Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tucson's 10West: the future holds promise.

Having been to Austin's SXSW, Portland's NXNW, and numerous multi-day events in NYC, I've seen how vibrant and idea-infusing a multi-focused festival can be for a city.

Each city has its unique features and focus. SXSW started as a music festival and added film and tech. NXNW was similar in its focus on music. New Orleans has Entrepreneur Week, with the aim to showcase New Orleans as a "Startup City", and now Tucson has its own multi-track festival: 10West, bringing together its own flavors of entrepreneurship, technology and the New Creative Class.

The 10West Festival aims to foster a creative and technological environment with the long-term goal of attracting and retaining talent in Southern Arizona. As Executive Director of the festival, Greg Teesdale describes it, it's: "the 20-40 year old demographic, the streetcar line geographic, and the October 18-24 chronologic." Teesdale has been a pillar of the Tucson growth ecosystem with his many roles, including curriculum advisor for Startup Tucson and a member of Desert Angels (the third most active venture group in the United States).

The idea of having a localization for an event and a movement, which 10West is, helps bring focus to a town's economic development. It also creates a center where geeks, artists, and bankers can come together, meet each other, exchange ideas, learn from each other, and network. And, in a town like Tucson, similar to Austin and Portland, all three contingencies participate, relish, and enjoy the very creative energy existing in each town.

The inspiration behind 10West came last year when Idea-funding founder Larry Hecker, some key players at Desert Angels and other startup initiative organizing groups felt there was an opportunity to leverage various events into something collective, bigger, and with a larger scope.

While "this thing," as Teesdale calls it, didn't have a name, mission, logo, or website, they held it at Startup Tucson in February 2014 and from there all themes and definitions were decided.

This year it's grown into its own. The Tech track features workshops, panels, and talks on cutting-edge technology (3D printing, virtual reality, "Internet of things"). The Entrepreneurship track has sessions on: building a company, access to capital, essential skills needed (and more). The Creative track addresses the live-work aspect with network mixers, music, entertainment and programming on the business of entertainment. The festival closes with an Art Walk along East Toole Avenue on October 24th featuring musicians, food trucks, artworks for sale, art sculptures and performance artists.

The importance of bringing these three components (entrepreneurs, investors, and artists) together cannot be underestimated. I've seen the power of the momentum created at these sorts of events, an energy that creates a ripple-effect, spilling into nearly every aspect of a town and its development economically, financially, and artistically. From what I've seen of the enthusiasm Tucson's business leaders have for its future, 10West is sure to grow into a vibrant annual event that will be drawing an international audience. Held in October, the Tucson climate is the minimum of attractive features. Amazing, healthy food and a diverse vibrant culture drawing from the Native American and Mexican influence adds another star-feature unique to the Southwest.

It easy to see from the 10West website that this festival has grown immensely from a handful of groups to include significant supporters including the Arizona Commerce Authority, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, New York Life, Desert Angels and many others, in-kind sponsorships from partner organizations Hotel Congress, Rialto Theater, Tucson Museum of Art and Connect Coworking, and media sponsors including Clear Channel Outdoors, Arizona Daily Star, Arizona Bilingual and others.

All the organizers and supporters believe there is no magic bullet to jump start economic development overnight, and are in this for the long-haul through cooperation and participation. They believe if there are a series of small wins every day, and keep these wins coming, Southern Arizona will easily be seen as a vibrant cultural and technological place to thrive professionally and personally.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Startup Tucson: Part 2: Justin Williams

Startup Tucson: Part 2: Justin Williams

Justin Williams, like many marketing graduates with an entrepreneurial streak, began reaching out to marketing companies with the hopes of getting a job. In 2004 he began volunteering for the ITASA – IT Industry Association and making contacts. One year later, he was asked to become the Executive Director and they merged with ITASA (ITASA, Aerospace Association and Manufacturing group).

Utilizing all three of his degrees (Engineering, Marketing and Finance), Justin's work culminated into a second merger three years later, this time with two other entities, into the Arizona Tech Council. Meanwhile, up near Phoenix, a group called Gangplank began looking southward for its expansion of creative coworking and incubator-type office spaces. They formed a partnership with Bookmans Exchange space in the far northwest of Tucson. And just a few short months later, Justin, together with the key players of Gangplank, held a kick-off event, thus launching Startup Tucson.

