The unicorn--a venture capital-backed start up that is valued at more than $1 billion--embodies the wildest dreams of nearly every technology entrepreneur. This particular unicorn was 3D-printed by a local Luxembourg start up as the award for the 2020 Startup World Cup event, the regional semifinal of which was held in Luxembourg City on 6 February 2020, right before lockdown.
“For me, this unicorn is a symbol of the startup world and how close we [Bil] are to it,” says Rotheval.
The Delorean time machine
One person who particularly Luxembourg’s startup environment is Rotheval’s son. A picture of the teenager in the Delorean time machine from the iconic Back to the Future films sits on Rotheval’s desk.
“This picture was taken in 2018 on something called the ‘Startuppers’ night, says Rotheval. “Bil used to host an annual ‘Startuppers’ night which was a party, not a pitch session. We had full-size vessels from Star Wars in front of the technoport in Esch-Sur-Alzette and around five hundred guests in the startup sector. “
Rotheval looks forward to the day that these kind of events can be resumed. “It’s one of the right environments for startups to thrive.”
Rotheval has kept a bright-pink copy of Silicon, the quarterly publication dedicated to Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem.
“This is a great view on how the ecosystem has evolved,” says Rotheval. “This particular issue is about space.”
Rotheval is passionate about startups and sits on the selection committee for Technoport, a technology business incubator in Luxembourg.
“We have companies here that tackle all sorts of unusual problems in space, including the problem of trash in space. Silicon magazine is an important way to make these companies visible.”
Like most of us, Rotheval has a box of facemasks on his desk. But his come with a difference.
“These mask are manufactured by a Luxembourg startup (Molecular Plasma Group) and produced with a treatment that kills bacteria. It’s a special viricidal technology. The treatment is a plasma treatment but the company has invented a way to do this treatment in a normal environment rather than a vacuum environment.”
Unlike the classic blue surgical mask, these facemasks have purple straps making them very much at home on Rotheval’s desk.