T H E STA RT U P M AGAZI NE
SMALL DATA BIG AMBITION
© Illustration by Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo DIEGO DE BIASIO
THE LUXEMBOURG-BASED TECH-ORIENTED INCUBATOR HAS BEEN GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED AS A “EUROPE TOP CHALLENGER” AT THE WORLD INCUBATION SUMMIT 2018 ORGANIZED IN TORONTO, CANADA. CONGRATULATIONS TO DIEGO & HIS TEAM !
Diegollywood "The new design of the last edition of Silicon had an unexpected impact. We put together a great magazine and received amazing feedback. Something we didn't realize at first was that our cover man, Diego De Biasio, is a real celebrity. And our picture has made him even more famous! I joined Diego for a meeting with a delegation from Sejong University (Seoul, South Korea). The meeting took a surprising turn with an improvised autograph session – one of Silicon’s most memorable moments so far. Real-life connections. Authentic stories." charleslouis_m
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Silicon Business Club
Charles-Louis Machuron firstname.lastname@example.org
Words from a Member
Modern Mobility: Shared, Electric & Multimodal
News from the Ecosystem
Believing in Startups
A Wild Ride for Bitcoin Prices
Social Impact Investing: How to get started
More than a Coworking Space
A Better Customer Experience with VR
How to attract the best talent to your startup
How to choose your IT partner
Hugo Lisbona, Olivier Minaire, Serge Deuces Page 54 ©Cognityk for LBH immo Page 56-57 ©1A services
Tadaweb on Entrepreneurship & Luxembourg
Arch Summit 2018: Bridging the Gap Between Startups & Corporates
Olivier Minaire OLIVIER MINAIRE PHOTOGRAPHY email@example.com
ART DIRECTION SILICON was designed by DEUUX, an Independent Creative Studio from Luxembourg. WWW.DEUUX.LU
WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM Andy Bryant, Audrey Baverel, David Celis, Diane Tea, Florence Roux-Christmann, Gapur Tsorojev, Hedda Pahlson-Moller, Marina Andrieu, Laurent Rouach, Robert Spicer
EDITING & COPYWRITING
A New Spin on Laundry Services
PropTech & The Disruption of Real Estate
Creating Healthy Buildings
Alefiya Sana firstname.lastname@example.org Natalia Hurt email@example.com
Prove. Improve. Impact.
New Tech that’s Remodeling Real Estate
Empowering Women to Lead Digital Startups
The Dawn of Digitalization in Real Estate
Insurance Services of Tomorrow
The Power of Networking
Hot Stories, Cold Beers
PRINTING Print Solutions firstname.lastname@example.org
SALES MANAGEMENT Charles-Louis Machuron email@example.com
EDITORIAL Charles-Louis Machuron 8, rue George C. Marshall L-2181 Luxembourg IBAN: LU95 0023 1917 9252 5500 BIC: BILLLULL Business permit: 10068962 / 0 VAT number : LU28575161
SILIC ON LU X E M B O U RG. LU • S I L I CO N LO R R AI N E . FR
SILICON LUXEMBOURG SILICON LORRAINE
Testimonials SILICON LUXEMBOURG EVENTS ARE AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET AND NETWORK WITH THE LOCAL STARTUP ECOSYSTEM PLAYERS IN A RELAXED ENVIRONMENT. A MUST FOR STARTUPS BASED IN LUXEMBOURG. MAXIME BELAIR, CEO OF POPWORK
I FIND SILICON LUXEMBOURG BUSINESS CLUB VERY VALUABLE FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS MANAGERS WHO ATTEND ITS EVENTS, LEARN FROM MORE EXPERIENCED ENTREPRENEURS AND INVESTORS, AND BUILD A USEFUL NETWORK OF CONTACTS. EVEN IF YOU GO TO EVERY EVENT, YOU ALWAYS MEET SOMEONE NEW! CRISTINA PARÍS GARCÍA, GENERAL MANAGER OF ARTEVIE
THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE IN LUXEMBOURG TO REALLY GET A FEEL FOR THE LIVELY LOCAL STARTUP ECOSYSTEM. THE SILICON LUXEMBOURG BUSINESS CLUB HAS CREATED A UNIQUE AND UNMISSABLE NETWORKING EXPERIENCE. IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE AND INTERACT WITH THE STARTUP COMMUNITY. I PERSONALLY HAVE ALWAYS LEARNED SOMETHING AT THESE EVENTS THAT HAS POSITIVELY IMPACTED MY BUSINESS SKILLS AND PROJECT DEVELOPMENT. BECOMING A MEMBER IS NOT ONLY A SMART INVESTMENT, BUT IT IS ALSO REWARDING AND NOURISHING. ADAM SELAMNIA, HEALTHTECH SENIOR ADVISOR
Silicon Business Club 350 MEMBERS 120 STARTUPS The first private business club for tech leaders where individuals, startups and corporates can meet over the course of the year through a series of dedicated conferences, workshops, after-work programs and matchmaking events. Whether you are an entrepreneur, an investor or an executive, join the club and help build the future.
LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK MEET ENTREPRENEURS GROW YOUR BUSINESS MORE INFO? CONTACT@SILICONLUXEMBOURG.LU OR CONTACT@SILICONLORRAINE.FR
Words from a Member SNAPSWAP RECENTLY JOINED THE SILICON BUSINESS CLUB. GET TO KNOW THE STARTUP! TELL US ABOUT YOUR STARTUP. SnapSwap is a fintech startup that offers a fully automated online and mobile onboarding solution for banks, insurance companies and the investment industry. SnapSwap offers plug and play fintech and regtech solutions to European financial institutions. Our products are fully compliant with all existing and upcoming regulations in Europe as SnapSwap is an authorized Electronic Money Institution (EMI) in Luxembourg being passported to 28 European countries. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA? What we are building is based on our own experiences and knowledge of financial services. Take for example the issue of customer onboarding. As a customer, we do not like the way banks and other businesses treat us when we want to open a bank account. The onboarding process is time-consuming, resulting in a negative customer experience. We wanted to develop a solution that would improve this process.
WHAT ARE YOUR PRODUCTS/ SERVICES? We offer Snaprove™, a fully automated end-to-end process available 24/7 at a fraction of the cost of manual onboarding. Snaprove™ provides businesses with advanced solutions that satisfy customer expectations of a seamless, modern user experience. It is also compliant with current and upcoming regulations, including PSD2, new AML directives and data privacy rules. Snaprove™ allows the verification of a customer's identity, collection of KYC data and performance of due diligence and enables a legally binding electronic signature. WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS MODEL? We offer our solution as a service. After the initial setup is completed, our clients pay per verification fee, with volume discounts available.
WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS? One of the top 10 European banks and one of the leading insurance companies in Europe are among our clients. Other banks and insurance companies, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges and crowdfunding platforms are also using our service. WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS IN YOUR DEVELOPMENT? Our new challenge is to bring our products to our clients and provide solutions that will satisfy user expectations and the high standards of the financial market. To achieve this, we have just released an improved version of Snaprove™, which will help companies considerably reduce customer-related risks and combat fraud, while also ensuring a seamless and omni-channel user experience for customers.
Go Figure! € 1.2 M The amount that will be potentially invested by the government into small enterprises in the communes of Differdange and Dudelange. The necessary funding is thanks to the aid schemes under the law of 17 May 2017 for the promotion of research, development and innovation.
New University of Luxembourg Incubator
The amount invested by the Business Angels – part of the Luxembourg Business Angel Network – in Luxembourg-based startups in 2017. Over 60 angels are financially supporting innovative companies in the Grand Duchy.
SQUARE METERS The size of the new House of Startups that will open its doors by summer 2018 in Luxembourg City. Spanning four floors, it will be able to host 200 innovative startups.
12 RANKING According to the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times, Luxembourg is ranked 12th among the most promising cities and regions across the whole of Europe – with London as number one, followed by Dublin and Paris. For the “European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/19” ranking, data was collected for 489 locations (301 cities, 150 regions and 38 LEPs) under five categories: economic potential, labor environment, cost effectiveness, infrastructure and business friendliness. Additional surveys were conducted as part of a sixth category: fDi strategy.
Last year, the University of Luxembourg launched its Ideation Camp to foster entrepreneurship and help students bring their ideas to life. Now, it is going a step further with the University of Luxembourg Incubator, which officially launched in the presence of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and CISCO’s CEO Chuck Robbins. © UNIVERSITY OF LUXEMBOURG
LBAN Welcomes Larissa Best as New President The board of the Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN) appointed Larissa Best as its new president, succeeding Marc Molitor. LBAN currently totals 63 members, who raised over €5 million in 2017. © CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
10 Startups Selected for Fit4Start
Canadian Startup Expeto Joins Tomorrow Street…
Fit4Start includes a sixteen-week coaching program, a €50,000 grant and an additional €100,000 offered by the Ministry of the Economy to graduated startups that raise at least €50,000 in private equity. The new batch of startups accepted to Fit4Start’s Spring Edition has been unveiled:
Tomorrow Street partnered with its third startup, Expeto, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Based in Canada, Expeto removes barriers for today’s connected businesses through a solution that provides scalable LTE connectivity and enables Internet of Things deployment.
B2B Pay (Finland)
© MINISTRY OF ECONOMY
bNesis (US / Ukraine) Hopes (France) Inkspired (Ecuador) IntegerAI (UK) Metri (Finland) Machinations (Romania) MyMedBot (Luxembourg) Salonkee (Luxembourg) Univize (Luxembourg) © SILICON LUXEMBOURG
…as does UK Startup Old St Labs Tomorrow Street announced its new partnership with Old St Labs, the second company to join the Kirchberg-based innovation center since its launch in September last year.
Luxembourg FinTech Map The LHoFT just released a fintech map, developed with the support of LFF, ALFI, ACA and ABBL, to give a partial overview of the Luxembourg’s vibrant fintech ecosystem. ©THE LHOFT FOUNDATION
KLEOS Space Raised €1.4 Million in Seed Round Luxembourg-based KLEOS Space announced the closing of a €1.4 million seed funding round and its intention to take the business public on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in July 2018 to raise a further €7 million. © SILICON LUXEMBOURG
A Wild Ride for Bitcoin Prices THREE QUESTIONS FOR ANDY BRYANT, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF BITFLYER EUROPE, THE JAPANESE OPERATOR OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST BITCOIN EXCHANGE AND FIRST TO BE REGULATED IN JAPAN, THE US AND EUROPE.
HOW DOES BITCOIN, SOMETHING THAT'S ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE AND INTANGIBLE, HAVE VALUE? Bitcoin has value because people believe it has value. It’s the same with many assets, including government-backed currencies, which haven’t been linked to gold for a long time. Some might say that it is the government backing itself that provides value, but then I would ask a Venezuelan what they think about that. There are plenty of things that have value that are intangible. What about intellectual property or brand value? Just because you can’t hold it in your hand, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. WHY IS BITCOIN USEFUL? It is the ability to transfer value securely across an inherently unsecure network, such as the internet. The technology underpinning Bitcoin, the blockchain, has the potential to do for value exchange what the internet did for information exchange. HOW MUCH COULD A SINGLE BITCOIN ACTUALLY BE WORTH? We don’t take official positions on price, but we think Bitcoin is here to stay!
BITFLYER BECAME THE WORLD’S FIRST BITCOIN EXCHANGE TO BE REGULATED IN JAPAN, THE US AND EUROPE!
Book Club FIVE MUST-READ BOOKS FOR GapurTs BUSINESS LEADERS.
Venture Capital, Private Equity, and the Financing of Entrepreneurship AUTHORS: JOSH LERNER, ANN LEAMON, FELDA HARDYMON TOPIC: VENTURE CAPITAL, PRIVATE EQUITY Private equity has become a massive and influential part of the global economic landscape over the past few decades. This book, written by professors of Harvard Business School, explores the exciting world of active investing and lays out in a clear and readily accessible way the players, dynamics and incentives behind the industry. The focus is not just on the U.S. market, but also on the increasingly global nature of these activities. A must-read before raising funds from private equity firms.
