FrenchTech and FrenchTouch (english version). Conversation with BeautyTech entrepreneurs in Paris
The first @BeautyTechParis meeting took place May 24. Conversation with the new French Champions in the Beauty and Fashion industries.
The first @BeautyTechParis meeting was hosted by @50partners: 100 people were present including mostly entrepreneurs.
The @BeautyTechSF community founded by Odile Roujol in San Francisco brings together more than 400 founders of beauty and fashion startups, leveraging new technologies, from early stage to growth stage, and investors.
The idea is simple: entrepreneurs share their experience and learnings with other entrepreneurs.Three events have just taken place in Tokyo, Seoul and NY.
Paris, capital of fashion, global brands of luxury and beauty, radiates throughout the world. Paris embodies the “FrenchTouch” but also the “FrenchTech”. The French ecosystem has all the assets to succeed.
Let’s go back to the highlights of the 3 Panels, and to change by the last one. The community is growing, with more bridges between Us and France. Join the conversation on social networks and attend the next meeting to be held in Paris within 6 months (with our sincere apologies to the 40 people who remained on the waiting list as full meeting this time).
“Founders panel”. From early stage to series A, some tips for growing your business.
François Meteyer puts forward how lucky we are to have 5 founders sharing their story and business model.The diversity of profiles is one of the strengths of the French ecosystem: self-taught, literary, engineers, business schools …
Ralph Mansour has founded LE CLOSET shortly after the end of his studies in Civil engineering. He started his professional life with a brief interlude in a consutling firm. He launched LE CLOSET in 2014 at 25 years old with his partner Quentin Hayot also an engineer.
Charlotte Cadé, 30, founder of Selency.com. As a design lover, she decided to create a new brand online to help people getting out of standardized home decoration. The startup started 3 years ago. Selency is the leading marketplace in Europe to curate everyday hundreds of unique furniture and home decor accessories. Selency has now more than 7.000 dealers, 80.000 unique items, more than 500 news in everyday and 1 million visits.
Ilan Koskas has worked at Pixmania helping global retailers (Celio, Carrefour ..) in their digital transformation. Ilan discovered, thanks to his wife, who had just launched her beauty salon, a sector that resonates with him, the wellness market. He decided to co-found FlexyBeauty to empower salons. Flexybeauty platform helps them to monitor their business profitability still focusing on the customer experience and their passion as hairstylists.
In 2015, Carole Juge founded Mommyville, the first social network that connects future and young parents. Passionate about a target she knows on the tip of her fingers, animated by a desire to facilitate the life of the «modern parent», Carole then created JOONE to offer parents quality products, made in France, in transparency, kindness and positive business.
François Meteyer started his career in technologies and Internet in 2010 in the Strategy & Innovation department at Vivendi. François then worked with HEC Group to foster entrepreneurship and advise alumni founding teams. He joined Alven in 2015 as Investment Director and is particularly interested in young disruptive brands offering mobile consumer services for Millennials and vertical B2B AI-driven platforms.
These entrepreneurs all have a mission on earth: to change people’s lives, to have a positive impact on our environment.Isabelle talks about trust and personalized advice with her network of beauty stylists, who accompanies the client on the platform and can also be independent and grow their own business with flexibility. The idea is also not to throw pots of cream before using it completely: adapted products avoids this mess, allowing customers to play a responsible role.Ilan recalls that his solution allows independent hairdressers to stay and grow their business, his personal story is also to have wanted to help his wife owner of a salon.
Carole defends the values of radical transparency. She is proud to animate a community of parents, to limit the carbon footprint vs large groups with her “made in France” and to talk about traceability of materials. She also ensures that her skincare products also exist without pumps to push parents to reuse the same.
Ralph educates the fashion market to rent: if 50% of our clothes in our dressing are worn only 2 times, we have a role to play as customers vs this excessive consumption. It’s environmentally friendly, limiting the carbon footprint. It is also more practical, with less storage, and a different experience.
Charlotte reminds us that she wants for all her customers a ‘cozy home’ with a decoration that looks like them, and that her business is in the circular economy, limiting the environmental impact since the objects design and furniture are used several times and have many lives.
