The “Startup on the beach” event had everything going for it: a superb poster, a gorgeous setting, and a casual dress code. And now we’re happy to confirm that it lived up to expectations!
“Startup on the beach” was a one-day meet-up with the ambitious objective of bringing together promising local startups and showcasing them to regional and national VCs and investors. All the local accelerators were on hand to choose the lucky candidates. It proved to be an action-packed day that went far beyond the DemoDay for Booster # 3, as initially planned.
This is vital if you want to get ahead, whatever phase your project is at. Shopopop, for example, is preparing to launch in Rennes and is concentrating on “raising funds in the first half of 2017. We already had a few isolated links to investors, but this is an opportunity for us to make some choice contacts.” Same objective at La Boutonnière: “We’re going to kick-start our fundraising after the summer. The idea was to meet potential partners and network, before knocking on their doors in September. We want to give them a taste of our team, project, and ambitions.”
But it works both ways, as Goulven Lorcy of MaPUI explains: “We attended the presentation given by investors, which gave us a better idea of who they are and what areas and phases they work in, enabling us to identify those that are most likely to be interested in our e-health theme.”
Archireport, which is currently fundraising on Gwenneg, also took the opportunity to meet investors in this closing phase. “But we’re also there to support the startups we grew alongside, such as Keosu, Prospare and Chipili.”
You can never overpitch
And it’s the startups themselves who say so. The concept of pitching more or less “on the beach” appealed to La Boutonnière. “Pitching is very stressful, so doing it in this relaxed setting is a great idea!” For MaPUI, pitching also means “getting general feedback without having to ask individual investors.”
Over the course of the day, projects that aren’t yet looking for capital also had a chance to be heard. “It enables them to practice pitching in real-life conditions. Presenting your project effectively is an essential first step,” explains Rachid Nedjar of Rennes Atalante.
Highlighting the local ecosystem
Olivier Martret of 50 Partners thoroughly enjoyed “Startup on the beach”. “I got to discover the local ecosystem that nurtured one of our startups, Energiency. It’s a great event, bringing together all the local incubators and accelerators, and giving us a chance to discover projects we didn’t necessarily have on the radar while introducing ourselves to local stakeholders.”
Meeting startups and entrepreneurs is essential for even the most ambitious accelerators. “An accelerator can’t exist without startups, and I’m curious to explore this relatively unfamiliar ecosystem,” says Géraldine Le Meur, co-founder of the Refiners, a transnational accelerator, operating in both France and the USA. The organization, which has already met over 300 project developers, is preparing to host 12 to 15 startups and hopes to support 70 in the next three years.
Ambitions for the future
“Startup on the beach” is also a key collaboration between La French Tech Rennes St Malo and Digital Saint-Malo, as its president Mathilde Renversade explains. “Our roles overlap; we’re complementary. We’ve been able to show that St Malo is not just about tourism and hospitality; it’s also committed to promoting the establishment of new companies — particularly in the digital sector — and attracting new outside talent who can inject fresh dynamism.”
An event like this is effectively the concrete expression of a dynamic regional vision. “Inviting all the local incubator and accelerator initiatives to get together provides a very concrete opportunity for meetings and discussion. Startups benefit from visibility both locally and further afield,” adds Céline Haentzler from Silicon B.
“Access to investors is crucial for startups. At future events, we hope to see even more of them coming to check out our local eco-system,” concludes Pierre Berthou, president of La French Tech Rennes St Malo. Here’s an ambitious idea for event #2: a little more Californian sand on Saint-Malo beach!
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