As the use of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies is growing, so is the need for safeguarding them with adapted security solutions. In 2018, the founding team of CYBAVO decided to leverage its decades of experience from the Taiwanese cybersecurity industry and build a secure, robust digital asset management platform.
Digital asset security leader
The initiative was an immediate success: the young company is already the top provider in Taiwan’s crypto custody market and has institutional customers all over East and South-East Asia. “We work with traditional financial institutions such as banks, custodians and asset managers that are active in the digital assets and crypto currency space,” explains Mr Machado. “We also provide our platform to ‘crypto-native’ companies like trading platforms and direct handlers of digital assets.”
Luxembourg offers a fertile ground for start-ups to test their solutions in a well-established financial sector.
From the very beginning, the company meant to grow globally with presence in leading markets. As soon as it started to have some market traction in Europe, it decided to open a branch here. A native of Spain – who has lived 10 years in Taiwan and speaks Chinese fluently – it was quite natural for Mr Machado to spearhead the European venture.
Luxembourg: Attractive, accessible, helpful
At this opportune time, CYBAVO met the Luxembourg Trade & Investment Office (LTIO) in Taipei. The LTIO gave the company an insight into Luxembourg’s strong financial industry, in particular in terms of asset managers and financial institutions, and the strategic importance given to financial technology, cybersecurity and blockchain. “As a leading financial hub in Europe, Luxembourg offers a fertile ground for start-ups to test their solutions in a well-established financial sector,” comments Sophie Liao, Senior Trade Advisor at LTIO Taipei.
What impressed us very positively was how approachable all these institutions were.
The LTIO also helped arrange a visit to Luxembourg including meetings with the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), the Ministry of the Economy and different start-ups. “What impressed us very positively was how approachable all these institutions were,” says Mr Machado. “The ministry representatives were very open and transparent, and the financial regulator CSSF was also very easy to interact with. Being regulatory compliant is essential for our industry, so having access to the regulator and receiving clear information is crucial.” He also underlines the importance of the continued support from the LTIO. “They were quite capital during this process and extremely helpful.”
European go-to-market strategy coaching
The LTIO also advised CYBAVO to apply to Fit 4 Start, the leading start-up accelerator managed by the national innovation agency, Luxinnovation. Open to local and international start-ups alike, the programme offers 6 months of tailor-made coaching and attractive seed funding. CYBAVO’s application was successful, and in January 2021 Mr Machado moved to Luxembourg to join the programme and formally open the company.
Fit 4 Start helped us understand the specific nature of business and industry here in Europe.
“Fit 4 Start gave us an opportunity to refine our messages and customer approach, and to fine tune our value proposition,” he points out. “It also helped us understand the specific nature of business and industry here in Europe and to develop an explicit go-to-market strategy for Luxembourg and the EU. On top of that, it provided us with direct access to the local fintech and cybersecurity ecosystems as well as to the start-up community. This was really helpful.”
The company is now serving customers involved in digital asset management across Europe. Its current priority is to be licenced as a virtual asset provider and be fully compliant with regulations in order to be able to tap into Luxembourg’s attractive market of financial institutions. Growth is also high up on the agenda. Globally, the company grew from 15 to 35-40 people last year. The Luxembourg team of two is expected to expand to five within the next few months and then to double in size again until the end of 2022.
During its short time in Luxembourg, the company has already established a local network. “In addition to Fit 4 Start, we found a community through LHoFT and events organised by Luxinnovation,” says Mr Machado, who is settling in well to his new life here. “Due to the pandemic I did not leave the house much during the first few months, but I did not feel isolated. People here come from almost everywhere and the society is inclusive. Luxembourg is a really welcoming place.”
Luxembourg is a really welcoming place.
“CYBAVO fits well with Luxembourg’s digital strategy as their solution is complementary to our ecosystem,” says Ms Liao. “We are very pleased that Roberto and his team choose Luxembourg as the starting point for their European expansion, and we definitely encourage other innovative Taiwanese start-ups aiming for Europe to follow CYBAVO’s successful path.”