Kima Ventures and Jaina Capital invest in Yasound. Yes, failure pays.

Mar 13, 2012
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Today, the self-proclaimed “most active business angel in the world” (aka Kima Ventures) announced yet another investment: Yasound. While this may seem like “just another investment” for the famous fund that strives to invest in some 100 startups per calendar year, it’s in fact very different.

Pandora’s box.

For anyone who doesn’t know Yasound, the mobile app (not yet available) allows users to build free and personalized web radio channels almost in a Pandora type of way. After users have built their own playlists, their are numerous social features to help users discover new music and rate their favorite playlists. In some ways, it almost reminds me of another French startup I wrote about a while back, Playlistnow.fm.

Not like the others.

But for me, this isn’t just another startup or just another Kima investment. First off, the round of funding includes Jaina Capital, who has been relatively inactive lately. It is also potentially the first second investment for Netvibes CEO, Freddy Mini, who also invested in Agendize.

Sure, while there are quite a few high-level investors on board, what makes this round of funding particularly interesting is that they are all actually funding someone who has previously “failed.” Yes, that’s right, European investors are looking beyond failure. Which is huge.

Investing in education.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the backgrounds of Yasound’s founders Jean-Marc Pleuger (pictured below) and Sébastien Métrot, their CVs boast some of the hotter names in French music startups, including: social music gaming startup MXP4 and online playlist and music streaming community Jiwa.

In fact, prior to Yasound, Pleuger was the founder of Jiwa – a site which shut down 2 years after its launch before being acquired by Allomusic 1 year later. Pleuger actually spoke about his difficulties at the Paris Failcon last September and revealed that one of the major difficulties his business encountered was with fundraising. So it’s impressive that he’s managed to come back with another music startup and convinced such reputable investors to come on board. I’m also especially pleased to see the investors looking beyond a previous failure (as they do in Silicon Valley) where it’s a sign of wisdom and not shame.

While the amount of the investment was not released, I do think that this investment holds a fair deal of cultural significance for the French ecosystem. Now we can all stop saying that French investors don’t fund entrepreneurs who have previously failed. 🙂