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Snapshot | Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winners

Back in February I was introducing you to Five startups to follow. Young entrepreneurs I was lucky to work alongside of and coach a little closer for some. Around that time, I also was introduced to De Rigueur an innovative brand in high quality leather goods, that got selected to join the BoostInLyon program.

Although I had less time with Adrien and his team, I cannot say that any of them worked less than the other toward the ultimate goal: to launch and to succeed. And it has been a pleasure to spend time with “my boys”: Yannick & Louis-Rémi from Prototypo, Adrien from DeRigueur and Antoine & Thibault from Cy-Clope and see them and their project grow.

On March 28, I had the immense pride and pleasure to see all them be distinguished with a Young Entrepreneur of the Year prize. They ruled the pitching game, they convinced the various juries and they climbed on stage to receive their prize. Couldn’t be happier to see their efforts being crowned by the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Where are they now?

After winning the Lyon Startup Contest, Prototypo is being courted by several investors, business angels and venture capitalists. Negotiations are in progress and the new version of the SaaS is to be released in September.

DeRigueur just raised a few thousand euros on the French crowdfunding site KissKissBankBank, to increase the size of its product catalog and explore new territories.

And Cy-Clope signed their first client and the concept is becoming a media craze as the fight against cigarette buds is spreading like wildfire in major French cities.

As for me, I have mostly moved from the “coach” position to the “official cheerleader” one and while I will always support them and admire their successes, my job is done. Now, I’m looking forward to live many more exciting adventures with the new comers.

 

The art of pitching

There is a funny infographic going around the internet saying that the entrepreneur’s job is:

  • 33% pitching to his investors
  • 33% pitching to his customers
  • 33% pitching to his parents
Impro Pitch Lyon - L'équipe

The “staff”

That’s a lot of pitching, isn’t it. The “pitch” is a fascinating exercise that I have had a lot of fun dissecting those past two years as I am submitting to it both my students and the teams I’m coaching. There are many recipes of a good pitch, but the most important ingredient of all is practice. And that’s what my friends Cécile, Charles and Louis-Rémi were proposing last night at their Social Mix City event. But, knowing those three it could only come with a twist and lots of laughers.

Impro Pitch

The rules:

Each pitcher has 3 minutes to pitch + 2 minutes of Q&A

Two of the jury members

Two of the jury members

The jury:

For once the jury was 100% feminine (#LeanIn) with Aurélie a freelance translator, Caroline a career consultant, Justine, a local community manager and yours truly)

The pitches:

Impro Pitch - GuillaumeGuillaume (the ball)

Have you ever tried to pitch while a fury Angry Bird is thrown at you by wild audience members? And of course, you have to keep playing ball with them. Catch and throw, catch and throw… and remember what you’re trying to explain… That’s what Guillaume went through while pitching a project about creating and sharing flashcards with fellow students to improve on everyone studying. At 19 years old the Epitech students did an excellent job and has a bright future in front of him.

Impro Pitch - SamySamy (not allowed to say the name of his project)

Could you pitch your project without ever saying its name? Doesn’t sound too difficult? That’s counting without the audience, determined to see Samy fail and asking trick questions again and again. But our pitcher stood strong and told us all we needed to know about this “project around museography” and how to dynamise museum visits and make them more interactive.

 

Impro Pitch - RemiRemi (blindfolded)

Once upon a time, there was a young serial entrepreneur who practiced the pitch exercise more than once while accelerating his first startup in BoostInLyon‘s first season. And today, it’s another project that Remi was pitching, blindfolded: one that in my role as a teacher I would love to see succeed: Stagiaire.Pro, an online platform that matches students and start-ups to help them find internships.

Impro Pitch - LionelLionel (must use the word “Barbie doll” in his pitch)

Unlike the other pitchers, Lionel is not a regular in Lyon’s startup ecosystem. Turns out, Lionel had never pitched before in his life. He doesn’t even have a project. But Lionel had a dream. And a creepy one with that since it has something to do with following people and chloroform… No, we’re not in danger, the people he was thinking of following were the actual threats and he was coming in as a super hero, saving the Barbie doll girls. Don’t forget the word had to be in the pitch! For a first try, Lionel left with the jury prize, not bad!

