Show cover of LuxUnplugged Podcast

LuxUnplugged Podcast

People from Luxembourg are quite familiar with the country’s discreet approach when it comes to blowing its own trumpet at the global scale. Despite its relatively small geographic print, the Grand Duchy punches well above its weight on the world stage! This podcast is here to shed light on Luxembourg’s global influence from the perspective of two Luxembourgers living in London.

Tracks

#4 Net Zero Future: A sustainable finance app for everyone | Georges Bock
Claudia Hitaj and Adrien Loesch welcome Georges Bock, Founder and CEO of Moniflo, a FinTech-start-up aiming to redefine trading and investment for retail customers by creating a peer to peer investment platform with a strong ESG focus. Georges talks about his experience at KPMG, why he decided to develop Moniflo, and why he thinks it's important young people start investing early and in an impactful way. He also talks about how blockchain technology has evolved and how new, low-carbon blockchain technology helps Moniflo secure transactions and keep costs down. Have a listen to learn more about Moniflo and what it means for new developments in sustainable finance and FinTech.
27:55 19/09/22
#65 Supply Chain Untangled Ep.2 | Philippe Hemard
Adding value is the key - This episode is sponsored by the Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg.Adrien welcomes Philippe Hemard, supply chain expert and former vice president at Amazon Logistics Europe. A former veteran at Amazon, Philippe spent 17 years of his career at Amazon where he experienced the very implementation of their logistics strategy in Europe. He explains in greater detail why logistics is integral part of Amazon's success as an ecommerce business.Then they discuss the key lessons from the covid-19 pandemic and the more recent war in Ukraine. Both have materially disrupted the way companies with global supply chains manage their logistical dependencies, with important changes now altering the unhindered globalisation trend that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War.A teacher at the University of Luxembourg, Philippe highlights the key attributes of the Master's degree in logistics and supply chain management, and what kind of candidates should apply for this type of academic programme.
28:59 05/09/22
#3 Net Zero Future: What it means for companies to make a net zero claim | Christa Anderson
Claudia Hitaj welcomes Christa Anderson, Director of Climate Science, Carbon Metrics, and Climate Change at WWF-US and technical development expert at Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Christa tells us how SBTi validates and helps companies set near term and long term targets for their path to net zero. We discuss SBTi's new targets for the forest, land, and agriculture sector, and whether companies can use carbon offsets to make net zero claims. 
35:29 25/07/22
#5 Dark Matter Uncovered: At a crossroad between space & aviation | Emmanuel Rammos
Thierry discusses with Emmanuel Rammos the profile of SkyfloX, an ESA spin-off company, developing ORCA an Earth Observation system re-using commercial aircrafts to capture data. They talk about the ORCA system that not only helps reducing space debris, but also saves a lot of money compared to sending satellite systems into space. During the conversation, Emmanuel & Thierry also discuss what legal challenges there are for a company like Skyflox and why Luxembourg remains a top location for the space sector. 
25:27 11/07/22
#2 Net Zero Future: Straight talk from the youth climate movement | Selma Vincent
Claudia and Adrien welcome Selma Vincent, student and climate activist with Youth for Climate Luxembourg. Selma talks about her experience as a youth delegate to the COP26 conference in Glasgow, what it's like as a nineteen-year-old to hold adults to account when it comes to mitigating climate change, and why it's important to vote.
30:15 30/06/22
#64 Supply Chain Untangled Ep.1 | Kevin Nash
Adding value is the key - This episode is sponsored by the Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg. Thierry discusses with Kevin Nash the current challenges in the Supply Chain sector and why Luxembourg is a key location for Kuehne & Nagel. Kevin explains to our listeners why he entered the logistics sector over a decade ago. Both Thierry & Kevin also discuss the importance of the sustainability aspect in the logistics world. 
31:53 27/06/22
#4 Dark Matter Uncovered: A Native Luxembourg Space Company | Edgar Milic
Thierry discusses with Edgar Milic about his 30 year love affair with space and why Luxembourg is a key location for space companies while also highlighting the key achievements of OHB Luxspace. Thierry and Edgar also discuss the 4M mission  and what the company has in the pipeline for future. 
28:33 06/06/22
#63 Helping clients to navigate through the HR & Recruitment challenges | Mike Reiffers
Thierry welcomes back Mike Reiffers, CEO at Skeeled. On this follow up episode Thierry and Mike discuss how the HR & Recruitment sector have experienced the past two years caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and how his Luxembourg-based business helped clients in Luxembourg and abroad to make better hiring decisions. Finally, Mike shares his thoughts on the future outlook for the hybrid working model and on the future of his business.  
