the Lean Startup methodology. We have more and more coaches trained in the methodology and our internal accelerators help carry out innovative projects. Dedicated teams work for four months on a single project. This methodology also provides the agility and necessary experimentation to help us effectively execute our more traditional projects. This is what is meant when we talk about “working like a startup.”
“We want to solve a serious problem: it is very difficult for startups to work with banks.”
3/ THE SECOND EDITION OF ING FINTECH VILLAGE HAS JUST BEEN LAUNCHED. WHAT IS IT? It is an acceleration program for startups that offer the bank technological solutions to meet a number of its challenges. Startups must be at a certain stage of maturity, i.e., ready with a Proof of Concept that can be implemented during the four-month accelerator program. The goal from the outset was clear. We wanted to solve a serious problem: it is very difficult for startups to work with banks. Collaboration between startups and banks tends to take a lot of time and sometimes leads nowhere. It’s definitely not good for startups or the banks to let good opportunities pass. That is why the Belgian, Luxembourg and Dutch entities of ING collaborate with strong partners like Swift Innotribe, Deloitte and IBM, as well as serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists... We are committed to making all the required support for startups
available. In particular, we want our senior managers out in the field to be able to quickly make decisions and mobilize bank resources.
4/ WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THIS PROGRAM? We have a few different expectations. We hope, of course, to work on innovative solutions that will be implemented in the bank and benefit our customers. But first we want startups to find exactly what they want: a partner who knows how to adapt and agility to test and improve their solutions. I must say that the first edition was a success and the first alumni – Belgian, English and Israeli – are excellent promoters of the program. Finally, this is an outstanding opportunity for senior bank managers associated with the program. There are also three ING Luxembourg mentors participating in this edition. They will experience a very different world from the bank and it will be destabilizing, energizing and extremely rewarding, all at the same time. This is how we will accelerate the pace of innovation at ING. Above all, I hope that Luxembourg startups will apply for the second edition of the program.
“We must be able to recognize that often the best ideas come from outside. You need to know how to identify them and then bring them into the organization!”
5/ WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CHALLENGES FACING BANKS? They are numerous and well known: heavy regulation, disintermediation, consumer expectations constantly changing, etc. I will discuss instead two other challenges. The first is being able to recognize that the best ideas often come from outside. You need to know how to identify them and then bring them into the organization! The second is that banking will become increasingly invisible but crucial (much like the oxygen we breathe). This will make it more complicated for banks to demonstrate, and monetize, the added value these services bring to the customer.
6/ WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT LUXEMBOURG’S POSITIONING OF THE FINTECH SECTOR? I remember hearing the Minister of Economy of Luxembourg, Etienne Schneider, say earlier this year: “What Silicon Valley has in Tech, we have in Fin!” There are many positive elements of having a Fintech hub in Luxembourg and the ecosystem is quite conducive to it. Clearly things are happening, but speed is important because we are not the only country sharing this ambition.
“Luxembourg must take advantage of its international attractiveness, collaborating and working closely with other Fintech centers and ecosystems.” It is essential to not rely on Luxembourg’s strengths alone. I really believe more in the setup of mature companies in Luxembourg that target a pan-European market (which we are already seeing happen) than the emergence of many local Fintech startups. We must also work on improving the weak points of Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem: the lack of specialized IT resources, limited entrepreneurial spirit, few venture capitalists despite Luxembourg being a leading financial center, etc., both to offset them in the short term and address them in the medium term. Finally, I think it is essential to not fall into the trap of thinking “not invented here / not purely local”. Luxembourg must take advantage of its international attractiveness, collaborating and working closely with other Fintech centers and ecosystems. As such, ING FinTech Village is a component of the “extended” Fintech ecosystem in Luxembourg.
22 3 QUESTIONS
3 questions for
Gontran Poirot 6ZERO1 IS THE FIRST INCUBATOR FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISES IN LUXEMBOURG. IT IS A JOINT INITIATIVE OF THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR, EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL ECONOMY, THE FOUNDATION OF THE GRAND DUKE AND THE GRAND DUCHESS OF LUXEMBOURG, AND THE LUXEMBOURG UNION OF SOCIAL ECONOMY (ULESS). ITS MISSION IS TO ASSIST THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISES AND TO SUPPORT THE CREATION OF SOCIETAL IMPACT COMPANIES (SIS) IN LUXEMBOURG. 6ZERO1 IS FINANCIALLY SUPPORTED BY Å’UVRE NATIONALE DE SECOURS GRANDE-DUCHESSE CHARLOTTE (ONS). THE 6ZERO1 PROGRAM OFFERS A COMPELLING SET OF SERVICES THAT AIM TO ASSIST SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING AND LAUNCHING THEIR BUSINESSES. THE FIRST SESSION OF THE PROGRAM WILL START IN JANUARY 2017 AND RUN FOR A PERIOD OF 12 MONTHS. WE MET PROGRAM LEADER GONTRAN POIROT TO GET THE SCOOP ON THE NEW INITIATIVE.
WHAT ARE THE AMBITIONS OF THE INCUBATOR? 6zero1 primarily targets the development of social enterprises and the creation of societal impact companies (SIS). Secondly, the incubator aims to strengthen the sustainable job creation process through a fabric of sustainable and economically viable enterprises. Finally, 6zero1 wants to serve as a social innovation engine and open its doors to project leaders from abroad who would like to come and develop their businesses in Luxembourg. We offer a wide range of services. The first service of the incubator is to provide a workspace for social entrepreneurs. The workspace includes: a collective or individual space, a desk with storage, closet space, Internet access, meeting rooms, dining and lounge areas. We also offer a support program that includes: networking, business support, training, advice and financing.
Writer Charles-Louis Machuron Photographer Anna Katina
23 3 QUESTIONS
WHEN WILL THE FIRST STARTUPS AND ENTREPRENEURS INCUBATE WITH YOU? We have already been in contact with many entrepreneurs who have shown interest in our incubator. A call for projects is underway to find the first social impact companies that will join us at 6zero1. The first session will start early in 2017.
HOW DOES SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOP IN LUXEMBOURG? In recent years, more and more people in Luxembourg are coming up with social project ideas. These ideas are then transformed into social enterprises. However, some of them get stuck in the development phase or even put on pause. We noted that there was a missing link after the reflection and business plan process; there was a lack of support for the launch and the development of these activities. So, we came up with the idea of the 6zero1 incubator. It will act and support social entrepreneurs as they develop and launch their activities.
ABOUT THE NAME 6zero1 is a social enterprise aiming to become the first of the social impact companies (SIS) in Luxembourg when the SIS law takes effect at the end of 2016. In abbreviated form, 6 is SIS (in French!) and 1 represents being the first SIS company. Thatâ€™s the story of how we came up with 6zero1.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS If youâ€™re interested in participating in the 6zero1 program, submit your application by November 25 via the 6zero1 website. After a pre-selection of applications, shortlisted candidates will be invited to present their projects in front of a selection committee. The selected applicants will begin the 6zero1 support program in January 2017.
Learn more about the 6zero1 call for applications on
24 FIT4START’S CORNER
Design into Code
Writer Charles-Louis Machuron Photographer Anna Katina
THE STARTUP YOTAKO IS AMONG THE FIVE STARTUPS THAT GRADUATED FROM THE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIT FOR START PROGRAM, THE PUBLIC ACCELERATION PROGRAM FOR EMERGING AND INNOVATIVE STARTUPS WITH HIGH GROWTH POTENTIAL. THE TWO FOUNDERS AND FRIENDS, DAMIEN NEUBERG AND ALFONSO GARCÍA FREY, REVEALED THE NEW IDENTITY OF THEIR PRODUCT AT THE PROGRAM’S CLOSING CEREMONY IN SEPTEMBER.
BRINGING DESIGNERS AND DEVELOPERS CLOSER TOGETHER Simply speaking, Yotako transforms design into code. And, it’s easy to use! Traditionally, designers and developers each have their own distinct areas of expertise and it can be difficult for a developer to precisely capture a designer’s ideas and turn them into code. Hence, Damien and Alfonso’s idea came about as they sought a more efficient and faster solution. The software they have developed allows a developer to simply import the creations of designers and generate code that is ready for use. In fact, Yotako says that its innovative technology, thanks in particular to artificial intelligence, cuts development time by 30%. It has eliminated the need for a developer to spend hours transcribing lines of code. Yotako, therefore, offers designers and developers a solution that significantly reduces time and costs.
AS EASY AS ONE-TWO-THREE The founders of Yotako have designed software that is exceptionally easy to use. In the first step, regardless of the medium on which the design was created, the developer simply imports the design into the Yotako software. In the second step, the developer selects the type of application to be developed and the technology with which he or she wants to work. Finally, in the third and final step, ready-to-use source code is generated. The real strength of the startup is the simplification of the process of creation and development. It is no surprise that developers can’t wait to get on the platform and experiment with Yotako.
FIT FOR START, A SPRINGBOARD FOR THE STARTUP Freshly graduated from the Fit for Start program last September, Damien and Alfonso recognize that those four months of coaching and training enabled them to develop an MVP—Minimum Viable Product, to commercially launch their product on the market, recruit a first employee and acquire a wide range of users who believe in the software. Damien and Alfonso are currently focused on acquiring new customers and closing fundraising campaigns.
Drop your design
3. «Yotako cuts development time by 30%»
Ready-to-use source code
26 PRODUCT LAUNCH
The Ultimate Laptop
THE SURFACE BOOK, THE FIRST LAPTOP FROM THE SURFACE FAMILY, IS AVAILABLE IN SHOPS IN LUXEMBOURG FROM THE END OF NOVEMBER. THERE ARE FIVE VERSIONS OF THE DEVICE FOR SALE, WITH PRICES STARTING AT €1,649. THE SURFACE BOOK HAS AN ELEGANT DESIGN THAT IS REVOLUTIONARY THANKS TO ITS BUILT-IN HINGE THAT ALLOWS FOR THE KEYBOARD TO BE EASILY DISCONNECTED FROM THE TOUCHSCREEN DISPLAY. THE LAPTOP ALSO INCORPORATES INTEL’S LATEST PROCESSOR FOR POWERFUL PERFORMANCE.
HIGHLY VERSATILE The Surface Book is an all-in-one laptop with three modes: Laptop Mode, Clipboard Mode and Draw Mode. Detach the display to transform Surface Book into a thin and light tablet, or fold the screen to turn it into a detachable PixelSenseTM Display with Pen & touch.
“Luxembourg is a very innovative market where new devices are always received very enthusiastically.” Candi Carrera, Microsoft Luxembourg Country Manager.
Tech Specs Find It I5/i7 Intel® CoreTM At Saturn, HiFi International Up to 2 GB video memory and Elgon Up to 16 hours of battery life Price Range Up to 1 TB SSD From €1,649 to €3,549
27 JEWEL OF THE MONTH
The TripAdvisor for
Rental Housing Are your neighbors noisy? Is your heating system too expensive? Will your landlord return the deposit? These are some of the most common questions people think about before renting a house. And, generally, the answers you get are: “this is a very quiet community,” “it depends on how much you use it,” and “there won’t be any problem with the deposit.” However, reality doesn’t always match expectations and what landlords say, and many tenants end up finding unexpected and unpleasant surprises. Teresa Castaño and Jorge Guillén faced this kind of situation and, tired of it, they decided to bring a solution to this problem. They launched YOVIVÍ, the first collaborative platform where tenants can review and evaluate their rental experiences and future tenants can obtain real first-hand information about how former tenants found their experience living in the place they are thinking of renting. The main goal of the startup is to serve as a bridge between tenants. But YOVIVÍ doesn’t only address tenants; it also targets landlords, who can offer their tenants the opportunity to comment on their experience during the rental and thus obtain a good assessment as lessor. On the platform, people can also get an overall picture of what it would be like to live at a particular address. For example, they learn about the neighborhood of the rental and the services around it. How does the platform work? Once registered on the website, a user can enter their housing details and write an assessment of their rental experience. Other tenants, as well as the owner, can add reviews and comments for a property.
Writer Charles-Louis Machuron Photographer YOVIVÍ
The platform also offers the possibility to contact previous tenants for further information. For now, the web-based platform is only a beta version. Teresa and Jorge first shared the platform with their friends and family. Soon after, word got out about the useful platform and Spanish media – El Mundo, La Razón, National TV, TICbeat, etc. – began talking about the concept. The founders are currently working on a mobile application to make it easier for anyone to be able to review or find a rental. The immediate word-ofmouth buzz about the platform has already piqued the interest of many business angels and investors. One thing is for sure—in the first 20 days, YOVIVÍ got great traction. They had over 3,000 sessions and 150 sign-ins (mostly by tenants), and they already discussed the idea of a partnership with another moving startup that will be announced this month. Last but not least, a negotiation with a large Erasmus platform network
is in progress. Currently focused on building a community of likeminded people who are willing to share their opinions about their experiences, Teresa and Jorge are confiding the effective business model will be launched in a few months. They say that the startup won’t charge either tenants or owners; instead they are thinking about other ways to monetize the platform. In the first phase of development, the startup remained focused on the tenants. Now, they are working on getting owners to integrate their properties into the platform and use the reviews as their core marketing strategy. The startup is also announcing that, in a few months, tenants will find flats to rent on the platform, of course with reviews from previous tenants! At the same time, international expansion is on the founders’ minds, as they’re already targeting Brazil and Colombia. (Discover more at yovivi.com.)
The Faktory Invests
5 million Euros
in Connected Objects
THE FAKTORY, LOCATED IN LIÈGE, IS BOTH AN ACCELERATOR FOR TECHNOLOGY STARTUPS AND SEED INVESTMENT FUND. IT WAS FOUNDED IN 2013 BY PIERRE L’HOEST, A BELGIAN ENTREPRENEUR AND BUSINESSMAN WHO IS PERHAPS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS TV SLOW MOTION TECHNOLOGY. ASSISTED BY SIMON ALEXANDRE IN HIS NEW BUSINESS, THE FAKTORY AIMS TO SUPPORT AND CREATE PROJECTS BASED ON DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES THAT ENABLE NEW PRODUCTS, PRIMARILY IN THE ICT SECTOR, TO BE WORLDWIDE LEADERS IN NICHE MARKETS. THE FAKTORY IS CURRENTLY INCUBATING 11 SPECIALIZED STARTUPS IN THE AREAS OF: INTERNET OF THINGS AND CONNECTED DEVICES, DRONES, VIDEO GAMES, APPLICATIONS, ENERGY HARVESTING AND MICROPROCESSORS, AND WELLNESS AND LEISURE TECHNOLOGIES.
Writer Charles-Louis Machuron Photographer The Faktory Illustrator The Faktory
VISION AND EXPERIENCE In 2011, when Pierre L’Hoest left EVS after 28 years of an extraordinary technological adventure that saw him become the world leader in replay and slow motion technology, he had a desire to pass on his experience to other entrepreneurs and support their innovative ideas. This appetite for R&D and disruptive projects led him to launch The Faktory, a hybrid model combining both a startup accelerator and seed investment fund, in 2013. The incubator, located in the suburbs of Liège, mainly follows the Lean Startup model to accelerate young startup gems discovered in Europe. The Faktory team consists of a dozen experts in various specialized fields and includes: Jean-Pierre Pironnet for investment and financial advice, Yves Joskin for technology and innovation matters and Nicolas Biet for financial analysis.
5 MILLION EUROS INVESTED In addition to incubating 11 startups and investing time in supporting their development, The Faktory is also investing financially, leveraging them all through investments from other public, private and research organizations. In total, The Faktory has already invested €5 million in so-called ICT projects, its main area of focus. The projects incubated and invested in are particularly innovative in the field of the Internet of Things. “The projects combining hardware and big data especially speak to us,” says Simon Alexandre. The team completes a 360° analysis of each promising project and contributes a unique level of involvement to the development of each startup with which it works. “We place ourselves more as a partner than as an incubator or a VC. We want to create added value in the projects,” adds L’Hoest.
A GREEN BUILDING IN CONSTRUCTION The Faktory is currently based in Liège Science Park on the premises of EVS, close to other technology companies and a green environmental framework. In a few months, the accelerator will relocate to the heart of Liège, Quai Marcellis, to an avant-garde building designed by L’Hoest, an architect by training. This innovative, green energy, fully connected building will bring under one roof The Faktory, housing and an ambitious urban agriculture project executed in partnership with the University of Liège. “Our goal is to build a building in the image of what the city will be in 30 years,” concludes L’Hoest. Through this project, The Faktory aims to become a leading European accelerator, based in Belgium.
Zoom in on
Foobot Foobot is a smart air quality analyzer that monitors in real time the quality of indoor air. Foobot checks for pollutants and sends recommendations to connected devices that can automatically provide homes and offices with fresh air when needed. Learn more at foobot.io.
PIOUPIOU Pioupiou is a connected wind gauge that analyzes wind speed, direction and gusts in real-time. This anemometer can be installed anywhere, even where there is no electricity or Internet. It’s very useful for paragliders, windsurfers and kite surfers. The completely autonomous, compact and ultra-light weather station should also be of interest to those in the agriculture sector. Learn more at pioupiou.fr.
E-PEAS e-peas is a startup producing semiconductors that recover ambient energy to increase the life of batteries and make them self-powered. The knowhow of e-peas has already attracted manufacturers of connected objects that are eager to minimize the energy expended by their devices and benefit from e-peas’ development kits and network of experts. Learn more at e-peas.com.
30 TECH CITY
POWERED BY Startups.be
WRITER Gabriela Fernรกndez
PICTURES Startup Antwerp Fair / iStock - Mario Guti - siraanamwong
The port city has a proven track record when it comes to successful startups: with â‚Ź26M in venture capital (2015), and an internationalization rate of 11%, Antwerp has positioned itself as one of the hot hubs for entrepreneurship in Belgium.
32 TECH CITY
Launched in 2013, Beatswitch is connecting festival organizers and booking agencies. In doing so, this startup empowers artists. The company has secured a total of roughly €1M in funding.
Launched in 2015, Parcify is a customer-driven solution aiming to transform the way people ship, deliver and pay for things. The startup connects local omnichannel retailers with crowdsourced on-demand logistics. By building up a strong community of Parcifiers, the startup has managed to bring together local stores and citizens. The company has secured $525K in seed funding.
CHESTNOTE Launched in 2015, Chestnote belongs to a small group of startups that are ambitious enough to break time barriers. Chestnote does exactly that: the slow messaging app allows users to send photo, text and video messages that are only delivered when and where the sender decides. CHESTNOTE.COM
FLAVR Launched in 2015, Flavr empowers anyone with a passion and talent for cooking to start offering their delicious creations online. This means that people can order delicious and budgetfriendly meals made with love by the best local chefs. Flavr was recently granted €450K to support its expansion, and earlier this year the company won the International FastPitch competition at SXSW. FLAVR.BE
NEOSCORES Launched in 2013, neoScores is a pioneer in offering digital music scores. The startup gives musicians the opportunity to simply and securely buy and use sheet music, as well as share notes with fellow musicians. The digital scores can be used via smartphone, tablet or computer, through any operating system. The “iTunes of sheet music” has secured €2M in funding and was awarded the Foxconn prize at Startup Nations Summit 2014. NEOSCORES.COM
PLAYPASS Launched in 2012, PlayPass, a company offering festivals worldwide software solutions for their platforms, has officially announced an agreement with Sandpiper Digital Payments AG. The startup, that is best known in Belgium for its intelligent RIFD bracelets at the Rock Werchter, got a capital injection of €2M. Thanks to its very international mindset, chances are the next time you go to a music festival PlayPass will be there too! PLAYPASS.BE
ROMBIT Launched in 2012, Rombit created the Romcore dashboard, an Industry 4.0 enabler quickly connecting with legacy software and tailor-made IoT devices. The startup got a good dose of fuel in March 2016 when they raised €10M from the Belgian investor Michel Akkermans. ROMBIT.BE
33 TECH CITY
SENTIANCE Launched in 2012, Sentiance is one of the most renowned startups in Belgium. It is a data science company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyze IOT sensor data in order to create a deep understanding of human behavior and context. The company is now opening its 3rd office, which is in NY, after establishing in London earlier this year. Other offices are planned for Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. SENTIANCE.COM
SLICKSS Launched in 2013, Slickks is a realtime track and trace mobile app that helps companies take control of their mission critical shipments, limit freight spends, increase billing accuracy and on-time performance. In addition, it tackles the complexities of supply chain collaboration and provides users with modern API services so that they can integrate with business partners and digitize their logistics. The startup, which has DHL, Atlas Copco, CEVA Logistics and Fluor as customers, picked up €1.5M in funding in October 2016. SLICKSS.COM
TURBULENT Launched in 2015, Turbulent developed a new and efficient hydropower technique to deliver affordable, renewable energy. It was elected as one of the best tech startups in the world by securing 1st place at The Pitch Competition, during Startup Nations Summit 2015. Since then, the startup has opened offices in South America and has been awarded on numerous occasions. TURBULENT.BE
34 FAIL / SUCCEED
Entrepreneurship is All About Failing
and Getting Back on Your Feet You can’t do business without making a mistake from time to time. That’s the key message Startups.be and the Flemish government agency Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen want to get across to the public. Startups.be, the one-stop shop for Belgian tech entrepreneurship, has been organizing a ‘Failing Forward’ conference for five years now. Recently, the Flemish government has caught on to the importance of the topic and has given the Belgian nonprofit the mandate to set up a much broader campaign on ‘failing and getting back up again’. In the coming years, the Startups. be team will be actively raising awareness of the matter, emphasizing that making mistakes is an essential part of the entrepreneurial learning process.
“We want to break the taboos concerning failure and make sure that entrepreneurial people who make mistakes are not viewed as being unreliable,” Karen Boers, CEO of Startups.be. “The fear of failure discourages many people from starting their own business,” adds Bernard De Potter, Administrator General of the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Enterprise. “We have to remove those hurdles, and point out to people that they shouldn’t allow one failure to keep them down. There will always be failure, but you can always overcome it and do better next time.” A good way of ‘broadcasting’ the message to a wide audience is through testimonials of people who have been through the
Writer Frederik Tibau Photographer Startups.be
wringer themselves. Below we’ll let three Belgian tech entrepreneurs tell their own Failing Forward stories, and in particular the lessons they learned.
INGE GEERDENS, CEO AT CVW AREHOUSE
“These days at universities and colleges, students can’t fail any more; they merely ‘take courses with them to the next year’. In the old days, you just failed and had to deal with telling the bad news at home. That was true failure! If we try to protect everyone from failing, how on earth will they ever get used to it?”
Inge Geerdens founded recruitment and selection agency Executive Research in 2003. CVWarehouse, an online recruitment platform for businesses, followed in 2006. Her credo? You can’t learn to ride a bike without falling off sometimes. “My first and biggest moment of failure was when I got fired from my job at the age of 26. I was so embarrassed… Looking back, the positive part is that I then made the decision to become self-employed.” “My second very painful moment was when we almost went bankrupt with CVWarehouse. There wasn’t a market yet in 2009, and everyone was busy restructuring. What I learned from this is that the market can change overnight. I had always assumed that everything would stay the same, but nothing could be further from the truth. When the going really got tough, I picked up the phone and asked my clients: ‘What can I do to keep you as a customer?’ When things aren’t going your way, ask your clients directly how you can help them.” “I deal with failure in a very personal way, because if you fail, you can’t really tell your customers and employees. You simply can’t run the risk of everyone walking out on you. I’ve learned to first crawl into my own cocoon. And I put on my running shoes. Another option is to surround yourself with people who give you energy.”
FILIP TACK, FOUNDER & CEO AT NOMADESK After a failed adventure in the U.S., the Belgian software company Nomadesk is refocusing its efforts on the European market. Founder Filip Tack is a realist: “I do what I do, with the best intentions and in the knowledge that nobody possesses the absolute truth. But complaining doesn’t help.”
“I’ve never been scared of doing business. But there was a period when I did feel insufficiently qualified.“ “I’ve never been scared of doing business. But there was a period when I did feel insufficiently qualified. This lasted until I completed my MBA, after which I had the competencies to start up a pretty ambitious business. But in 2012, we refocused our efforts on the European market and
35 FAIL / SUCCEED
decided to close our office in the US. If we hadn’t done this, Nomadesk would no longer exist. A failure is the biggest apprenticeship there is. Afterwards you definitely do things differently.” What I draw confidence from, oddly enough, is the knowledge that nobody really wants to be in your shoes as CEO. Many will say it would be nice, until they realize the responsibilities and stress it carries. That’s what gives me confidence. I do what I do, with the best intentions and in the knowledge that nobody possesses the absolute truth.” “Belgians aren’t ambitious enough, I often hear. But I think that, most of all, Belgians are cautious. I dare to say that every entrepreneur is ambitious at heart. After all, you’re putting your money as well as your reputation into your business. We just don’t dare to express those ambitions. ‘Let’s approach this carefully, then no one can judge me on those ambitions’. This sense of modesty is indeed embedded in our Belgian culture.”
TOON VANAGT, SERIAL-TECH ENTREPRENEUR Toon Vanagt was on the brink of bankruptcy a few times, but he always continued to fight. He gets his inspiration from the book Kaas, by Willem Elsschot, that says: “focus on the core.” He also advocates tolerance.
“If you failed once, you shouldn’t be reminded of it for the rest of your life.” “At the age of 27 - still very naïve - I flew to San Francisco to pitch an idea in Silicon Valley. I was literally laughed out of the room by the venture capitalists. One of my mistakes: I was a single founder. I had no team around me. I couldn’t present any customers as a reference or answer the question why customers would want to buy my product. After returning to Belgium a few months later, I launched my first startup with four business partners. Being ridiculed is no joy, but setbacks are a part of entrepreneurship.” “Every businessman goes through a permanent learning process, and each learning process comes with mistakes. You need to analyze which mistakes jeopardize your company. Finding the energy to keep pushing forward is drawn from your optimism as an entrepreneur and from your family and friends who accept you for who you are and who don’t judge you by the project that didn’t work out as you expected. Make sure you have a life outside your professional life; a life where you can rely on recognition and support.” “Focus on the core at the start,” emphasizes Toon. “In Kaas (Cheese) by Willem Elsschot, a starting entrepreneur spends months working on his business card and searching for the right office and warehouse. Many people starting their own business put a lot of time and energy into ancillary matters, instead of getting out and
talking to potential customers. I’m a strong believer in customer interviews, where you try to get feedback from your future customers during the very first stages of business.”
36 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
How should I define
the valuation of my startup?
Question from Tom S. Answer by Nicolas Valaize
NICOLAS VALAIZE IS PROJECT MANAGER AT NYUKO, IN CHARGE OF NYUKO FUNDING. HE HELPS PROJECT HOLDERS GAIN ACCESS TO PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FUNDS.
When NextUnicorn is considering selling 25% of its capital in exchange for € 300,000, it calculates:
Before entering into the boxing ring with investors, it is important to become well versed in valuation terminology and practice the mental gymnastics of valuation calculations. Keep in mind that on one side of the ring, you will likely be highlighting the promising potential and future of your project. On the other side, the investor will likely be focusing on what you have been able to execute thus far. Take the example of NextUnicorn. The startup has been in existence for six months, it has a radiant team and the ambition of closing a first financing round of €300,000. Investors show interest in exchange for a 25% stake in the company. NextUnicorn is then valued at €900,000. Are you wondering, if a quarter of the company is sold for €300,000, doesn’t it mean its value is actually 1.2 million?
Not exactly. If you sell 25% of your company for €300,000, it is only valued at €1.2 million after the investment takes place (i.e. posttransaction). This €1.2 million is called your “post-money” valuation. But what interests us is the fair valuation before getting this investment, namely the valuation of what you have built so far. To calculate the “pre-money” valuation, you simply have to subtract the amount of funds raised from the post-money valuation. Pre-money and post-money valuations must be mastered by every entrepreneur who wants to calmly and confidently approach investors.
POST-MONEY VALUATION = FUNDS RAISED / AGREED PERCENTAGE
PRE-MONEY VALUATION = POST-MONEY VALUATION – FUNDS RAISED
Post-money Valuation = Funds Raised / Agreed Percentage = €300,000 / 25%. This equals an enhancement after transaction, or post-money valuation of €1.2 million. It can therefore deduce its premoney valuation by applying the second equation:
Pre-money Valuation = Post-money Valuation – Funds Raised = €1.2m €300,000. So, when the founders of NextUnicorn are demanding investors pay €300,000 in exchange for 25% of its capital, they are implying that their company is worth €900,000 today.
37 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
Here are some more examples to help you become a valuation master so that you feel confident when you meet with investors. If I want to raise €650k, what percentage of my company would investors get if I negotiate a premoney valuation of€2.5m?
Answer: €650k / (€2.5m + € 650k) = 20.6%. What is the minimum pre-money valuation I have to negotiate, if I do not wish to dilute my company by more than 25% on a round of €400k?
Answer: €400k / 25% - €400k = €1.2m. What is the pre-money valuation the investor will offer when claiming 18% in exchange for €500k?
Answer: €500k / 18% - €500k = €2.3m. Commonly, business angels will focus on your pre-money valuation, challenging you on what you have done so far. On the other hand, an investment fund will usually seek a post-money percentage as high as possible. This will ensure, after successive dilutions of fundraising, a sufficiently attractive percentage for the fund at the time of resale or IPO of your startup.
HOW TO CALCULATE OR DEMONSTRATE A LEVEL OF PRE-MONEY VALUATION Let’s start by forgetting everything you learned in finance courses pertaining to valuing a business. In reality, there’s no magic formula. Evaluating your startup will be the result of your negotiation with investors and the following factors:
• THE TOTAL AMOUNT TO COVER UP TO 12 TO 18 MONTHS OF CASH BURN; • THE PERCENTAGE OF CAPITAL THAT INVESTORS WILL RECEIVE; • THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE DEAL: ARE INVESTORS RACING TO YOUR DOOR?
The secret is to anticipate investors’ negotiation tactics and be the first party to announce the level of premoney valuation desired. In most cases, the investors will be able to negotiate a lower valuation so it is important to aim high from the beginning in order to end up with a valuation with which you’ll be happy. Method: To steer you in the right direction in this delicate task, Dave Berkus, a renowned business angel from California, offers the following pre-money valuation method for a startup in its early stages:
Put in your own values FEATURES TO ADD TO THE PRE-MONEY VALORIZATION GOOD IDEA FROM €0 TO €500K PROTOTYPE FUNCTIONALITY FROM €0 TO €500K QUALITY OF FOUNDING TEAM FROM €0 TO €500K STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIPS FROM €0 TO €500K DRIVER/TRACTION LEVEL FROM €0 TO €500K I advise applying this method mainly to startups that aren’t yet generating income and that have the ambition to exceed the €20 million turnover within 5 years.
This article was first published on 1001startups.fr.
38 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
I care about
Question from Sophie M. Answer by Nicolas Roland
having well-drafted conditions?
NICOLAS ROLAND IS SPECIALIZED IN ALL ASPECTS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAW (INTERNET LAW, DATA PROTECTION LAW, ETC.) AND IS COUNSEL AT STIBBE, A LEADING INTERNATIONALLY ORIENTED COMMERCIAL LAW FIRM WITH ITS MAIN OFFICES IN AMSTERDAM, BRUSSELS AND LUXEMBOURG.
“ Without well-drafted conditions, the parties to a contract can face detrimental consequences.” changes. Also, without well-drafted conditions, the parties to a contract can face detrimental consequences, such as unlimited liability claims or the triggering of foreign dispute resolution rules they weren’t aware of or weren’t expecting. For many entrepreneurs, the subject matter of drafting business terms and conditions might not be their top priority. However, their businesses can be adversely affected if they don’t address the matter early on. This is in part because an entrepreneur’s business or transaction conditions should govern the relationship they have with their clients right from the start. Indeed, once a contractual relationship has been established, through a purchase order, for instance, and there is—legally speaking—an agreement, it becomes very difficult to make
Entrepreneurs should set out these conditions in a proper way: both in terms of their content and how they are displayed. For instance, the European Court of Justice recently held that for distance selling consumer contracts (i.e., where there is no face-to-face contact between buyer and seller), providing the sales conditions only by way of a hyperlink is insufficient. Also, as a general principle under Belgian case law, the burden lies on the entrepreneur to prove that a client has been duly informed of the conditions and has agreed to them. Furthermore, these conditions must clearly lay out the company’s position on all important matters, and include terms that cover the definition of the products and/or services to be provided, the governing law and the liability mechanisms. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that, unlike French and Luxembourg law, under
Belgian law, liability for gross negligence (i.e., in the sense of wrongdoing that is so grave that it is inconceivable by a professional person, faute lourde/zware fout) can be validly excluded in a B2B contract. Once again, clearly drafted provisions are required because the Belgian Civil Code authorizes the judge to construe any poorly drafted or ambiguous provision against its author. Finally, having all of the terms and conditions in writing helps entrepreneurs comply with the law. For example, in certain circumstances, such as with regard to the existence or absence of a withdrawal right, entrepreneurs are legally obliged to provide their clients with certain information in a timely manner. In a nutshell, if you don’t clearly specify your business or transaction terms and conditions, you put yourself at risk of uncertainty and misunderstandings, which can be detrimental to your interests. And that isn’t good for a startup trying to develop and grow its promising business!
39 MANAGEMENT NOTEBOOK
Question from Alex B. Answer by Jerry Weyer
JERRY WEYER IS A SOCIAL MEDIA EXPLORER WITH A TASTE FOR POLITICS. IN 2014, HE CO-FOUNDED CLEMENT & WEYER CONSULTING, ADVISING COMPANIES, INSTITUTIONS AND NGOS IN LUXEMBOURG AND THE GREATER REGION ON DIGITAL COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING. Improving your position on social media as a startup is not something you will work on just once at launch and then stop – it is a continuous process. Just like you will be launching new features, products or updates, you will only succeed on social media as a startup if you regularly analyze and adapt your strategy. That being said, there are a few things you can be doing before, during and after a (startup, product or feature) launch to help you get more traction.
SET UP ACCOUNTS ON ALL IMPORTANT PLATFORMS Before launching anything on social media, make sure you own your account on all of the most important networks. It doesn’t mean you actually need to start publishing on Snapchat (yet), but your fans might still search for you on that platform. Before risking to lose those potential followers, head over to namechk.com, enter your startup or product name and see where you still need to register an account. You should add at least the most important information on those accounts: a short description, contact information and your website address. In order to be recognizable across platforms, you should start with the same profile and header pictures if possible.
CREATE A LANDING PAGE & COLLECT E-MAILS Before launch, create a landing page that allows your visitors to sign up for your newsletter as well as follow you on their preferred social network.
How can I get traction
on social media
when I launch my startup?
There are a few technical tricks to make is as easy as possible for visitors to follow you. The larger networks (like Facebook or Twitter) let you embed a post directly into a website, and make it possible with one click to sign up or share. There are several plugins like “Click to Tweet” that help you create optimized call-toactions for social networks. You can even plan ahead and create your viral campaign with tools like Thunderclap. Users can sign up and schedule a tweet or Facebook post at a specific time in the future (for example, for your launch event) and the tweets will be published automatically, creating a first wave of support.
CONNECT YOUR LAUNCH EVENT They don’t just do physical launch events in Silicon Valley anymore… so, if you plan to organize an offline event to show off your new idea, make sure to include coverage of the event on social media. Live-streaming events has become standard and all major platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) now make it very simple to live-stream with just the use of your mobile phone. Of course, you don’t need to organize a big event to start a live stream – why not cover “a day in the life of your startup” and show your audience what a typical day in your office is like?
REACT TO COMMENTS & REVIEWS Don’t forget the “social” aspect of social media. Engaging with your audience is key, especially with those who you can’t win over in person at the launch event. Build a relationship of trust early on to create those “brand ambassadors” who will promote your startup online. Investing time into replying to every question and reacting to comments on social media can heavily impact your initial traction as a startup. If you’re confident in your product or startup, encourage your fans to leave reviews on Facebook, Yelp or Amazon to boost your online presence!
OFFER SPECIAL DEALS TO REFERRER AND FANS It’s always a good idea to give extra incentive for your existing community to share your landing page and encourage signups or shares. You can give away a free t-shirt for every referral or (even better) offer special deals for your product – you can start this process even before the official launch by giving away beta access keys
for your SaaS, invitations for your launch event or special editions of your device. In addition to the special deals, you should of course take any opportunity to encourage people to follow you on your profiles: add your accounts to your business cards, to your e-mail signature, mention them at press conferences and in press releases, on all your printed material, and always include a clear call to action: follow us!
MANUALLY IDENTIFY & TARGET INFLUENCERS At the first stages of your startup, you will do a lot of things that don’t scale. Getting traction on social media is one of them. You will therefore want to research influencers in you field, reach out to them manually on the network they are most active and encourage them to tweet about your product, share your page’s last video or review your new feature. Target bloggers and journalists, reviewers and podcasters, the “Product Hunts” and “TechCrunches” in your niche and convince them to talk about your idea. As you are just starting out, you might not have the budget to pay your favorite Instagram celebrity to post a picture with your new product, so make sure to go the extra mile encouraging your personal contacts, old colleagues, friends and even your competition to check out your landing page and review your product.
INVEST IN PAID ADVERTISEMENT It’s not always necessary (or recommended) to pay for views on social networks. However, it’s a good idea to at least allocate part of your budget to social media advertising. Investing in the first 1,000 followers will make it far easier for you to reach an increasingly larger audience afterwards. If you don’t have the luxury to have a social circle of over 1,000 people to get those first followers, invest some of your budget initially to be able to build on that audience to get the traction you need for the weeks after your launch. You can combine several of your goals with social media advertising and creating a leadcreating campaign to encourage sign-ups for your landing page: this will also affect your page likes and post reach!
