10 super Luxembourg start-ups to watch

1 Nov 2018

Luxembourg. Image: © yarchyk/Stock.adobe.com

At the centre of western Europe geographically, Luxembourg is also at the heart of the continent when it comes to innovative start-ups.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is in fact one of the de facto capitals of the European Union (EU) alongside Brussels and Strasbourg, and is home to the European Court of Justice, the European Investment Fund and the Secretariat of the European Parliament, to name a few vital EU bodies.

A recent initiative, Digital Luxembourg, has just published a map of the various accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces in Luxembourg, including The Office, Bamhaus, Tomorrow Street, Technoport, House of BioHealth and Paul Wurth InCub.

Useful guides to start-up events can be found at Silicon Luxembourg, while popular events include Startup Grind, Silicon Drinkabout, Girls in Tech and WIDE, an initiative to encourage more women to seize opportunities in the digital economy.

The duchy is also home to a growing venture capital (VC) cluster including a €20m Digital Tech Fund launched by Expon Capital and a €50m edtech fund created by local VC firm Brighteye Ventures.

Here are the Luxembourg start-ups to watch in the year ahead.

Aiva Technologies

Aiva Technologies is an AI that composes emotional soundtracks for films, video games, TV shows and commercials. It has raised €650,000 in a seed funding round led by Kima Ventures. Aiva was co-founded in 2016 by Pierre Barreau, Vincent Barreau and Denis Shtefan.

Apla Blockchain

Apla Blockchain uses blockchain distributed ledger technology to help organisations work faster, safer and with greater impact. It is a full-stack blockchain enterprise with its own protocol for building digital ecosystems. It was founded in 2016 by Oleg Strelenko.


Apateq is a cleantech company that develops and manufactures turnkey, custom-designed, produced water treatment systems for oil and gas field operators. The company was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and has also been named a Global Cleantech 100 company by Cleantech Group. Founded in 2013, Apateq is led by CEO Bogdan Serban. It raised €5.8m in a funding round in 2015.


CaptainJet is an online private-jet booking service that allows users to select a jet and negotiate a price via an app. Founded in 2016 by Anne-Céline Lescop, CaptainJet has raised €2.5m in funding from private investors.


Governance.com provides a platform for good governance through technology and support. Founded by Bert and Rob Boerman, it helps organisations to gain total control of all information and processes in the organisation. In September, it raised an undisclosed Series A funding round, on top of €2.4m raised prior to that.


Doctena is a GP appointment booking platform that is active in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. It connects more than 10,000 doctors to patients, and ensures patients turn up for appointments. The company has raised €12.5m so far, including an €8m round earlier this year.

Global Fashion Group

Global Fashion Group is an online platform for fashion markets, offering fashion online to consumers but also the chance for brands to enter the fashion e-commerce business. It operates a number of brands including Asia-focused Zalora, Brazil-focused Dafiti and Russia-focused Lamoda. Founded in 2014, it has raised €512m so far, including a €330m investment led by Rocket Internet.

Job Today

Job Today is a mobile-focused marketplace for casual jobs that is headquartered in Luxembourg and active in Spain and the UK. Regular customers include Costa Coffee and Pret a Manger, and it claims to have processed more than 100m candidates across Europe. Founded in 2015 by Eugene Mizin and Polina Montano, it has raised $81m to date, including $16m in a Series B round led by VC firm 14W.


Headquartered in Luxembourg, Simpleshow is an explainer-video format that explains complicated topics simply and coherently. Put simply, it automatically creates videos from text. Led by CEO Karsten Böhrs, it has raised $35.4m to date, including a $15m round last year led by BIP.


Travelsify provides AI-driven analytics and product data to more than 500,000 hotels and 500,000 restaurants around the world. Founded in 2016, Travelsify has raised €7m to date, including a €5m round led by AccorHotels in September.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years