What I learned from doing a world tour about startups

In 2014, for 6 months I did a world tour about startups creation: Web World Tour. It was one of the best experiences of my life!

This was a 2 years project and I went to 15 cities around the world trying to understand which are the best ecosystems for creating startups. I interviewed 36 people (entrepreneurs, teachers of entrepreneurship, investors, heads of incubators, startups employees,…) and participated to meet-ups, conferences, networking events,…

One year after I am finally starting to see all the benefits ! I have now one main new belief and feeling : France is a really cool and welcoming country to create a company compare to many other places in the world that we see as entrepreneurial hubs.


How is a startup created?

This was the goal of my trip and I have learned some really interesting things. There are two main factors about creating a startup:

  1. The idea and then the time and will to develop it.
  2. The money availability (love money, angels, VCs).

The ecosystem is deeply involved in both those factors. The more your environment is curious and creative the more ideas you will have. And you will be able to share it to other creative and interesting people to improve it. Tel Aviv is one of the best exemples of this sharing and creative environment! Here are two of the interviews I recorded when I was there:

Of course you also need money and a good environment for the investors! That is one the main reason of why there are so many startups in the USA. A good, stable and safe environment for the investors is a best practice. Singapore which is known for being business-friendly has a huge government program for the accredited investors: Technology Incubation Scheme.

It has been developed by the National Research Foundation (NRF). The NRF co-invests up to 85% of the investment needed for a startup and private investors will be required to co-invest the remaining 15%. What’s more, within three years the latter will be given an option to buy over NRF’s stake in the start-up by repaying the capital plus a little interest. That is a huge incentive for the investors!

Other factors can also improve the startup scene of a city:

  • Give back culture by the mentors (Silicon Valley culture)
  • Supportive structures: incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces,…
  • Good schools and universities for coders, engineers, marketers designers,… with entrepreneurial mindsets, departments or even incubators (e.g.: New South Wales University in Sydney).
  • The entrepreneur must be seen as a hero and not an evil businessman. And failure mustn’t be seen as a big deal.
  • Incentive environment for entrepreneurs: business friendly (e.g.: Singapore, Hong Kong)

The place where you choose to create you company is also very important ! For example, if you want to create a media startup in the USA you have to go to NYC. It will be easier there than in San Francisco.

France is efficient in many of those things (creative environment, universities, supportive structures,…) and is improving other factors (entrepreneurs are now fashionable, the environment is better for investors, failing is not shameful anymore,…).

Now, it is my turn, I am creating my company… in France!