Episode 22 - Tim Mevel - HelloZack, Hello Convenience
HelloZack noticed the difficulties of selling used products, sought to make it easier
Started initial pilot in California, buying up anything and selling on consignment
In the beginning, nothing was automated but they have gradually introduced tech tools to help streamline processes
Seeking a better customer experience than current models
Pivoted in 2016 to focus exclusively on Apple products
Payment for Apple products, anytime, anywhere
Specially trained team rather than outsourced
Raised capital from private investors & also bank loans, to help cover payment terms
Tim Mevel of HelloZack was raised with a background of entrepreneurship, so diving into the startup world wasn’t a surprise move. During his studies, he and his co-founders set up the first version of the company in Berkeley, where they picked up anything people wanted to get rid of, and sold it for them online. The convenience was a big hit; just avoiding the flood of spam and scams won over a good following.
Over time though, the team realized that selling anything and everything required a lot more time and storage space than they’d imagined. While popular, the V1 model wasn’t scalable so in 2016, they pivoted. The team stepped back and looked at their most popular items, and what was the least taxing in terms of time to resell, as well as storage space. Apple products were the clear winner, as they remained highly popular but also took up less space than many other items. Tim and his team have accepted that mistakes are bound to happen, but more importantly, they’ve made a real effort to learn from those mistakes.
HelloZack’s founders knew it didn’t make sense to invest a lot of money into something that hadn’t been tested; it’s easy to spend a lot of money and time, only to learn that the market isn’t interested. As the company presses forward, they’re now investing more into the technology behind the scenes to make it all work better for everyone.
Moving forward, HelloZack is eager to become profitable, which will happen soon, so they’re working with banks to help carry them through the 20-30 day payment terms. This helps their cash flow and prepares them for the next phase of the business, which is international growth.
Episode 21 - Thomas Ollivier - Comprendre l'avenir en y participant
Points clés :
- - Responsable d'une équipe qui explore des pratiques émergentes comme la nouvelle économie collaborative.
- - Une grande entreprise d'assurance née comme une startup en 1934 et qui continue d'innover.
- - Une grande entreprise qui investit dans 25 startups, avec deux sorties.
- - Inclure des partenaires externes dans les frontières de l'entreprise fait que celle-ci peut étendre rapidement sa compréhension des nouveaux usages (échange de maisons, accès privilégié à des dépanneurs, etc.) et fournir à ses employés des perspectives nouvelles.
- - Des partenaires même hors de l'assurance, avec toujours pour but de délivrer de la valeur dans des échanges gagnant-gagnant (MAIF, partenaire, employés et sociétaires).
- - Une focalisation sur l'action, par des projets concrets livrés en quelques mois.
Episode 21 - Thomas Ollivier - Exemplary Leadership in Corporate-Startup Partnerships
- Responsible for MAIF’s partnerships with startups
- Company board decided to create this team to address market changes and build for the future
- The team focuses on engagement with startups, as well as sharing best practices and market information
- MAIF created the Beta Factory, a mini startup studio
- Recently created Startup Club in Paris to build community
- In the peer-to-peer market, insurance is part of building trust
There’s a lot of talk about corporate innovation in the startup world. A startup’s goal is often to connect with corporate teams who are prepared to work with them. Increasingly, large corporates are creating innovation teams, the quality and seriousness of which vary greatly.
We were thrilled to speak with Thomas Ollivier of MAIF, a leader in corporate innovation. Thomas and his team show dedication and commitment to their engagement with startups. Support starts at the board level and instead of demanding immediate results, the company views this as a long term goal that requires investment today for results tomorrow.
In this episode, Thomas tells us about his team, their agenda, their goals, and their plans for moving forward. They’re very community-oriented and are launching the MAIF Startup Club in Paris to help share experiences and build out the connections between their company and the startup world. The French startup community will see a lot of benefits as this grows and also as other corporates adopt similar strategies for startup engagement.