As with many new entities, there are growing pains, and after a series of discussions, in November 2011 the Gangplank leadership left and Aaron Eden (GP Tucson and product manager for Leadership Development inside Intuit, Inc.) stepped in to work with Justin and find new office space to continue their efforts.

Through his extensive contacts Justin got in touch with some notable folks (profiles coming soon) and the Downtown Partnership of Tucson with the aim to see if they could take over some unused downtown office space.

Like many government agencies, they weren't sure about this new style of shared office space as a way to rebuild downtown and turned Justin down. Unfazed, he continued to work on startup events and conferences for the next one and half years. In the Spring of 2013, seeing the value of rebuilding a devitalized downtown, the city agreed to revisit Justin and Gangplank's proposal and Holualoa (a real estate development firm) struck a deal for them to move all activities into a downtown office.

Once again, as with many new organizations, in another short year (Spring 2014) it became apparent that Startup Tucson and Gangplank were heading in different directions in terms of growth and goals. Gangplank proper moved back up near Phoenix, and Aaron, together with Justin merged GP Tucson and Startup Tucson into the CoLab Workspace.

Like many new tech associations in cities with a young and growing entrepreneur pool, Startup Tucson continues to grow from the devoted efforts of professionals who volunteer their time. These professionals, known as Leads (in GP terminology) began to meet monthly and they quickly began to change the face of downtown Tucson with events like Startup Weekend (and Startup Weekend for Teens and Kids), Idea Funding, and Hackathons.

With no signs of stopping, Justin is continuing to develop what can only be a bigger Startup Tucson. Having maintained his ties with Tech Parks Arizona, UA Tech Park and the Digital Innovations department at the UofA, Startup Tucson is poised to help make a major impact into changing the face of downtown Tucson, and helping innovative companies into their next phase.

I'm thrilled to be in Tucson at this point in time, considering my background and experience, and will be reporting on more events and great people.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Startup Tucson: Part I

When we first considered our move to Tucson, AZ, I thought, "what could I do there?" Having visited since 1984, I thought maybe I could do a "Julie, the cruise director" type job at one of the many retirement communities.

I began researching the job market and, by chance, if there was any kind of startup scene like I'd been familiar with in New York.

It was with great surprise, and delight, to see that not only is there a startup scene, but it is growing and vibrant. I quickly found some of the key players and associations and began bookmarking their sites, signing up for the newsletters, and taking note of their names.

Justin Williams and StartUp Tucson are what seem to be the center of this movement, and after arriving in town, was eager to start attending some of the events. I called the office after missing one of their "1 Million Cups" morning events, hoping to get some information on a particularly interesting business (InCycle Water). You can imagine my surprise, and delight, to have reached Justin directly after having followed him electronically for the last 1 1/2 years. He was, of course, very friendly and welcomed me to any event. One week later I made my way to downtown Tucson, which like many downtowns across the USA is experiencing a revival.

It was great to step inside one of the few main co-working spaces in Tucson. And, while, I'd arrived a little late (still getting used to driving and where to park, having not done much of either in about 25 years), it was great to see the number of people gathered for this early morning event. I'd missed the main presentation but was able to hear several teams of students who'd participated in the Startup Tucson STEM Summer Camp. One team suggested a way to make Craigslist safe for kids who want to sell their electronics, bikes, etc. Another team wanted to develop an app that was connected to a tracking device in sneakers to help prevent kids getting lost (like in Disneyland, parks or stores), or help them get found.

After the event I introduced myself to Justin and we set a date for lunch. Meeting at a family-style restaurant on the far West side of town, I got to learn a little more about Justin and a lot more about the startup scene in Tucson. (More on this in the next article!)

Thursday, May 07, 2015

My day: Surprises around every corner

Coming out of a turbulent week, I'd found myself waking up to this classic bright view...

I continued down the street when my eye was filled with blue...

Only to glance up to see horses leaping into clouds...

When my nose carried me back to my grandmother's garden...

The canopy of green leafy trees wafting sweet pink chestnut was a visual and olfactory treat...

To glance up a little further down and see soft a billowy pillowy... 

Directly across from the (back) entrance to our nation's presidential home...

And more color, flowers coaxing me down the path, coaxing me into a calmer, happier place...

And a little old-fashioned but still very much in use protection in this day and way...

