After having gained experienced as a financial specialist in large corporations, Alexandre Rochegude started his own startup in 2011, FLASHiZ. That mobile payment solution got a huge reputation in Luxembourg, in America and Asia and have been successfully acquired in 2013 by FEXCO and BNP Paribas. Then – after a short break – Alexandre Rochegude joined KPMG Luxembourg‘s office with a main objective: starting a hub for entrepreneurs. That one-stop-shop for innovation is now known as the ‘khube‘. Alexandre Rochegude is the special guest of the Startup Grind Luxembourg september session and will share his thoughts about the fintech industry, his experience as an entrepreneur and his insight into the Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem.
[…] innovative companies can count on strong support from public authorities, who have cultivated a complete ecosystem for innovation.
You’ve experienced the development of a startup in Luxembourg. What do you think about Luxembourg’s startup scene?
My first thought would be that the Luxembourg’s start-up scene has significantly grown in the last few years! From a few companies with low recognition (at the beginning), we now see an increasing interest from many players across different domains: financial institutions, large corporates, data-centers, law firms, and others. Moreover, innovative companies can count on strong support from public authorities, who have cultivated a complete ecosystem for innovation.
You now work at KPMG. What is your role there?
When I joined KPMG early this year, the objective was to support entrepreneurship with a new approach. This came to the idea of the KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs, or the khube, a brand new platform aiming at building a one-stop-shop for innovation. To create this platform, we partnered with major players in different sectors, from financial institutions and corporate partners to incubators, data-centers, and legal firms. We work closely with them, with investors, and with public and private organizations in order to bring the best contacts to entrepreneurs who want to grow their business in Europe from Luxembourg.
The khube […] allows them to grow their business by connecting them to potential clients through the khube’s network […]
The khube offers a wide range of services to allow innovative companies to run their businesses: it links them to facilities, data-centers, legal and accounting services, etc., helps them stay funded through business angels, VCs, and public funding, and moreover allows them to grow their business by connecting them to potential clients through the khube’s network and also through KPMG’s extensive worldwide network.
As a FinTech evangelist, do you have insights as to why FinTech is so trendy? How can it impact our lives?
FinTech companies have existed for years, but it’s only recently that they’re starting to threaten the financial industry’s traditional MO. As new players bring services like mobile payments, P2P lending, and more to the game, and as a trend towards disintermediation develops (with companies like Ripple in the payment industry), customers are indeed looking for more mobility, availability, and customization—which existing models cannot easily support.
[…] financial institutions […] have begun to partner, invest in, or acquire those companies.
Thus, financial institutions have started to realize that their industry is changing faster than ever and that it is difficult for large companies to be as flexible as start-ups. That’s why they have begun to partner, invest in, or acquire those companies.
Do you think Luxembourg can turn into a major European FinTech hub?
Luxembourg has huge potential for several reasons. First of all, it is one of the largest European financial centers and is widely recognized as a center of expertise, in particular in the fund and asset management industries. This means that not only can start-ups find clients here (especially those start-ups offering B2B solutions) but their image will gain credibility by being in a leading financial location. Luxembourg also has several advantages in terms of public support. Indeed, no other place offers such easy access to government officials and public organizations, and the CSSF (the Luxembourgish financial regulator) is highly flexible and open to new ideas.
[…] private and public support need to be reinforced to help take it a step further.
Based on what I have seen in the last few years, and on the success already had by Luxembourg-based FinTech companies (for example in the payment domain area), we have seen that this model can work very well. I would add, however, that private and public support need to be reinforced to help take it a step further.
What should be done to improve Luxembourg’s attractiveness for start-ups?
Financing in Luxembourg remains difficult for innovative companies. Most of them have to find investors abroad, sometimes with the obligation to move their HQ. Nevertheless, this might not be the most challenging part. If Luxembourg really wants to become a European or even a global FinTech hub, it will have to attract entrepreneurs and companies from all over Europe, the US, and Asia. For that, Luxembourg has to gain an international reputation for having the whole range of services—a one-stop-shop—that can support and nurture new companies in every way. It is not only about nation-branding, though that is very important, but also about having a place that offers it all, like London and Dublin do. This is where the khube idea came from, and we can already see the success of such an offering.