A fan of Google maps, it was fun to actually go inside their Paris headquarters as opposed to just see the street view. Last night, April 8, 2014, the 2011-founded blog Rude Baguette hosted its 9th Founders Event (TFE) with a twist. Instead of the usual networking-only soiree, they presented 10 finalists, of which five will get a launch package including assistance in marketing, 1-on-1 workshops at Google and tickets to The Next Web conference in Amsterdam.
By hosting the event, Google and its Google for Entrepreneurs program, hopes to contribute to the development of the truly burgeoning French startup scene. Partnered with TFE were La French Tech and Maddyness. La French Tech is another new association created with the French government and businesses to promote French startups. Their aim is to show the world France is a "Startup Republic!" Maddyness is a site dedicated to the French Startup ecosystem and focuses on news, analysis, trends and guidelines for entrepreneurs.
Having been in New York City at the beginning of the boiling point for Internet and web, in the mid-90s, it was exciting to be in this basement auditorium at what feels like the new boom for France.
Google, presented by Martin Gorner, asked "why do Google offices look like a kindergarten?" Because we like to think of ourselves as a creative agency, promoting the idea of developing and wanting to work with developers around the world. He referenced former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's famous tweet "My New Year's Resolution is to learn code with Codeacademy in 2012." Gorner then talked about how the 2013 winner of the Stanford Challenge was French startup Goopil and that with Cloud computing, Google developers can work anywhere.
The first finalist presenter was Front, an e-mail client with collaborative features where everyone (whom you add) can comment on emails. If you are looking at the e-mail at the same time as someone is commenting, it can nearly be an instant messaging service. Finished at 4:00 AM that morning (April 8), co-founder and CEO Mathilde Collin was relieved to report they'd just added twitter capability. Compared to Sparrow (another French startup that was acquired by Google), they like to differentiate as the "front desk of every company where you can collaborate in real-time."
Citing an April 2013 Forrester report, Wisemetrics CEO Stephan Allard stated there is "no clear leader" in the social publishing platform space. They hope to change that with this product. Not only can you schedule posts and/or tweets in advance, with pictures, but Wisemetrics will predict the current and future success of your posts. A demo showed that his post was "among your 12% worst posts." Humble stuff indeed. However, with the simple click of a button you can "improve your post." Wisemetrics will run its analytics and, with new text and image, create a 184% improvement. I'd say that's a spread I'm willing to take a bet on.
Sometimes no matter how bilingual we are, we can still make "betises," as evidenced by Orange Fab France's director Pascal Latouch when he started off his speech with "Good Night!" I was charmed, nonetheless, and impressed with the telecommunications giant's commitment to startups. Having seven companies in their Paris accelerator, Pascal has a determined goal of getting CONTRACTS!
In the same vein, Oxalide's marketing manager Edouard Ly seemed to have coordination trouble between what he was saying, what he was reading on his iPad and what was on the screen. Literal translations into English also weren't quite fluent, but he got his points across eventually, struggling to convey the importance of a good brand strategy vertically (technically) as well as across all mediums. Oh well, can't win them all.
Getting the blood pumping was a direct result of Phonotonic's product Music Battle and after Founder and CEO Nicolas Hainiandry Rasamimanana's presentation I want to run out and get it! The concept is simple, "don't play music, be music." Using their app you can control the music and song with a connected object (in this case a foam ball). So you create music as your dancing. I love it!
Following this, Paypal had the potential to look very dry but Developer Advocate Orkun Saitoglu drew hearty laughs as he showed how much Paypal loves developers. He wanted to smash the idea of the Silicon Valley "Paypal mafia" with a famous panda video (a must see, if you haven't already). As incentive, they will offer qualifying startups top-notch customer service, mentorship and free processing for 18 months (with a limit).
The next presenter was "under embargo" but I'll say they have a quite interesting app that encourages one to achieve a certain goal with the help of an app or via friendly competition. (And they're named after an old favorite delivery service.)
The final finalist to present was another "wow" musically. Siilar, by Niland, as presented by co-founder and CEO Damien Tardieu showed how either through a web-app or API integration you can "use music to find music." For example, let's say Don Draper says, "we need to use the music BMW used in their commercial," but you can't use the same because you need to do something different. Or let's say you want to find a song like Hollysiz's "Come Back To Me" but you want a male voice. Plug in the song, select the tags to differentiate your search and you get results after the product has scanned all the songs that sound like it in the world registry. Currently they are targeting commercial enterprises because individual users "won't pay." The speed and accuracy of the search was impressive and I heard murmurings throughout the room.
Good selection of finalists Rude Baguette!
Rude Baguette co-founder Liam Booger took the stage finally to reveal their newest product, the Rude List, which has a profile on nearly every company, investor and product that's important in the French startup scene. A must-see for sure.
The networking followed with a surge of friendliness and pizzas I hadn't seen in a long time! I'm looking forward to the next event.