How to properly start a start-up?

“When we have an innovative concept, we think we’re just, we’re on fire”, acknowledges Mahmoud Abdou, co-founder of Datasports, a device for evaluating the physical performance of athletes. But before launching early on making a prototype or announcing a new app around the world, there are important steps …

“Upstream of the company’s creation, we learned a lot about trade fairs geared towards entrepreneurs,” Mahmoud Abdou said. A graduate in international trade, the young man was not destined for a career in digital and worked in transportation with the man who would be his partner in 2016. “We played football matches after work. I had a connected bracelet and this will arouse curiosity and enthusiasm, he says.We told ourselves that there is a market around athletic performance.To go from idea to product (a connected bracelet and software), their project requires research work and development.But not only.

By knocking on the bankers ’door, the two partners quickly understood that their commercial profiles alone were not enough to reassure investors. “They told us: We do not lend to tech entrepreneurs if they do not have a profile appropriate to this sector “, he recalls. They met this digital professional through Réseau Entreprendre, an association of 14,000 leaders who volunteer to support 1,400 business creators each year. He joined the duo as the third partner. The team has since grew to six people.He first experimented with his innovation in real scale at a five-a-side football center.An important step to validate the project.The start-up is now selling its performance analysis device to sports clubs, professional or novice, and in training centers.

To test their product, a vehicle mounted on a bicycle that effortlessly pulls 300 kilograms in an urban environment, the founders of start-up K-Ryole started (40 employees, 2.5 million euro turnover in 2021, 100 recruitments currently taking place) by finding the target customer. “We contacted La Poste and received a favorable response in September 2015,” said Nicolas Duvaut, co-founder of the company.

Three months later, the two partners collected 200,000 euros from twenty people, including former colleagues and school friends, and withdrew 70,000 euros from their own pockets, partly thanks to the sale of Nicolas ’apartment. “It’s important to invest money in yourself, to show that you believe in it,” he said. The start-up is hosted in an incubator, taking advantage of these structures that accept free or affordable start-up creators. He also benefited from honorary loans and the Research Tax Credit, through CCI Paris Ile-de-France.

As part of its start-up program, it makes available experts to entrepreneurs to make the right choices: personalized diagnosis (market study, business model, business plan, legal form, etc.); advice on searching for initial funding, identifying support mechanisms ; support to launch the activity in France but also internationally.

“Through our CCI business manager at Team Export France, we were able to participate at CES in Las Vegas and recently at the International Meetings of Major Sporting Events in Abidjan (Ivory Coast)”, underlined Mahmoud Adou, head of Datasports.

Nicolas and Mahmoud were present at stand E64 of the CCI Paris Ile-de-France (Hall 1) at the Vivatech trade show.

“See if the idea matches a real need”

The gaze of Nicolas Desruelles, head of the start-up program at CCI Paris Ile-de-France

Before launch, market research is always necessary?

More of a market study, I would say that it is necessary to confront your product or service idea with this one, in order to test it quickly with end users. I advise, instead of developing a prototype or an application in six or eight months and realizing that it does not match the target, to do a test quickly to make sure the idea meets a real need in the terms of ‘use. Because if it’s competing with a free service, albeit of lesser quality, or a product that consumers have been using for decades, there’s little chance it will evict them. Now, you can test an application and take surveys very quickly with potential users. Finally, I recommend charging the customer fairly quickly, to verify that he or she is actually using the product or service.

Should you do your company first and then seek financing?

Understanding how financing mechanisms work is important before setting up your business. Lack of knowledge on public and private assistance can miss the boat. For example, to obtain public funding such as the French Tech Scholarship (Bpifrance scheme, give up to € 90,000 to launch a start-up), you must have a minimum of 15,000 euros in equity. It is better to know this in advance and to predict the constitution of your company.

Which is the winning team?

Discussing relationships with partners is important in the future. Because investors prefer to have a complementary team, with both business and technical skills. We see that many business profiles with creators and tech profiles are highly sought after. Networking from the very beginning makes it possible to find the right partner, to understand the ecosystem, its codes, how an incubator works, to get to know investors … Going to events and workshops provides this knowledge of the environment.

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