In Luxembourg, the KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs gives FinTech startups the tools and network they need to succeed within Europe and abroad. Meeting with Alexandre Rochegude in charge of The Khube…
Alexandre Rochegude, can you explain what the KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs is?
The KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs is KPMG’s FinTech incubator. It seeks to guide and help innovative companies in the field. Launched in June 2015, during the KPMG Beach event, our hub already has a growing membership and connects all the actors of the startup ecosystem. Members include accelerators, partner companies that provide services to innovative businesses, financial institutions, large enterprises, private and public organizations, as well as investors.
Compared to other startup support programs, how do you position yourself?
We do not want to reinvent what others do very well. We work with organizations that will provide services to startups. For example, we do not have workspace available for the startups, but we work with incubators and accelerators that do. We do not limit ourselves to working with startups that are already established. Instead, we also look at startup projects that are still just ideas. Another very important point is the fact that we focus on networking. We want to enable startups to be able to meet the right people and companies to which they can present their products. It’s crucial for entrepreneurs. Our startups have the opportunity to talk directly to the decision makers and are thus able to close contracts without wasting time. It is a form of support that you find much more frequently in the U.S. than in Europe.
How do you select the startups for your program? What criteria do you use?
We analyze the standard criteria that investors use to make their decision to invest or not. We analyze all the components of a good business plan: the product or service and how it is different from what already exists in the market; a market analysis including details of competitors and market share; a team analysis, examining not only the team members’ experience, but also their enthusiasm and involvement; how the product or service will be sold; the SWOT analysis; and the financial plan. There is a subjective side in the assessment of the product as well as the team. It is necessary that an affinity exists between the startup members and the team that supports them. There needs to be a real desire to work together. To be useful to a startup, we have to be able to work together closely over a period of at least one year.
What services do you offer?
The KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs acts as a one-stop shop. It offers customized services, support by an experienced team of entrepreneurs, as well as access to a large network – the worldwide KPMG network. Beyond that, it also combines the services of KPMG and our partner companies to offer flexible support to technological companies, enabling them to build and manage their organizations, remain well financed and to expand both locally and abroad.
Do you plan to develop the KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs worldwide in other KPMG offices?
Our Luxembourg hub serves as a gateway to connect startups in Luxembourg to Europe and the rest of the world. By helping startups gain access to the numerous opportunities available to them in Luxembourg, which has a strong financial sector and unique corporate culture, we serve as a launching pad for startups
looking to grow big. And, indeed, the KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs is one of the many initiatives KPMG Global has implemented revolving around the growing FinTech industry.
What is your opinion on the current situation of FinTech in Luxembourg?
In Luxembourg, the number of FinTech players is growing rapidly and Luxembourg policymakers are increasingly aware of the need to create a favorable environment for their development. This awareness has enabled a large number of very interesting and promising initiatives to emerge. However, there is still a lot of work to do.
We must continue to work with entrepreneurs, listen and implement structural reforms that will promote Luxembourg’s appetite for entrepreneurship. When it comes to FinTech, Luxembourg has a real card to play but may have to step up its game and be more aggressive in order to compete with other FinTech hubs like London,for example.
What is it about Luxembourg in particular that spurs the development of the FinTech industry and makes the country a successful digital transformation hub?
In addition to its local market, Luxembourg is a hub for startups that want to grow across Europe. The country has a unique socio-economic stability. It is open to innovation and has a first-class IT infrastructure. Luxembourg is one of the leading financial centers in Europe and there is effective oversight of the financial sector. The KPMG Hub for Entrepreneurs team brings together both former entrepreneurs and various professionals from the consulting world. This unique combination allows us to use a multidisciplinary approach and tailor our program to the unique needs of each startup.