For the second year in a row, the Benelux Catalyst and the Startup School acceleration programmes will accompany mature startups looking to enter the US market. Seven Luxembourg startups will be selected. The two calls for applications are open until 30 September.
What better way to enter the American market than a 3-week immersion programme with the best representatives of the San Francisco and New York ecosystems?
Benelux Catalyst is an ambitious programme that brings together startups from the three Benelux countries in order to offer them the best coaching and support to successfully penetrate the US market. Three Luxembourg startups will be selected for participation in 2020.
The Startup School is led by San Francisco accelerator Nex Cubed and has been designed to introduce the Silicon Valley tech and start-up ecosystem to selected Luxembourg startups in order for them to grow their business network in the US, and start assessing the potential of their offerings for future expansion in the US market. Four startups from Luxembourg will be selected this year.
“Being well prepared is key“
Although the programmes usually take place on site in the US, the 2020 sessions will be 100% online. During 3 weeks, the selected startups will learn about the cultural and commercial particularities of the American market with focus on sales practices, financing methods and growth strategies. They will also connect with relevant VCs and Blue-chip companies.
“These programmes are reserved for strong startups, which already have a significant activity in Europe,” explains Valentin Rongoni, Start-up Advisor at Luxinnovation and in charge of the programme for Luxembourg.
“However, to find the programmes useful, participants need to be well prepared. Three weeks may seem long, but it is not since we are talking about much more than just an introduction on how to enter the US market. Instead, these are very concrete programmes that can lead to the conclusion of a startup’s first North American business transaction.”
A time for training, a time for business
A major advantage of these programmes is that participants do not need to devote themselves solely to participation during the three weeks. Trainings and workshops are scheduled during short online session in the afternoon to allow participants to take care of their European business when it is morning in their local time zone. An approach which startups find reassuring.
“The Benelux Catalyst programme was our best ever and most impactful accelerator programme,” notes Jacques Touillon, CEO of Foobot.io, who participated last year. “Our success is down to this very well balanced programme that greatly helps a Luxembourg startup adjust to the US market.”
“The Startup School programme in San Francisco was a terrific opportunity for ANote Music - our brand got quick international exposure and got in contact with legendary investment firms,” agrees CEO Marzio F. Schena. “At the same time, the acceleration programme at NexCubed taught us a lot about the broad, energetic and aggressive mentality in the Silicon Valley. It gave us a great opportunity to refine our strategy.”
Network, network, network
Connection building is another major asset of the two programmes, which will keep this focus even in their digital version. The potential connections established in the context of the Benelux Catalyst can help startups with their journey in the US, but also with signing new partnerships with Benelux players. In the case of the Startup School, the focus will be placed on the meetings with relevant commercial partners and investors.
“It has been a real catalyst for us, not only to learn how to best approach the US market both operationally and culturally, but also to strengthen ties with our home country. It now allows us to grow in both markets by drawing on the best from each side,” confirms Oriane Schoonbroodt, founder and CEO of LabelR, another Luxembourg startup that participated last year.
Last year, Footbot, LabelR and Flenhealth were the three Luxembourg start-ups who successfully participated in Benelux Catalyst. Anote Music, Passbolt, Inkspired and SYDCloud went to San Francisco for the Startup School programme.
This year again, seven Luxembourg start-ups – 3 for Benelux Catalyst and 4 for Startup School – will be selected by the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation to benefit from the two programmes. The deadline for applications is 30 September. Interested startups are welcome to apply!