The second wealthiest country in the world. One of the smallest states globally. Among the safest places on Earth. Luxembourg is known for many wonderful things, but did you know that its thriving startup ecosystem is also one of them?
Silicon Valley may be the first place that comes to mind when it comes to tech startups, however, you might be surprised to know that Luxembourg is one of the most prominent entrepreneurship hubs that attract European founders – thanks to its robust funding, social, and tech innovations. Startup Luxembourg, a public initiative supported by the Ministry of Economy and dedicated to the startup ecosystem, also helps companies reach the scaleup stage, demonstrating that this small country is one of the major hubs for SEE and CEE startups to enter Western Europe.
How Startup Luxembourg can help Greek entrepreneurs go international
Since tech progress knows no borders, Luxembourg opens the door to growth for companies from all over Europe.
With the Greek community being one of the most well-represented in the Grand Duchy, Alexandros Trepeklis, CEO of Yollty, has a particularly intriguing success story. Yollty is a prominent B2B venture founded in Luxembourg that provides marketing and loyalty solutions to businesses. Trepeklis moved from Greece to Luxembourg in 2011, five years prior to launching Yollty and securing €1 million in funding. In his words, the fact that Luxembourg creates a safe environment to support startups, find a market fit, and grow was his main motivation to create Yollty:
“If I was in Greece, I don’t think I would have thought to come to Luxembourg to start a company, but being here and seeing the environment, knowing that I will be able to get the finance to support my venture if we start well, made much more sense in terms of taking the decision to really push the startup headquarters to be here.”
After securing 10% of local food facilities and coffee shops as clients, Yollty’s only option to keep growing was to go international. One of the benefits of Luxembourg is its cultural similarities with its neighboring countries, which makes it easier to expand. Now the company has a strong presence in the UK, France, Belgium, and even the LATAM region, currently experiencing 200-300% annual growth.
It is no coincidence that companies founded by Greek entrepreneurs are successful. Greece is home to another thriving startup ecosystem, and as such, both countries work closely together. For example, Startup Luxembourg is visiting Greece from 25 to 26 May during the Beyond 2023 conference – with a focus on Tech4People: Building a More Sustainable, Accessible, and Equitable World.
Not only in the heart of Europe but the ideal starting point for startups with a strong desire to succeed
Startup Luxembourg represents startups, scaleups, and investors and promotes an ecosystem where support, growth, and partnerships are cherished, which has led to the development of numerous programmes.
One particular programme that attracts entrepreneurs is Fit4Start. This accelerator programme helps high-potential startups access not only funding but coaching and networking opportunities. As Trepeklis who also went through the programme explains:
“Fit4Start helps startups on the MVP stage with a 50k grant, and if you complete the six-month acceleration programme and graduate, you can get an extra 100k.”
The programme already has 13 editions and the call for applications for the next cohort will be announced soon. You can already pre-register.
Lëtzebuerg, Luxembourg, Luxemburg… Many cultures, one community.
But why Luxembourg when there are hubs like London, Berlin, Vienna, and many other tech leaders in Europe? Well, because many factors have reshaped the role Luxembourg currently plays in Europe.
To start with, Luxembourg is strategically situated in the center of Europe, making it a meeting point for cultures, languages, and traditions. Believe it or not, almost half of the population of Luxembourg is foreign. This way, not only can startups easily connect with other countries and expand internationally, but they can enrich their experiences through learning from all the cultures that surround them and the business approaches they take.
As Trepeklis says:
“It was very helpful to have each person bring their own cultural background and the learning experience from their own country – how this evolved in France, how it works in Belgium, can it work Greece? – and very quickly, you can scale and go international, not just by doing the physical transition but by gaining a deep understanding of the countries around you.”
The multicultural environment in Luxembourg, according to Alexandros Trepeklis, is invaluable. Being an expat himself, Trepeklis shares that the multicultural spirit in the country makes the human resource market there very competitive when it comes to language skills and highly invested in what they do. “So having sales people here makes sense because many speak three to four languages, so you can cover within one location the customer support for potentially four or five countries, which is good,” Alexandros explains.
As a small country with a high GBP, entrepreneurs can also easily access and explore different business and regulatory frameworks and work alongside other professionals. Alexandros also hints that “being a small country, and kind of flexible, it’s easy for the government to change legal frameworks,” which can benefit innovations.
Besides, with Luxembourg being one of the most attractive and developed fintech ecosystems in the world – rated by McKinsey as the 4th most attractive fintech ecosystem in Europe – different business ventures can enjoy the benefits of fintech innovations, particularly in the field of fundstech, regtech, and blockchain technologies.
In the end, startups in Luxembourg can enjoy the fact that many events take place locally, which makes it easier to connect with people.
So if you are a CEE entrepreneur who wants to connect with like-minded people and grow internationally and if you happen to be in the beautiful city of Thessaloniki next week, get ready to meet Startup Luxembourg and keep scaling.