The Atherton mansion will welcome yet another group of global entrepreneurs looking to break into the Silicon Valley – Blackbox Accelerator announced that they are partnering with Google for Entrepreneurs, a program which works to empower entrepreneurs around the world to be successful, to receive applicants from all over the world. For Blackbox Connect, a two-week immersion program for startup founders based outside of the United States (here’s an article on the previous edition), Google Entrepreneurs will be tapping into partners all around the globe, including LeCamping right here in Paris – other partners come from United Kingdom, Poland, Egypt, Korea, South Africa, Pakistan, and Israel. Partners will create competitions for selecting their best startups to participate in the Summer 2013 Blackbox Connect Program powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.
“Our mission with Google for Entrepreneurs is to empower entrepreneurs around the world to be successful. We work with partners in over 35 countries, and one of our goals is to help connect these communities with one another and back to Silicon Valley. Blackbox Connect offers an outstanding program to accelerate startups from around the globe by giving them an immersive experience in Silicon Valley before they head back to their respective communities. We’re excited to have Blackbox as a partner and to be powering the Blackbox Connect Summer 2013 program.”
-Mary Grove, Director of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach.
The program itself is quite unique, and the force of its effectiveness lies in the program’s Founder & Managing Director, Fadi Bishara. Bishara’s been working in the Silicon Valley since before the first dotcom bubble, and has been using his network to empower global entrepreneurs to get a foot in the door in the Silicon Valley via Blackbox Accelerator.
“A globalized economy and new technological innovations provide opportunities for talented entrepreneurs to start and grow tech companies regardless of where they live. Silicon Valley has, more than ever, become the Mecca of entrepreneurship where founders from all over the world aspire to learn best practices, connect with experts, and access capital to scale their startups. Blackbox is excited to partner with Google for Entrepreneurs, empowering international startups to reach their full potential.”
-Fadi Bishara, Founder & Managing Director of Blackbox Accelerator.
French startups like I-dispo.com (whose founder Ismaël Nzouetom can be seen in the above photo, which pictures the previous Blackbox Connect team visiting Google in Mountainview) have gone on to raise $1 Million seed rounds after Blackbox, and, most recently, startup M-Dot, which enables easy creation of mobile-friendly websites, was acquired by GoDaddy for an undisclosed sum. I was at Blackbox during my trip to California in March, and the two founders had just come home from buying a brand new BMW- so it looks like the exit was quite suitable for all parties.
It’s more or less accepted that, while it is not unnecessary to found & launch your company in the Silicon Valley, it’s equally inevitable that you will have to have a network in the Silicon Valley, and eventually an office there, if you want to build a global company. B2B tech companies will find their clients clustered there, and B2C companies are going to want to build close relationships with platform partners like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Pinterest, and more, all of which are located in the Silicon Valley.
What I most enjoy about Bishara and Blackbox, is how dedicated he is to Europe – though of course the program is open to global entrepreneurs. He has visited several times, and his former colleague and program manager Jenny Jung has since gone on to manage Factory Berlin, the biggest Berlin Incubator project which will welcome Mozilla, Soundcloud, and tons of startups later on this year when it officially opens. His network has expanded beyond the Silicon Valley across Europe – I never miss a chance to see him when he comes to Paris – meaning that he is not only able to identify startups from a local perspective, but he understands the individual needs/problems that entrepreneurs coming from different countries have.
When the time comes to consider entering the US Market, I can’t recommend anyone better to talk to than Fadi Bishara about how to do so, and whether Blackbox Connect can offer. I can only imagine that the program will get more attention and, thus, more powerful with this new partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs.