Who are they?
The grand opening of Station F in Paris took place on June 27th of this year. Construction began in June 2017 following Xavier Niel's initiative. With its 34 000 square meters and more than 3 000 workstations it is the biggest incubator of the world. We met a multitude of dynamic and various start-ups there! Among them were FlyScribe and Tolktoo, both established by thirty-year-old ambitious persons surfing on the BtoC wave.
Maxime, co-founder and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Flyscribe, explains the concept of his company: “FlyScribe is a platform which changes the way people travel at the last minute. It allows to obtain plane tickets in a fixed price lower than the one of the market (You pay the same price regardless of your destination), without making either search or booking (we make it for you!)”.
Camille, co-founder of Tolktoo, defines her Start-up as “an application to practice languages within international communities. We work with the high schools, universities, associations, and companies that have international communities. Thanks to Tolktoo, we can very easily meet people of other nationalities who have the same interests and wish to practice foreign languages”.
Let’s go back to the roots: coaching and mentoring, the heart of business schools
These founders probably have in common the passion, the autonomy, the creativity and the adaptability necessary to create a company, but where did they cultivate this spirit to the point to decide to go for it?
It is necessary to look at their business and management schools,and with each their incubator, a structure that helped the young companies by offering them the essential conditions for their creation: programs, advice, and financing. We then saw new projects such as Trip Connexion at the EM LYON, a platform to make the travelers meet the local actors of tourism, or ChineseMe from the incubator of ESSEC, proposing a method of on-line Chinese learning for a French or English speaker audience.
Tolktoo benefited from coaching by the EDHEC incubator and a free mentoring by a former EDHEC graduate student. According to the co-founder, to create a start-up, “there are constantly ups and downs, uncertainties and fortunately beautiful surprises, it is necessary to cling to the project! Always anticipate while moving forward step by step! A team coaching with an outside eye is thus a very good idea to stand back on the balance of the team and optimize the skills”.
Junior companies are also an ideal opportunity to develop a personal tendency for the entrepreneurship: according to the site of the Education Department, Junior Companies are defined as "a vector of employability and commitment of the students. By allowing them to put into practice the theoretical education they received, Junior Companies establish a footbridge between the studies and the business world, and serve a better students’ integration".
Maxime met his associate at HEC while earning his MBA, a Master's degree of Business Administration “intended for the senior executives who wish to give a new breath in their career by the development of a strategic vision and strong skills in leadership”. He notes that “The logical follow-up of this MBA was the creation of our company thanks to the entrepreneurship spirit transmitted by HEC”. It was however the cause of sacrifices “we had to leave our jobs and refuse interesting offers to try the adventure”.
To have made into a good school is not enough: coaching is essential
The creation of a company implies to make errors which with a mentoring and a coaching one can avoid. If the mentorship concerns the transmission of knowledges and is not paid, the coaching is a substantive work allowing to reach development goals.
These tools of coaching are used by Start-up. As the Lumina program, used in Alceis Global Nomads' coaching, but also as the PCM (Process Communication Model). The PCM at the same time a communications tool and a model of discovery and understanding of our own personality and the personality of others (used in particular by the NASA).
Before creating FlyScribe, Maxime benefited from such a program as well : the API (Acceleration Program for International Start-up) of Creative Valley taking place 3 times a year in Station F. This 12 week acceleration program asks for 10 000 euros by selected Start-up and has aims to boost ideas and business. API says “The heart of the program is our pool of experts and partners occurring in the program as mentors or as specialized experts associated to every project”.
Programs like these have proven by their existence the priceless value of coaching and mentoring in the support of future talent. For these two start-ups that were developed close to professionals, it is not the search for a professional network or a financing plan that appears the most difficult: it is rather the search for a great concept and its capacity to solve a problem people face.
FlyScribe, Tolktoo and their founders specify that it is in fact important to surround oneself with talented and reliable workers. For Maxime, “the strategy is to gather intelligent people who have a great energy and will to work on the project. I always speak about the analogy of the bus, explained by Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great". The idea is that a company is as a bus. Rather than to pilot the bus (the CEO) and to take people on the way (his colleagues), best is to put the good people on the correct seats, and once done, to choose a direction all together.”