House of Startups: the link in the start-up eco-system House of Startups brings together incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs.

The Grand Duchy is keen to become a start-up nation. The adventure began a few years ago with the emergence of the first incubators for new innovative companies. The number of accompanying structures has increased, and there are currently about fifteen incubators, witnesses to the Grand Duchy's innovative dynamism.

One of these incubators, helping start-ups to develop, is to be found in modern offices near the main railway station, opposite the current headquarters of ArcelorMittal. House of Startups (HoST) chose the 'Dôme' building for its installation, occupying 6,000 sq.m. of attractive and well equipped premises with a top-class IT infrastructure. Conference rooms and meeting areas encourage entrepreneurs to work, interact, and present their ideas.

House of Startups brings together incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs. In all, it is capable of hosting between 150 and 200 innovative start-ups. That would be a summary definition of House of Startups, which provides a single address for several hubs, including Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), Luxembourg-City Incubator (LCI), Hub@Luxembourg and International Climate Finance Accelerator Luxembourg (ICFA)

© SIP / Emmanuel Claude

The impressive 6,000 square metre HoST premises are located in the heart of the station district.

© SIP / Emmanuel Claude

The House of Startups hosts between 150-200 innovative startups, as well as four incubators.

A nerve centre for innovation

With the backing of the City of Luxembourg and the Chamber of Commerce, House of Startups was created with a view to becoming one of the largest incubators in the Grand Duchy, with the mission of serving as a federating force for the innovation eco-system. At the inauguration of House of Startups, which opened its doors on 1 June 2018, Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Grand Duchy's Chamber of Commerce said, 'Hosting all the key players in the start-up eco-system will make it possible for ideas to circulate freely and bring innovations to life'.

Until January 2020, the HoST was headed by Karin Schintgen, previously in charge of Lux Futur Lab at BGL-BNP Paribas. In a short interview, the CEO of House of Startups explained the missions and objectives of the new institution and pointed out the advantages of this meeting place for entrepreneurs with a vision. 

Three questions for Karin Schintgen,  Ex-CEO of House of Startups

1. You don't just rent offices to start-ups. House of Startups also accompanies innovative businesses in their start-up phase. What are HoST's missions?

House of Startups is a campus for incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs which in turn rent directly to start-ups.  We are trying to bring together and federate at House of Startups a whole host of all the players in the eco-system who are all involved in different or complementary tech sectors, in addition to what is already being done: FinTech with LHoFT (Luxembourg House of Fintech);  UrbanTech, commerce, tourism, environment, logistics, construction at LCI (Luxembourg City Incubator); climate funding  at ICFA (International Climate Finance Accelerator); maritime and space technology, FinTech, cyber-security, etc. at the hub operated by the Crédit Agricole group.

HoST's mission is to be a driving force for Innovation in the Grand Duchy by federating, promoting, supporting and catalysing the eco-system and world of the country's businesses.

On January 1st the House of Startups has changed its governance. The CEO of HoST, Karin Schintgen, has handed over to Philippe Linster, who will join the Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Karin Schintgen will remain an independent consultant to the House of Startups, with particular responsibility for international partnerships. In particular, she will develop EU Tribe, a network of incubators in the Greater Region.

2. How do you judge the evolution of the start-up eco-system in the Grand Duchy in recent years? In what areas would like to see new start-ups emerge?

I would say that amazing progress has been made in terms of both the offer of space and support (coaching, funding, marketing, etc.). Recent years have also seen a lot of specialisation, particularly in the direction of finance, which was a necessity in the aftermath of 2008, and more recently towards SpaceTech, which is also a necessity in as much as the Grand Duchy's survival depends on the country constantly reinventing itself. Obviously I think it's important to consolidate all that and continue developing our skills in so-called transverse technologies such as cyber-security and artificial intelligence. In addition, I would like to see more strong tech centres develop in sectors  such as retailing, tourism, town planning and construction, education, logistics, etc. Progress is also needed in terms of funding this economy – at present, it's in the hands of the public authorities and financiers such as VC operators. I think we need to find a way of involving the public and young people, otherwise Luxembourgers will become passive spectators of their own economy.

3. How is HoST positioned in the Greater Region? How do start-ups set up in the Grand Duchy take advantage of any cooperation there may be with the neighbouring countries?

The Grand Duchy's Chamber of Commerce is a very dynamic player in the Greater Region, so it came to me quite naturally as an idea that this historical and economic reality could be applied to the world of start-ups. A start-up doesn't think in terms of local markets, since one of the main factors in the success of start-up models is their 'scalability' - their ability to replicate their economic model on other markets. The Greater Region offers a market of  11 million people as well as more than sixty incubators and major centres for research and skills in Europe. It you take a close look you see a real technological megalopolis capable - as long as it is organised - of competing on a coherent platform with the major capitals such as Paris and Berlin. It's essential that we manage to keep the talents and skills that we have in our regions, and it's also essential that we attract foreign businesses and investors to this technological market. This can only be successful if we pool our forces. That's what's involved in the EU-TRIBE project, which currently includes about twenty incubators in the Greater Region (Rhineland, Saarland, Lorraine, Wallonia, and the Grand Duchy)

How to set up a business in Luxembourg

Aimed at national and foreign entrepreneurs and investors, the brochure 'How to set up a business in Luxembourg - Factsheets' explains in a clear and concise manner, step by step, the main administrative and organisational procedures for setting up in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The publication thus gives an overview of the most important procedures and regulations and provides useful information and contacts for (future) entrepreneurs.