And even some untamed patches amidst manicured splendor, like the lovers in love's exquisiteness...

All carried me softly, like my love's strong embrace, continuing to remind me of God's care above all. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


My son is in a new realm of play where he imagines scenarios with his school. I am the teacher, or his favorite teaching assistant, and he is alternatively the Director or a good student. The games went so far that we continued to bed...with 26 of his classmates and continued the next morning to the Apple store with them all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Normandy's French Tech

On Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 at the Mémorial de Caen, the cities of Le Havre, Caen and Rouen made their official presentation to add the "digital label" French Tech to their region. It was back in November 2014 that they dropped off their case, and four months later they are getting their chance at the D(igital)-day meeting to officially claim their space in the digital realm.

It wasn't just a day of presenting their case, however, they presented the elements of their Normandy candidacy, unveiled their common banner and presented their first Normandy French Tech (Nft) meeting, dedicated to startups and entrepreneurs in Normandy.

The first Prime Minister Manuel Valls was in Normandy a month earlier (Feb 13) to underline the importance of the reunification of Normandy, alluding, as well, to the successful collaboration of the cities involved.

(original article)

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

7th (arrondissement) Heaven: cafe, umbrellas and lettres

Living in Paris it's not unusual for friends and family to ask me for recommendations on where to eat and what to do. Obviously Paris is full of great suggestions in both categories. My only problem is that, since moving here, I've become a bit of a stay-at-home mom homebody (*not all moms are homebodies) and don't get out and about as much as I did as a NYC single-gal.

Having a school-age son has begun to change that. (I'm getting out more.) We get out to museums together and earlier this week one of my few French friends, Sophie, invited me to lunch. I met her near her workplace and was already swooning over the gorgeous quartier. There's the Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits...
...and then just a few doors down an umbrella shop unlike any I've ever seen before. I've passed this shop in a moving vehicle (bus/taxi) many times, always wanting to peer inside. And wow--it is GORGEOUS!

After reuniting with Sophie, we wind ourselves around several small streets lined with even smaller sidewalks turning into one of those tiny passages revealing its treasures within, as is typical in Paris.

Stepping inside this charming little bistro we were immediately greeted by two friendly American voices chirping out "Hi!" "Hi!" We sat down at one of the 2-top bar-stool tables. Salivating as I eyeballed the entire menu I knew this was one of those places I'd have to revisit since every dish looked as delicious as the next.

I settled on one of the "pies," which looked like a house-specialty. Noting they also have "luck and money" dishes (Hoppin' John, which I religiously make every New Year's Day), I knew I was in good Southern cooking hands here! The owners hail from Charleston, South Carolina and greet everyone in English, but quickly accommodate the French speakers in fluent français. As the backside of their business card says, "Everything we serve is made in house. All meats, cheeses and most vegetables are free range & organic, or better." (What's 'better'?!) "Its not political; its just the right thing to do. We believe food should be made by people (not machines); that animals deserve decent lives, and farmers deserve to make a fair living. We hope you think so too." 

The friendly, over-apologetic American character was in full-bloom with one of the owners, saying "sorry" as she brings bread over to a table (as if she wasn't fast enough), and when there is some other souci (worry). It was refreshing, I'll admit.

Of course, the food was D - E - L - I - C - I - O - U - S. I had the curried vegetables "pie" with quinoa salad and the chocolate & speculoos brownie (in a glass) for dessert. I "mmm'd" and "oooh'd" my way through each bite, fully aware of how healthy it was, in addition to its deliciousness. (Reservations are STRONGLY recommended!)
View back towards the street

Afterwards, I ventured into the umbrella shop, Alexandra Sojfer and oogled some more. My goodness if you ever wanted to see such finery, gorgeousness, exquisiteness and craftsmanship in an umbrella, I dare say Alexandra is your woman. One after another each umbrella charmed me as I lightly skimmed the handles, not daring to pick one up. The proprietress, and creator herself, was there, offering a cafe or juice, opening up model after model explaining the differences. "Do you want something against the sun or the rain?" "What color do you want?" Each time opening umbrellas in answer to my responses. Let me tell ya, as a $4 black bodega umbrella buyer from NYC, this was a whole new league! I didn't want to leave, but spying the starting price was about 540 I figured best to head on home and pray for no rain!  

