Not flamboyant, but nevertheless a hero for Luxembourg’s entrepreneurs, Xavier Buck has been innovating continuously for two decades. What has stayed constant has been his international focus and his early adoption of new technology trends. Here he tells us more.
What were the big moments for you over the last 20 years?
It all started at the end of 2000 with the creation of Datacenter. Soon afterwards our clients asked us to create EuroDNS, in 2002, to help them manage all their domain name extensions in one place for the world. In 2006, we expanded our service offering further with the creation of 'Ebrand.com', which allows us to monitor brands on the web. In the meantime, we developed additional modules such as ARGOS, which detects and neutralises counterfeit products for brands, and X-ray, which predicts and detects domain and subdomain names that could be used for illegal activities such as phishing. In 2010, we made our first acquisition: Domaintools, which then established itself as a major player in cybersecurity. We sold it last year for ten times the original purchase price. From 2016 onwards, we moved up through the gears with a succession of acquisitions active in the EuroDNS field: Entorno, Dotroll, Microware, Chip, Fluccs, Domain Central, Nexperteam. Our approach remains the same: we integrate customers into EuroDNS, keep the teams and even the names of the companies in place as they are recognised as local champions. Efficiency gains allow us to focus talent on very high value-added projects. We are currently preparing a new acquisition that will represent a huge leap forward for our group, now called 'NameSpace'.
"There is no substitute for a real passion for technology!"
What is the key to sustained success?
You have to keep up with new technologies! Take crypto-currencies as an example: I attended the very first 'Bitcoin' conference in London in 2012. When I left, I understood the potential of this technology, but I thought I had missed the boat because the price of Bitcoin had just risen from $3 to $12. I learned my lesson! I think you have to invest the time to study new developments in depth. It’s about anticipating who will be the champions of tomorrow or which new technology will have disruptive potential. Today, I am very active, especially in NFTs [non fungible tokens]. I've invested a lot in $Sand, for example, on www.sandbox.game. It's a form of 'Minecraft', but on blockchain. Every sword, every piece of treasure, every outfit and every pixel of land becomes marketable! Also I bought works by PAK in 2020, the artist who recently was highlighted at Sotheby’s. I could give you many more examples, but you get the idea. There is no substitute for a real passion for technology!
How do you see the next decade unfolding?
With the recent sale of DomainTools to a US fund, our pockets are filled, which will help us continue to grow NameSpace through acquisition. On a personal level, I will continue to work on the boards of large funds such as HLD where I learn a lot about investment structuring, allied with my personal experience. I will also continue to invest privately in companies, as I did with Emailtree, which automates the writing of emails, which is especially useful for back-office automation work. Many start-ups have enormous potential, but you just have to master the different growth phases.