Le mouvement Startup Weekend prends une belle envolée ces derniers mois en France. Des villes telles que Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux et j’en passe ont déjà organisé un ou plusieurs Startup Weekend.

J’ai d’ailleurs participé au SWPA3 (Startup Weekend Paris 3), voir à ce sujet mon article nommé “Let’s fucking do it” sur le sujet.

Faisant depuis quelques années déjà la promotion des startups et de l’entrepreneuriat d’une manière générale à Strasbourg et en Alsace, c’est assez naturellement que j’ai eu envie de monter un événement de type Startup Weekend à Strasbourg.

J’ai donc monté un projet dont les partenaires seraient les membres de mon réseau actuel : l’ENSIIE (où j’interviens justement sur un module appelé “Stratégie des Startups”), l’Exia CESI (où j’interviens également), Alsace Digitale (dont je suis membre fondateur et qui promeut un projet de Cantine à Strasbourg) et le CJD (dont je suis membre). Sans compter quelques amis comme Justine, Stéphane ou Thomas. Bref, un projet plutôt teinté “ingénieurs/entrepreneurs”. Nous sommes tous adeptes des méthodes de management à la Team Academy : équipe auto-organisée, grande liberté d’action, confiance et respect entre les membres de l’équipe.

Nous avons rencontré dernièrement une autre équipe qui se propose d’organiser un Startup Weekend Strasbourg. L’équipe est composée essentiellement d’étudiants et d’anciens de l’EM Strasbourg (Ecole de Management de Strasbourg). Bref, je dirais un projet plutôt teinté “managers”. Leur leader nous a expliqué son point de vue : il y a un chef, tout passe par lui et les autres membres de l’équipe doivent respecter les règles.

Autant dire que ça a un peu été le choc des cultures et que les premiers contacts ont été un peu douloureux ! Même si ça ressemble à cet affrontement séculaire entre ingénieurs et managers, on connaît vos attentes fortes par rapport au SWXSB et on est en train de monter ensemble un projet d’une belle envergure !

On devrait d’ailleurs bientôt vous annoncer une date définitive pour ce premier Startup Weekend Strasbourg !


I love to speak at technical events (or social events if you prefer), to share my knowledge (or better “our” knowledge, as I learn many things with the Novelys Team).

Usually, I host my presentations on slideshare (you can check all of them on the Novelys slideshare account).

I’m happy to announce that we have now 3 presentations that passed the 1000 views mark (or nearly).

“Long Polling with EventMachine” was recently highlighted as we opensourced Cockatoo, a simple chat server.

“Ruby et MongoDB dans la pratique”, Ruby and MongoDB in practice, was presented at MongoFR, the french conference on MongoDB.

“NoSQL” was presented during a “Last Thursday”, a monthly gathering of tech geeks here in Strasbourg.


The energy and the enthusiasm at the last Startup Weekend Paris reminds me about the “1 idea per month” program I invented in the early days of Novelys.

The concept is very simple : everybody has tons of ideas every day. But usually you forget them or you say to yourself “maybe I’ll take care of it later”. That’s called procrastination. That’s why “1 idea per month” is born.

You take 1 idea and you take car of it during 1 month. You raise it. You grow it. Until it’s testable by others. A kind of Startup Weekend but during 1 month. The key concept is to constantly push the idea in the corner.

I will revive “1 idea per month”, starting next month. You can expect something testable at the end of November. Or, at least, I hope so 🙂 Of course, feel free to join me !


“Let’s fucking do it” could have been the motto of the past week-end at Startup Weekend Paris. I’m really amazed at how much work has been done in our team during this week end and how much energy has been burnt 🙂

Qualifeed

So, we released Qualifeed yesterday. In this really really early version, Qualifeed will help you “master your top tweets”: you will get the list of your 10 top tweets based on their actual audience (your followers + the followers of your retweeters). Also, we’ll calculate for you a “Qualifeed score” based on the impact of some actions (if the users have clicked your included bitly URL for example).
As a bonus, you will also get :

  • a pretty graph showing the evolution of your followers
  • a Facebook integration allowing Qualifeed to track the evolution of your fans on some of your pages

Grand vision

Unfortunately, the final pitch didn’t work so well for us, but here is the Grand Vision of Qualifeed.
There are a number of websites already positionned on the “Twitter statistics” stuff (Klout.com or twitteranalyzer.com for example). Maybe we’ll add this kind of number computations or graphs in the future but it’s not our core business. Our core business is about helping companies, politics and community managers in their search of what’s working and what’s not, and, help them track the creation of value based on their social activity.