Friday, February 06, 2015

DansMaRue - InMyStreet - Bringing the power of the people's voice to their hands

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The World Wide (Wanton) Web of extramarital sites

Every now and then I find myself riding my velib behind a city bus (or in a metro station) with one of these advertisements. It still kinda shocks me.

Here is a website blatantly advertising extra-marital affairs for women. Maybe it's just their marketing angle, but other than searching for images for this post, I'd never darken the URL of this site. To me, to be in a place so dark that I'd consider actively seeking out an extra-marital affair, let alone, finding myself on a site where it's treated so flippantly would be one of darkness, despair, and dealing in sin.

There's plenty of lore out there how the French are more casual about having affairs, certainly it seems older generations accepted "the other women." However, I know this "concept" is not as accepted as it was in prior generations.

According to Wikipedia, Gleeden claims to be an online dating community and social networking service primarily marketed to women, specifically those who are already in a relationship. The site, launched in 2009 in France, touts more than 65% of users reside in the European Union. 

They've also taken obvious imagery. A woman (in red) eating an apple, with a site name emphasizing EDEN (and GLEE), indicates the woman blissful in her choice of eating the apple, committing the first original sin. Other images show a bride still in her wedding gown, with her fingers crossed behind her back indicating she never intended to keep her marital vows.

A quick search on "pub gleeden" (pub is French for publicity) reveals the suggestive taglines.

I think the reason why I'm finally posting this, after seeing these ads for so many years, is it still shocks me. Aside from my obvious judgement, I doubt this kind of site would exist, be funded, or publicized so publicly in the United States.

When I view sites like these, I also go into an apocalyptic morbid consideration of what future generations will say about us in 100 years. What does this say about our society? Definitely fodder for a heated debate on both sides, I'm sure.

* Update: My husband sent me a link of a video where they registered and paid for the Salon du Mariage (Wedding expo) under a false name, unveiling at the last moment in front of a crowd of laughing fiancées (women) and angry fiancés (men).  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mrs. Mayor, I have an idea!

Starting in the beginning of 2015 these posters have been popping up on various scrolling billboards throughout Paris. They say "Madame Mayor, I have an idea! Until the 15 March you can propose ideas for the participative budget."

I love this idea! I always have so many ideas that I think would improve "customer experience" (i.e. inhabitants) lives in Paris. Of course, posed with this opportunity, I am sadly drawing a blank as to what to propose! Have I adapted so much to differences in this city, country, culture that originally bothered me? Now there is a novel idea!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bébé : French style

My upstairs neighbor has a new baby. It's her first. And, French style, they are letting this poor creature cry-it-out. I'm familiar with this style of parenting as I was informed of it by French nurses when I had my baby. I'm not a fan of this approach. It's painful to hear a newborn baby crying for an hour when, to me, its needs are simply not being met. :(

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Capital Koala: a capital idea!

I've posted on social media sites quite a few times over the past year about my new favorite web site, Capital Koala, a loyalty program for families to save for their children's future, with the main objective to help prepare financing higher education. Through its plug-in (or site directly) Capital Koala reimburses up to 30% of online purchases made by its members directly into a savings account for their children. Members can invite as many friends and relatives as they like who can also contribute to the child's savings account through all their online purchases as well. It becomes a team-effort savings account. I think it's brilliant: I need/want to buy something anyway, why not buy it online and have my son benefit too?! (PS: name defined below)

INTRODUCTIONS: I'd thought about contacting the company to see about securing an interview, but it wasn't until after I was featured on the site in an interview when my passion got into action. After I was featured on this site, I got a lot of views and compliments. Looking at some of the other profiles, I saw the co-founder of Capital Koala. Eureka! I didn't hesitate to let him know how brilliant I thought his site was and how much I use it. He got back to me and we settled on a date to meet.

As I approached their office building I was met with a common situation in Paris, or maybe for startups in Paris. Their name was not on the building or door. The unique-to-Paris part is that in order to get into most buildings you must have a digital code. And, digital code I did not have. Typically, my smartphone couldn't find any network so I called my husband to look on the web for a general number. As he did I waited for someone to either enter or exit. Finally someone left and as I ducked inside, I asked if they knew the company. They said they thought it was on the fourth floor. Sure enough, they had a small sign pasted next to the company they were subletting from... Ah, the life of a startup!