35:22 30/05/22
#1 Net Zero Future: Why spatial planning matters for the climate transition | Claude Turmes
Claudia welcomes Claude Turmes, Minister of Energy and Spatial Planning, to the LuxUnplugged's new series on climate change and sustainability - Net Zero Future. Minister Turmes discusses how Luxembourg will shift away from fossil fuels to renewable power and how the government can ensure that the climate transition is just. He highlights the role of spatial planning and discusses why he launched the Luxembourg in Transition consultation. At the end, we find out what he does on a daily basis to reduce his own carbon footprint and what gives him hope for the future. 
33:13 16/05/22
#62 Why choosing Luxembourg for a hardware start-up | Fedor Antonov
Adrien welcomes Fedor Antonov, CEO and co-founder at Anisoprint, to the show. An academic at heart and accidental entrepreneur, Fedor walks Adrien through the genesis of his firm together with his co-founders and how he further pursued his world-class research and project after the sponsoring university discontinued the programme. Then they get into the weeds as regards the whole process behind their 3D printing technology and how the use of composite materials such as carbon fiber offer a clear-cut advantage to their customers in many industries. Thereafter Fedor explains why he chose Luxembourg not only to conduct business from there but also to manufacture highly specialised 3D printing machines. Adrien briefly touches upon the application of his technology in the space industry where his firm recently experienced a major breakthrough. Finally, Fedor lays out his numerous exciting plans for Anisoprint.
35:17 04/05/22
#3 Dark Matter Uncovered: Weathering storms in space | Artem Axelrod and Alex Pospekhov
Adrien welcomes Artem Axelrod and Alex Pospekhov, co-founders at Mission Space, to the show. Having founded their start-up with two other co-founders in 2020, they discuss how their business is pioneering the commercial use of space weather intelligence in light of growing space exploration plans worldwide. Laureates of the Fit4Start program in Luxembourg, they then extensively go through the major reasons why Luxembourg is a destination of choice for space start-ups given the level of risk involved in this still very young industry. Finally, they briefly highlight their plans for the coming months.This series is kindly supported by Hogan Lovells.
30:39 30/04/22
#61 Consuming fashion in a circular and sustainable way | Filip Westerlund
Adrien welcomes Filip Westerlund, Founder and CEO of OURCHOICE, to the show. As part of a recent change within the LuxUnplugged team, Claudia Hitaj, a previous guest on the programme, joins them to discuss sustainability topics and make important announcements on the podcast's future plans.A relentlessly dynamic entrepreneur, Filip walks them through the genesis of his circular vision in fashion and challenges them on the definition of a visionary. Then they dive into the whole process that makes OURCHOICE shoes circular and sustainable over the long run, this compared to mostly plastic derived shoes in the fast fashion industry. Finally, Filip extensively highlights the benefits of launching a sustainability business in Luxembourg before discussing his plans on the upcoming pivot for OURCHOICE.
26:39 19/04/22
#60 How to grow a global niche business out of Luxembourg | Bob Kneip
Adrien welcomes Bob Kneip, chairman at Kneip Management SA, to the show. An entrepreneur at heart, Bob is widely known in Luxembourg for founding the investment fund data distribution business that bears his name. At the time of the recording, Bob was no longer involved in the company as he had sold out his stakes a week earlier to Deutsche Boerse Group, a major financial services player.Launched in 1993, Kneip started out as a paper-based ads publisher for the Luxembourg financial services industry, when the local industry wasn't as advanced as it is today. Facing the threat of technology advancements in the late 90's and quickly grasping the complex needs of investment funds, Bob made key decisions whilst running the firm that allowed his business to pivot sustainably in spite of major headwinds.Adrien also enquires about the main lessons that he had learned throughout his career, especially in a fast-paced environment like today's.
30:58 11/04/22
#2 Dark Matter Uncovered: Building Robotic Arms in Luxembourg | Jaroslaw Jaworski
In this second episode of our new special series on the space industry, Dark Matter Uncovered, Thierry welcomes Jaroslaw Jarowski (also known as JJ), General Manager at Redwire Space Europe. JJ talks about the different business units at Redwire and what the formerly Made In Space Europe company, now the Redwire Europe Space designs and develops in it's brand new Luxembourg facility. In this conversation they briefly discuss the legal and talent challenges space companies face and why it is an exciting time to join the space sector. This series is kindly supported by Hogan Lovells.
