In France, the average age of companies entering the hyper-growth phase was 6.7 years in 2017, now only 6 years in 2018. This time saving reflects an inflection in the French corporate culture, long accused of undermining the ambition of entrepreneurs. Announced on June 17, the winners of the NEW Aquitaine upgradian accelerator UP GRADE have been selected for their hyper-growth potential in order to integrate a full support program provided by a team of experienced managers. Launched in 2018, the Up Grade programme is in line with French Tech’s goal of bringing out French “champions”, the famous unicorns.
This new promotion (Lucine, App’s miles, marbotic, meshroom, mieuxplacer.com) is very eclectic. Through these five selected companies, most of which have already raised fund-raisings and have an encouraging turnover, the French and regional economic ecosystem demonstrates that the stages of a start-up’s deployment must be able to prevent the risks of hyper-growth, usually associated with a hyper-fragility of the company.
The transition from SMEs to ETI: a perilous turn
France and New Aquitaine have demonstrated their ability to bring out young shoots. Now the challenge lies elsewhere and gives way to an issue of growth, even hyper-growth. Indeed, the change of scale of a young company by the deployment of its commercial action, its production and its team is crucial and a factor of instability. The potential for growth is linked to both quantitative and qualitative factors, whether it is the size of the target markets, the competitive intensity or the competitive advantage: it is this difficult equation that is crucial to grasp.
Voluntarily specialized in international reach for fast-growing start-ups, the regional accelerator Up Grade literally means “improve, progress” in English. With this in mind, the Up Grade program allows us to work on the growth strategy for 12 months: the long-term founding vision, performance and process management, financing strategy and internationalization. Developed in three axes, the programme combines both personalized support but also collective working sessions (returns from experiences, case study, etc.).
5 promising companies
To meet the challenges of hyper-growth, the program supported by the New Aquitaine Up Grade region has relied on five french companies with a bright future. As Perrine Laquèche, Director of Up Grade, points out, the scale-up step of a leading company in New Aquitaine must be able to be done collectively in order to emerge on the national and international scene. Proof of this is the success of the company Rhinov, which grew out of the first promotion of Up Grade, which has made a merger with Maisons du Monde, now has 60 employees and manages more than 1500 projects per month. Selected champion companies include Mieuxplacer.com, an online savings platform that aims to democratize the use of savings products for individuals. This innovative company invests in the “new savings” sector by combining artificial intelligence and real economy. Its stage of development is advanced since the company has already carried out two fundraisers of almost 5 million euros. In a completely different sector of activity, Meshroom has also been attracted by its development potential. Specializing in virtual reality, Meshroom VR is a 3D presentation tool for different professions in the industry. While it has never raised funds, its founders André Doumenc and Christophe Kohler won an innovation trophy in March 2018 at the industry show and an Honoree Awards in January 2019 at CES in Las Vegas.
In a context of permanent ruptures, New Aquitaine’s ambition is to capitalize on regional champions by accompanying them in the management of their talents. The aim is to optimize the growth of these start-ups while consolidating their regional roots. The race to size can often be one of the most common missteps of hypergrowth. This is why support structures like Up Grade focus more on renewing the business model based on the internal growth of the company than on choosing rapid growth for these companies… a relevant choice to never confuse speed and precipitation.
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