Start-up Game: where the smart kids are no longer successful and a Roman goddess is called to the rescue in the global economic war

by bold-lichterman

The brand new hype of start-ups and entrepreneurship runs through our society like wildfire: from entrepreneur to intrapreneur, everyone feels the soul of a conqueror of modern capitalism. Something Steve Jobs (ok, often just his bad temper) or a fake Mark Zuckerberg look (okay, just the hoody). This new fashion is widely relayed by our media, thus telling a modern fairy tale, which substitute the primer of “Once upon a time” with “He had the right idea”. And then tell how the good idea became a business, naturally full of success.

The first thing to understand is that the idea doesn’t make the business, doesn’t make the success, and doesn’t do the job.

The idea is, at best, a starting point. In fact, we could extend this reasoning to any economic analysis of a market, showing a possibility of business, a “hole in the rack”. How many times have I seen a project leader get excited alone on his business model canvas, explaining that his economic model was going to bring in millions in N + 1?

The business model canvas (BMC for close friends) is a great tool to model an existing business, or to project a model and visualize its potential, but does not guarantee success. It analyzes at a constant state, it does not model its construction.

Indeed, to create a business, you have to leave nothing to go to something, which does not include observing a spherical start-up in a vacuum and without friction (ah, my physics lessons…) but to create a model of ramp-up, a model of growth. Growth is what forms the essence of the valuation of a start-up. And this is where we find the company: we must DO.

This is why the team is such an important subject just like initial marketing, the founders’ primary network to trigger first sales, the ability to produce and adapt their product as quickly as possible, and the corporate culture. It is all this that unites and gives a clear vision to the team concerning the mission which concerns them… Clearly, it is necessary to DO. What counts is not the idea but the EXECUTION.

We execute with errors, changes in our way of doing things, by re-internalizing with another point of view; in short, by creating a corporate culture, by learning. It is precisely this learning curve that represents the bulk of the value and investment of a start-up, it is this unique mix of inspiration, mistakes, innovation and unconsciousness. which allows certain companies to create new ways of working and creating, and generates value (we will have to talk about sociodynamics).

The proliferation of start-up consultants in recent years has led to a phenomenon of mimicry, and places certain start-ups in the position of having an idea, an analysis of the market and a look at their economic environment, thus mimicking consultants, without realize that they are no longer entrepreneurs, but observers. This phenomenon is accentuated by the multiple offers of the type; “Don’t worry, we are going to code and design your MVP (Minimum Viable Product)”, “I know you don’t have time, we will write your business plan for you, in addition there is assistance available for finance it “,” managing a business takes your time, outsource it to me “,” you need to focus on the strategic, we will take care of your commercial development “.
But what’s left of value in your box?

If all the value is produced outdoors, what is it that you produce?

Being in Nantes, this type of behavior sometimes turns into a caricature: when a former middle manager of a large company explains to me that he left his job and Paris, to “refocus on what matters and take the time to take care of his children, working in what makes sense… ”while buying his MVP, his BP, his DAF and taking evening classes to“ become an entrepreneur ”…

My answer is simple: NO, you don’t create a start-up to have a “better pace of life”, you have to be crazy!

A start-up is about creating a lot of value in a short period of time, which involves a LOT of work. We must not be fooled by the bullshit of Silicon Valley perks, in companies that have too much money and which have a very different social vision (go and explain the principles of 5 weeks of paid leave in the USA for a laugh ).

NB: it is perfectly possible to create a company that is not a start-up, any young company is not a start-up. It’s not worse.

And then, the start-up market has globalized, it is de facto a hyper liberal market of global economic struggle, and for each idea, there are 12 teams in the world that are synchronized on it. What will decide between them will be the execution, and what the team will impose themselves to win. So we can assure that 4 17 year old engineers in Pakistan, who have nothing to lose, will work much more, much much more.

The market is now more global, the necessary to create a start-up in the so-called Internet sector has become accessible to practically everyone, lastingly transforming the playing field. It is not compulsory to leave Stanford or Harvard to innovate , and free online learning has broken down many barriers. Today, you don’t have to be a smart kid to triumph, you have to be a warrior ready to work hard and with determination to go on this ground. It is for these reasons that we see a rejuvenation of project leaders.

Indeed, my thesis is that it is useful to have nothing to lose in order to give everything. A student is used to living on little and working a lot, has little or no commitment, no requirement for comfort, he is available for his passion and the radical nature of his entrepreneurial thesis. He has nothing to lose: no career, no situation, no loan to repay, no dependent child, often no commitment to a relationship …

He is available to fight against others who have nothing to lose. This is how I created Clever Cloud, I never understood those who told me it was courageous to set up a young company. It just seemed more rational to me than raising her to 35, having to take on financial commitments and responsibilities to a family. Afterwards, there would be a lot to say about the student-entrepreneur situation, but that is not the subject of this blog post.

It is by discussing this change in the start-up market with Francky Trichet (digital assistant in Nantes) that we designed the thesis of Maia mater: The idea was to help those whom no one is helping, to help before it becomes “profitable”, to build a space to welcome those who have nothing to lose and nothing to give, but want to work hard to their future and to the future of the ideas and projects they carry.

We simply want to allow students (and just graduates, no frills) who are DO-ERS (tech, design, engineering, science…) to create their business.

Quickly we told our friends about it of Atlantic 2.0 (La Cantine), of NantesTech, of Nantes (Nantes Metropolis) and of Saint Nazaire (La Carene), and to Martin Arnout (who was elected to him in Saint Nazaire), and everyone decided that it was a priority, they joined us in this mission. We recruited Terence, and we finally set up the first summer camp for first-time entrepreneurs: a 3-year program; built to sincerely help bring projects from everywhere to fruition on our territory.

The first year lasts 4 months (from the end of May to the end of September, from Web2day to the Nantes Digital Week) in Nantes, during which we provide a bed, an office, food, where we invite bad-ass entrepreneurs to share their vision of the start-up adventure and a motivating framework so that a team can devote itself to its MVP.

The second year (which we open from the first year because that’s how it is) lasts 1 month (July, we finish at Stopovers) in Saint Nazaire is a seminar to reflect on its project, its pivot, the monetization of its traction and the construction of its momentum.

We also provide the bed, the food, the desk and the motivating environment, the mentors too. A key moment to meet again after a year where the team sometimes couldn’t see each other as much as they wanted.

In the third year, the old ones come back to help the new ones, because the program is designed to form a large family, an assembly of patrician startupers.

The best part about it: it’s FREE AND WITHOUT CONSIDERATION.

Really none! No costs, no share, no vesting, no obligation, not even an obligation to set up in the territory. Because this action is BENEFICIAL, we want to provide the major tech projects of tomorrow with frank help. And we also have plenty of tools to help you pass the pill at your school (internships, all that…).

Now I need your help:

– If you want to set up your start-up and you are a young doers, apply and / or ask any questions here.

– If you are from the Nantes-Saint-Nazaire ecosystem, communicate, and offer your help to Terence. This project is an open project, in which we want to find the whole ecosystem.

– If you want to support us to help the future of French tech, tell us Terence.

– If you want to offer perks or sponsor our initiative, also say so to Terence, we offer nice sponsor packs.

– If you want to visit us this summer, also tell us Terence.

This initiative is beneficent, and I thank all who wear it.

and especially all share Maia Mater’s website

Besides, the illustration is cool, isn’t it?


Quentin Adam is the CEO of Clever Cloud.

Read also: Play it like Clever Cloud: How we survived a receivership