#FDTour: On to the Finals!

It’s official! The semi-finals of the Tour de France Digitale are over! All of the start-ups selected for the West region passed their pitch presentations with flying colors. The jury they faced was both attentive and demanding.

We’re going to have to wait until June 7th to learn the results, though. Everyone who participated would have loved to know more by the end of the afternoon, but the selection process takes time. After all, 1.5 million euros in prize money hang in the balance!

VCs and entrepreneurs, a changing relationship

The message has got through: investment funds haven’t always worked hand in hand with entrepreneurs, and some partnerships have been frustrating in the past, even damaging investment funds’ image. But things are changing, and the Tour de France Digitale is part of that.

It was with this in mind that the discussion preceding the pitches was totally frank, with “no bullshit”. The Parisian VCs’ attitude toward the regional projects was challenged, and now, even the Bretons have to agree that this investment fund ecosystem is “increasingly open to innovations from outside of Paris, and increasingly concerned with human criteria,” explains David Rouxel from Mon P’ti voisinage.

The reluctance and biases can also be explained by the fact that the association between VCs and entrepreneurs is truly a commitment for both parties. “It’s a marriage that requires a bit more than speed dating before you’re ready to walk down the aisle”, points out Benoît Marrel from Breega Capital. For a fruitful and happy union, VCs and entrepreneurs have to truly share a vision and know their limits.

Jocelyn Denis, an experienced entrepreneur, even advises start-ups to ask VCs to make their own pitch! It’s a good way to understand what their goals and values are before taking the plunge with them.

Pitches Come and Go…

Ten start-ups presented, and sometimes had to defend, their concept and their ideas before the Tour de France Digitale panel. Each team was given ten minutes, allowed a projection and could make their presentation alone or in a pair.

This restrictive format produced varied results! And that’s hardly surprising since all the start-ups in the running probably had more differences than similarities: their history, product or service, the values and experiences of the men and women behind them. And, as a bonus, as is the case with any public presentation, they had varying degrees of natural ability to engage the listeners. The jury members asked concrete and pointed questions in order to better understand the projects. Apparently, it’s an experience no one is likely to forget.

Once all the presentations had been made to an enthusiastic audience, there was a palpable sense of relief with just a touch of tension in the Mabilay. Knowledgeable audience members were able to gauge the projects’ potential and the VCs’ expectations, while curious onlookers got an introduction to the world of start-ups and fundraising.

Stay tuned for the results!