Episode 41 - Joel Halpern - Creativity and Brand Strategy in French Startups
Episode 40 - Hélène Mérillon - Youboox and the Unlikely Path of the Entrepreneur
Episode 39 - Sylvain Tillon- Tilkee, Failure, and Transparency
Episode 37 - Sharon Sofer - Teaching Entrepreneurship to the Next Generation
Episode 36 - Anne-Charlotte Vuccino - How Yogist became the first corporate yoga method
Episode 35 - Weerada Sucharitkul - FilmDoo and the French Tech Ticket
Episode 33 - Vincent Nallatamby - Tempow and Expansion to Asia
Episode 31 - Fabrice des Mazery & Bruno Margueritat - Ethical Product Development
Episode 30 - STATION F Fighters Part 2: Alain Maisonneuve & Sabri Said, Tynkle
English translation coming soon!
Episode 29 - STATION F Fighters Part 1: Mohammad Asim Maqbool & Alexis Fartek, StreetyFood
English translation coming soon!
Episode 28 - Maeva Botrel - It's Complicated
Episode 23 - Adrien Mennillo - uTip, They Benefit
This is Adrien’s second round as a startup founder, learned from previous venture
Learned to code, to build initial PoC, later partnered with CTO to build out
Experience working with banks as a consultant helped form the idea
Noticed the growth of creators, but poor revenue options for them
Google & Facebook have monopolized ads and keep most of the money, even with limited views
Wanted to find an easier way to support creators, concluded advertising was the best method of achieving this
Online advertising has applied old TV model, not working well due to poor results and limited views
Advertisers spend a lot for limited views, so uTip provides dedicated viewers in return for money to creators. Everybody wins and gives back control.
Challenge has been to disrupt the advertising agencies, who know their model isn’t working but are slow to change.
uTip is busy trying to create a sense of urgency within the advertising business, which is failing to deliver results and is nearing the end of the current model
uTip is providing a new model that provides better access to the market
For anyone who has tried generating revenue from online advertising, you already know that what exists today is a mess. Google and Facebook own that market and show no sign of giving it up anytime soon. Like any market monopoly this means they dictate the rules. Thirty second video ads that show for 3 seconds get counted as a view by Facebook so with environments like that, it’s no wonder online ad prices keep dropping.
For brands this means you’re spending a lot of money to reach out to people who probably aren’t even watching your ads, though you’re still spending money to run them. The old TV days where viewers were glue to their set simply doesn’t translate to the online market, where viewers hop around and watch what they want to watch, or don’t.
For creators who thought they could run ads on their sites to generate revenue have it even worse. Their followings hardly translate into money because the the system requires massive numbers to generate any meaningful impact and even then, the pay is so low. The owners of the online advertising market - mostly Facebook and Google - take the money throw small change to creators.
It’s an ongoing problem even for larger media outlets - pick your favorite newspaper or magazine or whoever - who also are struggling to generate any revenue online. Their bold plans to trust Facebook with promoting their media outlets has blown up in their faces and they have almost nothing to show for it.
More recently there have been newer options for content creators but even there, while the results have been fantastic for a few, most creators have struggled to earn money. By combining this issue for creators with the rapidly evolving dynamics of online advertising, uTip is addressing these markets with a creative offering.
Join us as Adrien explains more about this complex issue that is forcing the market to evolve, while providing benefits for creators. He shares his biggest challenges and how he’s addressing them, as well as future direction.
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 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 16 - Ethan Pierse - Entrepreneur is not a dirty word
Founder of Borderless Ventures, partner in new Silicon Valley fund targeting deep tech
Engineering education, career started doing digital marketing & corporate training
Business activity between France, Southeast Asia and the US
Sees confluence of positive events in France coming together today
Being an entrepreneur is now cool, which helps build ecosystem
What is Ethan looking for with startups? Idea needs to be great but the team has to be great to build real value and full potential
Team is critical to success of startup!
New book coming out on corporate innovation - Chief Startup Officer
Why France is a hotbed for deep tech
Ethan Pierse spent years working in the US as a successful digital marketer before moving to France, where he initially did similar work until four years ago when he started helping French startups gain access to US investment capital as well as business development. This effort then led to working with Singapore and Hong Kong, where French expats make up a significant community.
Today, Ethan’s splits his time between Borderless Ventures, which helps startups, investors and corporates access opportunities between the US, France and Southeast Asia - as well as a new Silicon Valley venture fund that is investing in AI and Industry 4.0 deep tech. This new fund is based in the US but investing in Eastern and Western Europe, as well as in Israel and Southeast Asia.
In this episode, we discussed why France and why now, and Ethan clearly explains the confluence of events over recent years that has positioned France as the place to be. The French government has been promoting entrepreneurship and improving the visibility of French startups outside of France. They’re pushing hard to drive this change and the results are starting to show.
One big change Ethan comments on is that younger students today really want to be entrepreneurs, which is a radical departure from years ago when so many wanted to work for big organizations or the government. Today, it’s cool to be an entrepreneur-- which, as he mentions, can cut both ways. Ultimately, it’s still a business and as fun as some of the perks of that business can be, they’re just that: perks.
Listen as Ethan explains in very clear terms what investors are looking for when they are considering a startup. We also discuss how startups interact with corporates, including the positives and the negatives on both sides. Yes it can work out well, but startups can easily waste valuable time and collapse if they chase the wrong corporate partnerships. If big corporates want to be part of the future, they urgently need to be serious about engaging with startups. For more on that subject, keep an eye out for Ethan’s new book, Chief Startup Officer, coming out soon. Our podcast discussion with Ethan wraps up as he discusses why France is well positioned for the Deep Tech wave of startups that will be disrupting organizations around the world in the coming years.
