[Marseille] The P.Factory accelerator is looking for new start-ups, the Goûter du Code workshop …
Guillaume Gimbert: Hello Bertrand. In turn, serial entrepreneur (Cityvox, LCM), business angel and investment advisor, what were your motivations in the creation in June 2014 of P.Factory, the first start-up accelerator in Provence?
Bertrand bigay: The creation of P.Factory is based on a simple observation: as an entrepreneur, I did not have the support that would have enabled me to give Cityvox an international dimension. As a business angel, we have often encountered projects that were not funded because they lacked validation or funded projects that should not have been funded because it quickly turned out that entrepreneurs had difficulty face the difficulties. With P.Factory, we are alongside entrepreneurs from the PACA Region to help them develop their business faster and alongside funders to help them finance the best regional start-ups. Our day-to-day work focuses on training in the “entrepreneurial profession”, on helping to develop sales, on structuring to manage growth, on financing or internationalization.
After a little more than a year of activity, what first quantified assessment can you draw? What are your development and growth objectives for the coming year?
Forty companies have joined P.Factory, at different stages of development and with different support needs. Six already have the sufficient traction that has enabled them to raise funds to accelerate growth. We have already announced four: Calea, Buyco, Royal App Force and AM Solutions. Two more will be announced soon, for amounts exceeding one million euros. Our goal is to integrate around 30 new start-ups per year, because the group dynamic is a key element of our support.
Start-ups can sometimes be confused by the proliferation of structures offering support in their creation and growth phase. How is P.Factory positioned on this chessboard? What is the scope of the partnership forged with TheFamily?
Our support is based on the experience of the 42 entrepreneur shareholders of P.Factory, which is a 100% private structure. What we are talking about we have experienced ourselves. We are also able to invest and mobilize investors when the company has proven itself and needs to finance its growth. On the other hand, we do not offer accommodation for our start-ups because we want to mobilize all our resources on support.
We have an excellent partnership with TheFamily, which allows our start-ups to benefit from many advantages reserved by TheFamily for its own start-ups. TheFamily can also take over the coaching when we reach our own limits. Let’s say that we provide “daily” support for PACA start-ups, and TheFamily brings a premium dimension to the most advanced.
Next February, the start-ups joining the P.Factory academy will be selected (fourth session). What advice and recommendations could you give to applicants to increase their chances of being selected?
The company must already be created. Afterwards, we start from the idea that no one has the truth. When I hear people who say of such and such a company “I believe in it” or “I do not believe in it”, I am in awe. At P.Factory, our only certainty is that we don’t know and we must try. From there, our selection criteria are the need, the team, the ambition and the expectations. Is the start-up addressing a real need? Does the team have the skills to tackle this problem? Is the project ambitious? What are the expectations vis-à-vis P.Factory and will we be able to meet them? If this is not the case, we prefer not to integrate the start-up because we only want entrepreneurs who are satisfied with our support. Which seems to be the case so far!