“A Shared Vision For The Future”

Franz Fayot, Luxembourg’s economy minister, during the economic delegation to Portugal (Photo © Silicon Luxembourg)

Day two of Luxembourg’s economic delegation to Portugal was all about two startup ecosystems coming together, talking about innovation and envisioning a shared future.

After a first successful day of the mission, the second day united the Luxembourg and Portuguese ecosystems during the mission’s official Startup Event.

As Franz Fayot, Luxembourg’s economy minister put it during his opening speech, startups are no longer just about sustaining a healthy economy. In today’s climate, “we have to reconcile economics with protecting the environment” and build “solutions which can make the world a better place”.

Similarities between both ecosystems should facilitate this mission. Not only do Luxembourg and Portugal share a common history, but they have also made huge efforts to develop their respective ecosystems in the past decade. While Portugal’s 7 unicorns and 2300 startups outweigh Luxembourg’s in number, both ecosystems have focussed on very similar verticals.

Beyond Building Bridges

Notably, “building bridges” between both ecosystems is not enough. As Luc Frieden, President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce put it, “prosperity also depends on a shared vision for the future – and for that to succeed you need innovation and entrepreneurship”.

While on a global scale, both countries are rather small, “it’s [their] complementarity that makes [them] stronger” said Luc Frieden. “I think we can do much more because a single market is not just a political concept, the single market, and the particularly the single market, between countries that have such a close relationship can be deepened much more. Together with the know-how we’ve developed we can be much stronger still,” concluded Luc Frieden.

A First Step

In an encouraging first step to honouring these words, Mike Reiffers, CEO of the Luxembourg HRtech startup Skeeled, and Peter Rodrigues, Executive Director of Banco de Investimento Global, signed a contract.

Having recruited their first engineers from Portugal, Mike Reiffers was right in pointing out that Skeeled “is a made in Luxembourg company but also a made in Portugal company.” After having tried the platform, Peter Rodrigues is optimistic that it will help the bank with a “startup and tech mentality […] secure the best talent to continue to grow”.

Pitching Portugal

To showcase the best startups both ecosystems have to offer Luxembourg’s EmailTree and Yuri as well as Portugal’s YData were there as the highlight of the day. Unfortunately, Portugal’s Builtrix representative caught Covid and quarantined for the event.

Judging by the number of people approaching the startups after the event, both the startups nailed their pitches. Keep an eye on Silicon for an upcoming profile on YData, an exciting company working on “accelerating AI through improved data”.

Accelerating Innovation And Investment

Rounding off the day were two round table discussions, one on accelerating innovation in Luxembourg and Portugal and the other on the state of startup investments. Speaking about the benefits of launching her startup in Portugal, Tonic App founder and CEO Daniela Seixas mentioned that it has “an international mindset, great engineering talent, and a fast route to towards international expansion”.

Speaking about the recent growth of the Luxembourg ecosystem, Jean-Michel Ludwig, director of business development at Luxinnovation, said that “a lot of effort was made by the Chamber of Commerce but also by corporates in recent years” and that “private-public partnerships have contributed to making our ecosystem more mature”.

Regarding the state of investment, both countries still have room for improvement but the trends are pointing in the right direction. Portugal’s great resources of talent are a strong element of its success and as Cristina Fonseca from Indico Capital put it: “for good projects there is always enough money”.

While Antonio Dias Martins, Executive Director of Startup Portugal, admits that “there is still a gap regarding late funding series that is common to Europe […] Portugal has its arms open to Luxembourg’s initiatives”.

More on this topic here with the 10 portuguese startups to be on the lookout for.

@siliconluxembourg 2nd Day on the Official Mission To Portugal #LUinPORTUGAL 🇱🇺🇵🇹 for the Silicon Luxembourg crew 😎🚀 Updates!!#siliconluxembourg #missiontoportugal #startups #economy #innovation #portugal #luxembourg #digitalstories ♬ Feel Good – Tundra Beats

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