LeCamping Manager & EIR to launch TheFamily, an early-stage accelerator

LeCamping Manager & EIR to launch TheFamily, an early-stage accelerator
European StartUp Scene

LeCampingAccording to LinkedIn, LeCamping‘s manager, Alice Zagury, and the most recent Entrepreneur in Residence Oussama Ammar, will not be joining LeCamping for another season, and have instead partnered up to launch TheFamily. Described as an “accelerator for early-stage startups to support them from [0] to [1] through education & unfair advantages,” TheFamily sounds quite similar to LeCamping itself, which beckons the question “why leave?”

As Paris’ 1st real startup accelerator, LeCamping gained quick notoriety through their presence (mostly in the form of Alice herself), at international events like SXSW; however, as the seasons marched on, the general sentiment (or at least, my personal sentiment) has always been “why join?” My primary complaint has always been that LeCamping doesn’t take a stake in their startups, and they don’t offer (much) money, most of which goes to lawyer & accounting fees for services chosen by LeCamping.

This is why I was pretty excited when rumors began to circle that even LeCamping’s own staff was getting frustrated with LeCamping’s political and non-profit ties (it’s managed by Silicon Sentier, a non-profit), which seemed to be impeding them from setting up an investment fund. Former (anonymous) LeCamping teams told me back in December that Alice & Oussama were looking to build a new accelerator, a private one that would allow them to really invest in startups.

I reached out to Oussama & Alice about their new venture, though they declined to comment for now, saying that they are still “under the radar,” although not enough so that they haven’t updated their LinkedIn profiles with a quick blurb about The Family. They registered the domain TheFamily.co back in September 2011, and Alice’s auto-response email on her former LeCamping email address confirms the domain is theirs: “After a GREAT adventure running Le Camping, I’ve decided to follow the path of entrepreneurship and start my own business.”

The question remains how LeCamping’s season 4 (applications still open) will be able to function without Zagury, undoubtedly the heart of LeCamping – or at least, the network.

10 Responses

  1. Timothée de Laitre

    The fact it doesn’t take a stake in accelerated startups and offers
    Free offices + 5 K per founder is nothing more than a blessing Liam !

    Why would a founder prefer to give a stake when it is possible not to ?

    • Liam Boogar

      I pose the question a different way: “Why would you let someone control 6 months of your startup’s roadmap if they didn’t have a stake in the success of your company?”

      You think 5-10% of a pre-seed startup is going to affect your final take-away, should you choose success? I Think any of the non-DocTrackr LeCamping startups would gladly trade 5-10% of a company worth 0 to have someone on their back each week to push forward. That’s the point of an accelerator.

      It seems many entrepreneur and France have forgotten that the most valuable asset they have isn’t equity in their company, it’s time. And I’d gladly waste one rather than the other.

    • Achille Pinson

      Some feedback from an ex-camper:

      – I didn’t have the feeling that LeCamping controlled its startups roadmap or even wanted to do so. The only requirement is that you give a nice pitch at DEMO day.

      – While I agree that pre-seed equity is not worth much. Your capital structure has a big impact while raising fund.

      – The main value of LeCamping is the community and the credibility. Alice did a good job in communication and LeCamping had the “first mover” advantage. Now LeCamping is established as the most prestigious accelerator in France. Most of the best startups will continue to apply to be part of this community, it is like a french Grande Ecole, you don’t really care about what you will learn there, your decision is based on rankings. LeCamping brand opens many doors in France and internationally.

      PS: I still agree with you that the non-profit statut has some drawbacks: LeCamping has its own goals.

      If I had to give up 5-10% of my startups shares to join LeCamping I would have done it with no hesitation.

    • Timothée de Laitre

      As Achille wrote, 1. they don’t control your roadmap, and 2. of course they are interested in the startups success since their success as an incubator depends on their startups success.

      To answer the two last paragraphs of your comment, it seems that you sometimes generalize on what French do and think Liam 😉

    • Liam Boogar

      As Achille pointed out, you only go to LeCamping because it’s the “Most prestigious accelerator in France” – there are only 4 in Paris, and none of them have a track record of success. How many seasons of startups have to waste their time before the startup community will declare an accelerator a failure? If the odds of my startup succeeding were equal to the “success” rate of LeCamping, I’d pass. I’ve got more important things to do in my 6 months than learn to pitch.

      Their success as an incubator has nothing to do with startup success – you say that as if it’s obvious, but an entitiies success is based on its KPIs. For a non-profit, it has ‘values’ that it upholds, but its success is its continued ability to receive funds and sponsors, as that’s what continues to employee people and allow it to pursue its values.

      I have the luxury of always having one cultural step in the US, and that allows me to look at LeCamping for what it is: the biggest fish in the bowl. But what kind of startup wants help if it means getting in a bowl instead of the ocean?

    • Timothée de Laitre

      It’s true their KPIs aren’t that great to say the least, but it doesn’t mean they don’t try their best to bring their startups to success. IMHO it has nothing to do with the stake they hold in the company or not which was your point. Also, some might say that their non-profit nature may allow them to bet on riskier startups that are very ambitious, with global aim. And that my friend, is very rare here in Europe, especially in France.

    • Liam Boogar

      Who has said that their non-profit nature makes them take riskier bets? Is it the government/region backing them who said “go on – invest our grant money in high-risk properties?” Are you saying that TechStars and Y-Combinator would invest in riskier startups if they were non-profit, seeing as how they are for-profit now?

      I get what you want to say: “It’s the best we’ve got, so don’t knock it.” But that is not an attitude that should be supported in the startup ecosystem. The “hey, you’re doing the best you can” attitude is not leading to people learning faster, it’s leading to complacency.

      And personally, I hold Parisian entrepreneurs to higher standards than that, and I think they should hold themselves and their colleagues to higher standards as well.

    • Timothée de Laitre

      hahaha, I think you’re just trying to pick on me just to get me to write more comments on Rude Baguette 🙂 If not you just read me wrong. I never said you shouldn’t criticize and am happy to learn that you, Liam Boogar, hold Parisian entrepreneurs to any standard at all 😛

  2. Ilan Abehassera

    Good luck Alice, I am sure you’ll rock it

  3. Timothée de Laitre

    This is great news for the ecosystem, congrats Alice !

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