Episode 20 - Thomas Perret - Revolutionizing Personal Investment
During school, worked two different internships that helped provides ideas and inspiration for Mon Petit Placement
Saw the need for diversity of investments but also need to educate younger people
Gamifying investing using technology could have better results for young investors
Target audience wants more transparency, less black box approach
Biggest obstacle so far has been engaging with large corporates, who are still learning how to work with startups. It’s a learning process!
Moving forward, eyeing green and water investments, which are of great interest
EU MiFid II laws will help to unify banking regulation across countries
Thomas comes from a financial and statistics background. The banking world gave him insight into the world of investing and why it made a lot more sense than letting money sit in a simple savings account, where it wouldn’t earn much interest.
Thomas also worked for a startup that was doing interesting things but failed, which taught him other lessons. The idea was good but you need more than just a good idea to be successful. Also, failure is not the end of the world provided you take a step back and look at what happened. There’s a lot of value in learning from mistakes.
In addition, many of Thomas’s friends and family heard him talk about his work in finance, but they really didn’t know that much about the specifics. They viewed the world of investment as risky - which it can be - but after talking about the risk/reward and educating them, he saw the potential in creating a fintech solution.
His goal was to help educate young investors so they could diversify their holdings and do better than the sub-inflation returns of traditional savings accounts. By democratizing the system, where higher returns were more likely, he could entice young investors and also bring benefits to old fashioned banks.
His biggest challenge so far will be a familiar story for many startups: as we’ve heard from others, including Ethan Pierse, today’s big corporates need to take innovation and engagement with startups very seriously if they want to be as influential tomorrow.
Episode 19 - Kurt Muehmel - Selling Dataiku
Kurt joined Dataiku in 2015 following a varied career, including a stint in consulting
Wanted to move into tech; started as sales for North America, based in Paris
Now manages EMEA team outside of France and the UK
Dataiku had cultural hiccups along the way, but quickly addressed them
The company’s founders, data scientists by training, built their team in a way that reflected how they wanted companies to treat them as clients
Successful without engaging in end of quarter/year discount pressure. New sales members trained not to follow the common discount schedule
Very customer-oriented, and focused on building value for clients
For Dataiku, raising funds is not the end game, but rather a necessary step along the way
To get a great sales job at a fast-moving, cool startup requires a traditional sales background with lots of experience in a particular sector, plus a massive Rolodex of contacts in that market-- Right? Not at Dataiku. American transplant Kurt Muehmel didn’t have that cookie-cutter background, and Dataiku’s founders considered him a better candidate for it.
For all of startups’ talk about an “outside the box” approach to problem-solving, the reality in many cases is very, very traditional and risk averse. Not so with the founders of Dataiku, who are more interested in building out a team with the right kind of culture. Kurt appreciated this, as he sought a tech startup job that would value his own non-traditional background.
The company’s founders have quite a unique attitude: forget about the rah-rah! bells and yelling in the office after a sale, or the high-pressure “always be closing” nonsense. The founders were once on the client side, and have insisted that their team treat prospects the way they would have liked to be treated.
The consistent theme is a focus on delivering value to customers and helping them to tackle their data issues. The traditional (and generally miserable) habit of ramping up pressure on both the sales team and prospects to offer end-of-quarter or end-of-year discounts is not part of the formula at Dataiku. The industry is used to it and many people in sales and purchasing have been trained to have this approach, despite the often negative effect of making everyone miserable and leaving money on the table.
Equally interesting is the Dataiku founders’ attitude toward their fundraising success. When people talked about having a party after closing their latest round, the founders of the company made it clear that while fundraising is an important and often critical part of success for many startups, it’s not the final objective. Building customer value is, and always should be, the goal.
There are a lot more great stories in this episode, which give you a glimpse into what it’s like to really work with an “out of the box” mentality. Just because some high-profile experts identify a way that things are “supposed to be done”, this doesn’t mean that there’s only one way. It’s refreshing to hear a startup steadfastly pursuing their own path and using a model that works for them and their customers, which is what being a startupper is all about.
Episode 18 - Florian Bercault - Estimating Equity
Developed an interest in new kinds of investments while in school
Started in crowdfunding world, saw a need to help identify new businesses for investment & startups needed help raising money
Estimeo is a platform that brings together investors and startups
Data is collected in six areas, then analyzed using machine learning and AI, which provides a score out of 100
Credibility is one of the major challenges today, so Estimeo continuously works on the algorithm and building the brand
Starting first in France but building a global platform to help change investor biases
The world of finance has not always been known as a bastion of modernity, but just as startups have disrupted other industries, the world of finance is seeing rapid change thanks to progressive startups such as Estimeo. Many fintech startups are located in London, but for many reasons, including Brexit and increased demand, France is seeing high growth in this sector.
Coming from the world of crowdfunding, co-founder Florian Bercault saw a need from both investors and startups for a better system. Private investors often struggled to have good data on potential startups, and startups who offered innovative ideas struggled to connect with the right investors. Estimeo saw the market need, zipped past the old-fashioned options, and instead created a modern, digital platform that could be used by startups and investors.
As Florian explains, the model of investing in France was behind other markets and this poor structure created many challenges for all parties involved. By collecting information based on six data points, Estimeo can score startups and help investors assess risk. Rather than choosing startups based on the school the founders attended, this model is based in data, so investors can evaluate startups on a more reasonable and fair basis.
Startups can also engage with Estimeo to get scored so they can see which parts of their business are strong and which areas need improvement. This puts startups in a better position for raising funds, while also providing investors with a holistic image of the startup.
It’s not an easy process, and Estimeo will continue to fine tune their model through data analysis, but this is a really interesting solution to the complicated process of fundraising. If you are building a startup, having at least a discussion with Estimeo is an important step to take. Florian and his team can explain more how they can help with your specific situation, but having more knowledge about your possibilities and options is always a good position to be in.
Episode 15 - Eva Peris - Once Upon a Dating App...
Dating market has been around for a while, first online and then apps, but market has been evolving
Met Once founders soon after product developed
Once’s concept was based on addressing dating app inefficiencies, including wasted time wading through countless profiles & embarrassment of everyone seeing their profile
Once’s founders are French but launched in UK
Post-Brexit & following Macron’s victory, Paris became a more interesting place to relocate
Breaking into a crowded market requires something solid & a new idea
European markets more skeptical of the new and different, compared to US consumers
Breaking into a crowded market can initially sound like the worst idea in the world. You have to be crazy to even think such a thing, right? After all, there’s often a reason that a market isn’t crowded. A crowded market can actually mean that there’s a lot of attention and potentially money in addressing that particular market’s problems. Look at what our previous guest Edouard Aligand has managed to achieve with QuasarDB.
Eva Peris had already worked for happn, another dating app, so she had some experience in the market. While many of the online sites were past their prime and Tinder was the market leader, users were looking for something different. Swiping through so many profiles wasn’t for everyone and for many, the thought of exposing your profile to thousands of people didn’t sound like a great idea either.
The big question then was how to succeed in such a crowded market, where the competition has both market share as well as very deep pockets. Eva was hired as the Deputy CMO at Once to build out their marketing plan, and they’ve enjoyed considerable success both with building a customer base as well as raising multiple rounds of funds. In this episode, she explains how Once differentiated themselves from the competition and why they’re enjoying so much success.
What’s also interesting is Eva’s experience working in London both pre and post-Brexit, and Emmanuel Macron’s successful bid for the French presidency. London was once the undisputed leader in Europe for startup talent thanks to its international community, but the tide appears to be shifting and Paris is looking better than ever moving forward.
One of the perks of Paris’s fast-changing startup scene is that after three and a half years with a market-changing startup like Once, Eva was recently hired by Ironhack as the VP of Marketing. In her new role she will be overseeing the global marketing for the top coding bootcamp. This says a lot about the dynamics of the fast-changing Paris startup scene, where opportunities for internationally experienced professionals are increasing by the month.
Episode 10 - Tamara Brisk - How to successfully break into the French market
Key take-away points:
Tamara was experienced in consulting, real estate & startup cultures
WiredScore was created in NY to highlight high end internet readiness for office space
French market is largest in EU, third largest in world
To succeed, it’s critical to study & adapt before jumping in
Commercial office space is highly centralized in France & well organized
Challenges remain: slow hiring process which might hinder growth
Global clients helped open the market, French clients adopted quickly
After working in France for years, Tamara Brisk was frustrated with her career options in France. So, she moved back to the US to join a cool new startup in San Francisco. Equipped with an MBA from a top-tier US program and a high-end consulting background, she wasn’t afraid of the risks associated with joining a startup the way she had seen in France. Tamara is North American, so shifting gears comes relatively easily to her.
But as exciting and fun as it was living and working in California, there was still a special draw for her to Paris. When the opportunity popped up to lead a hot new startup into the French market, Tamara jumped on it. The new company that would bring her back to Paris was only a few years old, but it fit with her previous experience in the real estate business, only with a tech angle.
The New York based startup, WiredScore, originated from a program started under Mayor Bloomberg, who was looking for something that would be a selling point for businesses in New York City. The point of the project was to provide a ratings certification system for high-end fiber networks in office buildings. A strong rating would make an office more attractive to global businesses who were looking for office space.
For any company operating in the office space market, France is critical: it’s the largest market in Europe and the third largest in the world. Despite its reputation for being a challenging market for startups, Tamara explains why France is extremely well suited to a company such as WiredScore, and why Paris in particular is so full of opportunity.
Like any smart business person, Tamara thoroughly studied the local market first before launching WiredScore here in Paris. The conditions in France are ripe for adopting this innovative tool, and WiredScore could not have found a better fit for building out the business.
Episode 9 - Timothée Rebours - Seald: Not your father’s encryption product
Formed team with complementary skills during UC Berkeley program
No interest in working for a large company
Always loved encryption, sought an easy answer to a serious problem
More secure for large organizations, consultants, going to the cloud
Paris makes good business sense thanks to lower costs, BPI & ecosystem
French businesses are more engaged with startups
Focused on building base in France, then take abroad
Ten years ago, students often dreamed of hopping into the corporate world following graduation. It was safe, it was comfortable and that’s just what one did in France. While it can still make sense for many, more young graduates want to dive straight into the startup world. Sure it’s tough and there’s not the security blanket of a big company and a big team, but for people like Timothée and his co-founders at Seald.io, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The idea behind the encryption product was one that started years ago for Timothée. He always had a strong interest in security and encryption so when he needed to create something for his graduate studies program at UC Berkeley, he thought back to his childhood idea of encrypting his dad’s email messages and the ongoing problem of sensitive data being encrypted.
Another continuous challenge is making it easy. As a kid, Timothée would explain to his dad the dozens of steps he could take to secure his emails. His father was already interested in the concept, but Timothée knew that all those steps would make it impossible to implement in the corporate world.
To bring all this together, Timothée joined up with Mehdi Kouhen and Maxime Huber to form the initial team. Each brought something to the table and together they delivered a really nice, easy-to-use encryption solution that protects sensitive data on email and beyond. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of ease-of-use, whether it’s one or even zero-click functionality. It’s a core focus of the team.
The end result for users is a product that makes it easy to properly encrypt sensitive information that’s being distributed via email, Dropbox, or other tools. For companies moving sensitive data into the cloud, they too now have a solution to sleep well at night.
Seald.io has enjoyed market success with early-mover accounts in France, where they’re close to customers and have received helpful impact. Timothée asserted that large French companies are changing and are engaging with startups better than in the past. This is indeed a welcome sign and we’re thrilled to hear it.
The benefit for Seald.io and the rest of the French tech startup world is that it’s easy to build our your initial product offering with local customers and then take it on the road to other markets. It’s an enormous expense for startups to have to travel to another country - this means train or plane tickets, hotels, etc - when getting started, money that could be better spent on building out the product and the team.
On the subject of future growth, Timothée gave high marks to BPI and the rapid help they provided. It’s hard to underestimate the positive impact BPI has had for the startup world. As for launching in Paris, when San Francisco or London could have been an option in the past, he sees the benefits of setting up in Paris over the rest. Timothée says that the cost in France is lower for developers and the overall support structures for startups has improved dramatically.
Once the team is comfortable with its initial product, they will explore market expansion, but only after they’ve properly studied and understood those other markets. An unwise decision of jumping in headfirst could be a fatal move, so besides a smart product, the Seald.io team is also making some smart business decisions.
Delivering an easy-to-use encryption product that can protect sensitive data has been a market challenge for years but Seald.io is building a tool that will finally make this a problem of the past.
Episode 7 - Edouard Alligand - Techies are terrible listeners, and other fake news
In 2008, Edouard Alligand decided to make a career change, which is normal for most people at some point in their lives. The problem? He moved into the banking sector...in 2008. Ouch. That’s a tough market to break into in the best of times and in the worst of times, the transition was difficult.
It was during that time that Edouard noticed that stocks were especially volatile and big money was made and lost because of that volatility. Through talks with customers in the banking market, he noticed that the systems being used could not keep up; so he applied his background in math and system programming to address the issue.
While working with one particular client, he built a new database that was able to run computations on thousands of CPUs. Making this work would be the difference between financial traders making or losing money, and the stakes were even higher in the wake of the financial crisis.
Out of this chaos, QuasarDB was born. It helped that the initial product was built based on the needs of a client, but Edouard realized that this tool would be useful beyond just that single client, so he raised money, product-ized it and built an early model to sell to others.
Edouard’s story is smart and enjoyable as he walks us through how he leveraged assistance from Business France and IMPACT USA to build out QuasarDB and enter the US market. While Edouard is a very serious person, he also has fun along the way. Launching a startup comes with enough stressful days, so it’s essential to learn how to laugh through them.
Another key point to note is Edouard’s assertion that yes, France has a deep talent base for developing tech products for global customers. That said, the business market in France is lagging behind other countries. It’s an important point and one that we hear from many startups focused on selling to big accounts. French business is too slow moving, they want to build rather than buy and negotiations can be painfully long, if they even work.
For a startup, having prospects who spin their wheels only to not buy anything is a progress-killer. If your early stage startup is trying to build a local market before going elsewhere, it’s a very big risk trying in France compared to engaging with prospects in other markets such as the UK, Scandinavia, or the US. Imagine the possibilities if more local companies here invested in startup technology!
In the case of QuasarDB, they did find local customers but they also learned that prospects elsewhere were more open to new technology companies and engaged with them as a serious partner. Deciding to focus on markets outside of France became an easy decision to make for Edouard.
There are plenty of lessons to be learned here on so many subjects - product creation, listening to customers, obsession with quality, moving to the business to the US, working with an accelerator and more - so you’ll probably want to listen a few times to soak it all in. Edouard has the industry experience as well as proven success, so he’s a wealth of information for all.
Episode 6 - Cassandra Delage - Changing recycling behavior in France, office by office
After completing her Bachelor’s at McGill University in Canada, Cassandra moved to France to pursue her Master’s degree in entrepreneurship at HEC. During her internships there, something jumped out to Cassandra: Compared to her experience in Canada, French offices were very far behind in terms of recycling behavior and technology. The waste and attitudes had to change, for the sake of the environment.
Instead of accepting this recycle-free zone, she decided to do something about it. In addition to her degrees from impressive schools, Cassandra also has the drive to get things done; after creating her first company as a teenager, she knew she’d found her calling as an entrepreneur.
Her latest business is Plast’if, a hyper-local recycling machine that addresses the problem of recycling in offices. For starters, it collects and separates plastic in the office - water bottles, dishes, bottle caps, you name it - and then melts and transforms that plastic, which is then used to print 3D objects of your choice. Definitely a cool idea.
While sorting, melting, and printing are at the core of Plast’if’s functionalities, what makes their technology special is that it encourages responsible behavior. Office teams can compete and win rewards for recycling more. Rewarding people reinforces the good behavior, which in turn encourages and builds the habit of recycling. So far, the response with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) teams has been very positive in the Île-de-France region.
The key to Cassandra’s success? Networking, followed by more networking, served with a topping of extra networking. Having the support and mentoring assistance from Microsoft Ventures and others is great, but there’s no replacement for pounding the pavement and meeting people. As she tells us, each new conversation gives her new ideas that help Plast’if move forward, so there’s a lot more networking ahead.
Cassandra also shares about the friendliness and camaraderie she’s come across that are prevalent in the French startup ecosystem. It’s something we at OuiStart Media have experienced ourselves and most people we meet say the same thing. While the French sometimes have a reputation for being standoffish, our guests’ experiences tell a different story.
Maybe it’s because the startup world here is still early and growing, but people here are willing to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help - including asking us! - and if you can, be generous with others who need it. That kind of community building is just what’s helped Cassandra to forge Plast’fi in a new-to-her environment!
Episode 5 - Hind Elidrissi - French problems, French solutions
Coming out of one of the top business schools in France, Hind had plans to create a startup and take the world by storm. And then Dot-com went Dot-bomb and like many other aspiring entrepreneurs, Hind put those dreams on the shelf and joined a big company. It was the sensible thing to do and much more secure than the collapsing Internet world.
Back then, creating a startup took more than just a good idea: you needed lots of cash to buy equipment (the hardware alone to run your servers could easily be well into six figures). So Hind hunkered down in the steady world of insurance, but she didn’t give up on her big dreams. She took on new projects within the global company and learned a lot
Hind is clearly super smart, but let’s be honest: there are plenty of smart people out there who aren’t cut out for the wild world of startups. Thanks to the calmer environment of a big corporation, she was also able to focus on improving her people skills and developing a better EQ. According to Hind, learning a trade is possible in a relatively short period of time, but developing people skills is a never-ending process. In a business landscape littered with Tech Bro jerks who can’t grasp the basic skills required to engage with others, Hind stands out as a true role model.
After extensive study and following lectures at The Family, a startup incubator and accelerator in Paris, she took the leap and created Wemind. While their core product has remained intact since the beginning, they’ve pivoted to add different components. Their initial offering, while important, wasn’t building significant enthusiasm among her target market, so Hind did what good entrepreneurs do: she listened. And listened a bit more. And then some more until she truly understood what her market wanted.
Hind’s can-do spirit and people skills shine through in our conversation with her, and confirm that her choice to set out to become a startup CEO was the right one. She studies extensively to learn about the market dynamics, listens to her target audience, and then executes. It’s no wonder that at launch she had 15,000 prospects lined up and ready to buy.
Watch this space because there’s a big future ahead for Hind Elidrissi and Wemind.
Écoutez Leo partager avec Eric Lebigot son expérience dans le milieu du jeu de société, la réussite de son kickstarter récent et la préparation du suivant. En français.
Episode 3- Leo Vesperini- Beyond Mythical success
Pour la version française, cliquez ici
One argument that we hear in France a lot is that France builds many great things but they’re terrible with marketing and companies often struggle to promote their great offerings around the world. What we learn today with Mythic Games founder Léonidas Versperini is that bien sûr, tout est possible.
Following a successful publishing career writing about board and tabletop games, Leo saw the increasing difficulties of being in the print industry and shifted gears into the game market itself. Thanks to his broad network of fellow game enthusiasts and craftspeople around the world, Leo put together a truly global team to build an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, with more to follow.
Anyone who listens to Leo will quickly hear his passion for what he does. He’s also a naturally gifted salesperson. Leo listens to his customers, embraces their feedback, and then exceeds expectations. This is the way business should be done.
Following a successful partnership for the creation of Mythic Battles: Pantheon, Mythic Games learned many helpful lessons and is moving forward with a second Kickstarter campaign for their new game, Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. (SPOILER ALERT: France still defeats England in the Hundred Years’ War.)
