The Rosa project led by Sébastien Deletaille took the form of an ASBL. A formula far from the classic stereotypes of technology startups characterized by fundraising for resale and added value for their shareholders and founders. Because?
To get people talking about them, tech startups often communicate about their fundraising. These values captured from investors who believe in their ability to grow and, why not, change the world, have long been considered (often wrongly) as important milestones, signs of potential success (in formation).
To get people talking about them, tech startups often communicate about their fundraising. These values captured from investors who believe in their ability to grow and, why not, change the world, have long been considered (often wrongly) as important milestones, signs of potential success (in formation). For founders and early-stage investors, fundraising effectively means increasing the value of your equity stake. However, the dream path for many tech entrepreneurs consists of rapid growth of their product, a series of fundraisers to increase the value of their company, and then a resale. Many also accept to receive little at the beginning, in the expectation of a return at the time of funding and especially an exit. Inevitably, this well-known trajectory only works with a commercial company whose capital is held by shareholders. Not for an ASBL, for example, that has no capital. However, it is in fact this status that has endorsed Rosa, the project launched by Sébastien Deletaille, an entrepreneur known for having launched Real Impact Analytics, a Brussels start-up specializing in big data telecommunications. Rose’s goal? Become the first Belgian healthcare app that offers a starting point for many services, starting with booking appointments with healthcare professionals and hospitals. While Rosa’s ASBL status has not been hidden in any way for two years, no one was really surprised by this information, shared here and there according to the articles, including recently when Rosa bought the Flemish company Umbi to accelerate her growth with hospitals. . A non-profit tech organization run by a start-up founder known for his strong growth ambition with this company that raised 12 million in 2016 from the Fortino fund…, the concept is astounding. How, indeed, could an ASBL imagine raising funds, being valued, or even resold, to remunerate founders and shareholders? “We are in a totally different scheme, specifies Sébastien Deletaille from the beginning, which talks about social entrepreneurship. When launching Rosa, we asked ourselves the legal form of the structure and concluded that it was difficult to have a corporate name d’être in a commercial legal form. .” Not to mention that Rosa’s creation was not made in the back of a (future) start-up garage among friends who dreamed of changing the world. “I met Sébastien as part of his Data For Good initiative,” recalls Alex Parisel, managing director of Partenamut mutual society. And as our discussions progressed, we talked about the holy grail of a mutual organization: the healthcare app that bridges the gap between patients and professionals in the sector. As we believe that health is a common good and we want to prevent this type of app from being developed by Gafa, the idea was born…” It is, therefore, within Partenamut that Rosa was born. It was immediately imagined that the product should be free for patients and that the project would require resources. However, Partenamut has a fund that supports innovation: Partena Promeris. And the world of mutual funds is built around ASBLs. It is therefore very natural that this legal status was chosen for Rosa. “Which does not mean at all that we should be part of a less qualitative development scheme, carried out by volunteers and without means, insists Alex Parisel. In this sense, a technology entrepreneur like Sébastien Deletaille brings the right reflexes to this goal. And the structure of the non-profit organization brings the long-term social vision.” It is also interesting to note that the founders of ASBL come from the Partena galaxy and that Sébastien Deletaille is not part of it as a founding member, but appears as a legal representative of the ASBL, as CEO. “It is still a founding member in the same way as Partena”, insists Alex Parisel. The choice of ASBL is, moreover, not negligible in the health sector. is a sector where there is a real opposition between the market and the non-market, observes Sébastien Deletaille. And we see the desire on the part of professionals, institutions and the regulator to see the emergence of non-profit actors. capital is eliminated. There is no shareholding and what remains is the mission of society.” For Rosa, it’s about using digital technology to improve access to healthcare, increase prevention, and therefore, ultimately, improve people’s health. Not just for Partenamut members, but for all Belgians. This mission is measured by very precise but adapted KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Rosa’s managers do not look first at the “start-up/ASBL” income, but at other elements that allow them to determine the interest of their project and the impact it has on users. “At Rosa, the first metric is not recurring revenue,” says Sébastien Deletaille. It’s the number of users correlated with the number of institutions and healthcare professionals that use us, the number of interactions with patients, the number of consultations performed, your frequency, etc. That’s what I’m evaluated on as a CEO.” In terms of financing, in addition to the beginnings of the revenues generated by some of Rosa’s services, all developments are currently financed by Partena Promeris for the last two years. And probably for at least another five years. Alex Parisel does not reveal the values intended for Rosa. However, he specifies that his mutual fund allocates annually between 3 and 5% of the 100 million euros of supplementary insurance income of its members to finance innovations, including Rosa, which today employs around forty people. Without necessarily expecting any return other than social impact, ASBL cannot, in fact, be resold.