Inventor, conqueror or builder - people who found startups are happy!


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L’Atelier BNP Paribas unveils the profile of the innovative entrepreneur in France.
A L'Atelier BNP Paribas study, conducted by TNS Sofres

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Inventor, conqueror or builder - people who found startups are happy!

  1. 1. L’Atelier BNP Paribas unveils the profile of the innovative entrepreneur in France A L'Atelier BNP Paribas study, conducted by TNS Sofres Inventor, conqueror or builder - people who found startups are happy!
  2. 2. Mesagraph has been acquired by Twitter; Criteo has issued a successful IPO; Withings, Sigfox and AwoX have raised between 15 and 25 million euros each. Innovative French startups and SMEs have moved to a new level. The scale of this growth is due to the talent they employ, the French ability to create and innovate, and to an ecosystem that is increasingly well structured and able to assist companies from their inception through to their launch on the international stage. This is the role played by Bpifrance, which, through both its range of financial products and its continuing efforts to enhance entrepreneurs’ confidence, is contributing to the revitalisation of investment in companies that focus on technological innovation as well as innovations of use. Two examples of our active efforts towards financing innovative SMEs are the recent launch of the innovation seed capital loan (up to €500K, without a guarantee secured against the company), and, at the other end of the innovative SME spectrum, the “Large Venture” fund (endowed with €500M), which targets risk capital transactions of millions of euros in innovative companies that have a significant need for capital. A similar effort is the creation of Bpifrance’s Le Lab, a think tank that organises access for independent researchers to some twenty years of open data on SMEs and the heads of French companies, with the aim of understanding them better. This is also the role of players such as L’Atelier BNP Paribas, which supports entrepreneurship on a day-to-day basis. It achieves this by identifying the core elements in the startup ecosystem that will become the hot topics of the future, by fostering collaboration between innovative SMEs and large corporate groups via its Lab, and by supporting innovative financing methods such as crowdfunding. With this study, the Technology Watch unit creates a profile of a category of professionals who are much talked about but who we are not yet able to fully delineate. Who really is the French entrepreneur? What drives him or her? By providing this sociological understanding, this study is another lever for encouraging entrepreneurship, especially as it reminds us that entrepreneurship is linked more closely to the character of the entrepreneur than to his or her education and training. It’s important to highlight these models in order to develop the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate that a taste for freedom can also be a source of creativity! Nicolas Dufourcq Managing Director Bpifrance
  3. 3. The new faces of the Startup Founder Learn more about the profile of the innovative entrepreneur in France 1 A side-by-side comparison 6 2 Did you say startup? 8 3 Startup Founders, who are you? 15 4 The startup, from its creation to today 32 5 ... and tomorrow? 40
  4. 4. Just say no to conventional wisdom and to gloom and doom! A positive and innovative outlook Startup founders describe themselves as:  Dynamic: 81%  Creative: 75%  Visionary: 60% Invested, first and foremost Startup founders describe themselves as:  Passionate: 83%  Risk-loving: 60% Effective & experienced Startup founders describe themselves as:  35 years old, on average  University graduates: 93%  Having 11 years of professional experience prior to launching their startup 4
  5. 5. Just say no to conventional wisdom and to gloom and doom! A positive and innovative outlook Startup founders describe themselves as:  Dynamic: 81%  Creative: 75%  Visionary: 60% Invested, first and foremost Startup founders describe themselves as:  Passionate: 83%  Risk-loving: 60% Effective & experienced Startup founders describe themselves as:  35 years old, on average  University graduates: 93%  Having 11 years of professional experience prior to launching their startup 5
  6. 6. Success, for today and tomorrow! 6 Very positive results... Startup founders describe themselves as:  Satisfied: 92%  Willing to do it again: 78% … coupled with ambitious goals for the future Startup founders say that they want to:  Grow: 71%  Build an international presence: 60%  Be a market leader in France: 58%
  7. 7. A side-by-side comparison 1 7
