WOMEN FOUNDERS #2 Start-stories, Aiming Highe Wednesday, October 4

At BIL – Banque Internationale de Luxembourg

Under the patronage of the Ministry of Equal Opportunity in Luxembourg (Ministère Egalités des Chances, MEGA).

The evening was pleasantly extended with a cocktail reception offered by BIL.

Following the success of the first event held this spring and continuing our collaboration with Silicon Luxembourg, we are delighted to share a few highlights from last week’s second edition of Women Founders.

One hundred participants gathered on Wednesday night to listen to the inspiring stories of start-up women founders at BIL – Banque Internationale de Luxembourg.

The evening started with WIDE president & co-founder’s speech, Marie-Adélaïde Gervis:

“ Luxembourg is great place for women entrepreneurs. Recent advancements concerning parental leaves & child care access help greatly to balance parenting responsibilities, giving more opportunities to women and mothers to start their own ventures. In addition to the bustling startup scene, women are expected to be part of the game. Right now it seems that the stars are aligned for women entrepreneurs”

At this point we are happy to announce that more than 40 women have already applied for our Startup Leadership Programme and that applications for this programme will close on October, 15th.

First panel: Aiming higher, moderated by Charles-Louis Machuron, Founder of Silicon Luxembourg.


Polina Frolova, founder, Co-founder, JobToday

Anne-Céline Lescop, Co-founder CaptainJet

Iva Matasic, founder and CEO, Consulio

“Polina”: I am going to be honest, raising funds is hard but girls, it’s the right time for you to go and get these funds. As as a woman you are already making a difference!”.

“Anne-Cécile”: “I raised funds last May and now I have a team of 10 people. Having the right people in your team, sharing the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for your product is key”

Iva “ This is my third venture. I started my first company straight after IT studies, I wanted to be independent. Being based in the Balkans in a men-dominated society, I had to establish my company in Silicon Valley to have this credibility ”.

KeyNote: Alain Rodermann (Founder Partner at Expon Capital), talked about what it takes to raise funds, his point of view as a Venture Capitalist and the fact that he would love to see more women pitching for funds.

Main point highlighted in the keynote : technology, team, execution, capability and valuation & exit opportunities for VC.

VC funds are mainly managed by men and according to Alain, 95% of those pitching in his office are men. Therefore there is huge work to be done.

“Seeing a woman pitching is an exception, they already stand out from the rest of the founders. Leverage on this as the competition is really thought out there. We would love to fund more women-led startups but there are just no opportunities coming to us”

Also he stated  that when recently recruiting for his fund he was looking for a woman with engineer background to join the team. Clearly the lack of diversity in his current team has been a challenge.

Second panel: From Science to Entrepreneurship, moderated by Marina Andrieu, Cofounder & Director at WIDE.

According to Marina, if we want to have more women in startups we also need to fix the STEM pipeline. Therefore, it was an honor to have a medical doctor, a PHD in IT and an electrical engineer who all created their own ventures. These women are great role models and it’s of great importance for WIDE to have them on stage and make them more visible.

And just to highlight a few testimonials…

Emilia Tantar, Chief Operating Officer, Black Swan LUX S.A. “I have been doing research with my husband for a long time and for me it made sense to start a company with him. I saw a great opportunity to start something and go for a proof of concept with the support of the University / FNR scheme; Every month we are still approached by companies who want to hire us across the world. We say no, entrepreneurship is what we want to do”.

Aida Nazarikhorram, co-founder & CMO of LuxAI “I came to Luxembourg and could not be a medical practitioner anymore since I did not study here. I was always attracted to entrepreneurship and started researching ideas and market opportunities. It took me a lot of time to make a choice and accept not to pursue other interesting ideas. Focus is key to make it happen”.

You can read more of Emilia and Aida’s inspiring stories about creating their startups together with their husbands on www.siliconluxembourg.lu

WIDE would like to thank:

BIL:Banque Internationale de Luxembourg, in particular the marketing, innovation and events team.

Ministère de l’Egalité des chances

Silicon Luxembourg represented by Charles-Louis Machuron and all our speakers and attendees.