Our vision is to provide solutions of Social Influence Management and Social Influence Optimization to help trademarks, community managers, politicians, etc. to measure and continuously improve the ROI (Return of Investissement) of their social campaigns. The first step will be to provide a Social Activity Dashboard for our targeting customers.

Future ?

We’re currently discussing who will continue on the project and who will not. And also, how to reach some VCs and Business Angels. In the meantime, we’ll continue consolidating the actual app and its infrastructure (which had some scaling problems yesterday night, please excuse us).

I really want to thank all my teammates that made this week end a fabulous experience. I hardly recommend to anybody who is interesting in the startup world to participate to a Startup Weekend. There are several around the globe and I will certainly organize one in Strasbourg early 2011.

Tech note for the geeks

Qualifeed has been developped with Ruby on Rails and MongoDB. It has helped us make a webapp a reality in a week end and it helped us save a lot of sleeping hours.

Qualifeed team aka 12 angry men (and girls) :
Justine Adam @toutielicious
Capucine Surrel @supercapu
Brice Argenson @bargenson
Nicolas Blanco @slainer68
Jerome Etienne @jerome_etienne
Nicolas Hennion @nicolashennion
Yann Klis (me!) @yannski
Florent Merian @fmerian
Camille Roux @camilleroux
Matthieu Segret @MatthieuSegret
Quentin Tousart @quentin_t
Sylvain Theveniaud @JOBPass


I’m currently at Startup Weekend Paris (#swpa on twitter). For those who haven’t heard of this concept before, it’s very simple : you have 54 hours to create a new company. The event is structured in phases :

  1. first phase: anybody can pitch a project (1 minute)
  2. second phase: everybody can vote for his favorite project (we can vote for 3 different projets)
  3. third phase: the 10 (or something like that) most voted projects are kept and the teams are formed
  4. fourth phase: the real work begin for the weekend!

