The call for entries for the Digital Start-up Trophy 2022 It’s open until October 17th. We interviewed former winners who participated in this IMT Starter incubator initiative. Back in three questions about the adventure experienced by Beekast, Holivia, PacketAI and Silex France.
1. What benefits do you see in winning the “Digital Start-up Trophy”?
- An acceleration of our roadmap, networking with the right contacts and financing through honorary loans (Beekast).
- Financing through an outstanding loan of 1Time fundraising, developing our reputation and network; and the help of a board every three months to establish our strategy (Holivia).
- High quality support from two experienced entrepreneurs and the IMT Starter team; accounting and legal services; and finally notoriety (especially in the press), which allowed us to win the first PoCs (PacketAI).
- High quality mentorship with comprehensive support and strategic committees formed by independent experts. On the practical side, shared facilities for more than two years (Silex France).
2. What are the main difficulties that a company as young as yours has encountered?
- Finance, hire the first customers, recruit the first employees and find the right Product Market Fit (Beekast).
- Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with tight budgets to fully understand the needs of our customers, test the solution and start the first sales to then build trust with other customers and have a sufficient mass of contracts to achieve fundraising. Doing all this with a team of three and small budgets is quite a challenge! (Holivia)
- Meet potential clients, introduce yourself to investment funds, know the right business networks, essential to meet other leaders and startups like us (PacketAI).
“The first years of creating a start-up are particularly challenging and risky. The IMT Starter incubator provided us with fundamental support to overcome ourselves and offer us a structure to develop with serenity. »
Quentin Fournela, co-founder and managing director of Silex France
3. What advice would you give to young candidates starting out in entrepreneurship?
- Get good support, be lean and agile, watch your expenses carefully, be impactful and concise about your value proposition, and hit hard. The quote from Mohamed Ali sums up this state of mind well: Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee and go bang” (Beekast).
- Dare to start, apply Eric Ries’ “Lean Startup” methodology to the letter. 99% of start-ups pivot after a few months, the goal is to iterate quickly, fail and learn as quickly as possible, do the simplest things possible that allow you to understand the needs, the market, define your MVP. And above all, be tenacious, it’s a marathon! (Holivia)
- If you believe in something, go for it and don’t be afraid of anything! Try to establish a relationship with a mentor/veteran in your industry that you can turn to for support and guidance. It is very important to be surrounded by the right people (PacketAI).
- The speed of execution in the creation phase and until reaching the critical size is essential: it is therefore necessary to find all the means to go faster (Silex France).
Grand Prix Winner “Digital Start-up Trophy 2014”
Beekast is a web platform that daily supports companies in the creation, animation and monitoring of their meetings and training.
- Creation: 2015
- Founder: Yassine Chabli
- Turnover: several million euros
- Team: about fifty people
- Fundraising: more than 8 million euros accumulated
- 2 million users and 1,200 corporate customers in over 30 countries
- Partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom
Winner of the “Health” category of the “Digital Start-up Trophy 2020”
holivia offers solution to the problem of employee mental well-being based on human support and behavioral sciences.
- Creation: 2021
- Co-founder and CEO: Jérôme Crest
- A team based in Marseille and Montpellier
- Fundraising: €2 million in early 2022
- The start-up supports more than 10,000 employees in France. Until 2024, aim 100,000 qualified employees for your service and 150 customers (including Dalkia, Spie, Kedge, etc.).
Grand Prix Winner “Digital Start-up Trophy 2018”
PacketAI offers a solution to help IT teams predict and resolve IT incidents before they affect users.
- Creation: 2018
- Co-founder and CEO: Hardik Thakkar
- Fundraising: 2 million euros from VCs
- Team: about ten engineers and researchers
- Several customers in France and soon in Europe.
SILEX France sheet
finalist of “Digital Start-up Trophy 2014”
Silex France is a cognitive sourcing solution that supports private and public organizations in the digitization of their sourcing system.
- Creation: 2014
- Co-founder and CEO: Quentin Fournela
- Team: about thirty people
- Nearly 70 large customers deployed (including AXA, Vinci, Ministry of the Armed Forces and Brittany region)