Nowadays, most VCs and accelerators in France, but also abroad, have set up and institutionalized their own "Operating Partners' offer". Each and every VC claims to either be or involve "former entrepreneurs", bringing "value-added", "helpful support" or reminding that "building a company takes more than money". Those overused expressions have become so ubiquitous that it has become hard for founders to understand their true meaning, and we can’t really blame them for that.
In fact, we quite understand them, as many support offers have been founded with a VC centric agenda. Their true motivation was to differentiate from the competition with a new branding focused on startups operating development, while keeping a relatively small headcount.
As a matter of fact, many so-called "Operating Partners offers" mainly feature mentoring, PR consulting or back-office support (such as HR governance or legal matters back-up). All of this at founders’ requests ; and with a certain limited bandwidth, as OPs have to simultaneously manage an ever-growing portfolio of startups.
However, the French ecosystem has matured and simple access to knowledge (above all hardskills) is now widespread. Founders have the basics figured out and it keeps happening sooner, younger, faster. Today’s founders are a different breed and their ambition and needs have changed and will continue to do so. If we don’t match the pace as vc firms or acceleration program, survival is at stake, above all with the rise of true former entrepreneur venture funds that became themselves the very brand that generates dealflow.
What it tells on the other hand is that founders expect true proactive action from the VC fund they choose and that claims support is part of the deal. In that respect, support programs must adapt/upgrade or become a commodity themselves. Knowledge is no longer expected by itself, capability (know how and resources) to implement it, in a custom fashion has to be on the table
Don’t get us wrong: mentorship, knowledge base, community and events are still very much valuable 👌, critical in fact. But at the Hub, we believe that these features can’t reflect the core value proposition of a support program anymore. As many noticed Series A is the new Series B (a16z), Seed is the new Series A , later maturity execution is anticipated faster and so is the required validated learning (Eric Ries). As such, founders expect true unfair and actionable advantages that impact their learning curve faster and sooner (fast forward), because that's what investors expect them to build against their rivals.
Therefore, "the why" and ambition of support programs have to be reframed. We believe that when it comes to startup acceleration, "one-size-fits-all" and "cookie cutter" approaches - that founders often get – raise more questions than answers. We believe the time of low touch support program is over and that requires getting one's hands dirty on operational work, to go beyond office hours and on-demand support calls. Supporting startups in their execution requires aligning ourselves with their pace and that is undeniably time & effort consuming. It can’t be done without resources, it can’t be compromised with, it’s time for high touch support programs within VC firms.
Our mission relies upon one single purpose: ensuring that each and every invested ventures turns into an enduring company. We provide you with extra resources to fast forward your learning curve. We build with you the sustainable pillars required to reach the necessary operating milestones for your personal and collective agenda:
We are no venture capitalists, we don’t maximize the round value, rather your ability to lock valuable learnings and tangible achievements that can contribue to the former.
Since you picked or about to pick Bpifrance Investment in your cap table, with high expectations in terms of exposure, guidance and informed decisions, The Hub is tasked with the difficult mission to cool our heads down and be humble. We'll never know as much as you do about your market & product.
That’s why we embrace the opposite perspective and roll up our sleeves to bring ourselves up to speed with your model specifities, to conceive actionable & bespoke materials with sizable insights for each and every startup we support. We secure our founders’ most precious asset: Time ⌚. We see ourselves as an extension of your team for a short period of time and deliver actionnable results.
In 2019, Bpifrance decided to allocate a rare amount of resources to support you: under the name Le Hub, 15 extra dedicated muscles 💪 and brains 🧠 are available to help you with the heavy lifting for a year-long acceleration program.