33:30 31/03/22
#59 Transforming the beauty services industry one booking at the time | Tom Michels
In this week's episode Thierry welcomes Tom Michels, Co-Founder and CEO at Salonkee, to LuxUnplugged. They discuss how 5 ambitious tech entrepreneurs set out to help beauty services providers in Luxembourg and in other European countries to transform their independent Beauty salons from a pen and paper management solution to an all-rounder sophisticated digital beauty hub. They also discuss his business' recent Series A funding round with lead investors from overseas and how he expects his company to expand in European markets thanks to attributes unique to Luxembourg. Finally, Tom highlights the challenges of finding the right talent with experience in scaling up start-ups across Europe. 
28:40 21/03/22
#58 Choosing Luxembourg to pursue a career in Private Equity | Olaf Kordes
Adrien welcomes Olaf Kordes, co-managing director at Luxempart, to the show. A Luxembourger who spent three decades abroad before coming back to Luxembourg, Olaf walks Adrien through the key lessons he’s learned throughout his career in Private Equity. They then discuss the mission of Luxempart, a Luxembourg based investment firm with direct exposure to Luxembourgish businesses and how approaching the intricacies of the local market compares to tackling opportunities further afield. Adrien also enquires about the dual leadership structure in a family business with less than 30 employees and already subject to strict governance rules inherent in its listed nature. Finally, Olaf shares his views on the Luxembourg ecosystem and what key components he would change to make it even more attractive for younger talent.
32:24 07/03/22
#1 Dark Matter Uncovered: Space, the next leading sector in Luxembourg | Marc Serres
Adrien and Thierry welcome Marc Serres, CEO of the Luxembourg Space Agency, to this new Dark Matter Uncovered series. A regular speaker on the LuxUnplugged Podcast, Marc reviews all the main events that happened in 2021 and took the local space sector another step forward. Alongside the very strategy that his agency has been devising to materialise the government's objectives, Marc also emphasises on the importance of the education and research ecosystems, such as Uni.lu or the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, that underpin the whole industry. Importantly, he also touches upon a new Luxembourg-based fund, Orbital Ventures, that attracted €120 million to invest in space start-ups.As this series is about enlightening the wider public on the importance of the space industry in Luxembourg and further afield, Adrien wonders what applications from this sector are underappreciated by the public and yet so ubiquitous in everyone's daily lives. Finally, they ask Marc what he expects of this special series and what he looks forward to in 2022 and beyond.This series is kindly supported by Hogan Lovells.
30:23 25/02/22
#57 Scaling up Luxembourg start-ups globally | Charles-Louis Machuron
Adrien welcomes back Charles-Louis Machuron, Founder and CEO at Silicon Luxembourg, to the show. Having appeared on the programme more than two years ago, Charles-Louis walks Adrien through the challenges that he experienced during the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic and how this led him to reboot his business thanks to valuable input from a mentor with decades of experience in entrepreneurship. After discussing his own success story, Charles-Louis then highlights the recent changes in the local start-up ecosystem and how tech businesses with a lot of potential are more and more founded by Luxembourgers, with experienced mentors and coaches supporting the momentum. They also speak to the overall obstacles that Luxembourg needs to address to properly compete with broader and more diversified tech hubs in Europe. Finally, Adrien enquires about Charles-Louis' plans for Silicon Luxembourg and how he sees his company becoming the main media outlet for the young connected people.
32:39 21/02/22
#56 The data economy powered by High Performance Computing | Pascal Bouvry and Roger Lampach
Adrien and Thierry welcome Pascal Bouvry and Roger Lampach, co-CEOs at LuxProvide, to the show. Both from complementary backgrounds, Pascal and Roger walk them through the very genesis of LuxProvide which operates one of Luxembourg's major supercomputers or high performance computers (HPC), MeluXina.The two co-CEOs then discuss how Luxembourg and other European countries convinced the European Commission to raise the HPC topic as an Important Project of Common European Interest in order to compete with other major geographies like the US and China which already possess such an essential piece of infrastructure powering their data economy. The fruit of those efforts led to the creation of EuroHPC, the very body promoting the development of HPC infrastructure in several European countries, where Luxembourg is one of the chosen locations in Bissen.Decrypting the HPC jargon, Pascal and Roger provide further details on the use of petaflops as computing power in the context of business applications, and how that compares with traditional high street machines.An established Computer Science professor at the University of Luxembourg (Uni.lu), Pascal enthusiastically discusses the new pan-European master's degree in HPC that is launching in September 2022. Spearheaded by Uni.lu, this project is meant to lay the foundations for the next generation that will support the data and knowledge ecosystems in the value chain and, later down the line, pave the way for quantum computing. Naturally, he details what type of candidate should apply for this exciting programme.Finally, they keenly review a number of sectors that are most likely to benefit in the future from the implementation of the HPC infrastructure in Luxembourg and across Europe. Roger and Pascal also float the idea that Europe should bring closer to home the manufacturing of computing hardware, such as semi-conductors, in light of the supply chain crunches that occurred during the pandemic.
