By: Aaron Turner, CEO Hotshot Technologies
Photo: Anna Katina
From the first time I was introduced to the entrepreneurial community in Luxembourg last year, to the moment that I’m writing this article, I have been thoroughly impressed by the entrepreneurial ecosystem that has been established in the heart of Europe. I have done business in over 70 countries around the world as a consultant and entrepreneur, and I have not seen a concerted effort from the entire community as Luxembourg has put forth.
As startup friendly as the country is, there were still some challenges that I faced while trying to get everything setup here. In speaking with the Silicon Luxembourg staff, I wanted to write something that could help others accelerate their business journey here. I’m going to recommend some specific companies, advisors and people who have helped me, but I don’t want to give the impression that they are the only ones that can be relied on, as there is an entire community of professionals in Luxembourg who can help you start your business.
I appreciate all of the time and effort that the team at Luxinnovation has spent to create the startup ecosystem here. They are a very approachable team, always willing to answer questions about how to best take advantage of the different incentive and acceleration programs that are available from both Luxembourg and the EU. For more information about how they can help startups in Luxembourg, visit their website.
More info: luxinnovation.lu
In order to start the process of building your company here, the first thing you need is good legal advice. In my case, I needed to create a fully owned subsidiary of a United States Corporation since we had already started some technology development as part of our original US startup. I was fortunate to meet the attorneys at NautaDutilh who were able to quickly and effectively help me with my corporate structure needs. They worked with me assure that I had a “société à responsabilité limitée” (SARL) that would give me the flexibility to continue to raise funding if we need it and transfer all our intellectual property to the Luxembourg company. If you’re looking for help with legal advice, I’d highly recommend getting in touch with Vincent Wellens, partner at NautaDutilh Avocats Luxembourg.
More info: nautadutilh.com
Once the lawyers have drafted the articles for your company, you will need to find a notary to help you file them and start the process of formal company formation. Using the notary directory maintained by the Luxembourg government, I called several notaries. Unfortunately, many of them were not prepared to respond with the speed and effectiveness that I needed to stay on-track with our business goals. I truly appreciate the responsiveness of our notary, Jean-Joseph Wagner. Depending on the type of company that you’re forming and where you are coming from, there may be additional forms that the notary will have to file for you. Jean-Joseph Wagner took care of all our needs quickly and helped us stay on schedule, making sure we didn’t lose any momentum.
More info: N/A
For the Notary to complete his/her job, you will need to make an initial deposit of capital of €12,000 in a bank account which will be held by the bank until the notary files the proper forms. Getting a bank account setup in Luxembourg was fast and easy when working with Morgane Gregoire from ING. Its online banking options and excellent support were very helpful, especially when I was not able to physically be in Luxembourg.
More info: ing.lu
The mobile operator
The next step in the process is to assure that you can acquire the appropriate business licenses and tax numbers. To start that process you must have a local Luxembourg phone number. I went to several different mobile network operators to get a number, but Orange was by far the easiest to work with and get a number by using just my US Passport and the ING bank account number. In under 30 minutes I had a local number that I could use to complete all of our license and tax applications. You can find all the Orange subscription details at their website.
More info: orange.lu
For technology companies, the Luxembourg government has developed an excellent intellectual property development and revenue recognition program. You must also follow specific requirements for the complex process of IP valuation. As I reached out to different tax and accounting advisors, I was extremely grateful that the excellent team at KPMG responded to my request for assistance. Michael Ayachi and Sophie Boulanger have been valued members of our team in helping us understand all the requirements, making sure we get our intellectual property moved to our Luxembourg company in order to take best advantage of the system here while managing the tax risks.
More info: kpmg.lu
If you are coming to Luxembourg from outside of the EU, you will need to work with an immigration expert to make sure that all your paperwork is in order to live and work legally in Luxembourg. We were fortunate to be introduced to Benedicte Souy from Moving People to Luxembourg. Her firm has excellent experience on how best to approach the challenge of getting work permits and establishing residence for work purposes. For more information and to get in touch with Benedicte.
More info: mp2lux.lu
Finally, if you get stuck in any of these processes, have questions about requirements or just need some guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the excellent staff at the Luxembourg House of Entrepreneurship. They have a team of experienced professionals who can help guide you through the process of starting your business in Luxembourg, visit their website for more information.
More info: houseofentrepreneurship.lu
The more startups that come to Luxembourg, the stronger the community becomes, creating an innovation snowball effect. I’m excited at the possibilities, both for my company and for the technology community in general.