For one weekend, La Rochelle hosted more than thirty FrenchTech startups for the inaugural edition of the #FrenchStartUp Cup regatta. The event was made possible by Easybill, the publisher of Sellsy (a leading player in developing web and mobile management and sales tools for businesses). Planned as a time for participants to relax and have fun, the races brought together startups from a large variety of fields. “Sports demand some of the same skills as being a successful entrepreneur. We wanted this challenge to be about fun, sharing and friendly competition”, said Alain Mevellec, cofounder and development director for Sellsy. “For us, entrepreneurs are the adventurers of modern times. This regatta was meant to put them in the spotlight with all the energy of La Rochelle in the backdrop,” added Frédéric Coulais, Sellsy’s CEO and cofounder.
Their bet paid off: there were far too many applications for the “only” 22 boats provided for this edition. Bruno Odin, ENGIE’s Regional Delegate for Poitou-Charentes, attended the races on the escort boat and also participated in the evening awards ceremony. “Being a partner of this event is a direct extension of our innovation policy,” he explained. “It gives us the opportunity to promote our work in this area, especially with startups like Sigfox, who got funding from the ENGIE New Ventures fund and which had its own team in the race. But it also helps us to show that, despite being an international company, we have regional roots and are present locally”.
With their friendly, conversational environment, the regattas also allowed participants and partners to meet in a much less formal way than in the usual pitch sessions. “Thanks to that, I was able to make close connections with a startup that works to pair individuals with companies,” added Bruno Odin. “We talked about a new development focus on creating quotes for energy retrofitting…” The second edition is already planned for next year, to be held on September 5th; 2016. “We will be there, of course,” confirmed Bruno Odin. “Many of the participants said they wanted to come back and continue the conversation with people they don’t often get the chance to meet, but who share their same interests.”@
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