35:10 07/02/22
#55 How to preserve Luxembourg's competitive edge | François Pauly
Adrien welcomes François Pauly, Group CEO at Edmond de Rothschild (EdR), to the show. A veteran Luxembourgish business leader, François was recently entrusted with the task of heading up EdR after having spent a number of years within the group as a non-executive board member. Adrien enquires about the roots of the Geneva-based Rothschild organisation and how this well-known financial dynasty has established itself over many generations as a global powerhouse, not only in wealth management or corporate finance, but also in the wine industry and agriculture business. Then, in his capacity as a non-executive director within many Luxembourg-based companies across many sectors, François is uniquely positioned to outline the various trends that have taken place over the last few years, especially with changing demographics and a greater housing need. Whilst the grand duchy has recorded economic growth rates dwarfing the European average, François also points out the weaknesses that should be monitored and acted upon such as the automatic wage indexation mechanism that weighs on the overall competitiveness compared to its neighbours. Finally, they discuss a number of solutions that would allow Luxembourg to retain its edge and still attract young talent to the country.
32:51 24/01/22
#54 Kneip and the Goliath of the financial services industry | Enrique Sacau
Adrien welcomes back Enrique Sacau, CEO at Kneip. On this occasion, Enrique and Adrien discuss Kneip's recent onboarding of the Nasdaq Fund Network capabilities. A huge player in the financial services industry, the Nasdaq firm entering the Kneip ecosystem and, hence, acknowledging the quality of the fund data accuracy that Kneip has delivered over nearly three decades is a remarkable move for a Luxembourg based company. In the same vein, Enrique also highlights the importance of technology for his company's future and walks Adrien through a number of key items that will impact Kneip throughout 2022.
20:31 10/01/22
#53 Happy Holidays from the LuxUnplugged Podcast
Thierry and Adrien conclude 2021 with a lot of satisfaction and look back at all the key milestones that were reached throughout the year. After briefly highlight what listeners should be looking forward to, they take the opportunity to introduce Elena who recently joined the team to run the marketing side of the project. We wish all our listeners Happy Holidays, and all the best for 2022!
03:06 27/12/21
#52 How the journey all began | Thierry Schoen and Adrien Loesch (w/ Sophie Weber)
Thierry and Adrien are warmly welcomed by Sophie Weber in the context of a live event at the Luxembourg Embassy, organised by the Luxembourg Society in London. Celebrating the second anniversary of the podcast, they dive into the history of the venture and discuss the motivations that led to the launch of the project back in 2019. Having rarely talked about themselves in great detail since the start of this endeavour, Adrien and Thierry take this opportunity to describe the behind-the-scenes of their whole podcasting machinery, ranging from the choice of the guest to the preparation of the agenda, up until the release of each episode. Sophie also intriguingly enquires about their respective styles of approaching prospects and asks them to walk her through notable stories that marked important milestones during the LuxUnplugged journey. Finally, they provide more details on their 2022 projects and what the audience should be looking forward to.
41:30 13/12/21
#51 COP26 and what it means for Luxembourg | Claudia Hitaj
Adrien welcomes Claudia Hitaj, Research and Technology Associate at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), to the show. A seasoned environmental economist, Claudia walks Adrien through the various conclusions of the COP26 conference and what it means regarding future commitments of developed nations vis a vis emerging countries in the climate change context. Unlike previous editions of this conference, she details how the public has been able to grasp the implications of such global summits thanks to better reporting produced by media outlets. Claudia then dives into the role of LIST in the wider Luxembourg ecosystem and how essential this organisation is when it comes to supporting the government in their efforts to decarbonise the economy over the long term. They also talk about the various initiatives that have been launched by LIST to accelerate the path towards decarbonisation. Finally, Claudia gives away a few concrete examples on how Luxembourg could act as a role model worldwide.
