Luxembourg Start-ups - a Smart Investment Opportunity for Early-Stage Investors
Author: January Barnes
As a founder what are some of the key factors that contribute to a start-up’s success and as an Investor how do you identify the best start-ups to invest in?
Whilst there are many ingredients that contribute to a
start-ups or investors overall success rate, there are some key factors that can ensure you’re on the right track to help future-proof your next start-up investment opportunity.
How can investors best navigate the global start-up ecosystem to identify start-ups that will yield long-term opportunities and financial return? Perhaps the answer is to seek those start-ups that have a solid foundation and support network to ensure they have the longevity and resilience to not only weather the start-up journey but excel within it.
One key contributing factor to a start-ups overall success is training and education, another is often access to mentorship and despite living in a pandemic world, location still has influence over a start-ups overall access to both education and capital.
Above all else, there is one thing that simply location and capital can’t guarantee and that is on-going “support”. Let’s face it when we often hear the word “incubator” we presume a short-form support that takes your start-up and produces a finished minimum viable product and the rest is well, up to you.
What if we told you that we’d discovered an incubator with an accelerator that not only makes you market and investment ready but provides genuine ongoing education and support before, during and after your participation. What makes this particular incubator different from the rest you ask? It’s a combination of many factors but primarily it’s about community and mentorship. It’s via these mentoring opportunities that start-ups can truly accelerate and reach their full potential.
It’s also wise to never underestimate the significant power of quality entrepreneurship education within a key location, that can ensure a primary launchpad for reaching the whole EU market and beyond.
Whilst there are some entrepreneurial characteristics that just can’t be taught such as risk-taking, thirst-for-knowledge or passion, there are key business attributes that can be learned, experienced and taught, especially in a well-connected, central European education institution such as University of Luxembourg.
With almost half of its residents of foreign origin, Luxembourg’s start-up scene is comprised of a generous mix of local and international talent. Buoyed by a booming financial services industry, Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in Europe, and with the help of University of Luxembourg Incubator, start-ups can enjoy access to a broad variety of resources.
SO WHAT DO MOST START-UP FOUNDERS NEED?
Business modelling, growth and access to capital, right? That’s when selecting the right source of support is vital, welcome to the University of Luxembourg Incubator and its Accelerator.
What sets one incubator or accelerator apart from another? If you’re looking for an incubator or accelerator that values entrepreneurship and embraces diversity then look no further than University of Luxembourg.
Not only does this university rank among the most influential international universities in Europe. It has also forged partnerships with 78 universities worldwide. It’s no wonder Luxembourg produces some of the most progressive and disruptive start-ups in the world!
The University of Luxembourg was founded in 2003 and is situated in the iconic and multicultural epicentre of Europe, offering interdisciplinary and research-oriented courses. As the third-highest country by GDP per capita in the world after Qatar and Liechtenstein, Luxembourg offers various funding sources for young innovative enterprises with high growth potential.
Luxembourg's start-up ecosystem has taken a quantum leap over the past years. Today, it is an investment hub attracting increasingly more innovative start-ups, global talent and consequently capital investments.
Based on the quality of Luxembourg start-ups and quality entrepreneurship initiatives like the ones from University of Luxembourg there is good reason international investors are looking to Luxembourg for their next big investment opportunity.
The University of Luxembourg Incubator aims to support start-ups – to grow and scale-up – but in their own ways. It's accelerator offers entrepreneurs vital opportunities early on to quickly grow their businesses and better their chances of attracting a top venture capital (VC) firm to invest in their start-up at a later point.
At the University of Luxembourg Incubator, students and researchers get inspired on a daily basis about the possibility to put their skills into practice and turn their ideas into viable businesses.
Additionally, the Incubator understands the importance of strong partnerships not just from within the University but also externally from the corporate ecosystem from mentoring to key coaching opportunities.
So far, the University of Luxembourg Incubator, still only in its 5th year of operation, has already created 100+ jobs, 60+ start-up projects, garnered 2700+ participants and earned a combined start-up valuation of over 25 million.
The Incubator also offers workshops with leading businesses and thought leaders that can help students learn how to build a solid foundation for business ventures whilst learning how to be both an entrepreneur or intrapreneur.
The Incubator also gives access to the “Disciplined Entrepreneurship Masterclass” by Bill Aulet, MIT Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, covering 24 Steps to a Successful Startup and a run at the House of Startups Luxembourg.
In addition to the workshops, the Incubator offers interactive entrepreneurship courses, discussions and problem-solving challenges from researchers. There is a constant flow of unique learning and discovery opportunities to help start-ups flourish.
Another unique offering of the Incubator and University of Luxembourg Entrepreneurship Programme is the “Ideation Camp” a four-day intensive learning-by-doing course in which students get a glimpse of the life and traits of an entrepreneur by working in cross disciplinary teams to tackle challenges, come up with solutions, assess and present their ideas.
But don’t just take our word for it, “Ideation Camp” is so beneficial to entrepreneurs to the extent that participants in a post-event anonymous survey rated “Ideation Camp” with 99% positive feedback!
So what would be the logical next step for a start-up to learn how to scale and become investor ready? Joining a sector-agnostic Accelerator of the University of Luxembourg Incubator ensures you’re in a program that doesn’t just preach to the choir but rather equips each start-up with crucial business acumen from various industry sectors.
This Accelerator is powered in partnership with the University of North Carolina and Tel Aviv University. It is funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund via a Knowledge and Innovation Transfer (KITS) grant and further supported by Aureus, Ars et Scientia Foundation.
Importantly the Accelerator is equity free and gives start-ups the opportunity to meet and network with investors in the Accelerator’s Israel and USA investor roadshow planned for summer 2022.
We spoke to Farida Dawood, the University of Luxembourg Accelerator Officer, to learn what distinguishes the Luxembourgish market and why the Accelerator was developed!
“The Luxembourgish ecosystem is an ideal market for early-stage start-ups. It offers start-ups a unique opportunity to validate and test their product and later it can act as a launchpad to the rest of Europe. The diversity of cultures and nationalities provides the country with different ideas and perspectives leading to innovative technologies and start-ups. The University of Luxembourg is the only university in the country making the Incubator an essential player in the ecosystem. Due to the relative underdevelopment of the investment ecosystem in Luxembourg, The Accelerator was born in 2021. It was developed to support top, aspiring and committed entrepreneurs to scale their business and be investable in Luxembourg and beyond.”
Farida Dawood – University of Luxembourg Accelerator Officer
Those start-ups smart enough to select University of Luxembourg Accelerator will achieve international exposure, customised strategy and eventual commercialization.
Those investors savvy enough to invest in Luxembourg start-ups will reap the good fortune of unlocking the ambitions of entrepreneurs with vision, leadership and pathing a way to success.