Their new business models, their technology and their experience the customer. Inspiration:
- Ilan emphasizes the strength of the platform for independent hairdressers facing big chains: making appointments, online agenda management, it is a software solution all in 1. It helps them to digitize.
- Carole is in D2C, she has a model for baby diapers but everything leads to think that she creates a real relationship of trust with moms, and it will be simple to go to beauty (milks, care …)
.- Isabelle is on personalized beauty, her Beauty Affinity technology allows customers to feel, test. It’s not just data, the beauty stylists are there to accompany the client.
- Ralph is a subscription clothing rental service. He does not hesitate to take inspiration from major American platforms like the Tote, Rent the Runaway, but also Stitchfix. His priority is to find customers who are precursors and turn them into ambassadors for the brand.
The rental of clothing is a new use, it is necessary educate people to see why it’s better.
- Charlotte has founded the first online brocante platform community. The positive values of the community are part of its DNA, it saves time for customers who avoid making flea markets before finding the rare item they were looking for.
A unique voice, the one of the Founder: what Culture and Brand ( Brand)?
Francois Meteyer recalls, the role of the founder is to inspire.
Carole speaks of love and a committed community and super fan of products.
Charlotte talks about management participatory, ready to “scale”, recruit and integrate employees sharing the same values.
Ilan emphasizes that the difference with his 1st company and the current one is he’s having fun working on a subject that fascinates him.
Isabelle speaks about transparency, She shares as much information as possible with the beauty stylists (even if they are not employees), it is the strength of the startup.
Ralph puts forward the reliability to satisfy the customer: Responding and delivering on time is part of the trust created over time.
Entrepreneurial life is hectic, friendly advice to last?
Ralph puts on Sundays when he sees friends his mobile in airplane mode.
Carole has two children and makes great disconnected weekends to be with them. Charlotte has founded her company with her partner in life, they talk about their startup every day, but also take care of quiet moments.
Carole summarizes: eat well, sleep well, play sports!
A few advice for other founders.
Choose your investors well!
- Fundraising: warning, do due diligence on the investment partners
- Charlotte: ‘push the doors and dare’, she tells her first raising with business angels found by a short mail on linked in with a systematic approach to find those in affinity with their project. She has since been backed by Accel.
- Carole talks about her previous failure not having enough information on the investment fund. We must share the same values.
- Ilan chose his last investor not just on the “term sheet” but on the shared values and the vision of the company if it scales as expected.
- François to the question about corporate ventures and large groups: avoid them in your capital table if you want to talk to VCs: a large group in equity can limit possible exits, so yes if revenues and use cases, be aware of the the risk you take if investors.
- And a simple advice to remember:
- Carole: “it’s cool now to be entrepreneurs, do not forget it is a hard job, which requires a lot energy and resilience, choose it for the right reasons, because it’s your vocation.
Ilan and Isabelle come back on their first failure and say that being an entrepreneur is a passion, it is also necessary to be well surrounded.
Charlotte says “trust you, and be sincere with yourselves.”
Let’s now get to the first panel Odile Nelly Laure: San Francisco / Paris, Silicon Valley / France. Two different ecosystems that can learn from each other .
Laure Bouguen, 26, founder of HO KARAN
Laure has known since childhood the health benefits of hemp (cannabis sativa variety), as her grand-parents grew it in Bretagne (France).
Surrounded with a pharmacy researcher an agronomist and a producer from her region, she launched end 2017 HO KARAN, the first French brand of well-being with cannabis.
Accelerated by Sephora and L’Oréal, the brand is already distributed in the 90 Nature & Découvertes stores in France and by Birchbox.
Nelly Pitt is the founder and inventor of BeautyMix, a complete hardware and software solution empowering people to make their own personalized natural cosmetics at home. Nelly started making her own beauty products as she could not find commercial products that suited her very sensitive skin. Amazed by the quality of the homemade products, she decided to make this solution accessible to all. Nelly is a graduate from Stanford University and Ecole Polytechnique, and pursued a successful career around the world in a large environmental organization. This international exposure helped her develop some of the traits crucial to entrepreneurship: a sound scientific background from France, pragmatism – and ambition – from the United States, swift execution capability from China, rigorous quality management from Australia, and a taste for business tactics from the Middle East. Mother of three, she also developed the patience and resilience required by entrepreneurship ;-)
Entrepreneurs have a mission on earth, as heard by the panel above. A community is the foundation of any successful startup in this era of transparency and experience sharing in real time.