Impro Pitch - CaroleCarole (pitch with an accent)

In French we say le hasard fait bien les choses (chance would have it) and it was on Carole that fell the task of pitching with an accent. After spending part of her life in San Francisco, she, of course, chose to use her best Californian bimbo tone to encourage us to get engaged and possibly help finance her pet-project: BoostInLyon. My favorite definition: “BoostInLyon is a château in the city of Lyon inside of which we can put plenty of start-uppers…” Well, all we need now is the castle!

Impro Pitch - LamineLamine (with a headset and listening to loud music)

Last but not least, Lamine jumped in the competition to pitch his startup: Artistoon. Something where he usually doesn’t hesitate, with statements like “it’s like Montmartre on the web”. Catchy. Little did he know, this time he would have to be listening to loud music (get that: I’m sexy and I know it) while doing so. Turns out, music has a not-so-strange effect on Lamine and the first thing he did was shake it baby shake it. In the end, after cooling down on the dance moves, he was able to deliver a good enough speech to win the favors of the jury and get him to coveted prize: a pint of beer. Or maybe the dance moves are what convinced the jury… we’ll never know.

For those of you whom will be around the Lyon area next month, stay tuned for information on the next edition of ImproPitch, because, honestly, I have experienced worst ways to spend a Monday night!

 

Five apps to help you run your business

Our world has become mobile. As business owners we are “on” all the time, everywhere and our entire company is at our fingertips with our smartphones and a few good apps. If you’re not up to date yet on your mobile-biz, check those out.

Five apps business owners can’t live without

TrelloTrello

With a very easy-to-use card system Trello keeps track of everything, from the big picture to the minute details. Whether you’re managing a team of freelancers, writing an epic screenplay, or just making a list of stuff to get done, Trello makes sure you’re organized and on board with your team, at every step of your project.

EvernoteEvernote

Bring your life’s work together in one digital workspace. Evernote is the place to collect inspirational ideas, write meaningful words, save notes from meetings… With its sharing capabilities, you can create notebooks to share with your team, from short lists to lengthy research. I love to use Evernote to keep track of my students group work evolution from the first brief to the final presentation and provide them in the end with a tale of their journey.

DropboxDropbox

Put your stuff in Dropbox and get to it from your computers, phones, or tablets. Edit docs, automatically add photos, and show off videos from anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your folder will be automatically synched ending the game of “where is the latest version of that document?” Also the sharing capacities allow you, again, to work with your team on always up-to-date documents.

hootsuiteHootsuite

Do I really need to introduce my favorite social media dashboard? From managing multiple networks and profiles to scheduling messaging, publishing updates, tracking activity, and analyzing results across multiple social networks including Twitter and Facebook, with its app,  Hootsuite brings all those fantastic functionalities even closer to your on-the-move life.

runkeeperRunKeeper

What is a running app doing on this list, you might ask… Well, a healthy business owner is an business owner that succeeds. So, in my eyes, it is indispensable to get a little exercise in and RunKeeper is the best app I have found to kick my butt into going out for a run. Track your pace, measure workout distance, chart weight loss, crush training goals and more with Runkeeper and the off to work with renewed energy and a smile on your face!

I hear on my left that Wunderlist is another must have… From Julie’s testimony: “it has changed my life for the better!” One to discover as far as I’m concerned. What about you, what are your favorite apps?

 

Words of Wisdom | Becoming

Words of Wisdom | Becoming

As you know, I volunteer time coaching entrepreneurs of all ages and guiding them into the intricate world of business creation and marketing.

No later than this morning, I was chatting with one of them, about their crowdfunding campaign. Their goal: raising money to better their website and consequently their offer, and, of course, increase their sales. So far, nothing wrong, correct?

Turns out, the person was talking about their campaign using only negative vocabulary: “we don’t have a good enough network”, “we are not good enough at communicating”, and, icing on the cake: “who would be interested in funding our project anyway?” I couldn’t take it anymore and told her that if she wanted to shoot herself in the foot she was doing exactly that with such a mindset.

Mindset and confidence are a great part of anyone’s success. It’s because you believe that you can do something that you might actually succeed. Would you ever consider jumping over a deep gap if you were questioning your ability to do so? Same goes with your marketing: first order of business is “believe in yourself”.

We become what we think about.
–Earl Nightingale

What do you think about yourself?

