Silicon Mag, November 2018
Facilitating Companies’ Digital Transformations
One year after announcing the partnership between EY Luxembourg and Luxinnovation for the Silicon Luxembourg Magazine, we went back to see Brice Lecoustey, Advisory Partner and Digital Leader at EY Luxembourg, as well as Jean-Michel Ludwig, Director of Startup Support and SME performance at Luxinnovation. Here is the scoop on how the first twelve months have gone, as well as concrete information about the projects they have completed together as well as future projects.
What is your assessment of the partnership so far?
B.L. The first task for our public-private partnership is to take a number of promising Luxembourgish and international startups and help them integrate and launch them in Luxembourg.
Great news! We achieved the goal we set for ourselves. More specifically, our partnership has turned beginning startups seeking help from Luxinnovation into our providers, and the synergy is going both ways. Startups also use our services.
Let me give you two good examples. A startup had developed an online recruiting platform that we adopted for internal recruiting and for our clients’ needs.
Another startup was specialized in artificial intelligence and automation, whereby its products helped us speed up our audit procedures as well as some of our financial reporting services.
In total, we integrated four startups into our supply chains and offered services. Thanks to Luxinnovation, the startups we met were able to improve our everyday working operations, and we are hoping that they will help the local ecosystem at large going forward.
J-M.L. I should admit that the result is very positive. Over the past year we have invited EY to several pitching sessions, during which we pointed out a good number of startups just arriving in Luxembourg. Those were key moments as we were able to identify both EY’s needs and those of the startups in order to create a synergistic bond. In simple terms, it’s matchmaking! We meet up regularly to go over potential partnerships and discuss about how already-integrated startups are doing.
Our collaboration is a fantastic source of fuel for our startups. They come to us for financial help, but it’s obvious that finding a client is much more advantageous for them in the long run.
We also make sure that our initiatives communicate intelligently our respective roles in the Luxembourgish ecosystem.
What has the collaboration brought each of you?
J-M.L. In all truth, this collaboration has allowed us to capitalize on our respective initiatives—it’s a win-win situation.
We have been able to refine our search for startups with regard to the real needs of the market. We are working henceforth to attract others in a more qualitative way than a quantitative one, and we have done so by selecting companies with clear, in-demand technologies in their fields. This refined process ensures that these startups can more easily integrate into Luxembourg.
Within the framework of Luxinnovation’s startup-support program, Fit 4 Start, for example, we are reaching out to ICT companies. Yet, ICT is a general term encompassing all types of companies in the technology sector.
The risk is that, over time, people stop feeling included in this category. We would like to henceforth specify the kind of startup profile solicited in order to better respond to the needs of the local ecosystem and allow for a sort of “soft landing”.
B.L. We insist on always listening to the needs of the ecosystem, and we inform Luxinnovation of the real stakes and needs on the corporate client side—and this in order to facilitate the selection process and smoother integration phase.
It is therefore important to us to stay in contact with Luxinnovation and keep them up to date with the types of companies that we want to keep or attract in Luxembourg, as well as debrief regularly. In this context, we have continued to attract startups in the FinTech and ICT domains. We are also working to attract companies specialized in the 4.0 industry, logistics, and automobiles who are in tune with our strategic plans for development in Luxembourg.
Can you tell us a little more about the corporate side of your collaboration?
B.L. It’s funny because we really were not expecting it! The digital transformation of a company requires from employees that they understand the stakes and the possibilities of the technologies in question in order to adopt and integrate them in the company. At EY we are well aware of this, so we decided to organize events in order to connect organizations to new technologies and thereby educate them at the same time.
Through the Luxinnovation network, we have been able to unite a whole range of startups and push them deeper into the Luxembourgish ecosystem. We have also seen, of course, a real interest from companies for their new technologies.
J-M.L. Thanks to the EY initiative, several international companies based in Luxembourg were able to discover the Grand Duchy and its qualities as a legitimate ecosystem for startups. For an agency trying to promote innovation, the opportunity was buried treasure.
The same is true for the Startup World Cup event organized at EY, where we were able to see Luxembourgish startups benefit from a whole range of international resources.
Luxinnovation is clearly accompanying and boasting a portfolio of clients, and driven by a real desire to share deal flow with big players, such as EY, who have solutions to offer.
What other projects do you see in the future for this partnership?
J-M.L From the very beginning, this collaboration has been set up for the long term, and we want to continue collaborating in order to push startups in our ecosystem especially towards helping companies. At Luxinnovation, we would like to play a more active role in raising awareness by continuing to reinforce the exchange between startups and enterprises.
B.L. In the near future, we would like to be proactive in certain geographic zones around the world, in order to promote our economic activity in Luxembourg. Thanks to our respective networks, we are going to target specific ecosystems (meaning breeding grounds) for startups in order to bring them to Luxembourg. Quebec and Montreal are on our list, for example.
Afterwards, another important point will be to continue implementing the concept of Open Innovation at the core of companies by bringing them concrete solutions. Some companies do not have all the necessary resources to integrate new technologies on the inside, so our role alongside Luxinnovation is to help them by outsourcing this work in startups directly.