24:14 29/11/21
#50 Why the digital transformation age is entering a roaring decade | Gérard Hoffmann
Thierry welcomes back Gérard Hoffmann, CEO at Proximus Luxembourg, to the show. The last time Gérard appeared on the programme, the world had just entered into a lockdown period when a lot of companies had to adopt teleworking (or working from home) setups at an unprecedented pace. This hugely benefitted a company like Gérard's in the ICT space. 18 months down the line, Gérard acknowledges the benefits of hybrid arrangements for his own staff, especially for crossborder workers who play an enormous role in Luxembourg's economy, but also looks forward to the lifting of social distancing measures and more collaboration onsite to spur innovation and creativity. After discussing the disruptive impact of covid on supply chains after summer 2021, they dive into the meaning of the metaverse and the opportunities for Luxembourg as a whole. Finally, Gérard walks Thierry through the numerous opportunities that the digital transformation can unlock, especially for sectors that have been more conservative in that regard. He even likens this upcoming digital decade to the roaring 20's.
20:04 15/11/21
#49 Why greater sports wellbeing is essential after the pandemic | David Gray
Thierry welcomes David Gray, General Manager at the CK Group, to the show. An avid believer in technology, David looks back at the last three decades and discusses how technological changes and the internet have revolutionised the way companies structure their business processes. Then, Thierry wonders how the two key business lines from the CK Group, an established group in Luxembourg offering office technology and sports wellbeing solutions, are complementary. Subsequently, they talk about the effects of the pandemic on businesses and how this has affected their decisions to accelerate their digital transformation decisions.
30:45 18/10/21
#48 Reflections on Luxembourg and the European Union | Jean-Claude Juncker
Thierry and Adrien welcome Jean-Claude Juncker, former president of the European Commission, to the show. A globally known figure in political affairs, Jean-Claude Juncker dives into his early days in Luxembourg politics which he preferred to a legal career. They then discuss the political and economic situation in Luxembourg and how the country has evolved from a global financial centre to a more diversified ecosystem. Inevitably, Adrien and Thierry enquire about his views on Luxembourg and its role in European affairs. Drawing a number of parallels with Brexit, of which he oversaw the exit deal negotiation between the European Union and the United Kingdom, Mr Juncker briefly comments on the freedom of movement that comes with the EU membership and the damage that it caused when leaving the Union like the UK did. In line with more recent episodes, Adrien and Thierry speak to the climate change topic where the European Union plays a major role.
19:26 04/10/21
#47 The practical conclusions from the latest IPCC report | Kim Schumacher
Thierry and Adrien welcome back Tokyo Institute of Technology's Kim Schumacher to the show. After briefly discussing his experience as a lecturer in Japan at the height of the covid-19 crisis, Kim extensively explains the purpose of the IPCC report, a paper issued by a body within the United Nations, and what the conclusions of the latest report mean for all the involved stakeholders. Thierry then enquires about the challenges that government officials have faced in light of the covid-19 crisis and what tackling climate change would entail for them to convince their electorate to adapt their lifestyle in a profound fashion. Provocatively, Adrien debates whether fully-fledged democracies and the handling of the climate change crisis are mutually exclusive concepts to make tough decisions that would preserve a population’s long term interests. Finally, Kim walks them through the latest sustainable finance initiatives that he has been involved in in Luxembourg where good progress has been made, especially with one of the largest domestic financial institutions.
33:29 20/09/21
#46 How to reach carbon neutrality with territorial planning | Pascale Junker
Thierry and Adrien welcome Pascale Junker, Head of Luxembourg Strategy, to the show. After walking them through her extensive years in development aid in emerging economies, Pascale discusses the concept of territorial and urban planning and how human infrastructure has become so important on Earth that it's capable of influencing the ecosystem as a whole. Adrien then enquiries about her papers detailing Luxembourg's recommended agenda to reach carbon neutrality in a few decades' time thanks to a complete rethinking of the territorial planning strategy. In the context of climate change, Thierry wonders how the successive Luxembourg governments have handled the climate crisis and what the Luxembourg population needs to do to avert it. Given Luxembourg's extraordinary economic and demographic growth in recent years, and in light of limited resources and space, they dive into the challenges that the grand duchy is likely to face if the local mentality remains unchanged for the foreseeable future. Finally, Pascale provides her view on the forthcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow and what she hopes global leaders will achieve after the summit.
39:03 06/09/21
#45 REPLAY - Towards greater empowerment and inclusion of women | Marie Louise Ashworth
Thierry and Adrien welcome Marie Louise Ashworth, President at The Network, to the LuxUnplugged Podcast. They discuss the importance of having women-only clubs and how such environments can greatly enhance professional opportunities and promote better values. An impassioned feminist, Marie Louise walks them through the principles underpinning The Network and how her association supports its members throughout their professional and personal journeys in Luxembourg. Finally, they also talk about the recent emergence of movements such as #MeToo and how society is evolving in relation to equality and diversity issues. (We apologise for the minor blips that occur throughout the recording which took place on a remote basis)
22:17 23/08/21