LeCamping: Season 4 Applications Open – Why should you apply?

Events

With Season 3 safely behind them, LeCamping has opened up applications to Season 4 of its 6 month accelerator program, which will go from March until August 2013. The applications are open today, available on their website, and will close at the end of January. The Paris-based accelerator has already seen 36 startups go through, with 55% raising funds & 60% with clients – clients, of course, is a very loose term, considering 60% of the startups are B2C, according to their most recent data (available below).

LeCamping – the only startup accelerator with international visibility

The accelerator boasts many attributes useful to French startups – English language pitch- practice, a network of 60-70 speakers & mentors who dedicate time to the startups, and, most notably, a very high level of PR. LeCamping is one of the only recognizable names in the Paris startup scene, more well known than French VCs or even most French startups, which isn’t saying much, but it certainly carries weight on a startup’s CV.
I’m very critical of accelerators in general in France, as I’m not convinced that there are so many startups that it is necessary to create an accelerator, nor that it does more good than harm – so I struggle to keep an unbiased opinion on this subject. Nonetheless, LeCamping continues to be a recognized name when I travel abroad, and with the 3 Demo Days that the 12 Season 3 startups did in Paris, Berlin & London, that international visibility is sure to grow down the road.

LeCamping Figures – how much money are these startups raising?

Having attended part of the LeCamping Season 3 closing ceremony, I was particularly interested in the data they shared. So far, 36 startups have raised €5 Million – on average, that would be €138,000 per startup, but we know that only 55% of startups (~20 startups) have raised money, so that numbers is closer to €250K per startup. This is not too far below the average seed round for French startups, and I’ll even assume that this is not including the €2M that LeCamping season 2 team doctrackr raised from Atlas Ventures earlier this year. But if we look at some of the ‘highlight’ companies in LeCamping and the amounts they’ve raised – qunb ($500k), both skerou & mesagraph raised nice seed rounds if I recall, but was unable to find figures online – these numbers quickly look dismal.
Nonetheless, quick & dirty, and even optimistic math tells us that the average startup going into LeCamping is coming out with, financially speaking, an amount that even Paris Business Angels: “The Startup Trap” would invest in.
Then again, maybe it isn’t all about money. After all, LeCamping offers free workspace and doesn’t take any stake in their companies, which is what allowed the aforementioned doctrackr to go to Techstars Boston afterwards, or onefeat to go to I/O Ventures – these VCs & US Accelerators only take in companies with no prior investment rounds, even from other accelerators.
Networking is invaluable to young entrepreneurs, and LeCamping’s data revealed that their founders are just that, young – and male, for some reason. The average founder age is under 28 (vs. 33 in Paris and 34 in Silicon Valley),  and 95% Male (92% in Paris, 90% in SV), these young guns have one thing that other ecosystems statistically lack, however: higher education. With 90+% of founders in LeCamping coming from a masters background (95% in Paris, 71% in SV), these young guns are fresh out of HEC or ESCP, and ready to change the world – although 40% reported having previous experience in a startup (37% in Paris, 56% in SV). The numbers sure do paint a picture.
As Paris’ most promising accelerator, I hope to see LeCamping evolve in the upcoming seasons, taking on startups that will execute and produce global leaders. LeCamping’s reputation today is of one that is “really trying,” and while it has taken on some pretty amazing startups (I’m personally a big fan of veez.io & augment for their technical work), it sometimes feels that the success of those startups takes a back seat to the success of LeCamping as a brand. LeCamping has indeed built a strong brand, and if it started leveraging that brand for its startups, the way Techstars and Y-Combinator have been able to do, I have no doubt it could become a globally powerful accelerator.
Of course, this is all based on you, startupers, since LeCamping is only as strong & successful as the startups the join it. If you’ve got a global idea, and you think LeCamping can take your startup to the next level, then get your founders together and apply today!

LeCamping Closing Ceremony of Season 3 Presentation

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Adrien Châtillon

    Really interesting stats concerning the education background and the men/women ratio.
    With 90 % of entrepreneurs having a Master’s degree, we are far away from the rag to reaches story started from a garage. The stats concerning the very low number of women in entrepreneurship confirm that women in general, do not like risk; hence why it was advised a few years ago that women should take the CEO positions of major banks!

    • Avatar
      Liam Boogar

      As someone who spends most of his days stating his opinions publicly, let me advise you to avoid at all cost characterizing 50% of the population as anything, especially on a startup blog whose readers are more than 10% female.
      Concerning your other point, given that unemployment for youth in France is more high than the overall unemployment rate, I’d have to disagree. Having a master’s degree doesn’t assure you a job, nor does it assure that you will not end up in rags.
      Most startups in California found themselves in this exact same position – a highly technical PhD that meant they were overqualified for most work and under-experienced for what they’re education afforded them, and so they chose to startup companies instead.
      That being said, the most critical I ever get about French entrepreneurial mindset is when you meet someone who has started a “company” in university – you will inevitably discover that they will not drop out of school to pursue something they believe in, which tells me, investors, and other entrepreneurs that they don’t believe in it enough.
      You show me someone foolish enough to drop out of Ecole Polytechnique to pursue a venture, and I’ll show you a French entrepreneur.

    • Avatar
      Adrien Châtillon

      Clearly you misunderstood my comment, I was not criticizing or making any assumptions non-whatsoever as I was basing my opinion on your above-stated stats.
      Concerning the numbers on the entrepreneurs having a Master’s degree, I was commenting on the fact that we tend to believe (or at least want to) that most entrepreneurs start with no degrees whatsoever, fighting all the odds with just dreams and guts from the back of a garage; hence my comment that your stats proved otherwise that nowadays most entrepreneurs have degrees.
      Concerning your critique on my statement about women not keen to risk and entrepreneurship: my comment is as sexist as yours is funded. Women are risk-avert and that is a known, studied and proved fact. You will find tons of literature which take on women, risk and entrepreneurship, ranging from psychological studies to hardcore neuroscience ones (here is a sneak peak : http://www.bps.org.uk/news/women-leaders-less-likely-take-risks)
      The irony of your quetch, is that your argument ‘[our] readers are more than 10% female’ only give credit to my above-mentioned statement.
      That being said, it is important to know that the French rely on a heavy ‘security instinctive culture’, thus why we are the country of the CDI, Social Security, 13th month, life employment for public servants etc… For this particular cultural trait, I believe it is the reason why we prefer to finish our degrees before the big leap, not only because we can hope to use the degrees as a parachute but because our families will tend to discourage us to stop our studies.

    • Avatar
      Liam Boogar

      I appreciate your insight into a market that I have spent the last 2 years publicly writing about – I think most business people are aware of the risk-averse stereotype of the French.
      The mistake you made in your female comment, is that your opinion assumes that the reason there is such a small percentage of women is because women don’t want to be entrepreneurs, and doesn’t take into account the fact that business culture is highly male-dominated, and being treated with respect and viewed as businessperson over being viewed as a women is very difficult for female entrepreneurs.
      I don’t agree or disagree with your comment, I just think it’s very telling of where your viewpoint is coming from, which is not this statistic, which is nearly a snapshot of the current way things are, not a roadmap for the future.
      There is no irony in my statement – you assume I am disagreeing with your comment, when in fact i’m saying that it’s poorly thought out. My reference to our female readers is a reference to the potential size of people who would be upset at reading the statement “women are risk averse” without someone defending their thoughts. Because the women, or people in general, who read this blog and exist in the startup community are not just a sample of the people in the world, they are a specific type of person, an entrepreneur. Someone who has chosen unemployment & creativity over stability & security.

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