Interview with Steve Glangé, head of the Luxembourg Startup Grind the new global startup community. Startup Grind is an event series and website designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs. On a regular basis, most likely monthly, Steve Glangé will welcome a talented speaker who will share his/her story with the community and tell what worked, what didn’t, and what he/she will do differently next time. The first Luxembourg Startup Grind event will be held on April 23rd and will welcome Xavier Buck as a first guest.
Steve, you organize the first Luxembourg Startup Grind’s event on April 23rd, what is this new concept about?
Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. It is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.
There are monthly events in more than 50 cities and 15 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies.
The monthly fireside chat interviews provide ample opportunities to connect with amazing startups and the people behind them, tap into a strong support network, form meaningful connections and gain inspiration for the startup journey ahead.
Started by Derek Andersen and Spencer Nielsen in February 2010 in a small office in Mountain View California, the original goal to bring together friends who would help each other has spread across the world.
How did you get in touch with the concept?
After having co-founded LBAN and FirstTuesday over the past years, I had reduced the focus on FirstTuesday for private and professional reasons over the last five years. Slowly settling after some drawbacks, I had the intention to refresh my network and give something back to the community. I was looking to “revamping” FirstTuesday as such and hence was on the search for a different format.
It was by pure coincidence that one of the network i.e. a former FirstTuesday Chapter director contacted me with the concept and asked me if I would be interested in running the local chapter.
After a few calls and mails with Derek Andersen, I was impressed by the concept and we discovered that we share the same values i.e. giving before taking and agreed to move on.
I was thankful to be able to start this new venture, as IMHO my skills are to discover ideas and/or develop them to the next stage(s) as well as to identify and develop solutions.
You co founded FirstTuesday Luxembourg in 2000, what are the link(s) between those two concepts?
FirstTuesday had/has the ambition to be an informal meeting place for entrepreneurs with ideas and projects, investors and other resource providers as well as anyone linked to and interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. What is more our aim was/is to “inflict the virus of entrepreneurship” into the local community.
Having myself failed to realise some of my early dreams for the usual reasons, I intended to enable others to at least think about their dreams and eventually dare to realise them.
FirstTuesday started in 2000 with a short pitch/presentation from then still independent Belgian company priceline.com and evolved into monthly events with varying formats (pitches, presentations or round-tables). We may say that we made the term “networking” become mainstream in the local business community.
Startup Grind can be seen as an emulation of FirstTuesday like the WirelessWednesday and shares the same vision i.e. educate people on entrepreneurship by sharing the passion of others.
Whereas FirstTuesday focus mainly on the achievements, Startup Grind is also focusing on the person behind these achievements.
FirstTuesday was also focusing on the ICT sector, whereas Startup Grind embraces any industry or vertical.
Both share the same informal setting to enable and focus on the exchange [e.g. networking] and not so much on the “passive” showcasing.
Both have the possibility to leverage an international network.
A main difference is that Startup Grind will only have one participant who is interviewed by a person who knows the former personnally and that the whole “performance” is filmed and later made available on the Startup Grind website.
What is more with Startup Grind we intend to show the hidden gems i.e. the local and international ones.
You’ve chosen Xavier Buck as a first speaker, can you tell us how this event will take place?
In order to launch Startup Grind locally, I contacted some of the “usual suspects” and Xavier Buck was the first to agree on a date in March or April.
Having had the opportunity to work with/for Xavier, I was more than pleased that he had accepted to play the game and dive into this unknown concept.
I further contacted Per-Fredrik at the Impactory for a venue as we intended since several years to organise a common event.
What is more the Impactory was a safe bet as I was sure to have at least their members present and eventually a dozen external attendees.
But it happened that without marketing i.e. a simple mailshot to the FirstTuesday subscribers and a post on the Startup Grind website [reposted by the Luxembourg US office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs], we had over 30 registrations in the first two weeks.
After the fourth week we reached nearly 60 registered attendees and capped the registration process as the Impactory venue would have to be refurbished for the event i.e. Xavier and myself would have been placed on warehouse pallets in the middle of the room. Would have been a tough job for Media65 for filming the event!
In the meantime the partners of Europe4StartUps contacted me to participate in their invitation-only “Together Strong” event i.e. showing the mutual strength of the existing entrepreneurial eco-systems [i.e. E4S and Silicon Luxembourg] which luckily was held on the same day.
Hence the “Together Strong” event which is supported by Data4 and EY Luxembourg will host the Startup Grind launch event as an integral part of the event.
What is more, we secured Michael Jackson from Mangrove to do the fireside chat with Xavier Buck.
How many people do you expect on Wed. 23rd?
As stated previously we had capped the registration process but IMHO the “Together Strong” event will see more than 150 selected attendees invited by the three initiatives.