It’s hard to listen to Leo talk about his company and not get excited. And for good reason! They’re doing exciting things and marketing in exciting ways! For those unsure of what a startup founder - regardless of industry - sounds like, this is it.
You can follow Leo's Kickstarter campaign here.
Episode 2 - Phil Waknell - The Perfect Pitch
Before diving into startup storytelling, we wanted to first step back and focus on one of the most important parts of startup creation. You could argue that it’s not as important as the concept itself, but without a pitch, moving forward is going to be a struggle.
For starters, you need to pitch the idea to others to get them onboard with your idea. You need to pitch others - or even amongst yourselves - to do a lot of work to build a prototype so you can go out and pitch others, to get customers or raise money.
Pitching doesn’t come naturally for most so for many, it’s such a painful and forced process, that there will be only one pitch. Talking with potential partners? Here’s our pitch. Potential investors? Oh good, here’s that same pitch. Prospects? You got it, here’s the pitch. It’s difficult coming up with that pitch masterpiece so surely it works for every situation, right?
If you thought that your pitch wasn’t all that important and that you only needed one, you really need to listen to our guest Phil Waknell, Chief Inspiration Officer at Ideas on Stage. Phil has coached countless people for pitching, including students at some of the Grandes Écoles in France, startup incubators such as NUMA and Share-It at StationF and numerous corporate accounts including Microsoft, EDF, Orange, Sanofi and beyond.
Phil explains the critical components that are needed for your pitch as well as why you need not just one pitch, but many. If you want to have a successful pitch, each pitch must speak to your specific audience, which is important to consider beyond just your pitch, as you grow your business.
Learning this process is often more difficult for technical founders, who put more value on the technical aspects of their startup rather than the marketing side. It’s true your technical solution needs to be solid, but it’s a mistake to undervalue the critical nature of your pitch. If you fail to connect with your audience, it’s going to be difficult to get the to listen to your cool new offering.
Remember, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pitch. In fact, as we will discover during our podcasts, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all in the startup world. We always need to know our audience and speak to them, not a generic person. Nobody explains this better than Phil, so enjoy!
Episode 1 - Intro - The many roads to success
A few years ago it was said that George W. Bush claimed that “the problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.” Even though he didn’t say this (and sure, we had to confirm this on Snopes because it does sound like something he could have blurted out) it’s fair to say this was the general stereotype by many outside of France and even some inside France too!
So how true is this today? While being a startup entrepreneur is not as much a part of the culture in France as it is in the US, everything is changing. Those who used to rush off to London or Silicon Valley are now seeing that yes, it’s possible to stay in France and enjoy success.
Even the word “success” is loaded because there is no single right answer. Success is whatever you define success to be. Is it being rich? Is it doing something positive for the world? Is it finding work-life balance? There is no right answer, it’s whatever you want it to be.
Along those lines, how do you achieve success with a startup? Do you mirror Silicon Valley, where financial success is plentiful? Despite the claims of some, there really is no single path to success.
Can other parts of the world learn from Silicon Valley. Of course, but there is plenty of both good and bad. Does one model from a specific region in the US translate everywhere? Hardly! Even in the US there are many models and many startup success stories in places outside of Silicon Valley.
Before jumping into the many great discussions with startup people and industry experts, we want to provide you with a brief introduction to ourselves and what we will be talking about moving forward. Instead of bloviating or pontificating, our goal is to engage in fun and interesting discussions with startup people.
From our perspective, listening and learning from others is the best way forward. Maybe your focus is different from ours or our guests, but listening to others can help move forward with developing your own success. Even when we choose another path, listening to others helps develop our own methods.
When you’re a larger company and have plenty of money available, it’s easy to find experts and get advice. When you’re getting started and money is tight, access to experts is much more difficult. By listening to others who have gone through this experience, you can hear that others have faced exactly the same issues as you.
We hope that it will help you think more about the decisions you make, these discussions have already helped us change our mind on a few points. Keep an open mind and learn along with us.