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EBRC, 20 Years of Digital & Trust, Experience & Lessons Learned - Part 1

2000-2005: START, SURVIVE AND GROW IN THE STORM.In 2020, EBRC celebrates 20 years of digital acceleration and progress, which started in Luxembourg to later extend to Europe with a value proposition based on quality and security. In the first part of this 20th anniversary series, Yves Reding, the CEO of EBRC, reminisces the first 5 years of the company: a startup created in Luxembourg, during the e-business bubble, with the goal to provide secure recovery services mainly to the financial services industry.

A startup on a mission: securing the financial sector in Luxembourg

“Back in June 2000, the idea behind the creation of EBRC was to build a recovery center in Luxembourg,” starts Yves Reding. Actually, at the time, the company was called BRC, which then stood for “Business Recovery Center”, with the mission to secure the local financial place. “Several events had occurred months before in Europe: a trading room of a large bank burnt down in Paris, several terrorist attacks had happened in London, etc. Even if Luxembourg was supposed to be a quiet and calm country, we thought it was critical to anticipate such major operational risks,” explains the CEO of EBRC.

The early 2000s were also the first years of “e-business” and the outburst of the internet bubble: On top of the “Business Recovery Center” initial idea, Yves Reding and his team worked on several e-commerce digital projects during that time, and he decided to add an “e” right in front BRC, surfing on that early “e-business” wave. Yet, the business model was still mainly relying on a pretty heavy structure – creating a recovery center requires a building made of brick and mortar, along with significant needs in terms of IT material, etc. – and ambitious engagements had already been taken by end of 1999, six months before the start of the company, by the private shareholders. “In these new economy euphoric times, business plans were often unrealistic, based on exponential revenues, and flat minimized costs. When I started the real life of the company, in the summer 2000, my first objective was to assess the initial business plan with reality and drastically readjust it. First, I had to take emergency measures to ensure level and stable flotation of the overloaded boat. That means concretely generate rapid revenues and push down the costs to ensure a minimum cash flow for EBRC to survive. To launch such a startup, we had to start from scratch and had, at the same time to design, build the services and contracts, find the appropriate resources, and of course, convince clients and deliver on time the new designed and promised services. In a startup mode – all entrepreneurs have experienced it – time flies really fast. It is a unique and fantastic time of life. You have to juggle with multiple dimensions, in parallel: on one hand, strategy, marketing & sales and on the other, architecture, delivery, bits & bytes. We even created our first website internally in a few days,” explains the CEO. According to him, as a startup, the most difficult aspect is probably to position oneself quickly in the market, with fewer resources, attract clients while still designing and developing solutions from scratch and on top compete with big players already established, with huge resources, proven solutions and deep expertise. “Highly challenging yet stimulating times! Not a second to waste!” adds Yves Reding.