After just 5 months of being operational, Paris Accelerator The Family has received an undisclosed amount of investment from Index Ventures. TheFamily will not use this money to invest in its 30 startups, but will instead use the money to continue operations. Founded by Oussama Ammar, Alice Zagury & Nicolas Colin, The Family takes a 1% stake in its startups – primarily at the seed or love money stage – in exchange for access to its network of mentors, events, and contacts. Advantages include weekly dinners with distinguished guests which have included Withings founder Eric Carreel & Capitaine Train cofounder Jean-Daniel Guyot, as well as regular office hours with the likes of Tikhon Bernstam, co-founder of Parse (recently sold to Facebook), who has taken up residence in Paris since July of this year.
The accelerator is set to quickly become the largest in Paris (LeCamping, which recently announced applications to its fifth season, counts nearly 50 startups among its alumni); however, they are far from the 100 per year that they hope to welcome each year. Zagury previously ran LeCamping for its first 3 seasons, with Ammar acting as Entrepreneur in Residence – the latter previously sold a company and made angel investments in the Silicon Valley in such companies as LocalMotion – the two have clearly fine-tuned their accelerator to keep what works and eliminate what doesn’t. Straying away from the incubation, the team invests their time in creating events that bring useful mentors together, and do the dirty work when it comes to making intros for their teams.
While the amount of investment has not been disclosed, it has been stated to be “less than Index Ventures wanted,” resting comfortably under a million euros. Index Ventures’ Martin Mignot (see his guest post “10 French startups that are killing it in NYC”) has been fusing the London-based venture firm with France’s capital for quite some time – Index Partner Neil Reimer recently told me that Europe’s top VC fund considers London & Paris to be one city, with the 2-hour Eurostar train connecting the two.
“I see more and more entrepreneurs traveling the world and coming back. Yes it’s hard but it’s changing. We are still here because the best is yet to come. France is a hard place – if you can make it in France, you can make it anywhere.” – Alice Zagury, cofounder @ TheFamily
While this investment may seem to give Index Ventures priority access to TheFamily startups, one thing it will most certainly do is remind French VC funds that they don’t have exclusive rights to French seed stage startups. Index Ventures has stepped up its Seed & Series A investments in France since it closed its 350 Million Euro European fund, with startups like Capitaine Train & Drivy raising multi-million euro Series A rounds from them in the past year.
This investment represents the ongoing interlacing of the French and London tech ecosystems, whose futures are intertwined. When French startups begin looking to London from day one for investment opportunities, the result is that French VC funds will have to work harder to get the best startups, and ultimately, everyone (every startup, that is) will win.