Exploring Strategy AUTHORS: GERRY JOHNSON, RICHARD WHITTINGTON, KEVAN SCHOLES, DUNCAN ANGWIN, PATRICK REGNER TOPIC: STRATEGY Strategy is a crucial element in the development, success and failure of all kinds of organizations, from multinationals to entrepreneurial startups. Written by recognized professors, and with over one million copies sold worldwide, this book raises the big questions about organizations: how they grow, how they innovate and how they change. “Exploring Strategy” has long been the essential introduction to strategy for managers of today and tomorrow. Read this book to help you define the best strategy for your business.
Tribe of Mentors AUTHOR: TIMOTHY FERRISS TOPIC: BUSINESS CULTURE Tim Ferriss is an early-stage tech investor/advisor, with Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Alibaba and many more in his portfolio. After his bestselling “The 4-Hour Workweek,” he published “Tribe of Mentors” in which he shares a compilation of tools, tactics and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, and artists to billionaire investors, this compendium of short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results and transform your life.
The Startup Playbook AUTHOR: DAVID S. KIDDER TOPIC: ENTREPRENEURSHIP “The Startup Playbook” is a compilation of hard-hitting experiences of some of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs and CEOs, revealing exclusive advice. Reid Hoffman, Elon Musk, Chris Anderson and many others share invaluable insight on how to make a new business succeed beyond all expectations. This book provides useful information for anyone interested in business and entrepreneurship.
Principles AUTHOR: RAY DALIO TOPIC: MANAGEMENT Ray Dalio is one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs. He is the founder and co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest and best-performing hedge fund. He has appeared on the TIME 100 list of the most influential people. In “Principles,” Dalio shares the unconventional principles that he has developed, refined and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business – principles that any individual or organization can adopt to help them achieve their goals.
SILICON LORRAINE YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH SILICON LUXEMBOURG. NOW YOUâ€™LL FALL IN LOVE WITH SILICON LORRAINE. THE LATEST NEWS AND INFO ON STARTUPS FROM ACROSS THE BORDER. S I L I CO N LO R R AI N E . FR
More than a Coworking Space MAISON BREEDEWEE IS AN INNOVATIVE NEW COWORKING SPACE IN LUXEMBOURG. THE RENOVATED HOUSE HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO A PLACE WHERE PROFESSIONALS AND ENTREPRENEURS CAN MEET, ACCESS ADVISORY SERVICES AND RECEIVE BUSINESS SUPPORT IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT FOSTERS THREE KEY VALUES: EXCHANGE, AUTHENTICITY AND CONNECTION. COMMUNICATION MANAGER LAURA MONTEREAU INVITED SILICON INSIDE THE HOUSE AND GAVE US A GLIMPSE OF THE PROJECT. WHAT IS THE CONCEPT OF MAISON BREEDEWEE? Maison Breedewee is founded on four cornerstones: business club, events, club networking and startups. First and foremost, it is a business club that brings together passionate, curious and open-minded professionals looking to meet new people, launch new projects and create synergies. We organize events geared toward the specific needs and interests of our members. Through these events, our aim is to develop new business projects with entrepreneurs who wish to broaden their fields of activity. On the startup side, thanks to partnerships and collaborations, we can support young startups who have chosen Luxembourg as the hub to develop their business. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO CREATE A COWORKING SPACE?
Workspaces have undergone a great transformation and the approach to collaboration has also evolved. In a place like Maison Breedewee, where you meet and exchange ideas, it seemed logical to create an open space where various complementary skills and diverse profiles could come together. Our role is not as a classic coworking space: we only have 10 open-space stations, reserved for companies with a specific background. These spots are ideal for new Luxembourgish entities, for example, that can benefit from the fiduciary services available on our premises. Furthermore, our lease contracts have a maximum duration of one year. In this way, we are always meeting new professionals and supporting a variety of companies in their development.
HOW ARE YOU GETTING INVOLVED IN LUXEMBOURGâ€™S STARTUP ECOSYSTEM? We are not a startup incubator or accelerator as we do not have the full spectrum of resources. However, we have a strong network that we leverage and can support startups established abroad but looking to expand their activities in Europe. Luxembourg is a great place for startups due to its infrastructure and central position in Europe. We can provide startups with a list of key contacts, take care of all the administrative and accounting tasks, and find investors and external premises.
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Thoughts from Tadaweb on its Journey, Entrepreneurship & Luxembourg TADAWEB IS THE FIRST SMALL-DATA PLATFORM TO SCALE HUMAN INTELLIGENCE FOR DISCOVERING AND ANALYZING INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET. BASED IN LUXEMBOURG WITH OFFICES IN LONDON AND PARIS, THIS SUCCESSFUL TECH STARTUP IS A DISRUPT 100 COMPANY AND MICROSOFT PARTNER. SILICON MET WITH CO-FOUNDER GENNA ELVIN TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY’S JOURNEY, UNIQUE VALUES AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.
WHAT DOES TADAWEB DO? Tadaweb focuses on providing technology that enables customers to replicate the processes they carry out to get their online info, and scale it. It is all about the human aspect of information gathering and understanding this online information. Our mission is to shape how humans interact with the web. HOW DID IT ALL START?
Know your market early on. You really need to know the market you want to sell to and ensure you have a product-market fit. We were lucky because we had a lot of our own IP. Our investors loved our technology, and they invested because they trusted our IP. For companies that don’t have their own IP, if they don’t know their product-market fit, it can be very risky.
WAS IT DIFFICULT FINDING INVESTORS?
We have been really fortunate as we’ve watched it evolve over the last seven years. It’s definitely growing and flourishing, especially with initiatives like Luxinnovation. The government is clearly interested in bringing the entrepreneurial mindset to the country. There’s still a fair bit of work to do in terms of making it easier to rent office space, for example, or bringing in foreign talent. The visa process is still very long-winded. But the mentality is definitely improving and a lot has changed in the last few years. We have to remember that the corporate environment here is really “safe” so many people are not motivated to risk starting their own company. The only way startups can compete with banks offering sky-high salaries and good perks is with environment, culture and mentality.
TELL US ABOUT THE TADAWEB TEAM. Olivier Minaire
WHAT’S THE FIRST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR ENTREPRENEURS STARTING THEIR OWN COMPANIES?
François Gaspard (CEO and co-founder) spent over 15 years doing research, and he concluded that he needed a much faster way to get information. As online information is constantly changing, it’s difficult for a human to keep up. His dream was to build a technology that would replicate that process. So, in December 2011, with a great deal of encouragement and enthusiasm from early investors, we incorporated Tadaweb. We then spent the first two years on R&D and building up technology.
We started out with funding from friends and family, which got us through the first year. We then received support from Serge Rollinger (a Luxembourg business angel), the SNCI bank, and a few other angels. Initially, we thought we wanted to go down the venture capital route. We got to the end of a term sheet with a VC in London and then decided at the last minute to walk away from the table. We realized it wasn’t the right kind of investment, so we opted to stick with private investors.
larly in areas of image recognition and machine-learning. As a result, we often get early access to their technology and help them improve it through our testing. They also have access to our technology so you could call it a technological partnership.
We started out at Technoport with just one developer. We’ve now grown to a team of 37 and there are several new job openings. We don’t have a sales team. Instead, we have forward deployment engineers (aka Tada information ninjas): people with engineering know-how who can also interact with customers. Two-thirds of our team are developers, then there’s the product team, and the ninja team in charge of customer service. HOW DO YOU COLLABORATE WITH MICROSOFT? We’ve been working with Microsoft for the last three years across a number of different areas. They love Tadaweb because we provide them with tough challenges, particu-
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE STARTUP ECOSYSTEM IN LUXEMBOURG?
ARE YOU ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE STARTUP COMMUNITY AND PROMOTING TECH HERE IN LUXEMBOURG? Very much so. In fact, everyone on the team attends meetups and is passionate about getting young people involved in tech. As well as lecturing annually at the University of Luxembourg as part of the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, I was one of the coaches for the Jonk Entrepreneuren competition, I’m on the board of Equilibre, and involved in Luxinnovation’s Fit 4 Start. I’m also on the working committee of the ILA (Institut Luxembourgeois des Administrateurs) where we focus on board composition.
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Our aim is to find a way to future-proof some of the biggest organizations in Luxembourg, especially in the banking sector. Our goal is to encourage them to future-proof because otherwise, in 10 years, there will be a huge gap and no one to fill it. That could spell disaster. HOW COULD WE ATTRACT MORE TECH PEOPLE TO LUXEMBOURG? We managed to get someone who worked for 15 years at Google to come to Luxembourg so it is possible! How? Because of our board and because of the network we have. Perhaps Luxembourg needs to re-examine its networking strategy. At Equilibre, we’ve talked about going on a trade mission to the U.S. where we can showcase Luxembourg. More exposure is crucial.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH TALENT MANAGEMENT? Talent management can be tricky. That’s why we create the kind of environment that helps us bring in talent from all over the world. It takes a long time to find the right people and we’re really strict on the people that we hire. We definitely don’t hire people that we don’t believe in, and a big part of that is taking into account the cultural fit. We’ve had to turn down some amazing talent because we didn’t feel they fit in with who we are as a company. Driven by our core values, we really care about our team. Work hard, play hard and family first – it’s not a mentality you see often here in Luxembourg. We have various recruitment strategies: there are a few headhunters we work with, and we also offer incentives internally – if someone finds new talent, they get €3,000. HOW DO YOU CONVINCE PEOPLE TO MOVE TO LUXEMBOURG? It’s quite hard to bring in younger talent, but Luxembourg is a great place to raise a family. Its central location is of course a big plus in terms of travel and exploring Europe, especially for colleagues coming from as far as Brazil, for example. We also offer a generous relocation package as well as stock options. Luxembourg has a lot going for it. Belval for instance is an exciting place to be as it’s growing and transforming into one of the country’s tech hubs. SO TADAWEB IS A VERY INTERNATIONAL COMPANY? Absolutely. We have around 15 nationalities in our team. In addition to creating jobs, the diversity and quality of talent we are bringing in is quite an asset to the Luxembourgish economy. And, most importantly, having people from all over means everyone thinks differently and does things differently, and so we learn from each other. AND YOU’RE A PRETTY YOUNG TEAM TOO…
WHICH STARTUPS IN LUXEMBOURG STAND OUT FOR YOU? OUNI I really respect a brick-and-mortar startup that is still disrupting the status quo. Their package-free supermarket is an asset to the environment and it’s great to see Ouni being the first in Luxembourg! TALKWALKER We have “grown” up with Talkwalker, starting out in opposite offices in the original Technoport in the center of Esch. I respect this company for proving that Luxembourg startups can grow big, scale fast and eventually exit. MY SCIENCE WORK A great data-driven, technology company that has proven how to do well in both Luxembourg and San Francisco.
Yes, the age range is from 26 to 34 so we’re a really young team. I am passionate about bringing the next generation into boards and positions of leadership. I started Tadaweb when I was 22 and that’s rare to see in Luxembourg. Entrepreneurs need to believe in the younger generation and start bringing them to the table more. Right at the start, we were working with banks that didn’t take us seriously. Now, however, we’re working with one of the most serious markets and we’ve proved that you can have fun, and succeed at the same time. WHAT TRENDS DO YOU SEE IN THE WORLD OF TECHNOLOGY? I think IoT - Internet of Things - is going to be massive. The interconnectedness of technology is exciting for us as a company as it’s the area we are delving into now – how information can empower devices and how they can be more intelligent. WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR TADAWEB? With no plans to move HQ, we are focusing on expanding in Europe over the next few years. With our Luxembourg team growing, we’ll soon move into bigger offices spanning four floors. Exploring new verticals is our main mission. We plan to expand cross-verticals and grow what we already have in Luxembourg. Pushing our technology further into the corporate area is another of our objectives.
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A New Spin on Laundry Services FINDING A MARKET THAT HAS NOT YET BEEN DISRUPTED IS NO EASY TASK. ENTREPRENEURS PIT ZENS AND ANTOINE HRON, HOWEVER, HAVE IDENTIFIED A NICHE IN WHICH THEIR DIGITAL AND ECOLOGICAL APPROACH COULD MAKE AN IMPACT: DRY-CLEANING AND LAUNDRY SERVICES. THE PAIR HAVE JUST LAUNCHED KLIN, AND ARE NOW OFFERING THEIR SERVICE TO INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES. DISRUPTING THE DRY-CLEANING INDUSTRY The days of conventional dry-cleaner’s are over as are the frequent trips to drop off and pick up clothes. It’s time for an upgrade. No need to lift a finger as Klin picks up your laundry and brings it back clean. In addition, the startup guarantees that your laundry will be washed in an environmentally-friendly way. Zens and Hron placed significant focus on attracting customers who are inclined toward services promoting innovation and positive environmental impact. "We offer customers a simple, green digital experience for the treatment of their clothes," says Hron. Up against large dry-cleaning companies, independent dry-cleaner’s and private concierges, Klin relies on the digitalization of its offer, a home delivery approach and its flexibility to make a difference. “Local businesses have difficulties developing their services,” explains Zens. “We are very clearly targeting a population of young, dynamic executives who want to outsource this task, either individually or through their companies, which can offer them this extra service.”
ANTOINE HRON & PIT ZENS
UNITING TECHNOLOGY & ECOLOGY The two founders did not cut corners and invested significantly into modern products: "smart" washing machines that reduce water consumption, solvent and electric dryers that consume less gas, and cleaning products with EU ecolabels. Located in one of Technoport’s warehouses in Foetz, the machines have been running at full capacity for a few weeks. "The dry-cleaning and laundry industry is one of the most polluting in the market. That's why we decided to use the minimum amount of chemicals as well as reusable packaging," says Hron. "Similarly, we maximize logistics to reduce our carbon footprint with transport." DIGITAL FIRST As if its ecological benefits were not enough, Zens and Hron have also prioritized user-friendliness thanks to their digital platform. "Customers can choose pick-up and delivery times, an advantage not yet offered by our competitors,” adds Hron. "Customers no longer need to manage their laundry, and they receive a digital receipt as soon as their order is taken care of. Lastly, we guarantee delivery within 48 hours." Klin’s goal is to attract companies looking to enhance their CSR policy and human resources strategy, and individuals in need of hassle-free, quick service.
Promising Newcomers SPREAD THE WORD! THE ENTREPRENEURS OF TOMORROW ARE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LUXEMBOURG. AT THE MOST RECENT STARTUP WEEKEND, A HACKATHON ORGANIZED BY TECHNOPORT, TWO TEAMS (MADE UP OF STUDENTS ONLY) IMPRESSED THE JURY AND HAVE BEEN AWARDED FOR THEIR ENTREPRENEURIAL TALENTS. SILICON MET UP WITH THE STUDENTS TO TALK ABOUT THEIR VISION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND HOW THEY FEEL AFTER THIS FIRST DIVE INTO THE STARTUP WORLD. STUDENTS FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE GLOBE, INCLUDING INDIA, ALBANIA AND LUXEMBOURG, MET AT THE FIRST IDEATION CAMP, FLAGSHIP EVENT OF THE RECENTLY LAUNCHED ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME OF THE UNIVERSITY.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS DREAMED OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR? ARJANA GJETA (HIRE STUDENTS)
JONI BEU (CHECKMATH)
I see entrepreneurship as a career path for me because I like that it provides you with endless challenges and opportunities to learn. It’s about taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone. This is what I like about this environment.
The Ideation Camp at the University was a really challenging event. I followed up with Himadri’s idea, CheckMath, because I’m a passionate student of economics. I enjoy solving math problems. It started as a hobby and then it became a passion with endless problems to solve.
HIMADRI PATHAK (CHECKMATH) Coming up with an idea is a mental exercise that I do every year. I look back at my year, try to summarize it in one sentence, and identify an area of struggle. As an entrepreneur, what I want to do is see if those struggles have already been solved. That’s where my ideas come from, And that’s why I have so many ideas! PRASAD RAO BIKKINENI (CHECKMATH)
Before coming to the Startup Weekend I was a developer and had already been working for five years. I’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know how to achieve it. That’s why I decided to attend the Ideation Camp organized at the University. I learned a lot and met other like-minded students. It gave me so many ideas and new skills. Then I participated in the Startup Weekend and made new friends!
MIKE PEREIRA GONÇALVES (CHECKMATH) I’m the only one in the team who didn’t go to the Ideation Camp. However, I managed to get a ticket to go to the Startup Weekend. I didn’t plan to at the very beginning. I also didn’t know much about the startup world. It was my first time and my main motivation was really the experience I could get from such a hackathon. I chose CheckMath as the project I wanted to work on because I could really relate to this problem. It was a great experience overall.
SELVI PJESHKA (HIRE STUDENTS) Before the Startup Weekend I attended the Ideation Camp organized by the University of Luxembourg. It was a great experience. I chose the project I wanted to work with because I liked the idea a lot. In the future, I would like to become an entrepreneur because it’s all about challenging fear. Being an entrepreneur means taking risks and that really appeals to me.
HIMADRI PATHAK • MIKE PEREIRA GONÇALVES • JONI BEU SELVI PJESHKA • ARJANA GJETA • SIVAKUMAR BACTAVATCHALOU
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR STARTUP WEEKEND EXPERIENCE?
beginning because you have to work 18 hours a day on an idea. I want to do that.
(Arjana) It was a very interesting experience. What I liked most was learning by doing or learning by execution. We had to go out, ask questions and determine if our product was market ready or not… That was the best part: getting out and about, asking questions and receiving feedback.
(Selvi) I just started University so it’s a bit hard for me. Maybe in the future we will go forward with the project.
(Himadri) It was an event with mixed emotions. There was happiness and frustration. Working on this idea, on its possible implementation, all night long was just amazing. What was rewarding was that mentors were coming to us and showing their appreciation for our idea and pushing us forward. The organizers were always there to take care of every small detail. (Prasad) It was a really good experience for me as well. We worked 50 hours nonstop. I was really new to entrepreneurship and the event was challenging for me and the team. I’m really happy with what we achieved over the weekend. (Selvi) It was a great experience for all of us I think. The mentors were there for us and helped us reach our goal. We also got out of the building and reached out to our potential customers. We went to many different businesses to talk to them and ask them if they wanted to hire students. Their feedback was positive. (Joni) The 54 hours were so great. We got to challenge an idea and create new future possibilities. The mentors really helped us, even when things looked bad. (Mike) It was a unique experience for me. It was a lot of work but didn’t feel like it. I really enjoyed the experience and meeting new people. Everyone was interested in our project, even Microsoft.
DO YOU WANT TO JUMP INTO ENTREPRENEURSHIP RIGHT AFTER YOUR STUDIES? (Arjana) I want to start gaining experience working at startups because I have already worked for companies. I’m familiar with that environment. Success will come as long as I’m patient and work hard and take necessary steps. It’s a learning curve and you have to do everything you can to reach your goal. It’s a path I want to explore. (Himadri) My aim is really to help people. Sometimes, in the corporate world, your job might not allow you to reach a large audience and figure out your core values. You’re restricted. You might have free time after work but it’s not enough to do what you really want to do. Since I really want to help people, I think being an entrepreneur would be the best option for me to execute my core values. It requires a lot of hard work – what we did at startup weekend was just a three-day thing – it’s going to be like this for years in the
(Prasad) I’ve had different experiences with companies before. I’m studying and working as well. I’m currently managing a lot. I would love to launch a startup as soon as possible. It’s a really good challenge!
(Mike) I’ve never thought about becoming an entrepreneur. Since I don’t have any work experience, I still think I need to try that and see what makes me happier. I am personally quite afraid of taking risks. I don’t know what the future holds for me, so for now I’m open to anything.
AS A STUDENT, WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES INVOLVED WITH LAUNCHING A STARTUP? (Arjana) First of all, the legal framework. If I am not from the EU and am a student here, how does that work if I want to start something? That’s the biggest issue. Otherwise, my idea doesn’t require a lot of funding. It’s really practical and can be built up in steps. It’s more about the negotiation part and connecting demand with supply – students to companies. (Himadri) We are newbies in this field. Everything about a company is new to us, especially for those of us who are scientists and engineers. So, we don’t have much business knowledge. But in our case, we are very lucky because the University of Luxembourg Incubator provides immense support in the areas we’re lacking. They are very approachable. It’s still difficult for us to go beyond our field of expertise. (Prasad) We’re meeting many people here and gaining new contacts who are entrepreneurs and startups with knowledge to share. If we have any doubts or anything we need, then we’re just going to ask them. We don’t have any experience with companies. As we are new in Luxembourg, we don’t know the culture very well or the companies, even legal issues or how to set up companies, raise funds, hire people... It’s a blank page for us. We have to balance our studies and work life. (Selvi) The main challenge with our project is convincing companies to work with us. We went out and talked to many of them. We will see if they approve of our idea to hire students from our platform. We need to convince them and leverage our network. (Joni) Networking is the most difficult part. We can’t solve all the problems ourselves. (Mike) I didn’t really plan to go into this career, so I think the most important part is contacting experts.
IS LUXEMBOURG A GOOD PLACE TO START YOUR BUSINESS? (Arjana) My project really fits with the Luxembourgish market. Of course, we could scale up and expand in Albania, my homeland, and to other universities, but the starting point is here. (Himadri) With our project, we are addressing a problem that all students are facing. So, I would say it’s easier to start in Luxembourg since we already have the right contacts. But our main audience is in India, especially regarding education. Our market is there. (Prasad) We have to think about Luxembourg but also the global market. Our project needs all students. We have to go global and dream big. (Selvi) We must start with Luxembourg and help the students of the University of Luxembourg first. Then we will think about scaling up the project. (Joni) Our platform has international potential. Luxembourg is a niche market and we have to network a lot to spread the word. Then the second target will be developed countries and then my home country, which is underdeveloped and education is important! (Mike) We don’t have any reason to limit it to Luxembourg. Every single student should have access to it.
WHAT DID YOU PREVIOUSLY KNOW ABOUT THE STARTUP ECOSYSTEM? (Arjana) It was not new for me. However, now I’m more exposed to how it works and to different people who are in the field. The Startup Weekend was a good starting point to connect with people. (Himadri) For me, it was definitely new. Ideation Camp was my first experience and I did not expect it to be like this. I used to watch tech competitions or hackathons happening in the US and I was so inspired. I didn’t know we actually have these events in Luxembourg as well. (Prasad) It’s new! I knew there were startup weekends in India and Estonia. I didn’t know of anything here; only the Ideation Camp initiative. (Selvi) I arrived in Luxembourg a few months ago so it’s very new for me. (Joni) Coming from a family with a background in economics, it wasn’t the first time I saw this kind of entrepreneurship. We also had it in my home country, Kosovo. I’ve already been exposed to it a bit. My first experience was through the Ideation Camp, where I learned how to structure ideas.
(Mike) It was completely new. I was really surprised how big it actually was. It’s really beneficial to drive innovation and try to improve the world, proposing solutions that can solve problems. There is definitely an ecosystem here.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR YOUR PROJECTS? (Arjana) In our case, the idea is to set up the framework and see if we can legally start something. If not, we will find another option with somebody else’s support to keep the project alive. The next steps are to build the website and then scale and build the app. This is mainly on the technical side. Afterwards, we will start negotiating with companies and create job opportunities. Hire Student, connects students from the University with the private sector’s part-time jobs (legally 10 hours/week). It’s not that easy for students to find jobs today and many companies are not aware that this type of contract exists. This will let companies find someone to help with specific tasks. It will also help students get some financial independence during their studies. (Himadri) CheckMath is a platform for students who are 12 or older that provides mentoring in mathematics problem solving. It provides real-time guidance as students solve problems step by step. The app does not provide the steps but examines how students are solving it and alerts them if the student is going in the wrong direction. Throughout my childhood, I dealt with the same issue while solving a math problem. I got it wrong and there were no explanations. I was frustrated and gave up most of the time. Now, we always keep CheckMath in mind and apply it to other issues we are facing in our lives. We will keep it up!
Prove. Improve. Impact. TALKWALKER RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT MERLIN EQUITY PARTNERS HAS ACQUIRED A MAJORITY STAKE IN THE COMPANY. THE CURRENT GOAL FOR THE STARTUP, BORN IN 2009, IS TO CONTINUE ITS INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION AND STRENGTHEN ITS TECHNICAL TEAMS, SALES TEAM AND KEY ACCOUNTS. THE COMPANY ALREADY EMPLOYS 150 PEOPLE, SPREAD BETWEEN ITS LUXEMBOURG HEADQUARTERS AND OFFICES IN SAN FRANCISCO, NEW YORK AND FRANKFURT. IN 2018, TALKWALKER IS SET TO EXPAND ITS GLOBAL NETWORK TO ASIA AND INCREASE ITS STAFF TO 250. LIGHTNING ROUND WITH CEO ROBERT GLAESENER.
Our product is Talkwalker. We do not develop any other products. Talkwalker enables businesses and brands to optimize their communication strategies. First, we give them the possibility to know what is being said posi-tively and negatively about their brand. We then give them the tools they need to improve, showing them the type of content that works, trending topics, influencers, etc. We use the data to protect, measure and im-prove customer reputation and online communications campaigns. It's a big market because everyone is on the web today and active in public relations, marketing and communications.
TRENDS Politics, elections, car scandals, new products... Any topic that companies and institutions want to monitor on social networks. Do the campaigns have a positive or negative impact? How should they communicate with clients and prospects? Too often, businesses think they are in an ivory tower. It is essential that they have better insight and understanding when it comes to their impact on society and the consequences of their actions.
Social networks change from one day to the next. People are constantly active on different platforms. Our ambition and vision is to take this data, see what is happening and then make something intelligible for busi-nesses. This is a new approach.
We are currently looking for around 100 people to join our team (50 in Luxembourg): one-third developers, one-third sales representatives and one-third customer service, account management and customer success representatives. We need people who can take care of follow-up and client satisfaction.
We will continue to develop the visual recognition of logos in real-world situations. We are looking more and more at using artificial intelligence to save time and spare manual work, which is now insufficient given the number of posts published online. We have also worked a lot on "sentiment analysis," which determines the emotional tone behind words. We will enhance it to not only have positive or negative opinions but also more “measured” opinions. Today, companies, brands and advertisers no longer want statistics just for the sake of it, but are looking for insight and the capacity to determine what is important and what isn’t. Machines can now help to do this.
Our ambition is to become number one in the sector. We’ve had this vision from the start. It is a concrete ambition and we now have the means to achieve it. We have excellent technology, an outstanding product and an exceptional team. We were lacking this capitalistic American aspect because we needed more capital, knowledge and contacts to achieve this ambition. A Californian private equity company with experience in software and a reputation in this industry is a real asset. Merlin Equity Partners was the missing link we needed to develop Talkwalker on a worldwide scale.
WIDE: Empowering Women to Lead Digital Startups MARINA ANDRIEU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CO-FOUNDER OF WIDE (WOMEN IN DIGITAL EMPOWERMENT), SHARES EARLY UPDATES ON THE WIDE STARTUP LEADERSHIP PROGRAM. WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO LAUNCH THIS PROGRAM? WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN LUXEMBOURG? Although the startup scene is booming in Luxembourg, there is still a minority of women founders. Interest in our activities, such as entrepreneurship and coding workshops, however, is growing and women clearly tell us that they want to start their own companies. We have invited many founders to our events and also to our Women Founders Conference with Silicon Luxembourg. Virginie Simon (MyScienceWork) was a speaker at our launch event, and we also hosted Genna Elvin (Tadaweb), Polina Frolova (JobToday) and Alexandra Fernández Ramos (Travelsify), all of whom we have been following since the beginning of their startup adventures. Launched in June last year, we are happy to share with you some exciting news about the WIDE Startup Leadership program.
Around 50 applications have been received, mainly from Luxembourg but also from Berlin and South America. We got great press coverage and the launch was a real call for ideas from women who have been thinking about launching their own tech startups for several months or even years. The program is supported by the Ministry of Economy, BIL and Finimmo/Fincorp.
also a chance for many to have their first “reality check.” The majority of the applicants did not contact any other entrepreneurship support organization before getting in touch with WIDE, which demonstrates the importance of the program as it creates a necessary point of entry for women in the tech and startup ecosystem. Our pitching and funding conference (at Microsoft, in partnership with LBAN) in September was a huge success, with potential founders looking for quality information regarding the possibility of getting funding. Twelve projects have now been selected, including five projects in the fintech sector, and we have decided to focus solely on early-stage projects. We selected the projects based on the potential of the idea of course, but also the founder’s commitment to make it happen. At the moment, most of our founders are focusing on their projects fulltime. We are also offering consulting to several women who are already entrepreneurs and would now like to develop a product based on a technology. Several of our applicants took the leap of faith and resigned from their jobs to work fulltime on their projects and one even decided to do a coding boot camp in order to code her product by herself. She had previously participated in a WIDE coding workshop and found the confidence and support to go for it.
The projects submitted covered various fields. Interestingly enough, we received very similar projects: a few e-commerce projects as well as several platform ideas for finding multilingual services in Luxembourg.
We encourage solo-founders to look for team members and co-founders. Three of the women selected are developers themselves, the rest are currently looking for CTOs to partner with.
The first step with all the applicants was to refine their business models and do the basic math and desk research: What is the size of my potential market? What resources do I need to make it happen? Applying to the program was
We are highly flexible and adapt to the projects’ needs. In December, we held a project booster session using Design Thinking methods and, as a result, three projects (with the help of 20 participants and volunteers) were able to come up
with a first low-fidelity solution. Several other projects are currently under development. Product and user feedback will definitely keep our founders busy in the first months of 2018. Two companies are in the process of being created and one has signed its first client. We also started connecting our participants with our team of advisors and experts. We are planning to organize a demo day for partners and investors in May; participants find it motivating to have common deadlines to meet! We have learned a lot from the launch of the program. We see that many women are still worried about juggling family commitments and that it is clearly the main factor slowing down our applicants. Moving from the idea stage to product creation, which requires the allocation of time and financial resources, is a challenge for many of our applicants. This is where we try to help the most. We believe that thanks to the program, and also to the other events and activities we organize, every woman who wants to start something in Luxembourg in the digital field has the chance to test her idea and access our community to get support. We will accept new projects over the course of 2018. We are looking for solid projects where tech and digital can bring real added value to solving real-life problems. Ideally, we would like to hear from founders within a team (gender balance is encouraged!), preferably with an engineer as part of the team.
Believing in Startups PITCH YOUR STARTUP (PYSU) IS BACK IN LUXEMBOURG CITY. LAUNCHED IN THE GRAND DUCHY FOUR YEARS AGO BY DOCLER, THE CONTEST NOW OFFERS €100,000 IN PRIZES (IN CASH AND SERVICES). WE ASKED MÁRTON FÜLÖP, COO OF DOCLER, TO TALK ABOUT THIS EVENT’S IMPACT ON THE ECOSYSTEM.
WHAT WERE THE SOCIAL IMPACTS OF THE FIRST THREE PYSU EVENTS? Since we started this initiative back in 2014, we have noticed a positive impact, not only on the local market but also within the contest itself. The players in both have had no choice but to evolve in order to remain relevant, which is never a bad thing. Competition fuels change, which in turn fuels growth. The first PYSU event drew around 30 startup applications, which soared to 90 the following year! The peak so far was last year, with 180 applications from 25 different countries. We predict a similar number of applications this year. The increase in the quality of applications over the years has been impressive to witness, and we are looking forward to the 2018 lineup. We have seen similar initiatives emerge throughout the national market, and an increase in the visibility given to the startup industry. This is really positive for Luxembourg, and we are happy we could bring our own flavor to it. However, we feel that there is still much more that can be done in order to attract even more talent and startups. That’s why this year we have decided to take it to the next level.
HOW? WHAT’S IN STORE FOR US IN THIS 4TH EDITION OF PYSU? This year we have decided to do things a bit differently. We never wanted to be the sole owners of the PYSU brand and to be the only ones backing it. We have thus opened the competition to other partners, not only to raise the quality of the event and the prize money, but also to boost diversity, involve more collaborators, and bring everyone interested in startups and innovation to the same table. We are happy to welcome two major newcomers this year: BIL, with its Innovation Award cash prize of €20,000, and Ernst & Young. Docler Holding will again contribute €50,000 in cash prizes.
Nyuko is offering a free three-month complete acceleration program. LCI will offer two open desks in its open-space incubator, with full access to its resources for three months. LHoFT has guaranteed three months of hot-desking and a oneyear membership, including "Strategic Benefits." This is just the beginning as we also have other interesting partners in the pipeline. All together, these prizes total €100,000. We are immensely proud to be able to take this event to the next level with all of these new partners uniting behind a single brand.
PREVIOUS WINNERS OF PITCH YOUR STARTUP
WHY DO YOU WORK WITH STARTUPS?
We believe in startups. It’s part of the company’s DNA, and it’s also how we started out. We encourage our employees to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. Whenever they come up with an idea, we are always happy to listen to it and support it when we believe it has potential. We have also invested in and integrated some startups into our own technology and business, as we believe great ideas and innovation often come from outside sources. I believe all of the PYSU partners share the same philosophy, which is why they have decided to join the initiative and add value to it. HOW CAN YOU SUCCESSFULLY DELIVER A PITCH IN 3 MINUTES AND 33 SECONDS? It’s difficult, that’s for sure, but it is also a great way to discover the real essence of your startup. A pitch has to be clear and straight to the point. Pitchers must keep it short, but at the same time tell their story and give us some insight into their world and their company’s philosophy. Practice is obviously a good idea, but enthusiasm is essential!
AIVA – An Artificial Intelligence solution capable of composing classical music and emotional soundtracks for films, video games, tv shows and commercials.
2016 SESAMm – SESAMm develops and commercializes stock market forecasting tools based on social media and other textual data sources. The company provides financial indicators created by using big data methods and allowing new approaches for trading strategies.
2015 Wondermags – A self-publishing platform on which people create and publish their own eMagazines, get readers and make money.
NICOLAS GAUTHIER & SÃ‰BASTIEN BERTHELOT
Modern Mobility: Shared, Electric & Multimodal A NEW PLAYER IN MOBILITY HAS JUST ENTERED THE SCENE IN LUXEMBOURG. IN A SECTOR DOMINATED BY BIG NAMES, STARTUP MOOVEE IS BETTING ON MULTIMODAL AND SOFT MOBILITY TO ATTRACT BUSINESSES, CITY DWELLERS AND “FRONTALIERS” (PEOPLE LIVING NEAR THE BORDER). SILICON MET WITH FOUNDER SÉBASTIEN BERTHELOT.
TELL US ABOUT MOOVEE.
B2B OR B2C?
Moovee is a startup that wants to rethink mobility around three axes. Firstly, owning a car is not the only way. Secondly, a car is not the only way to get around. And thirdly, electric vehicles and soft mobility are user-friendly and enhance well-being.
Moovee is a B2C model, but today the mobility offer is aimed primarily at companies that want to improve the lives of their employees by making their mobility more efficient. Many companies have offices in multiples locations, have limited parking or want to offer the best mobility options to their employees.
In a nutshell, Moovee provides companies with a multimodal fleet, which is a fleet made up of different types of self-service vehicles. Each employee can choose the most suitable vehicle for their specific mobility needs. Today, Moovee is the first Luxembourg mobility operator.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN 100% ELECTRIC?
In parallel with Moovee, we are working on two other projects: the sale of premium vehicles (GS Drive), and the supply of street lighting and street furniture connected and powered by solar energy. We are, therefore, very aware of issues related to green-tech and mobility. Moovee is a sort of synthesis of these two activities. It is not uncommon to use an electric car on a daily basis and a sports car on weekends. We do not have a dogmatic approach to mobility and, for us, 100% electric makes as much sense as going 100% thermal: to each journey its own means of transport.
WHAT MOBILITY SERVICES DO YOU OFFER? In addition to being able to buy or lease any vehicle, we offer a whole range of services. Our added value is based on our ability to provide both two and four-wheeled vehicles and services under one platform. Infrastructure, booking software, maintenance, operational fleet management, you name it – our solution is complete and allows great flexibility with minimal daily management.
Let’s take the example of large consulting firms that have built, or are building, their new headquarters. They often don’t have enough parking for all employees. Even if these companies promote the use of carpooling or public transport, they still need additional mobility solutions on a daily basis. The services we provide, in addition to the vehicles themselves, make it possible to adopt these alternative solutions more easily and without operational complexities. Our fleet management platform allows employees to check the availability of vehicles and book them without having to go through a dedicated manager. Our car-sharing kit lets them open cars and unlock vehicles with a simple badge or smartphone. This same application also facilitates access to the entire available fleet (bicycles, scooters, etc.). The concept of a one-stop-shop is really part of our DNA.
HOW HAS THE MARKET RESPONDED SO FAR? The technology has been developed and consumers are really ready to use this type of mobility service. We will start pilot projects with several companies so they can join the mobility revolution. Many companies have already launched individual mobility initiatives, be it car-sharing or bike-sharing, but none of them have a global solution, and most of the time they encounter operational management issues.
IS IT COMPLICATED TO FIND PARTNERS FOR THIS TYPE OF PROJECT? We were extremely surprised by the interest in mobility. Even if companies have only just started investigating mobility, they have really embraced the idea and seem to want to take the lead and get involved. CSR issues are, of course, a priority, but beyond that, the solutions we offer make it possible for companies to increase productivity, as well as attract and retain talent. On these issues, no one wants to be the last to act. We are fortunate to be supported by InCub, Paul Wurth's startup incubator. It's a real springboard. InCub opens a lot of doors for us: from partners with whom we work to build our offer to customers for whom association with InCub is a guarantee of integrity and reliability.
WHAT DOES THE LUXEMBOURG MARKET REPRESENT FOR YOU? Luxembourg is a great market. It brings together many players with a real passion for cars, a real sensitivity towards CSR issues and an appetite for innovation. We have also observed a political will to drive the market towards new mobility solutions. It is, therefore, a priority market for us where we are currently focusing all of our energy. We are a young startup and do not have the capacity to expand across Europe just yet, even though new fundraising should be completed by the end of the year.
Arch Summit 2018: Bridging the Gap Between Startups & Corporates BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE TOMORROW STREET INNOVATION CENTER, ARCH 2018 IS THE EVENT CONNECTING STARTUPS, INVESTORS AND BUSINESS EXECUTIVES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE. TAKING PLACE ON MAY 3 & 4 AT LUXEXPO, OVER 5000 PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL TECH SUMMIT IN LUXEMBOURG. SILICON MET WITH WARRICK CRAMER, CEO OF TOMORROW STREET, TO FIND OUT MORE.
WHY DID TOMORROW STREET DECIDE TO ORGANIZE A TECH SUMMIT? We really want to show the world the philosophy behind Tomorrow Street and its ultimate mission: to bridge the gap between startups and corporates. We want to give startups a platform where they can directly connect with C-level executives. And vice versa. I’ve had a lot of C-level executives telling me: “Sometimes we just don’t get told what’s out there”. My immediate reaction? I’ll just bring them all to Luxembourg! And get the startups here too. Within Vodafone we have 16,000 suppliers, 58 partner markets, around 26 operating companies, and all of our enterprise customers. With big organizations including Huawei, Accenture, Ericsson, Kathrein and Amdocs on the guest list, it is a unique opportunity for startups to grow their business through networking and get in front of the right people. We’ve incorporated the annual Vodafone Supplier Awards into the Arch Summit so everyone will be there!
HOW DO YOU THINK THE SUMMIT WILL IMPACT THE LOCAL ECOSYSTEM? It’s brilliant for Luxembourg as it will showcase how diverse we are in terms of our own ecosystem. Leveraging Vodafone’s global influence puts the ecosystem on the map and benefits everyone in the community. I hope this event will help all the other incubators in Luxembourg to expand their networks as well. Furthermore, many guests will be visiting Luxembourg for the very first time, so that’s great news for tourism and showing off the country as a whole. We’re also very excited to have the prime minister and deputy prime minister attending. Arch 2018 is a springboard for us to keep hosting these summits and collaborating with our partners around the world. We want it to be in everyone’s calendar each year.
WHO ARE THE MAIN SPEAKERS? We have a very diverse line-up of speakers including Anton Kathrein (CEO of antenna manufacturer Kathrein), Gene Reznik (Senior Managing Director of Technology Ecosystem & Ventures at Accenture), Jonathan Nelson (from US startup incubator Hackers/Founders) and Georgia Paphiti (CFO of UBS). Sonia Hernandez, Director at Vodafone Procurement Company, as well as other Vodafone C-level executives will be taking the stage.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE TWO-DAY PROGRAM AS WELL AS THE COMPETITIONS. We want the summit to feel like a “destination.” To this end, we have asked our suppliers and vendors to make their stands as interactive as possible. It’s all about being hands-on. There will be a VIP area (sponsored by Veuve Clicquot), food trucks and even a band playing outside…a real festival feel. Three competitions with cash prizes (no strings attached) will take place over the course of the two days. The Disruptive Startup Challenge with the chance to win €150,000. What we are looking for is scalability because to be disruptive, you need to be scalable. We then have Women in Tech, this prize of €50,000 is not necessarily for women entrepreneurs; it’s any business that is trying to empower the lives of women and girls through technology. The third cash prize is another €50,000 around the theme of Human Impact. We want to see startups that are dedicated to finding ways to enrich people’s lives across the world.
WHAT DOES THE “ARCH” SYMBOLIZE? It’s all about bridging the gap. We’ve got two opposing worlds that speak two different languages and we need to bring these two worlds together. And what better place than Luxembourg with all its bridges!
WHAT SETS THIS SUMMIT APART FROM OTHERS? This summit is about opportunity, interaction and personalized connection. Startups rarely get the opportunity to meet face-to-face with C-level executives from big organizations. Just one conversation can be life-changing. When you miss an opportunity, it can really extend that time to market for a business. And executives often don’t have the time or the bandwidth to talk to startups. At the event itself, we’re not putting startups on one side and corporates on the other; we’re blending everyone together to enable them to fully interact and engage. Our staff will be taking VIPs on “tours” around the summit, introducing them to all the startups. That doesn’t happen anywhere! It is a place where people can interact physically and not just digitally. We’re living in a society where everything’s digital and even though it makes our lives easier, you lose that ability to truly connect with people. This summit brings the human element back into the mix.
Social Impact Investing: How to get Started HEDDA PAHLSON-MOLLER IS AN INTERNATIONAL IMPACT INVESTOR AND CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF CATALYST OF TIIME, AN IMPACT ADVISORY AND ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION. SHE INVESTS PRIVATELY AS A BUSINESS ANGEL AND SITS ON THE BOARDS OF SEVERAL ANGEL FUNDS AND NETWORKS. SHE IS A VOCAL PROPONENT OF DIVERSITY AND GENDER COMPLEMENTARITY THROUGH EQUILIBRE.LU. Investment activity, particularly early-stage investing, has considerable risk and you should be aware of all possible outcomes – including losing your money, your time… and more. Depressing disclaimer aside, all investments have a risk/return ratio – and the risk is higher when it comes to early stage investing but so is the reward! In terms of concrete suggestions for newcomers to the impact investment scene, I would recommend to first explore areas of social/environmental impact that resonate with them personally. The joy of early-stage investing is being part of value creation from the ground up – being part of the journey. The adventure! Having a personal connection to the project and its purpose and mission will make the investment and engagement even more meaningful. And obviously the relationship with the entrepreneur is critical at this early stage - you invest in the team and their vision more than anything else. Impact investing is value creation well beyond financial. The fundamentals of impact investing are based on the same principle of managing returns, but we also incorporate social and environmental impact intentionally (by design, not default). Basically, you are including an additional dimension to your risk and return approach. It is exhilarating and rewarding to help investors and entrepreneurs alike understand that they can combine measurable positive impact while applying profitable investment and business strategies. We encourage business angels to look at their investment strategies, add impact return criteria, and truly earn their wings.
A Better Customer Experience with VR THE USE OF VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) IS BECOMING AN INCREASINGLY MORE IMMERSIVE BRAND MARKETING TOOL. THE PRIMARY COMMERCIAL OBJECTIVE? – TO OFFER CONSUMERS NEW EXPERIENCES THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY INACCESSIBLE. THANKS TO CREATIVE AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS, BRANDS CAN USE VR AND ITS VARIOUS APPLICATIONS TO AWAKEN CONSUMERS’ SENSES, AN EFFECTIVE EMOTIONAL TRIGGER.
Currently based in Luxembourg, and recently in Canada and China, Ludwig is one of the official creative agencies of adidas. The teams, led by Charles Nadler, manage all of the global campaigns for its outdoor category: adidas TERREX. At the end of 2017, the agency carried out a unique activation campaign in China’s 10 largest cities, among others. Silicon had the opportunity to test its VR solution and learn its development secrets.
FROM DREAM TO REALITY & BACK AGAIN: A MENTAL, VISUAL & PHYSICAL EXPERIENCE Merging immersive experiences with athletic performance through an engaging approach was the initial idea behind Ludwig’s campaign. VR is appealing to brands today because of its novelty, variety and potential. "It all started with a call from our customer team stating that two of our American athletes were climbing a rock wall in Corsica accompanied by a photographer equipped to capture 360° video. It was an opportunity to develop a new creative approach," Nadler said.
From there, the agency worked to develop an activation campaign based on educational and accessible storytelling in order to immerse the target audience in the climbers’ adventure. How could they offer the audience a completely immersive experience? "First of all, we talked with the athletes in order to get a real sense of the conditions and key elements of the climb and to communicate all of the details that made the experience interesting and successful," he added. "The central goal was not commercial, but rather to make an impression and engage consumers. The return on investment is long-term, since novice consumers may have had their first immersive experience thanks to the brand. It’s all about brand awareness. Obviously, the project can then be accompanied by a commercial strategy. In our case, the consumer was invited to continue the experience in-store in order to benefit from exclusive and personalized offers. A highly engaging way to attract new targets." Consumers have the opportunity to experience the same feelings as the athletes they follow every day on social networks. VR makes it possible to be closer to the action – at the center of the story. For this campaign, users were able to follow the athletes through all phases of the climb. Not only did they wear helmets for visual immersion, but the experience was also physical, since they were invited to take part in the story and climb the rock face. The sensations then became more realistic, from the sounds to the movements.
"We developed this project – from the strategy and creative phases to the final production – in the span of three months. Through our community, we identified the experts in virtual reality development, and also in 3D, audio, motion design and retail design because the experience required a complete modeling of the environment. A real team effort!" Nadler said. Because of the enthusiasm generated internally by this campaign, adidas decided to take this experience straight to the largest crowds. China and its flourishing mountain sports market immediately showed interested in this VR experience. "We have deployed this campaign in China’s 10 largest cities, especially in huge shopping centers that generate high traffic and brand visibility. In addition to the virtual experience, we have developed a physical experience with a real-world installation. We recreated part of the rock wall that is mobile and installed integrated digital screens to allow passersby to also partake of the experience,” he added.
THE ULTIMATE ATTENTION GRABBER
In terms of brand positioning, there is no doubt that such activation campaigns offer concrete added value for brands in search of innovation.
"Activation campaigns initiated by virtual reality are still quite new in Europe. We are aware of the growing interest in using these new tools. Many applications are possible in different fields: culture, technical industries, leisure, health...," Nadler explained.
"The project is affordable depending on the level of experience that you want to develop," Nadler explained. VR offers a new creative space for agencies and brands where the potential for development and deployment is still in its infancy. In terms of statistics, VR campaigns are less easily quantifiable than digital campaigns because the metrics are different: acquisition of new consumers versus number of unique visitors. "In the case of activation campaigns based on virtual reality technology, we focus purely on the acquisition of new customers. These campaigns make an impact. When we deploy such a campaign in 10 big cities, the traffic and the hype are very important and the reaction on social platforms generates even more visibility. Thatâ€™s why it is beneficial to merge activation with a multimedia deployment strategy," Nadler said. These campaigns reach both established and new consumers, as well as those who simply want to experience something unique that they will remember for their entire lives. "Being able to experience a sensational sport, such as climbing, that requires great technical skills and a lifetime of learning, is an exceptional opportunity. It makes an impact, and for some people it turns a long-time dream into (virtual) reality!" he added. These virtual experiences are often accompanied by physical experiences centered on a product. Commercial campaigns, therefore, find in VR an excellent springboard for attracting a wider range of customers and inspiring more purchases.
The value comes from how VR is employed in the context of brand strategy and positioning. "The VR solution should not replace the idea or the story. It's the storytelling that takes precedence. It must highlight what the brand offers from a unique point of view,â€? he said. In the case of adidas and adidas TERREX, the solution provides a first climbing experience to brand admirers and potential consumers, and the chance to experience the lives of these hardcore athletes. The return on investment cannot necessarily be monetized, but it is emotional. Users will remember the experience and associate it with the brand. VR experiences associated with social and digital experiences will certainly increase in the future. "There are communication channels that can be linked to VR campaigns without destroying budgets! It's all about creativity and storytelling," Nadler explained. When a brand communicates, it stays committed to retaining its customers and wants to offer them products and services that are more efficient and personalized. Beyond that, there is also the desire to create a real emotional impact. "For many of us, it's often the first time, and we always remember the first time!" Nadler asserted. "The spectrum of possibilities is still very wide. For brands, there is a big playground to leverage. They have the opportunity to inspire loyal consumers who will then become ambassadors. Pursuing emotional investment is the right move to make today!" These are opportunities that brands must capitalize on.
EXPERT BUSINESS ADVICE WE INVITED EXPERTS TO ANSWER OUR MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. HERE IS WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY. AGREE? DISAGREE? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN OUR COMMENTS SECTION ONLINE.
HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST TALENT TO YOUR STARTUP? ARE YOU A STARTUP LOOKING FOR NEW TALENT? DO YOU WANT TO TAP INTO THE CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION AVAILABLE IN THE TALENT MARKET? DO YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW? If so, I want to let you in on a secret… If you want the best people working with you, you need to do a whole lot more than simply publish a fancy-looking recruitment ad. It starts right from day one, long before you even have the financial means to be hiring. WHAT EXCITES THE BEST MINDS IN THE MARKET? A compelling vision and a meaningful mission. You’re doing a better job than your competitors? Who cares? They certainly don’t. Your future employees do not want to get better at replicating others; they want to innovate and break the rules. They want to join inspirational leaders who are changing the world. If your startup centers around this, and if you are a great leader, you automatically become a magnet for the talented people you are longing for. SO, THAT ALL SOUNDS GREAT, BUT HOW ARE YOU TACKLING THIS HOT TOPIC? Having accompanied startups in their expansion for seven years, I am happy to share seven lessons I have learned about how to attract the best talent.
1 You, the founders, matter. You embody your startups. Position yourself as a thought leader. Contribute and share your startup voice whenever it is relevant. Share valuable content on your site and blog, as well as on relevant sites and social media. Share your story, your successes and your failures, which tell so much about who you are. Make yourself visible: network and speak at relevant conferences to share your vision. These are valuable opportunities to be heard, raise interest and ultimately, inspire talented individuals to join you.
2 Just do it! In case some naughty inner voice tells you, “This is ridiculous, you are too young, too small, too inexperienced, how can you possibly make an impact?” please consider this Anita Roddick quote that I love: “If you think you're too small to make a difference, you've never been to bed with a mosquito.” I personally know very young entrepreneurs who dare greatly. And they happen to be successful recruiters too.
3 Build a strong brand for your startup from day one. Lots of good candidates want to be associated with a reputable brand. Associate your brand with a remarkable value proposition to stand out from the crowd while building your visibility and credibility. Deliver what you promise, and deliver it with the highest quality standards. And let the market know! Feedback from your clients, partners and/or investors is essential as they are your main ambassadors.
4 Build a great place to work. In the early days, top talents don’t come to you because of the financial package you can offer - they know you can’t. So, go for what a big company cannot offer: autonomy, flexibility, global picture, professional growth, and … a sense of adventure. Candidates are ready to commit and invest significant time and effort, provided that 1) you offer them a meaningful position, and create space for them to reach their potential, and 2) you empower them and make sure they have enough room to significantly contribute to your company’s success. In a nutshell, do not create too tight a job description! As leaders, you only build effective teams by developing individual talents.
founders who grow their company as their own “baby.” Since a growing child’s needs will evolve until they ultimately leave the nest, parents need to adapt to each and every step, from caring to empowering to trusting and letting go. Well, when it comes to your startup, a rapidly growing and changing organization, you will consistently alter your focus over time, from development and sales, to operational efficiency, to market expansion and restructuring for scalability. The skills required at each step may be fundamentally different to those required at the preceding one. You will not own them all. The magic of growth will only happen with a subtle combination of talents.
6 Build an open and transparent recruitment process, involving your team as much as you can. According to Maddyness, 94% of candidates will google you and your staff before reaching out to you to find out more on your culture and environment. Twenty-one percent will even call your employees to get more information.
7 What if you can’t find your golden nuggets in Luxembourg or in the Greater Region? Broaden the scope of your hunting playground to more remote areas with higher unemployment rates and relevant first-class universities. It all boils down to one thing: if you want to attract the best talent, you must work hard on attracting them before the job even becomes available – before you even believe it possible to take someone on. Everything is linked to the culture you infuse in your startup…right from day one.
5 To do so, be bold and humble: be ready to hire people who are different and smarter than you! This is the price for making your startup successful. The price is often high for startup
FLORENCE ROUX-CHRISTMANN STARTUP ECOSYSTEM ENABLER, BUSINESS MENTOR & CO-ACTIVE COACH
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR IT PARTNER NOWADAYS, HAVING A FULLY FUNCTIONING IT DEPARTMENT IS CRITICAL BECAUSE IT INCREASES THE EFFICIENCY OF ALL PARTS OF A BUSINESS. FURTHERMORE, IT STREAMLINES OPERATIONS CONSIDERABLY BY HELPING ORGANIZATIONS CREATE, MANAGE, OPTIMIZE AND ACCESS RELEVANT INFORMATION AND BUSINESS PROCESSES. IT SKILLS CAN MAKE OR BREAK A COMPANY’S COMPETITIVENESS.
If IT is not part of your core competencies, and you have reached your limits with DIY, then it is time to outsource. To do so, however, there are several steps you must take and questions you need answered. As a former senior procurement professional, I would even recommend you take the time to go through a Request For Proposal (RFP) process. It is time well-invested as the process enables you to identify gaps, needs, objectives and budget. It also lets you properly scan the market, interview candidates, gauge their capabilities and ultimately select and hire the right partner. You will identify the operational processes you need to put in place in order to measure their performance. Because IT impacts all functions within your organization, it is essential that all relevant teams are on the same page. An RFP document will briefly present your company and the purpose of the RFP. In addition, it will clearly describe your needs, objectives and the results you want to achieve. It will present a set of targeted questionnaires for the vendors so that you can assess their capabilities and see if they match your needs. IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS, OBJECTIVES AND RESULTS An IT partner is like an extended team you want to incorporate into your business to help it grow. Have a clear idea of your needs because you will have to explain them so that the IT partner can provide the results you are expecting.
To identify your needs, go through the following exercise with your relevant teams to ensure you are aligned and do not miss any relevant data: Take inventory of your company: what are its strengths? What is it lacking? What are your goals? What are the tangible results you want to achieve? What are the tasks you need to outsource? Assess the tactical vs. strategic part and prioritize. IDENTIFY YOUR BUDGET AND THE SELECTION CRITERIA
Do they have to subcontract? If so, get full transparency of the subcontractors and ensure your IT partner is your sole contact who will take full responsibility for the deliverables Examine the content of the future sourcing contract: obligations of both parties, IP, and all relevant commercial and legal requirements Cultural fit and mutual understanding: do they adhere to the CSR policies your company lives by? Do they understand your requirements? IDENTIFY PROSPECTIVE IT VENDORS Make a list of possible IT vendors and investigate them beforehand Some may be listed on the Dun & Bradstreet database. If your company has access to it, perform a search on their financial solvency Once you have identified all these points, you can invite the most qualified candidates for an in-depth screening and evaluation.
Your budget will determine the type and length of the partnership, as well as the scope of projects you can afford to outsource. The criteria would include, but is not be limited to, the following: Technical and delivery capabilities SLAs commitment vs. what you expect Support and maintenance service (once the projects are delivered) Pricing structure Customer references, referrals, case studies Team assignment: who are they and where are they based? On-shore, near-shore or off-shore? Their seniority, experience and location will help you evaluate the pricing levels
DIANE TEA REALTECH COMPANY MANAGING DIRECTOR / ADVISOR / TECH INVESTOR
CLOUD SERVICE PROVIDER OR MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDER: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Of the many different service providers on the market, cloud service providers (CSP) and managed services providers (MSP) stand out as two that most businesses struggle to distinguish and understand. So, what is the difference between them? Essentially, an MSP can be a CSP, but a CSP can never be an MSP. CSPs typically offer the following type of hosted solutions: desktop as a service, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service. Examples include Amazon Workspaces (AWS), Dropbox, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.
MSPs can deliver all of the above services, as well as a higher level of IT support: authentication, data backup, recovery and security, disaster recovery and business continuity, malicious software/virus solutions, network connectivity, monitoring and security, and systems management. MSPs are typically local, regional and/or national providers of general managed IT services. Many businesses end up choosing CSPs over MSPs because they are often seen as being the less expensive option. However, we have to keep in mind that hosting a business’s IT resources and managing a business’s IT resources are “two different pairs of shoes,” as they say in German. This means that a business should carefully analyze the pros and
cons offered by both approaches, as the seemingly cheaper solution could end up being quite a costly experience, especially if the business does not have the in-house IT competencies necessary to migrate and manage its IT resources in the first place. So, if your business is trying to decide between a CSP and a more holistic MSP, it is crucial that you first take time to define what you want to achieve and which of the two choices will benefit your business.
DAVID CELIS MANAGING PARTNER AT CMD.SOLUTIONS
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BUZZWORD IT SEEMS LIKE NEW TERMS AND CONCEPTS SPRING UP EVERY DAY, GENERATED BY A SURGE OF TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS. LET’S STOP TO DECIPHER ONE OF THEM.
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PropTech & The Disruption of Real Estate THE WAVE OF DISRUPTIVE SOLUTIONS USING INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES IN SECTORS SUCH AS FINANCE (FINTECH AND REGTECH) RECENTLY ENTERED AN OTHER ONE: REAL ESTATE. THROUGH THE TRANSFORMATION OF THIS SECTOR IN AN INCREASINGLY DIGITALIZED WORLD, A NEW CONCEPT WAS BORN, BRINGING WITH IT BILLION-DOLLAR OPPORTUNITIES: PROPTECH. LET’S TRY TO BETTER GRASP THIS SWEEPING MARKET EVOLUTION.
REFRESHING AN OLD-FASHIONED INDUSTRY
THE QUEST FOR OPTIMIZATION AND BETTER PRODUCTIVITY
PROPTECH: THE FUTURE OF LUXEMBOURG?
PropTech is a term used for startups that provide innovative technological solutions for the real estate market. By improving current economic models or integrating disruptive solutions, PropTech players reinvent dated methods still used in the real estate industry. Digital context and evolving lifestyle are also key to identifying areas for growth.
Various technologies have arrived to disrupt the whole value chain in the real estate sector. Some of them are already tried-and-tested, including crowdfunding, building information modeling, blockchain, drones, predictive analysis, Internet of Things and 3D printing. Startups are currently merging those technologies to forge business models that are likely to generate optimization and productivity.
Real estate activity used to be intrinsically linked to vacancies and the availability of property on the market. Small countries are therefore “penalized” due to a lower number of transactions compared to bigger countries.
SOLUTIONS FOR A NEW PARADIGM: NOMADISM AND THE SHARING ECONOMY The first startups that emerged from PropTech were inspired by the digital nomads of younger generations and driven by the evolution of the sharing economy. This new style of consumption is reflected across society: new co-working and business centers are popping up everywhere; communal apartments are no longer exclusive to students but to all demographics (for example, families and the elderly); and house swaps are more and more common. These existing activities are expanding their markets thanks to digital solutions, such as housing management software, cloud-based document management and the development of online community platforms that build trust through rating systems.