 

Five young companies that I want to bet on

Finding five new things to share with you can prove to be more difficult that I initially imagined. But it forces me to think about what excites me and to be grateful for finding things to get excited about.

As you know, for the past few years I have been coaching young entrepreneurs (or wannabe entrepreneurs) into understanding the business world and getting started with a new adventure. Today, I would like to introduce you to five of them that I have a special place in my heart for.

5 startups to follow

Photo credit: Trafalgar Magazine

Photo credit: Trafalgar Magazine

You know there are unknown fashion treasures all around you. You know that your next fashion statement is just around the corner… But you just don’t know where. That was before Cornr. Whether you’re a fashion designer or fashion addict, you should take a look at Cornr.

I met the #TeamCornr when they were selected to be a part of the 5th season of BoostInLyon and although I never was their official coach, I always enjoyed following their adventures and supporting their marketing efforts the best I could.

To stay up to date with Cornr’s news, follow them at @Cornr_co

 

 

Cy-ClopeTake two young lads whom probably never smoked a cigarette in their life. Put them through a program built around Design Thinking at I.D.E.A and they’ll come up with the dream of changing the world one smoker at a time. How? By helping smokers make a social gesture and throw their cigarette butts in a Cy-Clopeur where they’ll be preserved to be transformed into recycled material.

Cy-Clope was born while studying bees… Ask Antoine and Thibault to tell you their story, it’s utterly interesting. As it has been for me to be their coach for a year and their ultimate fan for the years to come.

Keep up with Cy-Clope on Twitter at @Cy_Clope

 

origoThe first time I asked Ivan Debay what Origo was exactly about, I nodded and smiled but didn’t get anything… I heard the words “electricity” and “renewable” and I was lost. Or so I thought. And one day Ivan asked for help editing copy for his website. We were co-workers and that’s the type of things you do for your peers. And I spent a little more time and attention understanding his job, which is truly fascinating. Did you know that you can actually manage where the electricity you use is coming from? And you can guarantee that it sources is sustainable.

Want to know more? Follow Origo on Twitter at @origocircuit

 

PrototypoWhen I joined BoostInLyon last summer, they asked me: “which start-up do you want to be working with?” I hadn’t participated into the jury, I had no idea whom was doing what. Prototypo had something to do with design and it reminded me my early career, so I went with it. Little did I know that would be a match made in heaven.

If you’re tired of using the same old Helvetica (because, in doubt, always use Helvetica), if you ever dreamt of having a font that is yours and yours only, if you’re a graphic designer, or if you’re not a graphic designer. Prototypo is about to change the way you see what you write.

Curious? Check them out on Twitter at @PrototypoApp

 

Trafalgar MagazineHow can I not mention my girls…? Although we cannot speak about a startup per se, I couldn’t do this list without Trafalgar Magazine in it.

When Allison Oswald and Marion Derouvroy came to me during their time at BoostInLyon, looking for advice on how to turn their online magazine into a business, I couldn’t resist. Their energy is contagious and what they have accomplished while they’re not even 25 yet is simply amazing. Those two are going far. That I’m sure of.

If you feel a little audacious, check out their portraits of young artists & entrepreneurs; and if you really feel audacious, have them write yours. You’ll never see yourself the same way once you’ve seen yourself through Trafalgar’s eyes.

Want to be audacious with Trafalgar on Twitter, follow them: @TrafalgarMag

 

Words of Wisdom | Home Run

Words of Wisdom | Home Run

It’s all about the small victories. Babe Ruth, The Sultan Of Swat, is not going to contradict me. Why try to climb the Everest when you can set a more achievable goal toward, let’s say, the next shelter.

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.
~Babe Ruth

It’s great to be ambitious. It’s fantastic to want to achieve something special, something bigger. That type of will is certainly what I’m looking for, in the people I surround myself with, whether they’re my business partners, my co-workers or the teams I coach in their entrepreneurial journeys. But, it’s even a stronger skill to be able to break down this ambition is more achievable goals and climb, one strike at a time, the success ladder.

I would like to dedicate this post to Prototypo, a team that’s probably going to make my hall of fame. Their next strike will be this week at Madrid’s Typomad. And I’m looking forward to seeing their home run in the next few month!

What about you? What is your next strike going to be?