Luc Pierart created PKparis in 2013. His company designs connected objects (smart USB key, wireless headset …) and is currently developing a diabetic watch that should be marketed in 2020, to measure glucose levels in the body.
PKparis, which today has about twenty employees, received 6 innovation awards last January at the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas, a must-attend event for new trends in the digital world.
For 5 years, Luc Pierart has managed to raise several hundred thousand euros from various financiers. For him, an entrepreneur must, to succeed, ensure his rear, anticipate and especially proceed in stages.
Set up your project in parallel with your job
“First of all, when you have a business project, you have to put it in parallel with your job. I, for example, for 6 months, I arranged to ask my days off every Friday and I was working on my project from Friday to Sunday. This rhythm obviously means spending a lot less time with your children, no longer seeing your friends, giving up your hobbies … It’s not easy but it helps to see if we can provide this type of effort, because it is nothing compared to what awaits a future entrepreneur. It is important not to leave one’s job to ensure safety in case the project is not viable.
Start with love money
To start finding funding, you have to bet on “love money”, that is to say, to address your family (family, friends …). The idea is to convince them to invest 500, 1,000, 2,000 or 5,000 euros either in the form of a loan (at zero rate) or in exchange for shares in the capital (while keeping in mind that a chief company must keep as long as possible a maximum of shares). 2,000 euros is a fairly easy sum to obtain. You have to ask an average of 30 people for 10 to agree to invest. The phase of love money is a good test because if the project does not already adhere to itself, it is that there is a serious problem.
Once one is ready to start, one has to leave one’s job but make sure to collect the unemployment (for example by negotiating a conventional break) to be sure of being able to mount one’s project by obtaining a salary. The French unemployment system allows entrepreneurs to devote time to their business without worrying about earning income. This is partly why we are the second country in the creation of start-ups.
Request BPI and clubs
It is then a question of starting to look for more substantial sums notably with the BPI, the public investment bank which proposes various devices including loans of honor, loans of initiation or loans with the innovation. In parallel, one can address clubs and associations. In general, they accompany the project promoters and can grant between 10 000 and 30 000 euros in subsidies or in the form of loans at 0 or 1% rate. Among these structures, there is the Réseau entreprendre, the Hardware Club, the Investessor network … The Meetup platform also allows, through its groups, to meet and exchange with other startupers.
Watch out for scams!
At this stage of development, you have to pay attention to the scammers. They are fund raisers, intermediaries who make you wonder that they will be able to find you a large sum (1 million euros or more). They approach you or get introduced by someone to give importance and you announce that they will try to convince investors. For this, they offer you to organize meals at prestigious places like the Crillon, the Ritz or the Plaza Athénée in Paris.
They tell you that their fees are 30,000 euros but do not tell you about the exclusivity clause that only an experienced tax lawyer can see and which states that each time you raise additional funds, you will have to pay them new ones. fees of tens of thousands of euros!
Participate in contests
The competitions provide additional funding. In Île-de-France, for example, the winners of Innov’up or Pm’up can receive between 30,000 and 250,000 euros in grants.
There are also competitions that do not necessarily allocate money to companies. These are awards that are awarded. They are just as important because they provide recognition and reassure investors. This is the case, for example, of the CES in Las Vegas.