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In conversation with Virginie Simon, MyScienceWork's Co-founder and CEO

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In its eighth edition, the startup magazine, the Hundert, presents 100 successful female founders from 40 European countries. Highlighting the richness and diversity of the founding stories, the magazine wishes to inspire many women to build their own companies. MyScienceWork’s co-founder and CEO Virginie Simon, from Luxembourg, is featured amongst the 100. (Featured image: Virginie Simon © the Hundert)

This recognition is great for the company’s image and positioning on the market.

How do you feel about this recognition? What does it mean for you?

This European recognition is really important for the company and the team. It comes only one month after the Challenges 2016 ranking, presenting MyScienceWork as one of the 30 top startups in which to invest.

We are also proud to represent Luxembourg among the 100 different profiles selected. Indeed, our headquarters as well as our R&D activities are located in Luxembourg. Our goal is to develop them even further and keep on recruiting.

Today, we have 15 people on our teams and I have to admit that recruitment has never been a big problem, especially when it comes to the fields of R&D, innovation and technology. The candidates’ profiles are more and more interesting, international, and some of them really bring strong added value to the projects. When I interview candidates, I always feel great enthusiasm in them and a real drive to contribute to the success of the company.

This recognition is great for the company’s image and positioning on the market.

We want to position ourselves as a European leader. We are currently working on a number of H2020 projects with the aim to build bridges between Europe and the US.

What are the future plans for the company?

We want to become a model of international success for the Luxembourg startup ecosystem. We have already received strong recognition in France and in the US and we intend to keep the momentum up.

We also want to position ourselves as a European leader. We are currently working on a number of H2020 projects with the aim to build bridges between Europe and the US.

Can you tell us about your background?

I created MyScienceWork when I was 28 years old after graduating from an engineering school with a speciality in Biotechnology. In parallel, I also obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. At the end of my studies, I did a Research Master in Genetics. For my PhD, I decided to join a startup and focus on the use of nanotechnology to fight cancer. I believe that nanotechnology will have a significant impact on people’s health and the way diagnostics are being carried out. Its ultimate goal is to allow the extension of life and the renewal of human organs. It is a multidisciplinary sector that gathers various fields and types of knowledge (robotics, chemistry, physics…).

The creation of MyScienceWork is the result of some observations I made during my doctoral work. People needed a way to gather on a single platform, to collaborate, share and communicate. The general public is also increasingly seeking scientific information and is eager to learn. Anyone can develop an ability to understand science, its concepts and even become an expert. Science has become more and more open and transparent.

The liberation of the world of scientific publishing is a major phenomenon allowing institutions and researchers to own their copyright and to communicate about their research projects. This is why, through our product, Polaris, we give institutions complete rights and control over their scientific data, in order to help them improve their visibility, acquire talent, communicate better and get more funding.

It’s important for Luxembourg to become the hub for great international success stories.

Why did you choose Luxembourg in the first place?

Luxembourg is at the centre of Europe and has an extraordinary capacity for scientific evolution. If you take the University of Luxembourg, even though it is really young, it managed to rank second worldwide in terms of international exchanges. And I believe this is just the start. MyScienceWork has a lot to offer the University and vice versa.

Luxembourg is a key location for entrepreneurship, thanks to the numerous opportunities for financial aid available. We benefited from a lot of them and this helped us grow, recruit and start our American adventure.

It’s important for Luxembourg to become the hub for great international success stories. If there are concrete models and successes, then people will use this energy to grow stronger, to become more enthusiastic to start their own project.

In Silicon Valley, only three European countries are well known and attractive to startups, and Luxembourg is amongst them, thanks to the numerous aids, work flexibility and openness. I am confident it will grow even stronger in the future.

Women are strong, have their feet on the ground, have stronger convictions and focus on the long-term.

What made you choose the world of entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is a fascinating adventure and also a complex one. The world is constantly changing when it comes to technology and society. People are becoming more proactive, free to make their own choices, more engaged in specific causes and less affiliated to a single company. They need to give clear meaning to what they do.

I have seen that even the biggest tech groups such as Apple or Google have problems keeping their talents. And sometimes they develop programs allowing employees to develop their own ideas and projects.

On the one hand, entrepreneurship brings a lot of benefits: you can work with the people of your choice, who are complementary or have a similar life philosophy. On the other hand, you need to constantly make choices and sacrifices…financial ones, sometimes. But the priority is always the project, over everything else.

As a woman, what hurdles did you face?

I have to say that I didn’t really feel I was encountering more hurdles than a man would have had. I also think there should be more women in positions of leadership. Society is evolving, teams are more diverse, and women can bring a lot. I often compare entrepreneurship to an endurance sprint. Indeed, women are strong, have their feet on the ground, have stronger convictions and focus on the long-term.

But anyway, man or woman, as long as you always remember your prime objective, you are on the right track!


“Entrepreneurship is an endurance sprint” – Read Virginie Simon’s interview published in the Hundert Vol. 8 – Female Startup Founders Europe‘, May 2016.

Hundert Virginie Simon

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