Heading up to the offices I smelled that familiar scent I've known since 1993: the smell of anticipation and inspiration brewed with success. And coming out to greet me was a handsome young man with a broad smile and easy-going nature.

Alexandre Martin-Rosset, the younger of the two founders of Capital Koala, is a bright, thoughtful man with purposeful determination for his company's future. Coming from a middle-class family in Avignon, Martin-Rosset worked every summer since he was 16, always thinking about saving for university. Granted, tuition fees are not nearly what they are in the United States, but students must shell out money for rent, transportation and living expenses. The idea of a company that helped people save money for school began percolating as he labored each summer. After graduating from Sciences Po (Aix en Provence, May 2009) he went to London for a one-year internship as a Marketing Assistant for a company that imported design furniture from France, Italy, and Denmark. Heading further West, Martin-Rosset went to Boston, MA to study e-commerce strategies at the Harvard Extension School.

In the United States Martin-Rosset discovered the "cash back" concept at Walmart and other stores and thought about bringing something like that to France. After school, Martin-Rosset went to work at Chaussons Finance, a consulting firm in Paris, for three months until he went to the ESCP Europe Entrepreneurship Specialised Master for seven months. It was here he met his future business partner Jean-Yves Bernard who had more business experience, and whom he pitched his idea after one month.

BEGINNINGS: They fine-tuned and hatched their idea in school, winning the Best Project Prize in March 2010, after which they integrated into the school incubator for two years. Starting in April 2012, they worked, gratis, out of Deloitte's headquarters in Neuilly-sur-Seine, where they developed their own proprietary technology. All along they were winning competitions throughout Europe.

With just one bank (ING) and 100 online vendors on board, they beta-tested the site with family and friends for six months. They moved into their present co-sharing space in April 2014 and currently employ eight people, three of whom are in Paris and five developers just outside the city perimeters. Each developer is devoted to all aspects of one browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) and one for the website. (I mentioned some problems my husband had using the plug-in on Safari and Martin-Rosset admitted Safari and the Mac OS were especially troublesome but that they were aware and working on it.)

BUSINESS MODELS: Based on their original business model (a commission for each savings account (Livret A) created with a partner bank), Martin-Rosset told me they had $1 million earned income. After four years they felt this model too limiting. Going forward in 2015, they've switched from a commission-from-the-banks to a percentage-from-the-vendors model. Now, each bank simply promotes them to all bank customers, and their revenue comes as a percentage of all sales from vendors.

Forgoing the formal contracted relationship allows for an easier engagement for the banks (usually reticent to part with their money) with Capital Koala as a simple marketing vehicle. And, as part of the marketing budget, vendors are motivated to promote Capital Koala as another win-win way for people to spend more. The more people spend, the more the commerçant makes, the more Capital Koala makes, and the more money that will eventually get versé (deposited) into your child's saving account.

SUBSCRIBERS: With 1,500 vendors it's easy to make nearly every purchase you could need or want online. I'm so in love with this platform that I confessed to Martin-Rosset that once, after having bought 100€ of face creams in a store, I returned them the next day so I could re-buy them online via Capital Koala and have my son benefit as well! He nodded, smiling, saying that he gets lots of emails like that and that they average 200 emails a week from satisfied clients.

Serving 70,000 families, 95% of whom are in France, Capital Koala also reaches subscribers in Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Divulging more on the client profile, Martin-Rosset explained customers range from wealthy families with just two parents contributing to lower socio-economic families with lots of relatives and friends contributing. This is a good time to mention: you can add as many sponsors as you wish. They also added, in January 2014, a relationship with UNICEF so clients could donate a percentage of their cash-back savings to benefit this charity.

LOOKING FORWARD: We chatted about the business environment in France and what Martin-Rosset has lined up for 2015. Knowing France has had its challenges in change, I asked if it was easy in the beginning to sign on the banks. As to be expected in France, a country invested in maintaining tradition and traditional methods, it took about nine months to get a traditional bank on board compared to the online banks.

Martin-Rosset admitted, despite the past year's impressive efforts to help entrepreneurs and startups, starting a new company in France is hard. He spoke briefly about the size of the market in France versus the United States. (Here's an excellent review of the US vs France startup market/business.) Stating something I'd not considered, but see to be true, Martin-Rosset commented this generation is the first one that is very open to new business practices. He feels there still is competition between generations whereas in the U.S. it's easy to see several generations working together and accepting changing business and business models.

