On Thursday, September 29, Fit for Start held its graduation day event for its spring 2016 startups, and also presented the five new startups selected for the next edition of the public acceleration program. Fit for Start was officially launched last March by the Ministry of Economy, Luxinnovation and Technoport.
(Featured Image, from left to right: Mathilde Argaud (Connected Rope), Vincent Pedrini (Nomoko), Georgi Taskov (EVVOS), Alfonso Garcia Frey (Yotako), Damien Neuberg (Yotako), Antoine Hron (Luxinnovation), Jean-Nicolas Grandhaye (Connected Rope) and Olivier Chatillon (Klap) / Image Credit: Luxinnovation)
130 applications from 24 countries
Fit for Start is a four-month acceleration program with weekly coaching sessions and a €50,000 award for the selected startups. The program aims to attract foreign entrepreneurs who want to develop and launch their startups in Luxembourg, but is also open to entrepreneurs from Luxembourg who wish to develop their ideas domestically and abroad.
Fit for Start is promoting the ecosystem internationally and the country as a startup nation. The program helps to gain this global visibility.
Antoine Hron, in charge of startup support at Luxinnovation, the agency for the promotion of innovation and research in the Grand Duchy, hosted the ceremony and stated that the program got a lot of traction the past months due to the global promotion conducted by numerous trade and investment offices abroad and the key players in Luxembourg.
Michele Gallo, head of innovation at the Ministry of Economy, said that 130 applications from 24 countries had been received for the autumn edition. “Fit for Start is promoting the ecosystem internationally and the country as a startup nation. The program helps to gain this global visibility. In all growing ecosystems there are a multitude of initiatives. And that’s what has been going on in Luxembourg for the past few years, with a deeper support of the government and involvement of private initiatives such at Linc, the Khube, the LHoFT or Finnolux, recently,” Gallo added. “Look at the first two startups of the pilot edition last winter. Houser and Sport50 raised money thanks to the program and got their first clients right after graduating. It means a lot to us. We’ve decided to focus on the lean startup methodology and it works, concretely,” he concluded.
Five startups graduate
The five startups selected for the first edition of the program have successfully graduated and now stand on their own two feet. All five pitched their project again to highlight the big improvements they made over the past four months.
The startup described a long list of improvements it has made, from building an MVP to refining the business model, and pointed to its next steps: fundraising, new partnerships, a beta version…
Mathilde Argaud, founder of Connected Rope, a connected object for boat owners, stated that she and her team went from an idea to a designed product, conducted hundreds of surveys, signed their first partnerships and are now ready to expand widely. EVVOS founder Georgi Taskov confirmed the great opportunities the program offers. Over the summer EVVOS got its first paying customer and is now ready to launch new industrial products, to complement the range of sensors they have already developed, such as a connected weather station. Olivier Chatillon, founder of mobile app Klap, expressed the big boost Fit for Start had on its user database. The database for his video editing solution started at 200 users and is expected to have 15,000 users by the end of the year. Nomoko’s co-founder Vincent Pedrini announced that the startup has signed a long-term partnership with industrial firm Paul Wurth and confided that the Ministry of Economy and the Luxembourg Trade Investment Office in Tokyo helped him a lot in getting a visa for a new employee from the United States and for introducing him to a potential supplier in Japan. Finally, VisualScaffolding’s team revealed its new identity, Yotako, and described a long list of improvements it has made, from building an MVP to refining the business model, and pointed to its next steps: fundraising, new partnerships, a beta version… Fit for Start’s coordinators seem to have found five great ambassadors.
From gaming to artificial intelligence and data security, the scope of the new startups’ ideas are diverse and the potential promising.
5 startups selected
To conclude the event, Antoine Hron introduced the five new startups selected for the autumn edition that will start in two weeks. Adapti.me, Aiva Technologies, Passbolt, Starwear and Yôllty each got one minute to pitch their ideas in front of the audience and coaches Carl Danneels and Michel Duchateau, as well as new coach, Sylvain Chery, Agile Partner’s co-founder and CEO. From gaming to artificial intelligence and data security, the scope of the new startups’ ideas are diverse and the potential promising. We’ll report back to you in April on the challenges they overcome and the development of their ideas and business models over the coming months.