gener8tor Pushes For Diversity In The Ecosystem

Menachem Tabanpour, managing director of gener8tor Luxembourg (Photo © gener8tor)

Last year, gener8tor Luxembourg launched the first edition of its accelerator programme in Europe. Following the great success, Silicon Luxembourg caught up with managing director Menachem Tabanpour to learn more about the accelerator’s philosophy and its next edition.

Already a well-known programme in the US, gener8tor made waves when they announced that they would launch their European programme from Luxembourg. Having completed more than 223 accelerator programmes with more than 1,124 startups which received over $1.5b in funding, the programme is an important addition to the local ecosystem. 

“The way I think about gener8tor is that we are an international company supporting startup ecosystems at the local level. I moved to Luxembourg because we want to be a super addition to the ecosystem,” explains Menachem Tabanpour, managing director of gener8tor Luxembourg.

When selecting the five startups joining their 2022 cohort, gener8tor Luxembourg settled on Carbon Saver, ELIAS ROBOT, Asets-Lux, Dropslab Technologies and Co-Rent. The selected startups received €100k investment in return for 7% equity. They also received tailored mentoring, 12 weeks of coaching and introductions to a wide range of experts and investors.

gener8tor Luxembourg’s 2022 cohort (© gener8tor)

“Three of the five startups are doing very well and I expect them to continue on that trajectory. The other two are moving along at a slower pace, and we are continuing to support them through various challenges,” said Menachem Tabanpour.

Unlike other Luxembourg accelerators, gener8tor does not require its startups to set up shop in Luxembourg. Instead, gener8tor “encourages them to do business in Luxembourg by showcasing the best the country has to offer”. 

Focus on diversity, equity and inclusion 

A further point of distinction is gener8tor’s emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. Some stats for the curious: 45% of gener8tor companies have at least one founder of colour; 30% of gener8tor companies have a woman founder; 67% of gener8tor companies have an underrepresented founder; 39% of gener8tor companies have at least one woman founder. 

By contrast, according to Atomico’s State of European Tech, report “87% of all VC funding in Europe is still raised by men-only founding teams, while the proportion of funding raised by women-only teams has dropped from 3% to 1% since 2018.”

According to Menachem, gener8tor’s  stats are so diverse “not because we cherry pick the startups but because we make the extra effort to recruit a diverse pool of applicants.” In comparison, Luxembourg’s ecosystem does not yet shine when it comes to diversity because there is no emphasis on supporting gender equity and diversity in the startup ecosystem. 

Keen to shift this imbalance, Menachem is working on building relationships with  professional investment partners from the US and Luxembourg for the future growth of gener8tor’s accelerators in Luxembourg and Europe.

“Additional partnerships would give gener8tor multiple years of programming in terms of our accelerator and follow-on support,” said Menachem, adding: “The reason why we are doing this is that it is part of our core values and how we operate.”

While this would be a great start, long-term Menachem also hopes to collaborate with institutional funders to expand to Luxembourg-based investments and enter into additional European markets. 

Next edition gener8tor Luxembourg

Talking about the second edition of gener8tor Luxembourg, Menachem said that they are “still raising the funds from US and Luxembourg professional investors” but that they “have made significant progress.” The next edition will take place as soon as the funds have been raised – any time between spring and fall this year.  

What sets gener8tor apart from some of the other Luxembourg accelerators is its appetite for early-stage companies for one. According to Menachem, gener8tor also takes a supportive and coaching approach rather than a prescriptive one.

“We don’t tell startups that they have to stick to a certain vertical if they realise it is not working out for them. Instead, we aim to take more of a coaching attitude and realise that early-stage startups involve high risks. But we want to give all startups the tools, training and support they need to be the best startup that they can be,” explains Menachem.

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