French Accelerator FAQs
What's our story?
Our name is inspired by the best and most creative French Entrepreneurs that have succeeded in creating lasting value in their home country and that now have the desire to extend their reach into the United States. The road to win a new market like the US is like a Rollo coaster that goes beyond the business aspect and also involves human adventure for the entrepreneur and his/her family. Most projects will fail by lack of funding, cultural integration and key customer wins. We have assembled a team of partners and experts to maximize your project’s potential success and avoid the typical pitfalls.
Why Los Angeles?
We believe Los Angeles has become a major technology hub and is a better place than Silicon Valley when it comes to venture creation. Los Angeles has approximately the same size technical labor force as Silicon Valley — fueled in part by graduates from three of the top ten technical universities in the world (Caltech, UCLA, USC). LA has already produced dozens of venture-backed, tech success stories, such as SnapChat, Tinder, Dollar Shave Club, SpaceX, Applied Semantics, Cornerstone On Demand, eHarmony, Green Dot, HauteLook, Legal Zoom, Riot Games, JustFab/ShoeDazzle, United Online and many, many others.
Many French entrepreneurs need help turning their products and ideas into thriving businesses, raising capital, and operational advice. The French Tech Los Angeles startup ecosystem is now a reality and we accelerate that evolution by helping entrepreneurs crack the code to create lasting value in the US, thanks to our network of partners and advisors.
How does the French Accelerator Program work?
The French Accelerator program helps entrepreneurs take their products to market, find the right customer/user segments, implement the right business model, generate revenue and user growth, develop scalable/profitable distribution channels, augment their teams with complementary skills, and when appropriate, raise venture capital from investors who believe in their vision. French Accelerator helps entrepreneurs build great, category-leading companies.
French Accelerator is focused on building products and achieving market acceptance. We believe the most beautiful presentation and most bullet proof pitches comes from companies with thoughtfully executed products, loyal and delighted users, reference-able customers, scaling business metrics, and passionate founders.
While we believe fundraising is one of the many hurdles that any new venture most overcome, we do not believe fundraising is the end goal of building great companies, much less one for an accelerator program. In fact, most French Accelerator companies do not kick off their fundraising process until they have met pre-determined milestones in the US for their respective businesses.
Why French Accelerator?
French Accelerator is not for every entrepreneur or company. Our portfolio companies are our customers, and as in any service business, customer satisfaction is key to long-term success. As a result, our selection criteria are not solely based on whether we believe the company can generate a significant financial return in the long run. We need to be convinced that we can add value significantly in the company.
We believe we add incremental value in a few unique ways:
The French Accelerator founders are able to add strategic AND operational value to our companies because we are successful entrepreneurs and executives with collectively over hundreds of years of operating experience. We have all held roles in the Tech and Finance industry as operating executives, entrepreneurs and investors. We have founded numerous companies, operated companies at all stages, and helped scale some of the most successful companies such as: Facebook, Hulu, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Accenture, Rosetta Stone and Genymobile. We have spent our careers primarily as operators at companies of all stages — startups to Fortune 100. We earned our stripes as product managers, sales reps, marketers, engineers, and general managers. We have built companies from scratch, recruited co-founders, raised millions in capital, and sold some of our ventures. We’ve been there before and we are not afraid to get our hands dirty and leverage our past experiences and networks to help French entrepreneurs succeed.
We have split our careers between United States and Europe; as a result, we have deep ties to the tech communities in both geographies. We are able to bring business development, customer development, advisory, recruiting, and financing opportunities to our portfolio companies. French Accelerator is a new kind of accelerator that commits to help you succeed your project into the US.
The French Accelerator advisor network includes some of the most successful executives, entrepreneurs, and investors in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. Our advisors are experts in diverse industries from technology, media, entertainment, aerospace, design/fashion, eCommerce, adtech, social, mobile, eHealth and more. They provide a level of expertise and diversity of perspective that complements that of the founding partners of French Accelerator. We offer our portfolio companies access to expertise not constrained by geography or industry.
How long is the French Accelerator program?
French Accelerator works with a maximum of 12 companies per year. The program is spread across 12 months, but ompanies exit from French Accelerator when they have achieved predetermined business, customer, and financing milestones.
How do I work with French Accelerator?
We select companies and entrepreneurs from an application process on our website. We pride ourselves on spending 45 minutes with each candidate with a 360 degree feedback, despite we enroll the company or not.
What will Laurent, Jonathan, Estelle and Charles do for you?
We work full-time investing in and working with startup companies. As a result, we tell entrepreneurs to treat us as their founding team in the US. Our portfolio companies have complete access to our time, experience, network, and knowledge. But most importantly, we are not afraid of digging in on the tactics of building their companies. Just like the entrepreneurs we work for, we will do whatever is necessary to help our portfolio companies win in the marketplace.
How much does French Accelerator cost?
French Accelerator believes in a 2-step approach:
- Phase 1 (month 1-6), we work as a service provider and a flat fee of $20,000 per month is charged.
- Phase 2 (month 7-12), we work as a partner and we get 5% of equity of your US company IF AND ONLY IF we have successfully managed to deliver KPIs during Phase 1.
What does it take to be part of our community?
We look for passionate, 100% committed, full-time entrepreneurs of any age and experience level with disruptive ideas who are willing and able to take the risk of turning their ideas into reality. We have a strong preference for fully formed teams, generating revenues above $150,000 per year into their home market and a growth margin above 30%.
How far along do we need to be before we can apply?
We accept applications from companies at Pre-Series A stage. Enterprise and B2B startups typically can be of earlier stage while consumer product companies would require more proof of product-market fit.
I already have a US presence, can I still apply?
Yes. Our mission is to help French entrepreneurs to go to the next stage when it comes to their US development. Since our value add is primarily operational and not merely financial, the more important question for entrepreneurs to answer is whether they believe French Accelerator can help accelerate the growth of their businesses, operating metrics, and fundraising, thus making the company significantly more valuable after the program.
My company has been around for a while in Europe, can I still apply?
Yes. Many companies accepted into the program have done significant product development work or have launched an early version of their product. While you may be well established in Europe, we will help you scale your business, raise financing, and anything else we can to help your business succeed into the US. In fact, at French Accelerator the significant majority of the program is spent on trying to figure out the best chances to succeed into a 320 million people market via continuous experimentation around the right combination of customer segmentation, brand positioning, value proposition, product design, pricing, go-to-market channels, and customer acquisition strategies.
Do I have to be in Los Angeles to participate?
We accept applications from all over the world. But, to participate in the program, you need to come and be a part of our community. We ask all companies to spend the majority of the program here in our office in Los Angeles. We are looking in the near future to open a subsidiary in NYC.
Do I have to stay in Los Angeles after the program?
No, you are free to go wherever you think your company will thrive. We are big believers in the ecosystem that’s here in Los Angeles, but you are not obligated to stay.