10 years after the Pigeons, Jean-David Chamboredon takes stock of the French startup ecosystem

Ten years ago, Jean-David Chamboredon was interviewed by our colleagues at La Tribune about the 2013 finance law, whose ambition was to tax more than 60% of capital gains on disposal. For him, this meant the death knell of an ecosystem still in its infancy: β€œ Once taxed at over 60%, there would no longer be a single business angel to invest directly in. “, he explains.

During this interview, Jean-David Chamboredon then explains the fact that there are two types of shareholders: β€œ There is the host shareholder who receives dividends from a large group and there is the business angel who, one day, obtains capital gains because he invested ten years ago in a start-up where he could have lost everything. πŸ‡§πŸ‡·

To go further on the subject and go beyond the counter-arguments of the journalist responsible for the interview, Jean-David Chamboredon then proposed to the direction of the the gallery πŸ‡§πŸ‡· If you want, I write a forum to explain what I think “. He then spent the night in front of his computer defining the words that would become the basis of the pigeon movement.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· It worked because it was completely unexpectedcomment today. It wasn’t promoted and it didn’t work… It hit the nail on the head because it came from the heart. It was really a cry of alarm about an ecosystem I know all too well.”

Once published, the text written in one night echoes in the community of entrepreneurs and business angels across the country. Les Pigeons is therefore one of the first fiscal-heavy moves in France that will bring its share of revelations.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· First, it proved to the government that a business ecosystem existed and that it was different from the traditional economy.releases Jean-David Chamboredon. That he wasn’t financed with debt, but with capital πŸ‡§πŸ‡·

This moment marks the birth of French Tech under the impulse of a Fleur Pellerin who sees the rise of this movement.

10 years later

It’s almost hard to believe how much the startup ecosystem has evolved over the past decade. Jean-David Chamboredon, however, remembers the context of the time very well.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· In 2013, France is not on the tech world map… or it’s a subprefecture, but it’s certainly not a capital. I remember my American comrades who came to Europe: obviously they went to London, to Berlin, to Stockholm. But they didn’t come to France. They regarded Paris as a communist city where everything is taxed at 75% and where there is no good company other than BusinessObjects at Dassault SystΓ¨mes in the 1990s.” It took ten years to permanently erase this image from our ecosystem.

Jean-David Chamboredon points out several events that made us move into this new era. The first is called Criteo and stood out with its IPO and the second Blablacar, which carried out three successive rounds of fundraising with large Anglo-Saxon funds.

For the CEO of ISAI, these are the first two real French unicorns, the previous ones not having carried out a capital increase to reach the billion euros. These events would thus have whetted the Anglo-Saxons’ appetite for France, who saw in it, at last, a market where it was possible to make money. In 2022, France lists 26 unicorns.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Today, we have an ecosystem in a similar format to our competitors… we look like a small New York, a small London or a large Berlin πŸ‡§πŸ‡·

Towards new challenges for this ecosystem

But this new stage is not without its share of new challenges to be faced.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· As long as we didn’t have capital, insists Jean-David Chamboredon. As much today as talent with experience is lacking. By definition, the people who were there ten years ago are not many. We therefore have an ecosystem that is still extremely young, with a lot of creativity, energy, ambition, but also, at times, a lack of experience that can lead companies to find it difficult to overcome the glass ceiling. Taking a company from 1 to 10 million is not the same as taking a company from 10 to 100 million and it is not necessarily the same talents and the same skills.”

The other novelty is the retraction of the market, which ended the exuberance that could prevail among some entrepreneurs. πŸ‡§πŸ‡· This puts all entrepreneurs back on a slightly healthier path of controlled growth, of growth that can lead to mature patterns of profitability. Because great companies are not those that do growth and losses forever, they are companies that lose out to reach a certain size, and one day become sustainable with profitable business models. All French entrepreneurs are therefore revising their economic model and revising the cost of their growth to try to optimize their model precisely so that growth costs them a little less in capital. Because capital has been much more expensive in recent months. πŸ‡§πŸ‡·

Jean-David Chamboredon opts for the positive dimension that will emerge from the current period, where entrepreneurs will focus on their profitability.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Many people in this ecosystem have only experienced this high cycle. (Editor’s Note: Uptrend market). But this is not real life. The real economic life is that there are ups and downs. There are cycles, there are crises. There are moments with the wind at your back. And then there’s the headwind. And then, a whole generation of entrepreneurs, but also investors, is learning what it’s like to sail when you have headwinds. And to be a good sailor, you have to know how to sail when the wind is ahead. πŸ‡§πŸ‡·

Great stories take time

If the period proves to be more difficult for entrepreneurs, you may be better able to prepare them and welcome the good weather ahead.

Jean-David Chamboredon presents the situation differently: β€œ If we give 1,000 euros to an eight-year-old, there is a good chance that this child is spoiled and not necessarily a good manager. If he receives 20 euros, he is likely to become a better manager. Startups are the same, it is necessary to start with little money so that they are smart in the way they invest their euros and find smart tricks to differentiate themselves.”

This is how an Airbnb was built, over many difficult years. Similarly for Blablacar between 2006 and 2009:

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· During this period, Fred (NDA: Mazzella) eat pasta… and no parmesan. But when you’re into something really new, this hyper-growth requirement isn’t necessarily essential initially. Only when the idea is demonstrated and you want to conquer the world quickly, venture capital is the only way πŸ‡§πŸ‡·

Jean-David Chamboredon advocates a slow-start model, with the model that a truly original idea will never take off at full speed.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Great stories take time “, remember.

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