The three-day event, Luxembourg Venture Days, was launched to support entrepreneurs in the venture capital space, business angel ecosystem, founder journey, and investors looking to navigate the uncertainties of entrepreneurial endeavors.
Venture Days was co-organized by Startup Luxembourg, Luxinnovation, the Luxembourg Private Equity Association (LPEA), the Luxembourg Startups Association (Startups.lu) and the Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN), in support of the House of Startups, Women in Digital Empowerment (WIDE), Girls in Tech, and the Luxembourg Open Innovation Club (LOIC).
LBAN co-hosted a panel with LPEA on co-investments and syndicates to support a dynamic early-stage investing ecosystem, with President Michel Rzonzef opening the Venture Days before the panel discussions and the announcement of the startups selected for the Fit 4 Start accelerator program.
LBAN president addressed the audience with the following:
"Luxembourg is an extremely buoyant and dynamic location for start-ups. It is also a big hub for venture capital, so it makes sense to combine the two worlds."
Optimizing Co-Investment Ecosystems
During the Luxembourg Venture Days, speakers covered a variety of topics, from scale-ups to exits. In LBAN’s co-organized panel, “Co-Investments & Syndicates for a Dynamic Early-Stage Ecosystem,” speakers Nicolas Milerioux, Larissa Best, Pierre Schoonbroodt, and Gabriel Marquardt spoke on the importance of cooperation within the investment element of startup ecosystems. Throughout the panel, the speakers discussed the importance of cooperation throughout the investment journey. The founder would direct the trajectory of the company, while investors like Business Angels and VCs would offer their advice, expertise, and funds.
"[Business Angels] are the people ready to take the risk . They are ready to help the entrepreneur level up his project. That's what we call "smart money."
Scaling Up and Getting Out
Before the announcement of the Fit 4 Start winners, two LBAN co-organized panels were presented, “Get Ready for Exits” and “From Startup to Scale Up”. In discussing exits, moderator Christophe Bianco and speakers Hans-Jurgen Schmitz, Ingo Drexler, and Riku Asikainen discussed the various options for exits as a VC. These speakers covered the definition of an exit, how founders could make use of a partial exit to both energize their business efforts and support their VC co-founders, and how VC exits are more limited than founder or BA exits. In discussing scaleups, speakers Genna Elvin, Xavier Buck, Adnre Cordesmeyer, Laurent Hengesch and Patrick Kersten touched on some of the various factors for startups to address when considering scaling up, such as optimization choices of operating costs and profits, red flags of scale-ups, and how to approach scale-ups given funding round, whether seed, series A, series B, and so on. Leading into the presentation for Fit 4 Start, these panels helped build energy by covering some of the challenging or concerning topics faced by founders and VCs alike.
"The Luxembourg Business Angel Network has invested more than 40 million euro into the ecosystem. This is a significant amount injected into the ecosystem. In Europe, it's one of the biggest ratios per capita by country."
Business Angels and LBAN
Venture Days was created to bring together the world of venture capital and startup ecosystems. In his opening note, LABN president addressed the role not only of Venture Days, but also the role of LBAN and Business Angels in supporting the investment ecosystem within Luxembourg. Once founders have turned to their friends and family for assistance, they turn to business angels. Angels are those “ready to take the risk and are here to help. They are ready to help the entrepreneur level up his project. That’s what we call ‘smart money.’” Beyond that, turning to LBAN specifically, “Over the recent years, the Luxembourg Business Angel Network has invested more than 40 million euro” in prospective startups. Its significance is reflected in the fact that “in Europe, this is one of the biggest ratios per capita by country.” With the business angel ecosystem and investment efforts of organizations like LBAN going strong, Luxembourg continues to serve as a growing presence in the startup ecosystem throughout Europe.