In terms of concrete developments in 2015, look for a much-needed website update, a mobile app (finally!) and other back-end developments for the site and proprietary technology.

COMPETITION: When asked if there were any other "cash back" programs like this in the world, Martin-Rosset cited Upromise (but which is a part of Sally Mae) and Kidstart in the UK. With an opportunity like this prime for the development, I asked him if they planned to expand into the US (and if I could help! ;))

Aside from having only two world-wide competitors, Capital Koala, isn't concerned about taking over and becoming a world-leader. Surprisingly, but refreshingly, they are simply focused on France with some ideas of later expanding into Spain and Germany.

NEXT BIG THING: Martin-Rosset's real interest lies in going offline. Eighty-five percent of all purchases in France are still brick-and-mortar sales. Martin-Rosset wants Capital Koala to be in the local boulangerie (bakery) as well as the (not an actual partner site!).

He's very keen on digital payment systems and seeing this incorporated more in the B-&-M stores. He's currently working on "things" in area. Martin-Rosset feels this will be the "judge year" for Bitcoin and new payment systems will be changing a lot in years to come.

While he sees a world of opportunities, he has no plans to sell Capital Koala, which is also refreshing. Working during the first wave of dot-com where that was the 2nd question everyone asked (the first being "what's your business?"), I'm encouraged to meet young entrepreneurs who want to own their business, grow it and remain independent. Martin-Rosset feels this is important for customers too, of which he may soon be one (he's getting married in the summer ;).

WINNING COMBO: Martin-Rosset is the best combination of entrepreneur for France, and his particular business, today. He had a personal need for the product he's now created, he is invested in his home, homeland, country, business and its future, and he understands his constituencies. He knows the struggles traditional banks have in quickly adopting these new ideas, he knows how commerçants are eager to exert themselves in this increasingly crowded marketplace, and he understands the French mentality around money. Unlike the commercialism-buy-buy-buy attitude in the United States, the French are used to saving, and especially saving for children. A conservative culture, they are a society that generally doesn't spend a lot, and lives within their means. (This can also be attributed to, perhaps, until recently there were no credit cards.)

With 800,000 babies being born each year, Martin-Rosset is correct in feeling that he has an unlimited supply of new clients. If he captures even 1% of these families, this client relationship has the potential to last 18 - 20 years. With numbers like these it's hard not to see a bright and enduring future for this win-win, feel-good, profit-sharing, home-grown enterprise!


- Lauréat de l'ID d'OR "Transformation Sociétale" du Grand Prix Innovation Digitale 2014
- Lauréat du S.C.O.P.S. 2013 de Paris-Dauphine Université dans la catégorie "Programmes relationnels / Fidélisation"
- Startup de l'année 2013 à l'Internet Managers Club
- IMC Award
- Prix du Grand Jury Made in ESCP 2012 "Les 5 plus belles Start-ups ESCP Europe", Prix du magazine L'Entreprise, Prix Paris Business Angels, Prix Regus, Prix CJE, Prix Kitinova
- Lauréat du concours Graines de Boss 2012
- Coup de ♥ du Jury de la Startup Academy 2012
- Lauréat du concours Neuilly Labs Nouveaux Médias 2012 (Ville de Neuilly sur Seine - Deloitte)
- Coup de ♥ du Jury du Trophée des startups numériques 2011 (Telecom Sud-Paris)
- Lauréat Scientipôle Initiatives 2011 (Région Île-de-France)
- Lauréat BPI Innovation (anciennement OSEO) en 2010
- Lauréat du Prix Innover Entreprendre 2010 de l'ESCP Europe (Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris)

Oh yes, about their name: As they explain on their website:
- "Capital" because they propose a new saving solution and because "it's Capital to prepare for the future."
- Koala because it's for children: a koala is sweet, soft, nice, and equipped with a marsupial pocket (like the kangaroos!) so it's a beautiful image to evoke a child's savings.
- Also: "Koala" is understood in all languages, and this sounds sufficiently "web", a little like the sites we know: "gOOgle", "yAHOo", "kOAla". Voilà! That's how "Capital Koala" is born, and that's it, you have already memorized @(*0*)@ ... (this is a smiley koala).

VIDEO INTERVIEW of Jean-Yves Bernard on Web-IT.TV, Télématin, France 2