  8. 8. Comparing points of view The French Startup Founders A representative sample of 1016 people 15 years old and up:  Gender  Age  Socio-professional category  Region and type of urban area Interviewed by telephone (26 to 28 November 2013) 17 in-depth one-hour interviews (p.41) with startup founders  Face-to-face or telephone interviews (2nd half of October) 200 interviews telephone interviews of 18 minutes (19 to 25 November 2013)  Companies in all sectors (but primarily in the digital economy)  In operation for a maximum of 8 years 2011-20132009-20102005-2008 YEAR OF CREATION 39%32%29% 8
  9. 9. Did you say startup? 2 9
  10. 10. “Startup”: what is the definition? “An innovative company with high growth potential, in search of a new and reproducible business model. Once the business model is operating, the startup becomes an SME.” “A young innovative company in the new technology sector” 10
  11. 11. Do Startup Founders identify with this term? 93% feel that the company that they have created is a "startup" Positive connotation 62% Negative connotation 9% No specific connotation 15% It depends 12% Used with their partners 75% Used with their friends & acquaintances 70% Used with their families 70% Used on a daily basis 68% Used with their bankers 61% Used with their customers 58% "with respect to the outside world, other than my customers, I'm a startup, “with respect to my customers, I'm a business. It's much easier to be a startup in the B to C space than in the B to B space” 11
  12. 12. Do Startup Founders identify with this term? In-depth interviews have shown that, according to the Startup Founders themselves... But may also convey an image of a business that is:  Short-lived, possibly superficial and unstable  Focused exclusively on new technologies  Lacking in functioning processes and possibly unreliable. The term “startup” has positive implications, as:  a daring business  with strong growth  that knows how to take risks and how to constantly reinvent itself  free from traditional rules and ways of working  that makes employee well-being and a comfortable, informal work environment the new standard  and in which the large majority of employees share and adhere to a specific value system (including solidarity and a community spirit) and/or a common objective. Accordingly, a more cautious use of this term in interacting with banks and more traditional customers is recommended. 12
  13. 13. Why a startup rather than a “more traditional” company?  To be more free, more independent 36%  For faster career development, to become profitable more quickly 34%  To escape from traditional working rules and conventions, to experience work differently 33%  To have a more collaborative way of working, more discussions and sharing 30% "To seize opportunities when they arise" "Casual... No suits here, just jeans" "I had some great experiences, I was promoted regularly, XXXX even sponsored me for an MBA in England, it was great, but I wanted to be the master of my own fate, to create something more than just being a good manager, and maybe to leave something behind me as well” “I don’t think I’m cut out to work for a big firm. To have roles where there is not enough responsibility, where we don’t take enough risks" 13
  14. 14. So the main values that define a startup are… Transparency Simplicity Happiness Fulfilment Liberté Responsiveness Independence Discussion Collaboration Openness Vigour Honesty HumblenessCommitment Flexibility Adaptability Autonomy Creativity Sharing Listening 14
  15. 15. Professional relationships with other startup creators: Startup Founders: solo or networked?  To share advice 87%  To share their skills, experiences 76%  To provide services 75%  To provide financial support 12%  No relationships 8% 57% are part of a circle or an association of creators or entrepreneurs 15
  16. 16. Startup Founders, who are you? 3 16
  17. 17. The Startup Founder’s ID card A man 89% 38 years old on average today 35 years old at the time of the creation of their company 93% have a university or equivalent degree 35% have a graduate or postgraduate university degree 24% attended engineering school 20% attended business school of which 7% are self-taught, with a high school diploma or less 78% are married or cohabiting 61% have children 17
  18. 18. Different types of entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurs first & foremost Startup Founders describe themselves as:  Entrepreneurs 35%  Creators of ideas 17% 73% feel that there have always been entrepreneurs like themselves in every generation For 51%, there is a tradition of entrepreneurship in their family or close circle of friends. 42% believe that they have a mission to help the drive the economic recovery 16% of French people think so, among the 63% who have heard of startups (vs 57% who have a personal goal of developing their project) 18
