Last night we managed to triumph over the rain that has plagued Paris and had a great event to say good-bye to Fred and to give French entrepreneurs a last shot at meeting their guru. Lucie and I were both struck by all the new faces. We feel like a pot was stirred over the past month, between Seedcamp Paris back in June and Fred Wilson Day last week. It's really exciting -- and fun -- seeing entrepreneurs who this time last year were just barely getting their algorithms together now giving advice to the noobies as (somewhat) seasoned entrepreneurs.
Saul Klein recently blogged about the importance of validation and pointed out that it comes in many forms, including previous successes, having a outstanding person join your start-up team, signing a paying customer, acquiring users, getting positive press/blog reviews. But a lot of these guys don't have that yet, and the first form of validation they get here in France is that they are not crazy nor alone, that there are people doing exactly the same thing (cf my earlier post on how entrepreneurs in France get treated as if they are doing something subversive). Having other entrepreneurs like themselves to bounce ideas off of -- and repeat entrepreneurs, and VCs -- in an informal setting with a glass of wine in hand can give them the boost they need. More than a few times, we've been told that the camaraderie at the Pont Parties helps tremendously.
So thanks to all the people who come to our events -- from Fred Wilson, who gave the French start-up community a huge shot in the arm and lots of great advice, to regulars like Philippe Collombel at Partech International Partners (full disclosure: a BPR client) and first-timer (but self-declared "future regular attendee") Ashish Puri of Sofinnova, and the dozens of French start-ups that make the conversations rich and energetic. It's BPR's dream that one day, one of you will point back to a Pont Party and say "that's where my company really took off."
Fred's post about last night and the importance of accessibility here, and photos from last night's Pont Party here and here. Huge thanks to Ken & Marc, our beloved interns, who made sure this got documented.
And, of course, shameless plug for Seedcamp: want validation? Apply!