Straight Outta Maisons-Alfort: Xavier Niel

At Presans, we like the idea of commandos. It captures a vital aspect of project-oriented management. When you think about it, everything great starts that way: the seminal force of a tightly-bonded team is a creative act we can witness in all historical moments of greatness. One just needs to think of the foundation of Rome, or to reminisce about the origins of Public Enemy. Closer to us here in France, the story of Internet access provider Free and its founder Xavier Niel is equally full of commando-style signature moves. Niel is our own supreme digital barbarian, and one could say that the epic tone of his saga was set from the start by the name-choice of his main holding company:

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Team Presans: Michel Féret

Michel Féret is the head of Product Management at Presans. He took the time to have a chat with us. How did you become a part of Presans? Back around 2010, I registered myself on the Presans expert platform. You could still do that, then. A couple of weeks later, Albert got in touch and we met in person. I liked the project and became a shareholder. My view on Presans was that it made sense to develop a dedicated search engine for experts. I had a very technological vision. At the same time, the revenue generated by Presans originated exclusively from its service activities. That’s where the actual traction was happening. We are now putting more emphasis on product management. What

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Thierry Mandon’s Four Point Plan to Save the French Industry

Techinnov happened a couple of weeks ago. Now in its tenth year, this cross-industrial trade fair has become an important component of the Île-de-France innovation ecosystem. Once a year in February, the upper floor of Orly airport thus turns into a marketplace for large industrial companies, suppliers, labs, consultants, startups and investors. Together they represent a big chunk of the local innovation ecosystem. They were there mostly  to do business: 9000 scheduled meetings took place. A dedicated free meeting zone added a touch of spontaneity to the proceedings. Presans CEO Albert Meige participated in a roundtable organized to kick things off, alongside Sébastien Couturier, Innovation Manager at Aéroports de Paris, and Thierry Mandon, Minister of State for Higher Education and

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Startup Index Quest | 3 — Zoom on Kima Ventures

In the previous installment of this series, I took a look at the disruptive approach to indexing startups adopted by AngelList. One of the industries disrupted by Naval Ravikant’s company is Venture Capital (VC). The obvious drawback of VC startup indexes is that they are restricted to companies in which VCs have a stake. They also have an obvious plus side, since inclusion in such indexes carries a signal the startup is serious. Looking at the Iliad saga — I’m talking about Xavier Niel, not Homer —, it becomes apparent that the selection process behind VC indexes can add an extra layer of information to an index. Niel’s VC arm is Kima Ventures. Currently the Kima startup portfolio has a

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