  19. 19. Passionate first and foremost... coupled with a “vision” Highly involved, motivated and enthusiastic people... who are not afraid of hard work... The mentality of a creator and a pioneer more than that of a manager. Attracted to discovery, personal enrichment (meeting people, acquiring new skills, etc.). Startup Founders describe themselves as:  Passionate 83%  Dynamic 81%  “Addicted” to work 34% "I'd go to any lengths" "we gave ourselves two years to explore in all directions, to test everything, to fail, and in two years, with no regrets, we will have tried.” 19  Creative 75%  Visionary 60% "Starting from zero and accelerating to 100 per hour, I like to have ideas, to create, to build... It's the personal encounters, the ideas... The management side is more about rigour and patience, and these are not my best qualities”
  20. 20. ... and an appetite for risk An appetite for risk, the ability to bounce back, to learn from experience. Failure seen as a way to move forward, to improve. Startup Founders describe themselves as:  Ambitious 72%  Risk-loving 60% "Anyway you’ll have plenty of failures, you’ll hear no 99 times before you get to a yes, and you have to persevere... it's so easy to throw in the towel" “It takes failure to move forward, and character to move forward after a failure” “There’s the honeymoon aspect, you’ve started at last, there's a sense of exhilaration, and at the same time you’re afraid, it gets you in the guts, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t get paid a salary at the end of the month any more... (but really) I didn’t have too many doubts” 20
  21. 21. Nevertheless, they keep feet on the ground And at the same time, Startup Founders also describe themselves as: Startup Founders describe themselves as:  Pragmatic 75%  A manager 60% 21
  22. 22. With exemplary people skills! In roles within the company and in relating to others, nothing is pre-determined, the hierarchy is flexible and floating. Equally, there is a culture of sharing knowledge and pooling resources to achieve a common goal. Finally, there is a fun, relaxed work environment that makes employees feel good. Startup Founders describe themselves as:  Open to suggestions 81%  Good listeners 80%  Demanding 78%  Friendly 76%  Caring 72%  Inclusive 70%  Impatient 47%  Difficult to follow 42%  Charismatic 39% "I am someone who does not like hierarchies, who does not like being in a strict framework, who does not like authority, and who needs freedom, the power to speak freely with this or that employee" 22
  23. 23. Multiple motivations The Startup Founder is driven by:  An entrepreneurial spirit, a love of challenges 84%  Creativity, innovation 74%  Freedom, independence 70%  The human adventure, the appetite for teamwork 69%  Career development in a different work environment 52%  An appetite for risk 47%  Financial success 42%  Starting fresh in a new career 29%  Difficulty running a project in a previous company 20% French people who have heard about startups see them as primarily motivated by creativity, innovation (46%) and financial success (45%). 23
  24. 24. The circumstances behind the creation of a startup  They had an idea, an innovation that they had thought about or worked on for a long time 50%  The idea or innovation was developed very shortly before the company was created 32%  They didn’t have a really clear idea, they just wanted to be entrepreneurs 17% 49% 24
  25. 25. 3 more nuanced profiles The ambitious conquerors The new Galileos The builders 25 44% 23% 33%
  26. 26. 95% of them had an idea, an innovation that they had thought about or worked on for a long time For 91%, it’s the innovation, the creation of a new product or service, that led them to create their own business vs 74% overall The New Galileos They are inventors, first and foremost. They have an idea that is often very old and very personal, and that is dear to their hearts. It is accompanied by a very strong desire to bring the idea to life and an (almost mystical) conviction of its merits. 44% "Leaving a mark... within 5 years, every second person will use a tool like ours." "Moving forward with conviction" 26
  27. 27. The New Galileos They are passionate, they want to communicate and share this passion, this desire, this idea. These are people who are dynamic, creative, who love to stir things up, to “get things moving”. What’s more, they want to be leaders in France and worldwide. They are also idealists and take personal pride and a sense of accomplishment (and even a certain hubris) in their adventure. In terms of professional relationships: they describe themselves as friendly and open to suggestions; their management style, however, seems more empirical. 44% In their relationship to work, they describe themselves as:  Passionate 99%  Dynamic 97%  Creative 90%  Risk-loving 76% In their relationships with others at work, they describe themselves as:  Open to suggestions 93%  Friendly 89% Their goals are to:  Be the market leader in France 77%  Build an international presence 70% 83% 60% 81% 75% vs all 81% 76% 58% 60% 27
  28. 28. For 95%, the idea or innovation was developed very shortly before the company was created For 88%, it’s the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to embrace new challenges, that led them to create their own business 52% believe that they have a mission to help drive the economic recovery vs 42% overall The ambitious conquerors Entrepreneurs first and foremost. They came up with the idea shortly before creating the company, and were influenced by the “success stories” of American-style startups and the people associated with them (Zuckerberg, Jobs) "I met a lot of people... there are a lot of French people in Silicon Valley, and that helped me to understand the ecosystem, to know who did what, and also to understand all the problems,... all the myths about fundraising, the ”success story”, etc." 23% 28
  29. 29. The ambitious conquerors They describe themselves as visionaries, dynamic, ambitious, businessmen, avant-garde. They also describe themselves as charismatic and difficult to follow. 23% In their relationship to work, they describe themselves as:  Dynamic 97%  Ambitious 90%  Visionary 83% In their relationships with others at work, they describe themselves as:  Charismatic 69%  Difficult to follow 61% Their goals are to:  Be businessmen 15%  Be avant-garde 14% "I don’t do anything that people my age do, but it suits me" 81% 60% 72% 39% vs all 42% 7% 7% 29
  30. 30. They seek, more or less explicitly, to arouse envy and/or pride (in their peers and colleagues). Startup Founders are generally older, more experienced. "Go beyond the big firm" "I must follow the dream" What gives them satisfaction in building their company:  The ability to innovate, to test ideas 93%  They are 40 years old on average, 25% are 50 years old or older  They have an average of 13 years of experience The ambitious conquerors 23% 30
  31. 31. The builders A desire to become an entrepreneur and above all to develop a sustainable business and to create jobs. A more pragmatic and realistic approach to the startup adventure. 33%  For 43%, they didn’t have a really clear idea, they just wanted to become entrepreneurs  For 67%, the primary intention was to develop a sustainable business for themselves and their employees  Above all, they describe themselves as pragmatic (64%) 58% would like to be described as entrepreneurs  Today, 31% plan to give it a few more years before thinking about their next step 49% expect to still be running this company in 5 years "A lot of thought went into the creation of the company (...) experience showed me that what was important was the finances, the product, the marketing, and the thinking" 17% 48% vs ALL 35% 20% 42% 31
  32. 32. The builders In running the startup, they have a more structured management style. They are more focused on coordinating the diverse talents of their employees, building harmonious teams around a common goal and leaving more room for analysis (of the market, of situations), reflection, strategy, preparation, and planning. The work environment is still relaxed and comfortable, and the energy is always very positive, but less intense. 33% "I felt able to recruit people, to manage teams"; “There are also all these adventures in managing a team that create the tempo for the life of the company, [and [for] the emotions that can arise]" Above all, they describe themselves as:  Good listeners 65%  Inclusive 61% Their aims are more to…  Create a level of economic stability that ensures that the company will remain viable 73% … than to:  Build an international presence 40%  Be the market leader in France 35% 32
  33. 33. The startup, from its creation to today 4 33
  34. 34. The Startup Founder at the time that they created their business 16% 37%27% 20% < 25 y.o 25-34 y.o 35-44 y.o 45 y.o and +  Less than 35 years old 53%  Employed 72%  CEO/MD, independent 13%  Senior manager 31%  Middle manager, supervisor 15%  Student or intern 17%  Business experience 11 years on average Management role: 44% 34
  35. 35. Some had already been entrepreneurs Creation of a previous business 35%  A startup 22% What happened to the company (base 100: former creators)?  It was shut down for economic reasons 34%  It was sold 23%  The shares were sold to the co-founders 21%  The founder is still managing the company 16% Why embark on a new project?  Business opportunity 67%  New idea 61%  New challenge 60% More than one: 16% 26% among builders 35