No part of the real estate value chain is left untouched. This revolution can be split into five main segments: financing, construction, transaction, management and occupancy. These disruptive trends and transformative economic models will have impacts beyond the PropTech sphere. Costs will be cut across the board: investor capital, construction work, intermediation and building management. This lighter financial load will finally open the door to quality improvements within the sector.
Luxembourg, however, has the potential to become the tried-and-tested market for innovative real estate solutions that could be globally expanded. In terms of assets and quality, PropTech startups in Luxembourg can compete with other market players. To foster the emergence of local PropTech startups with the potential to become unicorns, the development of PropTech incubators, investment funds and partnerships with local real-estate players are essential.
Improved productivity will decrease costs and improve quality, benefiting customers, investors and employees with challenging working conditions. Today, the gap between supply and demand sways stakeholders to tolerate a quality of service that would be unacceptable elsewhere, namely in the industrial sector, which has long adhered to the zero fault concept.
AUDREY BAVEREL INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR / STARTUP ADVISOR
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Creating Healthy Buildings WINDHOF-BASED VYZVOICE DEVELOPED CHORUS, A SECURE, CLOUDBASED IOT PLATFORM. CHORUS FOR COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS IS AN END-TO-END SOLUTION THAT PROVIDES THE FRAMEWORK AND TOOLS TO EASILY AND RAPIDLY CREATE DATA ANALYTICS AND VISUALIZATION APPLICATIONS FOR ALL DATA STAKEHOLDERS IN THE COMMERCIAL BUILDING ECOSYSTEM. APPLICATIONS ADDRESS ENERGY EFFICIENCY, COMFORT AND WELLBEING, SUSTAINABILITY, MAINTENANCE, COMPLIANCE AND CERTIFICATION, INCLUDING PRE-DEFINED METRICS FOR BREEAM ASSESSMENT. DEVELOPED AS A DEVICE-AGNOSTIC, EASY-TO-USE, SCALABLE SOLUTION, VYZVOICE LOWERS THE BARRIERS FACED BY MIDDLE-MARKET COMPANIES ON THEIR PATH TO DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION.
ROBERT SPICER CEO, VYZVOICE
CREATING VALUE FOR OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS THROUGH THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS Digital transformation has swept across all industries, and commercial real estate is no exception. The reduced cost of sensors and connected devices means that middle-market commercial buildings can also reap the benefits of data-driven decision making, a resource that had previously been reserved for new construction or large-scale buildings with higher investment capabilities and IT resources. LOOKING BEYOND ENERGY EFFICIENCY TO HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE WORK ENVIRONMENTS Energy efficiency has been the key driver for smart buildings, with a focus on cost reduction and sustainability targets, but the indoor environment is not always considered. A growing body of evidence now clearly demonstrates that indoor climate significant impacts employee wellbeing. Temperature, humidity, ventilation rates, CO2, VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), luminosity and noise levels directly impact not only employee health but their ability to concentrate and be productive. MEASURABLE FINANCIAL IMPACT FOR OWNERS AND TENANTS The concept of promoting employee wellbeing at work is nothing new. However, it is not until recently that the significant financial impact for companies is understood in terms of reduced absences, increased productivity, and improved employee satisfaction and retention. Employee costs account for 90% of a company’s costs in a commercial building. A small increase in employee productivity carries a significant financial benefit. Leading companies now recognize the promotion of wellbeing and a healthy work environment as a competitive advantage in their operations, and in their ability to attract and retain top talent. Building owners who respond to these needs are rewarded with premium rents, lower tenant turnover and retained building value. Many seek to leverage building certifications as a differentiator in attracting and retaining top tenants and maximizing their return on investment. BREEAM, the world’s leading building sustainability assessment method, is recognized as a benchmark in sustainable, healthy buildings. Owners of BREEAM-certified buildings report up to a 24% increase in rental rates compared to conventional buildings, and consider certification to preserve and increase market value.
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New Tech that’s Remodeling Real Estate “CREATIVE DESTRUCTION” REFERS TO THE “PROCESS OF INDUSTRIAL MUTATION THAT INCESSANTLY REVOLUTIONIZES THE ECONOMIC STRUCTURE … INCESSANTLY DESTROYING THE OLD ONE, INCESSANTLY CREATING A NEW ONE.” THE EXPRESSION IS MOST READILY IDENTIFIED WITH JOSEPH SCHUMPETER (1883-1950) WHO POPULARIZED IT THROUGH HIS BOOK “CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM AND DEMOCRACY”
This impacts the entire value chain, from funding, to home purchases to subletting.
“Creative destruction” is what we are witnessing in today’s real estate world.
AUTONOMY/SELF-SUFFICIENCY: REFLECTED IN SITES SUCH AS SKYSCANNER.COM OR BOOKING.COM
A massive influx of private firms combined with decreased processing costs and new technologies eroded the monopolies held by established companies.
SKILLS & EXPERTISE: AS SEEN IN BIG DATA’S KNOWLEDGE SHARING
WHAT IS PROPTECH The word PropTech comes from the contraction of “property” and “technology.” It refers to tech startups and new technologies revolutionizing the real estate industry. There are plenty of innovative real estate hubs and the integration of tech opens up new horizons for them in a market that is constantly moving. THE WHOLE VALUE CHAIN
PROMPTNESS & RESPONSIVENESS: SUCH AS CHATBOTS AND PRICE-COMPARISON WEBSITES TRANSPARENCY: ACCESSIBILITY OF INFORMATION Thanks to innovative, well-funded, multipurpose platforms, customers are increasingly realizing the value that tech firms bring to traditional estate agencies. Furthermore, they are more open to paying fees as long as they get quality service in return. Conversely, due to the mediocre reputation of traditional agencies, customers are reluctant to pay for standard services.
Tech platforms are gaining ground, as seen in the purchasing process.
Nowadays, 90% of house-hunting is done online (nearly 750,000 monthly online viewings at Athome.lu). It is one of the first activities that quickly turned digital. Potential customers are armed with so much online information that fewer and fewer of them are calling estate agencies.
OCCUPATION MANAGEMENT Olivier Minaire
The real estate industry has turned a digital corner to meet the expectations of private individuals and professionals.
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY HAS TRANSFORMED HABITS, SUCH AS CONSUMING, SELLING, RENTING OR BUYING (THROUGH AUGMENTED REALITY, ONLINE VIEWINGS, BIDDING ETC.), WHICH TRIGGERED NEW OPPORTUNITIES.
The transformation of traditional business models (“disruption”) by innovative startups has proved challenging to the real estate value chain.
HOW TECHNOLOGY HAS REVOLUTIONIZED THE TRADITIONAL MARKET
Customers have come to expect extensive online information about properties for sale. Ads featuring HD pictures (including layout, floor plans, etc.), videos (360°/Matterport or drone footage of existing constructions) and immersive viewing of off-plan properites (Cognityk Luxembourg) receive more requests for viewing and more bids, resulting in quicker sales.
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With chatbots, AI gets the discussion started and advises the potential buyer. Scheduling property viewings using computer algorithms can be efficiently outsourced (Flatsy). In general, customers can hardly tell the difference between estate agencies nowadays, making space for new players to appear: RATING AGENCIES LIKE IMMODVISOR MARKETPLACES LIKE HOMEXPERTS IN LUXEMBOURG REAL-ESTATE AGENCY CERTIFICATION (FOR EXAMPLE, THE BROKER CERTIFICATE IN LUXEMBOURG) Low-cost agencies have now appeared (Proprioo, singlerate fee at €990), as well as online estate agencies with no physical office (effiCity). Some of these platforms even try to push the estate agent out of the deal (NoAgent in Luxembourg). ACQUISITION A number of new websites have emerged to help buyers find the best mortgage online via a credit simulator. The aim is to compare offers in order to get the best one (as with air tickets, for example), essentially overhauling the brokerage business (Meilleurtaux). If a financial guarantee is needed, it can be provided online either to potential tenants (theguarantors) or to the owner/ landlord (Reposit). Due diligence and documentation can be outsourced (letHQ).
MYNOTARY OPERATES A SMART DATA ROOM FOR DOCUMENT-SHARING AND EXCHANGING MESSAGES BETWEEN PARTIES OF A REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION (REAL ESTATE AGENCY, NOTARY, BANK, INSURANCE COMPANY, INSPECTION/ASSESSMENT FIRM). FROM FIRST CONTACT TO A PRELIMINARY SALE AGREEMENT, IT COLLECTS VARIOUS PIECES OF DOCUMENTATION (SURVEYS, BIRTH CERTIFICATES, NEIGHBORHOOD PLANS, ETC.). IT CAN ALSO SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS, ASK/ANSWER QUESTIONS AND PREPARE DRAFT AGREEMENTS FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION. MYNOTARY DIGITIZES A LINK IN THE VALUE CHAIN. THE CUSTOMER CAN FOLLOW UP HIS FILE AND TALK WITH THE NOTARY OR REAL ESTATE AGENT VIA A LIVE CHAT. Legal support is also available online for contract drafting and signatures (LeBonBail), inventory on tablet (Homepad). Data rooms are used to facilitate multiparty dialogue, including the notary (MyNotary). A thorough knowledge of the property is a strength and extensive information can be collected from quality platforms (in particular the technical ones from BIM), complementary sites or open data resources (i.e. maintenance charges, current tax law, district map and photos, neighborhood life, public transportation, nearby shops and amenities, etc.). With an accurate understanding of the potential buyer’s needs, the target asset can be more easily spotted, resulting in faster decisions.
BIM (BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING) IS A REALTIME BUILDING PROCESS BASED ON A SHARED DIGITAL MODEL, WHICH IS FED BY ALL THE PARTICIPANTS IN A BUILDING PROJECT. AN UPCOMING EUROPEAN DIRECTIVE WILL MAKE BIM COMPULSORY, AT LEAST FOR PUBLIC CONTRACTS.
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The same platforms would allow the customer to pay rent online, get the receipt, ask questions and carry out other administrative tasks. The customer can interact with the management company, the owner or the neighbors (Syment Luxembourg), as well as temporarily rent out a parking space (PrendsMaPlace) or cellar (Costockage). Customers can report technical issues and follow up on their smartphones (Syment Luxembourg). THE ROLE OF STARTUPS IN ALL OF THIS In a 2016 survey of American corporations (Imaginatik & MassChallenge), more than 75% believe that cooperating with startups is essential, with 25% declaring that it has become absolutely necessary. These huge companies, along with many others, need to keep up with out-of-the-box improvements, which are less expensive and quick to apply, while meeting new market expectations. By working with startups, they tap into new business models, new technology and upgrades for clients. The majority of large French corporations has dedicated programs for startups in the form of investment funds, incubators, accelerators and shared workspaces. Modes of startup support have been diversifying, so they are less in need of new funds. Among startuppers today, only a few strive to be acquired by larger companies. The majority prefer to have just one “low-key” shareholder. They see partnerships as strategic and as a means to reach the market. However, the increased importance of DeepTech may disrupt this approach since technical needs, as well as industrial, commercial and human ones, have become largely more important than PropTech. MOST RECENT INNOVATIONS IN PROPTECH
DEEPTECH REFERS TO TECHNO-SCIENCE PROCESSING. FOR EXAMPLE, KONIKU HAS DEVELOPED A HYBRID SMART-CARD COMPOSED OF A NEURAL NETWORK OF 64 LIVING NEURONS (OR BRAIN TISSUE), WHICH IS DESIGNED TO EXPLORE SENSORY CAPABILITIES OF NEURONS FOR INDUSTRIAL USAGE. All industries are experiencing product innovation and success arises when consumers are attracted by the service or product.
Unicorns in the PropTech segment, therefore, cover a wide area, from online real-estate brokers to property management tools, and from homepages and computer algorithms to online marketplaces. So, are tech companies dipping into real estate or is real estate going digital?