The entrepreneurs / founders speak to users / customers who share the same interests, are passionate about the same topics.
Beyond the product and services, it requires brands to have an original and unique voice and beliefs and values. This trend is also the “self expression”: I take care of myself and my appearance to make me happy and realize myself, not just for others. And by extension the customization of products.
The natural tendency is there to last, in the same way that one inquires about the ingredients which one feeds, to understand what one puts on the skin or the hair becomes vital.The small brands have a clear advantage vs the big groups on the messages: traceability of the ingredients, but also their mission on earth, a speech / a “story telling” clear and authentic.
And it is easy now to produce high quality formulas, test them, and put them on the market quickly, the barriers to entry of production, distribution and media have disappeared.
AI (artificial intelligence), data, AR (augmented reality), computer vision, social media analytics are technological waves that will allow platforms and brands in D2C to “scaler” very quickly, sending the right messages to the right people at the right time, and creating a lasting relationship of trust with their community.
What is the difference between Silicon Valley and France?
French have a know-how and an image of a lifestyle. Paris is the capital of a healthy ecosystem in rapid evolution. 🇫🇷
Nelly comes from Chartres and the Cosmetic Valley. Laure lives in Nantes. Nelly is an engineer and a graduate in literature.
Weakness in France 🇫🇷 : the difficulty according to Laure to find fundings if we are not “tech first”.
For Odile, the strength of Silicon Valley is meetings and meetups: academics, entrepreneurs, business angels and VCs spend time together, chat on the phone or grab a coffee, even with competitors. We all know that an idea is nothing without execution. So the pace of development is fast.The funds are actually there, but with a concentration of VCs and private equities investments on the target of startups generating 5 million revenue or more.
Entrepreneurs before are focused on business angels bringing expertise in addition to their investment.Questioned by the huge amounts invested for the acquisition of certain brands in the last two years, the tier 1 VCs all come to name a “female partner” whose priority is the consumer goods, D2C, the platforms, and therefore the beauty and the fashion.
To be followed, as this should create new actors and champions of beauty and fashion in the coming years, becoming global quickly helped by new technologies and consequent investments.
LEARNING OF 2 SERIAL ENTREPRENEURS
Let’s now listen to two accomplished entrepreneurs. Tatiana Jama, a woman in tech ( Chatbots) and Xavier Chauvin, a new retailer ( marketplace).
Tatiana Jama launched Selectionnist a visual recognition mobile application allowing a photo to recognize any product present on an image and in particular any product present in a magazine (the “ shazam “magazines). In 2017, Tatiana launches with Lara Rouyres — visualbot.ai
Xavier Romain looks back on 10 years of BeautePrivee. First, it has been supported by business angels providing expertise.The combination with ShowRoom Privé is in this continuity and of course brings synergies that weigh both actors about 200 million on the beauty and thus making a serious player.Having smartly raised the right amount, vs competitors having raised massively and frontally, allowed him to finally emerge in the long term.
Xavier is for the sharing of good practices because everything is in the execution. For him, we must be inspired by the Anglo-Saxon model to move from the idea to the business plan quickly.
Tatiana recalls that one must always be well surrounded, and mentions her co-founder for Selectionnist and now VisualAI. After having been backed by business angels, she has now a family office and private equity in her capital table and is satisfied with the dynamic created. She is in a strong competitive race on the conversational wave and needs to scale if she wants to be an international player.
Her partnership with the brands helps her to go further, she mentions L’Oreal as a group who signed with her solution.
She is herself a business angel, she is in the culture of “pay forward” and “give back” practiced in the Silicon Valley: share her experience and sometimes invest in start-ups to help them to grow.
A warm thank you to everyone for your participation! Thanks @50partners for hosting us with Jérôme Masurel and for some great photos, Astrid Taupin for the recording of the panels, and Virginie for having managed the lists so nicely.See you soon,
Back in San Francisco and proud La French Tech ambassador