Jean-Michel Ludwig, Luxinnovation director of business development, presenting the perks of Luxembourg business at the Vodafone Portugal headquarters in Lisbon on Tuesday evening. Photos: Delano
It was a triple punch for Luxembourg in Lisbon on Tuesday night, with three back-to-back events promoting the grand duchy and its innovation sweetspots on the margins of the Web Summit.
The first event kicked off at 5pm at Vodafone's Portugal headquarters, where Luxinnovation held a side event to bring together some 15 investors and a few dozen startups--mainly from Luxembourg and Portugal, but from a handful of other locations as well.
“With Startup Luxembourg, we are creating an ecosystem to promote to the outside,” Luxinnovation’s Jonas Mercier told Delano. It was the first attempt by the organisation to make Luxembourg corporates and investors more attractive through a Web Summit side event.
Following a brief pitch on Luxembourg by Jean-Michel Ludwig, Luxinnovation director of business development, investors--corporates, family offices and angels alike--had a chance to present themselves. Among them was Cargolux, there to hear pitches to see if there might be new solutions in airline operations, internal process automation or finding HR solutions to help foster connections amongst employees in a variety of locations.
Vodafone Portugal headquarters in Lisbon
After the pitches, the startups and investors had a chance to mingle over a reception.
Startup stories: Lisbon edition
Next up was a special edition of Startup Stories, a pitching contest moderated by Paperjam Club director Julien Delpy, during which 10 startups took to the stage and received feedback from judges on their pitches. Among them was Treejar, a platform which allows customers to plant a tree each time they leave a review for businesses, which will also have a stand at the Web Summit on Thursday, once the main Luxembourg delegation has returned to the grand duchy. Judged best in competition was the startup Stokr, which connects everyday investors with innovative ventures so anyone can take part.
Much of the crowd then headed across the street to the Tivoli Oriente hotel, where a third event, “Smart Luxembourg - Your Technology Partner for Success”, took place. Organised by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and its Enterprise Europe Network in collaboration with Luxinnovation, the House of Startups, and the Luxembourg Open Innovation Club (LOIC), the packed event kicked off with a brief welcome address by Jean-Jacque Welfring, ambassador of the grand duchy of Luxembourg to Portugal, who told the audience that “innovation is in our DNA”, which also touting other perks of the country, including its role as a leading financial centre.
From l to r: Vlad Gherclu (Keymitt), Marco Fan Maris (Post), Yu Zhang (EIB), Jean-Michel Ludwig (Luxinnovation), Emilie Bechet (Loic), Sabrina Sagramola (Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce), Julien Delpy (Paperjam Club)
Then the panel opened, where Sabrina Sagramola, head of European affairs of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce praised Luxembourg’s “capacity to reinvent itself”, as well as its economic stakeholders being ready to collaborate on innovation.
The EIB’s Yu Zhang followed, reminding the audience of the country’s stability, thanks to its triple A rating, among other factors. EIB was present at the summit, he explained, to make it more known among the tech community.
Emile Bechet, corporate inniovation manager of the Luxembourg Open Innovation Club (Loic), explained how the club was started three years ago in order to better connect corporates with the innovation and startup exosystemn.
Vlad Gherciu, CEO of Keymitt--a Luxembourg startup with a smart home system, which will have a stand during the Web Summit on Thursday--talked about his experience in the “ease of doing business” in the country, providing Amazon, Microsoft and Paypal as a few examples of companies which have set up and helped create the country as a “tech hub”. This is the third Web Summit Gherciu has attended. The biggest change for him over the years at the summit? “Now we expect people to approach us, we don’t have to approach them.”