OPENDOOR ASKS OWNERS WISHING TO SELL THEIR PROPERTIES TO FILL OUT A DETAILED APPLICATION FORM, WHICH IS COMPLETED WITH A DOZEN APPLICATION REQUESTS FROM OTHER DATABASES (BIG DATA). THE COMPUTER ALGORITHM IS THEN ABLE TO SET A PRICE WITHIN HOURS. IF THE OFFER IS ACCEPTED, THE OWNER IS PAID IN A SHORT TIME. ON THE SELL SIDE, OPENDOOR FACILITATES THE PROCESS BY ENABLING APARTMENT VIEWINGS 24H/DAY, THANKS TO A SPECIAL DEVICE SENDING A VISITING CODE BY SMS. SIGNIFICANT EVOLUTIONS TO COME According to CB Insights, since 2012 the PropTech industry has raised more than $6.4 billion and funded more than 800 startups. Impressive numbers since this activity was practically inexistent just four years ago. After a KPMG survey in 2016, investment in this field could reach about $20 billion annually by 2020. It is difficult to forecast significant evolutions, especially since the whole real estate industry was lagging behind. (A 2015 McKinsey Survey demonstrated that the real estate industry ranked no. 7 in terms of digitalization). Among evolutions which seem to be unavoidable are full digitalization (as we are still very far from achieving), and the funding process, (as traditional players are still calling the shots). Regarding digitalization, we will start with the digital model BIM for all, which combines building parameters and descriptions of the item used (composition, properties, aging process). This will include the digitalization of all activities (construction works, maintenance, cleaning, improvements etc.) whether manually (izigloo), or through IoT and RFID tags.
There are approximately 20 unicorns in this field, most of which are based in China.
IoT will permit home automation at affordable prices, as well provide statistical data on performance (Vivoka). It will also offer actual consumption and predictive maintenance.
Among the newcomers are Opendoor, Compass (online brokers), Wework and UrWork (dynamic coworking spaces), Homelink (home exchanges), ten-X and auction.com (online real estate marketplaces), SMS Assist (uber-izing house maintenance) and Katerra (end-to-end building services provider).
In addition, environmental data and assessment, such as acoustics, air quality (plumelab), odor measurement (Rubix), solar activity (Solen) and local services in real time (mobility, convenience stores), will be provided. The owner and the tenant will become full contributors into the property surrounding (Syment).
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They can easily and directly exchange views with their neighbors (through a social network for the neighborhood), promoting a sharing economy, producing and purchasing energy (smart grid and blockchain), and carrying out maintenance and renovations smoothly (VTS or SMS Assist). In terms of funding, the real estate business runs a whole value chain, which is quite fragmented between the property investor, the real estate developer and the building contractor, each one governing its own data. That’s a lot of participants claiming their dues. Real estate crowdfunding has been growing significantly as property developers find it more and more appealing because it allows them to independently raise funds. (In 2015, real estate constituted $3.5 billion or 10% of the total amount of crowdfunding. WorldTrade Center) Ironically, banking institutions have started to enter crowdfunding platforms. According to Robin Rivaton, General Manager of Paris Region Enterprises, the platformization of a large part of the business will add value. It allows decreased operating costs and enhanced capital flows by refining information on market prices (comparing estimated sale prices from property developers with actual sale prices). Vertical integration is another advantage of these platforms, as they enable channeling of information. Up until now, the real estate developer identified the property and the property investors acknowledged this expertise and knowhow. Startups can now access the data (Kelfoncier digitizes all urban masterplans in France, and keeps them updated), while the crowdfunding platforms can take advantage of it. In the future, these platforms will gather data and will be able to know more (just like IBM Watson in oncology treatments). Once information asymmetry has been dealt with, crowdfunding platforms can act as property developers (Lymo).
WHAT WILL THE FUTURE ESTATE AGENT LOOK LIKE? “The future of real estate is in PropTech.” HERVÉ PARENT
HERVÉ PARENT IS THE ORGANIZER OF THE ANNUAL FAIR RENT (REAL ESTATE AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES). WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE? BIG DATA TO IDENTIFY ESTATES BLOCKCHAIN TO RECORD TRANSACTIONS 3D PRINTING FOR SWIFT PROPERTY CONSTRUCTION, ALMOST WITHOUT BUILDING WORKERS SALE PLATFORMS FOR MARKETING WITH IMMERSIVE VIEWINGS (THE ASSET, THE BACKGROUND, NEIGHBORHOOD AND LOCAL SERVICES, AVERAGE POPULATION AGE, CONVENIENCE STORES, TRANSPORTATIONS, TAXES, ETC.) BY MIXING VIRTUAL REALITY AND AUGMENTED REALITY. In this extreme case, the estate agent is obsolete, though this is still unlikely in the near future. Even if the digital aspect grows significantly, it does not seem realistic to get rid of all human involvement. For the agent, the aim will be to seek complementarity between human and algorithm, using digital tools to increase knowledge, productivity, efficiency and transparency for new innovative services that will be responsive and available 24/7.
BLOCKCHAIN CAN POTENTIALLY REPLACE ALL CENTRALIZED TRUSTED THIRD-PARTIES (NOTARY, LAND REGISTER), WITH A DECENTRALIZED COMPUTERIZED SYSTEM. GHANA, HONDURAS AND SWEDEN HAVE STARTED TO EXPERIMENT WITH THIS.
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The Dawn of Digitalization in Real Estate THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR IS THE LARGEST AND MOST VALUABLE ASSET CLASS IN THE WORLD, AS IT APPEALS TO A BROAD RANGE OF INVESTORS AND IS SEEN AS A RELATIVELY LOW-RISK ASSET. UP UNTIL NOW, IT HAS MANAGED TO GET BY WITH MINIMAL INNOVATION, BUT INERTIA AND COMPLACENCY WILL PROVE DAMAGING IN THIS DAY AND AGE.
New technologies and digitalization are reshaping and reimagining all sectors. They have spread into the real estate industry, creating an emerging “RealTech” sector, bringing greater efficiency to the way real estate is procured, developed, managed and utilized. Everyone involved – from agents to developers to investors to property managers – will need to understand the latest in technological innovation, and implement strategies to integrate those advancements into their projects and businesses in order to maintain a competitive advantage. People and technology are becoming increasingly inseparable. Innovation in other industries continues to power ahead, heightening consumer expectations of how they engage with all aspects of their lives, including their relationship with the built environment. This has certainly put more pressure on the real estate sector to innovate. Delivering an excellent customer experience is therefore crucial to staying ahead of the game. For instance, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are being introduced to provide online simulations, which save precious time. Cost-effective beacon technology has reshaped and facilitated property marketing. We also see fintech startups offer online investment platforms and on-demand financial solutions. Global environmental awareness and regulatory measures dictate the trend of sustainable architecture. New European regulations for the built environment sector that come into effect in 2020 will reinforce that trend.
The urbanization landscape is changing drastically due to growing population migration into urban areas. Related real-estate challenges, such as infrastructure, provision of services and the need for greater data management efficiencies, have to be addressed, leading to the rise of smart cities and the advent of a fully intelligent future. Smart buildings are at the center of this vision, providing not just a roof, but also the information infrastructure to make a truly intelligent world possible and contribute to global sustainable goals. Smart buildings will soon become the standard, with features that include optimized cooling and ventilation systems, programs matching occupancy patterns to energy use, proactive maintenance of equipment, and dynamic power consumption connected to the community’s smart power grid – intelligence from the beginning of the design phase right through to the end of a building’s life.
Insurance Services of Tomorrow WITH THE ARRIVAL OF CONNECTIVITY AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IN OUR HOMES AND CARS, THE INSURANCE MARKET OF OUR PARENTS’ GENERATION IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. FOND OF INNOVATION AND NEW SERVICES, TODAY’S CUSTOMERS AND PROVIDERS ARE TURNING A TRADITIONAL PROFESSION UPSIDE DOWN. INSURERS FACE PRESSURE TO REINVENT THEMSELVES IN ORDER TO STAY UP TO DATE AND PREPARE FOR GAFA’S IMMINENT ARRIVAL. LISTEN IN ON OUR MEETING WITH CÉDRIC ROCHET, CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER OF BÂLOISE ASSURANCES IN LUXEMBOURG. INTERNAL INNOVATION As the head of Bâloise Assurances’s innovation department since the start of 2017, Rochet set up Innovation Lab (iLab) to help align the group's approach with customer needs, and to anticipate and test ideas. This innovative program directly engages employees. "We met and interviewed a group of customers, including newcomers to the Luxembourg market, using a design thinking approach. On the one hand, we found that they did not know the country well and were often in a state of stress when it came to finding a home, and on the other hand, that they were particularly open to digital," Rochet explained. In this context, Baloise launched GoodStart, the first fully online insurance provider for young apartment tenants. This client segment often has fewer assets to insure, apart from electronic equipment, and wants to be able to subscribe and pay online easily and quickly.
"We conducted a little Test & Learn last summer (2017) and in October we launched a new service," Rochet said. It is this responsiveness that the head of innovation seeks to instill within the group through internal conferences or ideation processes. Launched in March, the ideation workshop lasts three months and aims to inspire ideas and concrete improvements in the field. "It's a funnel with three main stages: the ideation process, the realization of the concept and the presentation of the business case to the management. We want to instill a startup spirit into Baloise!" IMPROVING THE CLIENT JOURNEY In the value chain of an insurer, there are two key moments: onboarding and a claim. In the first case, the price of the insurance is calculated according to the value of items and the contents of an apartment or house. Making a fair estimate and taking everything into account can be a challenge for customers. In the second case, the path to declaring a claim is often complicated, involving many forms and countless trips to the insurance agent. To improve these processes, Baloise set up a partnership with French startup Valoo, who specializes in on-demand insurance and inventory of goods.
"We all have workbooks with our paper invoices. With Valoo, you can take pictures of the products you want to insure, and save your bills and warranties. You can also make your claims via an online chat. We have reviewed our processes so that these requests are handled as quickly as possible," Rochet explained. "With GoodStart we have a new service that offers faster onboarding and with Valoo the reimbursement for a possible claim is simplified." These additional services allow the insurance company to go beyond so-called conventional insurance and reach a broader target audience, beyond digital natives. "We do not sell iPhones. Nobody is going to jump on insurance products. It's up to us to innovate and bring new services," he added. The connectivity of cars and homes allows insurers to help limit risks: "We are just at the beginning of connectivity. We cannot yet imagine the services of tomorrow. In a recent report, 75% of respondents were convinced that connectivity is a technology of the future. Seventy-five percent of respondents also think that it is a technology that has not yet found its market and does not offer enough related services," Rochet said. THE INSURANCE LANDSCAPE Fifty-million Swiss francs: this is the amount allocated by Baloise Group to invest in and acquire startups. In 2017, for example, the group invested in US startup Insurdata, which offers a 3D visualization tool for cross-listed buildings, including flood risk data, to help insurers better assess risk. Last year, the group also acquired Swiss startup MOVU and its move management service. The latter makes it possible to optimize the whole moving process, from checklists to the move itself to quotes. "The appeal for Baloise is being able to position itself within services that go beyond insurance and to be present at
"WE DO NOT SELL IPHONES. NOBODY IS GOING TO JUMP ON INSURANCE PRODUCTS."
the beginning of the customer journey, for example when we know that they will move. In this case, the customer is initially interested in insurance for a short period: the duration of the move," Rochet explained. "This is an event that is difficult to capture at the digital level. Thanks to MOVU, we can now cover the client in Switzerland during the move and then for the new home. "GDPR regulation is coming soon and can be seen as an opportunity, but also as a major challenge if regulation suffocates innovation. "We saw this with our bespoke car insurance service GoodDrive. For the sake of consumer protection, we chose from the outset to strictly compartmentalize personal data so that we cannot make the connection between connected data and claims. We had to use macro indicators to calculate the driving risk profile while respecting client privacy. This is still the case, and the new regulations coming soon may be even more restrictive," Rochet argued. By tackling specific segments of the value chain, startups have opportunities to partner with major insurance groups. The real threat looming on the horizon is the arrival of GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) to the insurance sector. Their mobile applications allow them to access all consumer data and be more specific in their targeting than the insurers themselves. A few months ago, Amazon recruited 200 people in London to work on insurance services.
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