Delano Live: US startup success stories

Transatlantic ties and US startups setting up shop in the grand duchy were spotlighted in a Delano Live event on Thursday evening.

US-Luxembourg investments have mutually created 50,000 jobs, Washington’s envoy to the grand duchy, Thomas Barrett, said in his keynote remarks at Delano Live on 15 September. One burgeoning area is space technology, he stated.

Barrett recalled being told in Washington before this appointment that “Luxembourg is tiny on Earth, but a giant in space.” After six months here, he has found that to be true.

Defence spending

Referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Barrett called on Luxembourg to raise defence spending to 2% of GDP, to meet a pledge that Nato countries made 8 years ago. Luxembourg’s government has targeted military spending of 1% of GDP by 2028 (up from roughly 0.57% last year). Barrett said US defence represented 3.5% of its GDP.

Increased defence spending will help European security, but also represents a good opportunity for Luxembourg to create space technology sector jobs, he said.

US startups

Julian Cyrus is co-founder and COO of Lunar Outpost, which is working on a human presence in space and recently set up its European HQ in the grand duchy. He recounted how he came to Luxembourg for the first time in 2019 for a space resources conference. It was “pretty surprising how forward thinking it was here.”

Ashwini Oke, CEO of Asets-Lux, a renewable energy design platform, praised the Gener8tor startup incubator programme for helping her firm organise its business arrangements. That let the startup focus on the tricky engineering challenges it is trying to tackle. Changing the renewable energy industry is “not easy”, she commented.

Gaston Stronck, a former Luxembourg diplomat and now a consultant for Gener8tor, said that he expected more US startups to base their European investments in Luxembourg in the coming years. Stronck said Luxembourg was strong in several startup niches, such as space and fintech, but “we need to improve” in several other technology areas.

Delano Live

The event marked the launch of Delano magazine’s October 2022 print edition, featuring the European Investment Bank’s Werner HoyerWerner Hoyer on the cover, and Delano’s second international supplement, with US ambassador Thomas BarrettThomas Barrett on the cover.

Each edition of Delano Live features live on-stage interviews with people and on topics covered by Delano magazine, but with a fresh perspective, along with a networking cocktail.

Delano Live + Meet the Americans: key takeaways from US startup success stories” was organised by the Paperjam+Delano Club, sponsored by ING, and took place at Zulu in the Rives de Clausen.