MGV VC Scholar Program

There is a void between university students interested in finance and the Luxembourg financial services industry and venture investing ecosystem.  Graduate and PhD students find it difficult to bridge the gap between their studies in finance and the broader financial services ecosystem, including innovation, technology, and European venture capital.

In order to bridge the divide, MiddleGame Ventures (MGV) launched the inaugural Venture Scholar Programme earlier this year in partnership with the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT).

Programme overview
The intensive three-week programme, designed and led by MGV Managing Partner Pascal Bouvier, set out to provide five selected candidates with invaluable access and insights into the world of FinTech venture.

The curriculum consisted of an introduction to the financial services industry in Luxembourg by Luxembourg for Finance, an overview of the venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) landscape presented by the Luxembourg Private Equity Association, and a presentation of the Luxembourg fintech ecosystem by the LHoFT.  These were followed by six engaging workshops where members of the MGV team shared their firsthand experiences and learnings, providing the Venture Scholars with the opportunity to learn the basics of venture investing. 

The workshops tackled three key areas of focus:

  1. Explore: Market research, mapping, and screening of interesting companies across the financial services ecosystem
  2. Learn: Performing due diligence activities on selected companies and constructing convincing investment memos
  3. Practice: Investment decisions on specific startups

Each of the Scholars were assigned a vertical to focus on, and, by the end of the programme, had conducted a start-up screen on their specific market, a detailed market research report, and two investment memos on selected companies.  The focus areas included:

“The VC Scholar programme feels like an immersion into the fast-paced and futuristic world of venture capital. From the start we were given mentorship and tools to research ecosystems, find trends, and analyse companies that will leave their mark the coming years.” Armin Thon (2021 winner)


Meet the class of 2021
MGV contacted over 25 universities and met with over 40 prospective applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Pier Lupino
University of Luxembourg

  • Visiting Scholar at the Columbia Law School and PhD candidate in Banking and Finance Law jointly at the Universities of Luxembourg and Roma Tre (Italy)
  • Pier studied Law at the University of Sassari (2013), International Law at Warsaw University (2015) and has a Master in European Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Europe
  • Assigned Ecosystem: ESG

Heng Yao
University of Luxembourg

  • Heng started her career at a large REITs fund operator in Asia. Prior experience includes working at WeWork valuating deals, and a British real estate fund focusing on expansion in China
  • Plans to study Quantitative Economics and Finance Master in the coming year, which will be supported by the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL) Scholarship
  • Assigned Ecosystem: Embedded Finance

Nida Khan
University of Luxembourg

  • CEO of Nash fintechX, a Luxembourgish startup providing software solutions and consultancy to blockchain & AI
  • Nida holds a doctorate in computer science where her industrial research on blockchain was awarded a FNR grant. 
  • Assigned Ecosystem: NFTs

Gianluca Generoso
New York University

  • Gianluca graduated with a Master’s in Management from London Business School and a Bachelor’s in International Economics and Management from Bocconi University 
  • Prior to business school, Gianluca was an Associate at Boston Consulting Group and worked specifically on the DigitalBCG team, focusing on analytics, product management and FinTech development
  • Assigned Ecosystem: Web 3.0

Armin Thon
University of Luxembourg

  • Armin is currently a MSc candidate in Quantitative Economics & Finance at the University of Luxembourg 
  • He has held positions at the European Commission and as an intern with Edelweiss GP
  • Assigned Ecosystem: DeFi

The outcomes
The program culminated in a final pitch: The Investment Game. 

Each Scholar selected two companies that they had identified during the programme and delivered persuasive pitches on why these companies were exciting investment opportunities. Pascal Bouvier and Kanishk Walia (Principal at MGV) formed the pitching panel and announced Nida Khan and Armin Thon as winners of the 2021 programme.

“All our Scholars approached the activities and workshops with enthusiasm. I was particularly impressed by their willingness to step outside their comfort zone and draw on disparate pieces of information to make well informed and rational decisions. It is fantastic that MGV are able to play a part in bridging the gap between academia and the world of venture capital – looking forward to seeing what next year has in-store!” –  MGV’s
Kanishk Walia

What’s next?
Following the success of this year’s programme, MGV intends to establish the VC Scholar Programme as the premier channel that links the academic world with financial services, innovation, technology, start-ups, and venture investing.

MGV hopes to federate top financial services firms, venture firms and service providers around the VC Scholar Program, while customising it to fulfill the following long-term goals:

“I learned to make optimum investment decisions with inadequate information and within stringent deadlines. I would certainly recommend the program to all aspiring to be in the venture capitalist space and to entrepreneurs looking to understand the mindset of investors.” Nida Khan, 2021 winner

The 2022 program will build on the success of the first year by focusing on the four opportunities outlined below:

If you want to find out more about the 2021 VC Scholar Program tune in to Pascal Bouvier’s Office Hours VideoCast series, or send an email to

More information on the program can be found here.



Want to partner with us?

Contact us