FinTech House THE LUXEMBOURG HOUSE OF FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY IS LUXEMBOURG’S NATIONAL FINTECH PLATFORM. IT BRINGS TOGETHER THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL COMMUNITY AND FINTECH INNOVATORS TO CREATE SYNERGIES AND DEVELOP SOLUTIONS THAT WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES. ON SEPTEMBER 17, LUXEMBOURG FOR FINANCE ORGANIZED A VIRTUAL GROUNDBREAKING OF THE LHOFT AND CONFIRMED THE FUTURE OPENING OF A BUILDING IN LUXEMBOURG CITY THAT WILL INCUBATE FINTECH STARTUPS. (Picture Report © Luxembourg for Finance)
Mario Grotz (Ministry of the Economy)
Adriana Ursache (Rockstart)
InduTech Incubator PAUL WURTH, THE INTERNATIONAL ENGINEERING COMPANY, RECENTLY UNDERWENT SEVERAL MONTHS OF RENOVATION WORKS IN ORDER TO DESIGN AN OFFICE SPACE ABLE TO WELCOME REPRESENTATIVES FROM UP TO 38 STARTUPS ACTIVE IN FIELDS SUCH AS CLEANTECH, ENERGYTECH AND INDUSTRY 4.0. ON OCTOBER 26, PAUL WURTH INCUB HOUSE WAS OFFICIALLY INAUGURATED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE ECONOMY, FRANCINE CLOSENER. (Picture Report Â© Paul Wurth)
Co-working Space A NEW CO-WORKING SPACE WAS CREATED BY PEOPLE WHO FACE THE SAME ISSUES THAT STARTUPS, FREELANCERS AND ENTREPRENEURS FACE: EXPENSIVE RENTAL OFFICES IN LUXEMBOURG, HIGH START-UP COSTS, LIMITED ACCESS TO INDUSTRY EVENTS AND FEW POSSIBILITIES TO GROW THEIR NETWORKS. THE INDUSTRIAL STYLE WORKSPACE IS LOCATED IN THE CITY CENTER, WITH A CEILING THAT IS SIX-METERS HIGH, 100 YEAR-OLD POST-FACTORY WINDOWS AND HANDMADE BRICKS. THE OFFICE OPENED ITS DOOR ON OCTOBER 27. (Picture Report Â© The Office)
#MolenGeek MOLENGEEK IS A NEW CO-WORKING SPACE AND INCUBATOR FOR INNOVATIVE STARTUPS BASED IN MOLENBEEK-SAINT-JEAN (BRUSSELS). IT IS PRIMARILY A COWORKING SPACE WHERE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS COME TO WORK ON THEIR PROJECTS, NETWORK AND SHARE EXPERIENCES. OPEN TO EVERYONE, MOLENGEEK IS A STEPPING STONE TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT HELP ENTREPRENEURS. MOLENGEEKâ€™S MISSION IS TO ENCOURAGE ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE SPIRIT OF RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY OF CULTURAL, GENDER, AGE AND EXPERTISE.
Writer Alefiya Sana Photographer Anna Katina
Pitch Perfect withâ€¦ Bert Boerman
45 BUSINESS ADVICE
Picture this: a panel of experts, a scrutinizing, fidgety audience, your amazing idea, and the chance to take your startup’s destiny into your own hands. All that stands between this moment and victory is You (and a stopwatch). You have three minutes. All eyes are on you. Palms sweating yet? Heart racing?
CHILL. DON’T DESPAIR! We know that delivering an awardwinning pitch is no easy feat, so we called up seasoned pitcher, Bert Boerman, CEO and Cofounder of 2Gears, which recently won Luxembourg FinTech of the Year 2016. After 15 years climbing the corporate ladder at a leading Dutch bank, Bert steered himself onto the startup fast-track. 2Gears is now well on the way to becoming a key industry player with its pioneering investment fund solution, Governance.io. With countless pitches under his belt - several resulting in financing and rapid company growth - we asked Bert for his top five tips for success on stage.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE I always do my research on who will be in front of me. It’s easy to find out who is in the jury or the panel that will assess your pitch. See if you can find out what makes them tick. What do they care about? What do they write about? LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media will give you plenty of ammunition.
TELL A CUSTOMIZED STORY When you know who you’re speaking to, it is easy to place some subtle messages in your deck. You can embed their names in your product screenshots, or highlight a theme that you know they have recently communicated about. When thinking of the deck as a whole, make sure that each slide contributes to telling a story about your vision and your business. Avoid too many specifics; you won’t have the time.
PRESENT THE BIG PICTURE Most pitching events have a jury consisting of industry specialists, investors and other people experienced in your field. They want to know where you can take this idea long-term. Make sure you paint a picture of the huge potential and how the future will look with your solution in it. The detailed questions will typically come up during the Q&A, which you will have prepared for as well, of course!
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE There is no such thing as an improvised pitch. Not when you only have three to five minutes to deliver it! After you prepare a great-looking pitch deck, practice as much as you can. You want to win this thing, don’t you? Practice in your head, practice in the car, practice in front of the mirror, but most importantly, practice with a stopwatch! When you know exactly when you want to say what, you will no longer get stressed about that ticking clock. And funnily enough, the more you pitch, the more you can still improvise the final delivery.
HAVE FUN! The audience needs to see your excitement about your product, as it will rub off on them. If they see that you are having fun while presenting, your audience will follow you, and the message will really stick.
A Coffee with...
47 COFFEE BREAK
Writer Alefiya Sana Photographer Anna Katina
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN CAFÉ NUMÉRIQUE? It all started about four years ago at a Café Numérique event in Liège. I was in charge of organizing the drinks, which is quite fitting actually as the whole Café Numérique concept started in a bar in Brussels! When I moved to Arlon, I was asked to create one there, and I jumped at the chance.
ARLON IS THE SMALLEST PROVINCIAL CAPITAL IN BELGIUM. WHY IS THERE SUCH A BIG TECH SCENE IN THE CITY? Many developers working in Luxembourg live in Arlon, so Café Numérique indeed attracts a very “techy” crowd which is happy to have tech-related events so close to home. Every June and December we hold an Apéro Numérique open to anyone in “la Grande Région” (Luxembourg, Belgium and France). It is an opportunity for everyone to present their IT startup projects to a large audience. The events are so popular that we’ve even had to put some of our speakers on a waiting list.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE EVENT AT CAFÉ NUMÉRIQUE SO FAR? That’s not an easy question, as I’ve loved all the events we’ve hosted to date. If I had to choose, then I’d say the Tesla event last month. It was logistically the hardest event to coordinate, but was a huge success.
