Review of This Week in Startups Paris Meetup

Last Tuesday I had the priviledge of hosting the first This Week in Startups Paris Meetup. The concept of the evening is a pitch session of local startups in different cities around the world. The winner of each city then gets the opportunity to pitch Jason Calacanis live on the This Week in Startups webcast.

We had seven great pitches and three of them are particulary interesting for this blog here, but lets start at the beginning.

First  of all I have to say that I am truly amazed by the Parisian startup community. Between the announcement that I would organize the event and the event itself was only about a week time. The event sold out in about two days and the news spread like wildfire over Twitter.

The awesome team at Lingueo was so kind to host us at their offices near Gare de l’Est and we had about 40 people attending. A good mix of startup entrepreneurs, business angles and startup consultants as well as some university people. As you know I love to cook (if not check out http://mybrittany.info) and I used to have a catering service back in the days in Berlin during my studies. Hence I prepared a small buffet with snacks and everyone who attended had to bring either something to drink and / or eat. Worked out pretty well and in the end we had a really great collection of wine to choose from ;).

Coming to the pitches we had Appoke which is a social marketplace for Android where you get recommendations of friends that help you to choose the best app for your Android phone, Submate an application that helps to connect with people who have the same way to commute every day so that you can build up relationships that way, Mail For Good that enables you to support a non profit of your choice by displaying an adverstisement of a socially responsible company at the bottom of your email and Tumbup which is a decision / recommendation engine on your mobile phone that recommends movies, music, restaurants and more that can be interesting to you by analyzing your social graph.

You can watch all those pitches on our TWiST Paris Meetup blog, the link is below this post.

The three pitches I would like to focus on here are of course from the educational sector. The first one is from an early stage startup called Beansight.

I think this is a pretty interesting concept as this is one of the reason why many people have a blog or vlog. To basically write down their predictions of the future. One great example of this is Clay Shirky who gets more and more attention these days as he pretty accurately predicted the downturn of the classic print industry. And isn’t that how we most likely define an expert, on a series of predictions that became reality over time? I will definitely do an EDUKWEST with Guillaume as I think this is a really interesting concept.

The second educational startup needs no further introduction: Lingueo was pitched by Arnaud Portanelli.

The most interesting part for me was the question of the audience about French teachers from Romania (the discussion was also in French). The question was what Lingueo is doing against price dumping and if they allow non French native teachers to teach French on the platform. Here in France we have a big community of Romanians who all speak French very well and who are currently taking over the construction services sector. Arnaud said that the minimum fee on Lingueo is 10 Euro per hour but if a teacher from Romania decides to offer French lessons on Lingueo and he / she passes the quality test of the platform there would be no reason to not allow this. I am also currently writing a blog post about this issue so it was particulary interesting for me to hear his take on that as it is an increasing trend many education companies have to face. .

The third company was Yoocasa. I already interviewed Axel Cateland, the founder, on EDUKWEST back in April and hence knew about his startup and personally invited him to pitch. At first he was not really convinced but in the end I got him to present his company.

And apparently my feeling was right. Axel won the session in Paris and then got the opportunity to pich Jason Calacanis live on This Week in Startups.

After this pitch and the great feedback of Jason we went on for the networking part and totally forgot about the final decision he had to take: who would be the overall winner of the evening. So one day later, after the video was uploaded on the ThisWeekIn.com website we learned that Yoocasa almost won the global meetup!

Hence, if you are an investor and look for a promising startup to invest in: Yoocasa is currently open for funding.

All in all a great evening. I received lots of positive feedback and support from the community and therefore I am looking forward to the next This Week in Startups Paris Meetup at the end of September.

Related Links:

  1. This Week in Startups Episode #65
  2. TWiST Paris Website
  3. EDUKWEST Interview with Axel Cateland