Below you will find my notes on the 46 (!) projects that were pitched (in french, sorry) :
#1 streaming live événèments sportifs. Mais je choisis mon commentateur
#2 submate me-too
#3 from Vienna. International project. Offer information about you will buy some food. 150k€ funding.
#4 super fête. mariage. plein de photos partout. AfterTheWeekend. Pour la fin des WE ratés où il n’y a pas de photos.
#5 tracker ses activités sportives. Heia Heia me-too. != Skimble (?)
#6 Chatroulette clean. Chatroulette + HotOrNot.
#7 Food Social Club. Food club. (Super-marmite me-too ?) (Super-marmite + Lepotiron ?)
#8 Adebo. Aggrégation et partage de contacts en ligne. Silentale me-too.
#9 tracker mes dépenses. analyse des extraits de compte.
#10 vendre des anti-virus pour mobiles.
#11 recruter des experts dans d’autres domaines que le mien. “Comme louer escort girl mais pour cerveau”.
#12 impossible de trouver une baby sitter. Groupon pour les parents.
#13 Smart. Plate-forme de coachs personnels.
#14 Ruby on Rails. Orthographe des jeunes laissent à désirer. Faire un site communautaire de correction de texte.
#15 Quentin T. Vendre aux ecommerçants des recommendations sociales. Emerchandising social.
#16 Où est-ce que je vais boire un coup/manger avec mes potes?
#17 Breizh Mobile. Breizh Cola. BreizhBook.
#18 Reputeo. Ereputation hotel, restaurant. Moment où elle paye on tend un iPad. Livre d’or numérique. Vendre les datas à Foursquare, CityVox, etc.
#19 Important is the Team. PhD Parallel Programming -> startup
#20 Bière. Savoir quelle bière dans quel bar est disponible.
#21 Vide grenier online. Valeur du marché d’occasion.
#22 Neara. Le proche plus proche. Commerce de proximité nous. Gardien d’immeuble lien entre nous et commerçants locaux.
#23 Pas de taxi dispo. Demandes de taxi géolocalisé. Rapprocher le service du client.
#24 WiFi + Sandwich. Which Company. Concours ludique entre entreprise.
#25 PhD. My Patterns. Notation pour les développeurs.
#26 Camille Roux. Est-ce que mes tweets intéressent vos utilisateurs ? Quelles sont les horaires qui favorisent la lecture de vos tweets ?
#27 Secure Timer !!!!!!!!! Un soft pour m’aider à gérer mes time slots.
#28 Soft pour nous définir. Portrait chinois. Rapprochement de portrait chinois.
#29 Simplifier comment les gens trouvent leur logement. Là où on bosse. Là où on a nos centres d’intérêts. Là où on mange. Optimiser mes temps de transport.
#30 Réseaux sociaux. De plus en plus d’hommes politiques, de bloggeurs influents. Statistiques de leurs comptes Twitter, Facebook. Socianalytic.
#31 Player de photos.
#32 Marin. Bateau + Apéro. Trouver les spots d’apéro gratuits ou évènements sympas.
#33 Mon journal électronique.
#34 Acheter des conneries sur internet. Lotterie version ebay + couponing.
#35 Priscilla. Startup digest pour l’ensemble de la cible entrepreunariale. Startup déjà lancée.
#36 AR. Petits messages dans des lieux. Messages à retardement. Géocache textuelle.
#37 Capucine. Acheter sur internet et donner des avis. Influx. Etre rétribué pour les produits que je recommande.
#38 Nicolas et Justine me parlent dans l’oreille.
#39 Egarer mes affaires. Liste de choses que j’égare souvent.
#40 Marianne. J’ai une peur dans la vie : que ma mère me demande comme ami sur FB. Réseau social familial.
#41 Déco : 2 camps : ceux qui font et ceux qui ne font pas. Mettre en contact les bricoleurs du dimanche et les gens qui demandent. Réseau social des gens qui bossent au black ?
#42 Application de coaching personnalisé. Y a déjà Bonjour Madame ! (ou Bonjour Monsieur)
#43 Dig my tweet. Tweet souvenir affectif. Silentale me-too.
#44 Mourad. Recherche géolocalisé de services à la personne.
#45 Un livre théâtre pour les enfants. lol mdr je kiffe.
#46 Site de ventes en ligne. En fait, site d’achats en ligne. Pour ce qu’on ne trouve pas en France. Play Asia me-too mais pour tous types de produits 🙂

I voted for #1, #24 and #26.

#1 is a web platform where you can choose your sports speaker (dunno if it’s the right word in english) : mute your TV, just watch it and hear personnal commentary from amateur speakers.
#24 social gameplay for companies (I immediately thought about this video).
#26 twitter advanced statistics to measure your ROI (Return On Influence) <- thanks Camille for this one!

Although #24 was my favorite one, just #1 and #26 were selected. And I’m finaly part of #26’s team. Expect more updates soon 🙂


With Thibaut (@thibaut_barrere) we recently discovered that we have the same kind of unanswered questions about building a SaaS service in France and billing customers located in US and in Europe.

I, as a european guy, I’m used to buy some services billed in USD (think about Campfire, Hoptoad or Freckle for instance). But I don’t think US customers would pay in EUR. So, do I bill my service in EUR ? In USD ? Both ?
And regarding the VAT, how to handle it with US customers ? With European customers ? If it’s a company or not ? If the customer is european, do I need to ask him his intra-communautary VAT number ? And then, which bank should I use? Which payment provider?

We didn’t find a lot of documentation and feedback around those subjects. If you have, it could be very cool to share them!

We were even afraid that the only answer to those questions would be : build a company in the US, or maybe a subsidiary.

Fortunately, a few days ago, I was at the “Salon Ecommerce” in Paris. A giant ecommerce bar mitzvah where you could meet web shop makers, payment providers, CMS guys, etc.

I went first to MoneyBookers to ask my questions, based on an advice from a Kiubi friend. Well, they cannot provide some answers, and their technical level was not very high… The Paybox guys seemed to be very busy or very “I don’t care that guy wearing a laptop backpack”. And finally I went to the Ogone guys. Well in fact, it was a lady. Who answered a lot of my questions. She answered all of them. And they even have solutions for me.

She told me that I’d better go for a multi currencies approach, with a bank account in USD and another one in EUR. The account in USD should be opened in the US or through an international bank that can open a USD account in the US. And a bank account in EUR in France. She told me that HSBC do this kind of stuff. After that, I can have several geographical areas defined in ogone, tight to one ogone account.
Regarding the VAT mess, Ogone as a “we calculate the VAT for you” option. I’m waiting for some more documentation on this option.


Start In Paris is a monthly community event for startups, made by some startuppers for the startuppers (this is how I understood it in the first place, we’ll see later, that definition needs some correction). It was created by Laurent Kretz (@laurentk) and Jonathan Benoudiz (@bJonathan), the two co-founders of Submate. It’s a pitch competition with the intervention of a main speaker. This time it was Michel de Guilhermier.

There are 3 phases happening before the actual event :

  1. you submit your startup for the pitch competition with a little description
  2. a jury composed of “specialists” makes a first selection of 15 projects
  3. then, the public vote for the 5 startups that will be allowed to pitch in front of the audience

The actual event went well and was very quick. This is the list of the 5 startups that pitched during StartInParis #3. Every team had 5 minutes to present their startup, their business model and make a small demo.

1. Wizme
A recommendation engine built on your actual social network. Of course it’s hype, and the competition in this space will be hard. The demo shows a functional system. Not sure how it will differentiate from others. AND, the guy showed up a video for the last 2 minutes. In my opinion, showing a video when the competition is about pitching is completely off topic and too easy. Very disappointed.

2. Hopcube
A green badge that e-merchant can put on their website. It’s a synthetic representation of several metrics combined in one. Of course, a synthetic metric is more readable. But, well, is it more understandable? Not sure… This team has in fact already built a company, running for 1 year and half. Not really a startup IMHO. Very disappointed.

3. Dress-Me
Social network around dressing. Personal shopper and friends can give you some advices on your clothes and your dressing. You must first provide photos of all your clothes! Idea is cool, not sure the target is very huge, but making hundreds of photos could be very harassing. And finally, the service is about fashion right? Well, the website is a little but ugly for the moment… Not enthousiastic.

4. Super-Marmite
Share some portion of what you cooked to strangers, view portions from others, order online. I can see the target, even tough it’s not very huge IMHO. The team behind the project looks cool: they presented as a team, the slides were clean, the pitch was clean, the actual app is clean (and the logo is wonderful!). Maybe the market isn’t reachable, but I could see that on the “american POV”: show me how you can build a business model around your idea! Besides, if I should hire some Rails dev and some designers, I would hire this team, because they seem to have done a great job. Very enthusiastic by the team, not by the business opportunities. I voted for them !

5. Scrumers
Disclaimer: we proposed MasterSieve at StartInParis #3, a competitor to Scrumers, but we didn’t make it through the 3rd phase (public voting).
Scrumers is a project management tool built for the Scrum methodology. I know a little bit of scrum (we do MVP, Standup Meeting and this kind of stuff, although we’re mainly an XP/Lean shop), but I didn’t really understand the technical demo… And it failed completely at showing the iPhone app. Why did he try so hard to show an iPhone app? Just concentrate on some main points, you just have 5 minutes!

Finally, the event was generally cool and we should have more of this kind of events! And IMHO StartInParis should state a clear set of rules. For example: project in early stage (no company, or company created the last 6 months). They should also repeat a lot more: you just have 5 minutes!

Now, for my conclusion about MasterSieve, the project management tool we’re currently building. I don’t think I would have done a better job at demoing and pitching MasterSieve as a startup project. Maybe I have some better pitching skills (went through 2 Ignite, spoke at several conference, etc), but MasterSieve as a product is not good enough for pitching in front of startuppers. So for now, we’re currently thinking on how we really differentiate from others. How we can make a difference? Think Blue Ocean and Purple Cow. And we have already some new funky ideas and some new path to follow (thanks to our neighbour in the gaming industry).



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