Ethan is very active on social media, putting out a ton of great content, so follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, He’s also a regular on BFM Business and once you start following him, you will quickly see why!
Episode 14 - Jean-Francois Morizur - CAILabs: Bending light for better network bandwidth
Born in a research lab at Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, created partnership with the university for license
Found new application for shaping light - can expand fiber capacity by 400%+
Working with SAFRAN, who also led the latest round of financing
No longer need to rewire older fiber, saving time, money, and complexity
Sell via integration partners, expanding globally
Currently hiring for many positions in engineering, commercial & internships
The initial research lab tests were hoping to find uses for manipulating light for the field of microscopy, though the joint research teams from France and Australia ultimately concluded that no, it was not going to work. Thanks to one of the professors at the Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Jean-François had kept in contact with the team and was convinced that despite the results of the initial study, something interesting could come out of that research.
It may not have yielded results for microscopy but instead, that research provided the backbone for what became CAILabs, a startup that works to shape light, which can provide enormous time and money savings for existing fiber networks and beyond.
The business case for CAILabs is immediate and obvious: instead of replacing existing, older fiber LAN networks in factories, hospitals, etc - a process that can be painfully long, requiring significant paperwork and an often challenging process - customers can instead implement the CAILabs product, which can reduce bottlenecks for local networks.
Jean-François Morizur is yet another example of a startup founder in a very technical market who has an amazing ability to explain his solution in easy to understand terms for mere mortals. (Edouard Alligand, CEO of QuasarDB who joined us in Episode 7 was another.) He is of course a very deep technical person - he has a PhD in quantum optics, after all - but he’s also a smart business leader who is highly engaging.
During our discussion he explains their target audience and their plans for global expansion, including the age-old question of whether to put the US office on the east coast or the west coast. It’s a topic worth spending time exploring, rather than rushing into a choice to move out west just to be in the Valley.
Moving forward, CAILabs is seeking to hire new members for their team, both in engineering and the business side of the company now that they’ve secured a new round of funding. They’re also getting a lot of customer traction, so there is a lot of opportunity here for people interested in working on a very innovative solution with smart people.
Episode 12 - Anne Ravanona - Opportunity Loss: Closing the $300 billion global funding gap between men and women
Anne is on a mission to get more women entrepreneurs funded
Need to close the $300 billion funding gap between men and women
Help women understand the funding system, including the language, the biases and how to navigate the system
Change the funding system to provide fair and equal access to funding
After a successful business career, when Anne hit 40 she asked herself what she wanted to do with her life. The answer was a resounding “help female entrepreneurs.” This is when Anne created Global Invest Her.
We’ve all read the stories about low funding for women but Anne is stepping up to build a network of women to help other women entrepreneurs. The funding gap between men and women is a whopping $300 billion, which is enormous. Anne’s mission is to close that gap and teach women how to navigate this complex system: one with ever-changing players and rules.
Successful female entrepreneurs help other women who are seeking funding by explaining their own journeys and how they were successful in the process. Change is coming, but only slowly: we’re still a long way off from equal funding, despite women being 51% of the global population.
Anne walks us through some of the brutal statistics and why most of the investment world is missing out on so many great ideas. The “opportunity loss” numbers are not easy to quantify but it seems hard to believe that businesses are fully realizing their potential when so few female startup founders receive funding and even when they do, the amounts are generally lower.
While there are a few positive examples of existing investment funds, what’s really exciting today is the number of new funds created by women that focus on funding and assisting women.
As depressing as the current statistics can be, there’s good reason to be hopeful for something better moving forward. As Anne tells us in the episode, anyone wanting to team up to address this issue needs to talk with her so they can collaborate and create that better environment that we’re all demanding.
Episode 11 - Robin Lepercq - The evolving click-and-mortar model
Key take-away points
Created after leaving an IT services company, noticed the inefficiencies of the market
Freelancing was small compared to other countries but growing rapidly
Pivoted from a broad offering to a very narrow market
Strong focus on the market and focus on delivering high quality so very selective
Building a community for high end, technical freelancers
Opting for organic growth rather than raising funds
After working for years in IT services, Robin was let go. A situation like that is rarely welcomed or ideal when you’re raising a family, but thanks to the incredible French system, Robin was able to transition from this tough situation into launching a successful startup - FreelanceRepublik - that has an abundance of assignments. Not a bad place to be for a young startup.
The idea came about after collaborating with businesses and seeing how the process worked with developing projects and applications. The traditional model was struggling due to high costs and very long cycles for hiring IT teams. He could see that the future was definitely in empowering top freelancers who wanted interesting jobs where they could learn and grow.
One of the great things about the French safety net is that the system provides a strong layer of support for people who lose their jobs. Robin used this structure to help get FreelanceRepublik off the ground. It provided him with the help he needed during that period so he could try one model, before pivoting to what exists today.
What he learned during this process was that having a razor-sharp focus helped the company offer the best possible service both to companies and to freelancers. By staying narrow, he got to know his market and his market got to know him. Robin makes sure that FreelanceRepublik keeps a strict quality standard, so he’s been able to easily find missions for talented freelance developers and project managers.
Moving forward, he wants to evolve to have more click and less mortar in his click-and-mortar startup, though there will always be a need for a least a little mortar in the business of high-end recruitment.
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.