Luxembourg is among the front-runners in both Europe and the world for its cybersecurity commitment. The steadily growing national ecosystem is attractive to start-ups: 50% of companies are less than 5 years old. Excellium Services was created here in 2002, and has since grown to 140 employees in Luxembourg, Belgium and Africa with a yearly revenue of €80 million.
The company has around 200 customers, most of them banks and other large organisations. “As cybersecurity is our core business, our objective is to offer a service portfolio that covers all aspects of protection, the detection of anomalies and adequate reactions,” says co-founder and Managing Partner Christophe Bianco. “We are also working for cyber insurance companies that mandate us to investigate cyber incidents in order to determine what has happened and why, as well as how the situation can be managed. The main request from all of our clients is expertise and the ability to react and intervene quickly.”
Dynamic cybersecurity ecosystem
Luxembourg is home to over 300 cybersecurity companies. Around one-fourth has cybersecurity as their core business. “We can be proud about the density of our ecosystem, which is quite remarkable for a small country,” comments Mr Bianco. “A French business contact once told me that for their national ecosystem to be on the same level, it should be five to six times bigger than it actually is.”
We are constantly able to identify points of mutual interest.
Solutions offered by the ecosystem cover the whole risk management supply chain, with a leaning towards specialisation in risk identification and systems protection. However, what Mr Bianco finds most interesting is not the ecosystem as such – after all, there is one in most countries – but the dynamics created by key players such as government specialists in the field, cybersecurity agency SECURITYMADEIN.LU and innovation agency Luxinnovation. “They connect people to each other and make information circulate across the national market, so that we are constantly able to identify points of mutual interest.”
Business deals through public-private partnerships
The Ministry of the Economy also plays a key role in the ecosystem. The fact that cybersecurity is not only considered as a defence issue but also as an economic success factor makes Luxembourg a unique case in Europe. Mr Bianco highlights the close cooperation between the public and private sectors as a success factor.
The public-private relationships in Luxembourg are something that many of my peers would like to see in their countries. From a commercial point of view, they help a lot.
“The public-private relationships we have in Luxembourg are something that many of my peers would like to see in their countries,” he says and points out that high-level government officials, ambassadors and even HRH the Hereditary Grand Duke actively take part in international trade missions and other important business events abroad. “From a commercial point of view, this helps a lot,” comments Mr Bianco. “We are on the same market as competitors with tens of thousands of staff. The active government support gives us much more credibility and helps us win business deals on the international level.”
A concrete example of this is the $2 million grant that SECURITYMADEIN.LU, Excellium, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg and Senegalese firm Suricate Solutions have just won to launch the Africa Cybersecurity Resource Centre (ACRC) for Financial Inclusion. The centre will strengthen the cyber resilience of the financial system in Africa, secure the fast development of digital financial systems and ultimately increase financial inclusion on the continent. “This illustrates how the Luxembourg ecosystem can work together in order to secure business and create impact outside Luxembourg.”
Entry point for the European market
In addition to growing in Africa, where the company is already present in Morocco, Tunisia, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, Excellium is building a new partnership with a larger European cybersecurity company in order to be able to play a bigger role in the European market. “Due to Luxembourg’s small size, we are open to see opportunities for cooperation where others would see competition,” says Mr Bianco. “In my opinion, this makes Luxembourg an interesting entry point for international companies wanting to penetrate the European market in full respect of European standards and legislation.”
Due to Luxembourg’s small size, we are open to see opportunities for cooperation where others would see competition.
The size of the country has another advantage: while other countries often consider each other as competitors and want to privilege their own technology, Luxembourg is not seen as a threat but as a neutral partner. “It is easier to build relationships and partnerships that way.”
Picture credits: Excellium Services