ARE YOU EVER TEMPTED TO GO BACK TO WORKING FOR A WHO WOULD BE
BUSY DOESN’T EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANNABELLE BUFFART. ON TOP OF A FULL-TIME CONSULTANCY POSITION AT AGILE PARTNER, THE SELF-PROCLAIMED “GEEKETTE” TRANSMITS HER PASSION FOR TECH AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP BY ORGANIZING EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS FOR CAFÉ NUMÉRIQUE IN ARLON AND WIDE IN LUXEMBOURG. LUCKILY, ANNABELLE FOUND TIME FOR A COFFEE WITH SILICON TO FILL US IN ON THE PROJECTS THAT KEEP HER TECH WHEELS TURNING.
YOUR DREAM SPEAKER AT A CAFÉ NUMÉRIQUE CONFERENCE? Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors; I would love to hear him talk about innovation. And if we could rewind about 170 years, I would invite Ada Lovelace to speak about algorithms and the challenges she faced as a female mathematician and computer programmer in the mid-19th century.
YOU ORGANIZE WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS FOR WIDE (WOMEN IN DIGITAL EMPOWERMENT). ARE YOU SEEING MORE AND MORE WOMEN LAUNCHING TECH STARTUPS? Unfortunately not enough! That’s why I got involved with Girls in Tech. We then decided to go more local and focus on Luxembourg, and so WIDE was born. We want to show women that you don’t have to be an experienced developer to work in tech and that absolutely anything can be learned. Women often don’t choose to go into IT because of stereotyping, so we’re working hard to promote the digital industry and entrepreneurship through WIDE. With support from the Ministère de l’Egalité des chances (Ministry of Equal Opportunities), we organize workshops to teach women how to make a cloud, for example, or how to launch a website with Amazon. The objective is to inspire women to join the tech community.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN WANTING TO MAKE WAVES IN THE TECH INDUSTRY? Just do it! Don’t be afraid and don’t procrastinate. You need to fail to learn. The future is now!
ON YOUR WEBSITE, ANNABELLE.IO, YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A “GEEKETTE”. HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD A PENCHANT FOR ALL THINGS TECH? Yes! My first gadget was a Game Boy Pocket when I was eight years old and I spent ages trying to download games onto a blank cartridge. My favorite gadget right now is the Nabaztag Rabbit. It tells the time and alerts me when I receive emails or messages. I’ve named it Darpa (for reasons other Geeks and Geekettes will understand!) and it does Tai-chi with its ears! And my latest obsession is the Withings app. It is a smart body analyzer, connected to both my phone and my watch, that tracks activity, heart rate, weight and sleep cycles.
THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR? Not enough time!
48 UPCOMING EVENTS
Register online now so you don’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
General Data Protection Regulation
IBM SmartCamp The Hague
VR Hackathon Mons
21 st - 25 th
Crowdsourcing Week Europe 2016-Brussels
22 - 23
Luxembourg Internet Days
French Tech Brussels
Empathy – First step of Design Thinking
25 th - 27 th
Adopte un dév #1
IBM SmartCamp Munich
18 th - 20 th
Startup Weekend Luxembourg #8
Dec. 1 st
Rockstart Answers Luxembourg #2
ING FinTech Village – Call for Startups
Nouvelles technologies pour la protection des données et des systèmes numériques
How is it to be a startup?
49 ORIGINAL RECIPE
Stuffed patidou squash with smoked salmon and a side of garlic spinach Mix the quinoa with the onion, chopped chives, salmon pieces, beaten egg and cream.
Cook the quinoa with 1.5 glasses of water and a pinch of salt.
Cut the top off of each patidou and scoop out the seeds.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff each patidou and bake for about 30 minutes at 180ºC.
Serve patidou with fresh spinach sautéed with crushed garlic clove and a pinch of sea salt.
one patidou squash per person one cup of quinoa four slices of smoked salmon, cut into small pieces 1/2 bunch of chives one onion one egg 20cl of soya cream
Le Phare du Kanaal is a beautiful co-working café on the waterfront in Brussels. It’s a great place to meet and work in the canal district. On the ground floor, you can enjoy the highquality restaurant open to members of the co-working café, as well to neighbors, local merchants and professionals. Hanna, the owner, shares with us one of the delicious recipes she serves every day. Le Phare du Kanaal’s address: Quai des charbonnages, 40 1080 Brussels
IGULU China iGulu is an automatic home brewing device whose processes can be tracked, monitored and controlled via an LCD screen user interface right on the machine, as well as with a mobile app.
Discover more at igulu.com
INTELLIGENTX United Kingdom IntelligentX’s beer is brewed with the help of artificial intelligence. The recipe changes upon receiving customer feedback that is interpreted by an algorithm.
Discover more at intelligentx.ai
LETSEE South Korea Letsee uses augmented reality to give you instant access to product reviews when you point your smartphone’s camera at a label. People think of it as the Shazam of beer.
Discover more at letsee.io BEER IS ONE OF THE OLDEST AND MOST WIDELY CONSUMED ALCOHOLS. THE BEER INDUSTRY HAS A RICH HISTORY FILED WITH TRADITION. BUT CHANGES ARE BREWING IN THE INDUSTRY! THESE ARE THE MOST INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS IN THE BEER INDUSTRY TODAY.
BREWIE Hungary Brewie is a fully automated home brewing machine that takes care of every single step of the brewing process. The device allows users to brew their own beer right at home.
Discover more at brewie.org
REGRAINED United States Only 10% of the ingredients used to brew actually end up in your glass. ReGrained makes granola bars using spent beer grains. Eat your beer!
Discover more at regrained.com
THE BELGIAN BREWERY Luxembourg The Belgian Brewery is a beer kit containing all the materials and ingredients needed to brew craft beer right at home.
Discover more at thebelgianbrewery.com
CRAFT BEER MARKET Germany
UNTAPPD United States
Craftbeermarket.de is a marketplace for fans of craft beer. Creative brewers can sell their production online right to the end user/drinker!
Untappd is a mobile web app that allows people to share brews that they are currently enjoying, find nearby bars and craft beer, discover beer trends… it’s a social networks for beer lovers!
Discover more at craftbeermarket.de
Discover more at untappd.com
DIGIFOOD France Digifood delivers you beer and sandwiches during events, such as football games or exhibitions. Thanks to this startup’s app, you no longer have to leave your seat or stand in line for a beer!
Discover more at digifood.fr
WEISSBEERGER Israel WeissBeerger brings big data to the beverage industry. It provides suppliers with information on consumption trends, beer quality, bar inventory, and bars with real-time consumption monitoring.
Discover more at weissbeerger.com
The Startup Magazine