  36. 36. The location of the startup 24% 40% 22% 14% A single founder 2 co- founders 3 co- founders 4 co- founders When the company was created, there were… The company’s head office is located in the region where the founder(s)...  Worked 76%  Attended university 59%  Attended high school 52%  Were born 47% In the Paris region: 62%  In Paris itself 32% 73% among ambitious conquerors "We are on this path because this is where all of the startups are, there’s a sort of emulation (...). You will see entrepreneurs who have succeeded, others who have failed, you talk about it, you see why they were successful or not. This will encourage you to redouble your efforts, and it accounts for half of the success of your company." 36
  37. 37. Close friends and family, reacting to the creation of a startup The reaction of family and close friends to the announcement of the intention to create a business: "All three of us were unemployed. Thanks to the work/study programme, we were able to receive unemployment insurance, about 800 euros per month. It’s not much, but when you live in Rouen, living a student lifestyle, surviving on pasta is good enough. We asked ourselves, how much time do we have to work exclusively on this project without having to earn money on the side, and still be able to eat" Alexis Jamet, Bunkr  They were supportive, encouraging 89%  They were worried 49%  They were surprised 18%  They tried to talk the founder(s) out of it 11% Doubts and fears:  Financial problems 88%  Unable to make a living 48%  Too much stress 25%  Time will no longer be available for the family 9% 37
  38. 38. Objectives, from the creation of the startup to today The main intention in creating the business:  To build a sustainable company 48%  To build a business with the aim of eventually selling the company 26%  To communicate the founder(s) idea to more people 21%  To create a reputation as an entrepreneur 3% Today:  They need to grow 71%  To have an international presence 60%  To be the market leader in France 58% 57% have sold shares in order to raise more funds 67% among the builders 71% among the New Galileos 38
  39. 39. A very positive result "In 10 years, I [would have] travelled around the world, I would have had children, and I would have restarted another entrepreneurial adventure" Céline Lazorthes, Leetchi If they could do it all again, 78% would definitely choose to do so 92% are satisfied with their life at the head of their company 47% are very satisfied Those who are dissatisfied (8%): The difficulties that they encountered in growing their business:  Lack of money  Having to do everything And on a more personal level: feeling misunderstood by their families. 39
  40. 40. From pride to frustration The Startup Founder is satisfied with:  The product/service developed 83%  The ability to innovate 81%  The working environment 74%  The cohesion of the team 71%  The development of partnerships 51%  The profitability of the business 32% What was difficult: for the company  Lack of money 65%  Administrative burdens 60%  Having to do everything 57%  Convincing partners and bankers 53%  Convincing customers/prospects 50% for the founder(s)  Stress 52%  Lack of leisure time 42%  Lack of time for family and friends 41% "At the end of 3 months, we put a product on the market. We were very proud of that, but we took a beating in the market from people who were interested but who didn’t understand what we were doing" Clément Moreau, Sculpteo 40
  41. 41. ... and tomorrow? 5 41
  42. 42. What will your startup look like in 5 years? What will its future hold?  It will always be there and I'll be the head of the company 42%  I will have sold it 33%  It will be closed for economic reasons 5%  I will have sold my shares to my co-founders 2%  No idea 18% What will the next project be?  To create a new company 49%  To live off of my profits 10%  To be part of a project created by someone else 5% …  No idea 28% 42
  43. 43. Thank you 43
  44. 44. Startup Founders who participated in the qualitative study 44 Nicolas Dessaigne, Algolia Alexis Jamet, Bunkr Frédéric Plais, Commerce Guys Stéphane Lee, Dimelo Margaux Pelen, anciennement Home'n'go Céline Lazorthes, Leetchi Jonathan Benhamou, Novapost Martin de Charrette, Pricing Assistant Khalid Elguitti, Pricematch Stéphanie Delestre, Qapa Pierre Moreau, Sauverlemondedeshommes Clément Moreau, Sculptéo Samuel Boury, UBleam Alexandre Boucherot, Ulule Alexandre Plé, Umanlife Thibaut Jarousse, 10-Vins
  45. 45. Press Contacts: Natacha Heurtault 06 12 23 58 60 Anne-Sophie Trémouille 01 58 16 84 99 45