On the 19th of October, a business school alumni delegation came to visit TheHive accelerator. Located in the city of Nantes (North west of France), Audencia features among the best European management schools. As part of a « Startup Nation Tour », their alumni network paid a visit to TheHive by Gvahim. The forty people delegation gathered in the community room for a brief presentation about the startup ecosystem and TheHive's accelerator model for immigrant entrepreneurs.
The presentation was followed by the pitches of two of TheHive alumni: Ardon Wesly, CEO at Gooster and Gabriel Manasse, CEO at Bablic.
« In the 1990’s, the State of Israel faced the huge challenge which consisted of welcoming a massive immigration wave from the former Soviet Union countries representing at the time around 20 % of its existing population. » said P. Lahy Engel. This statistic grabbed the audience's attention which you could assess by the number of «ah ouais quand même » emerging from the french-speaking audience (which is not translatable to another language, just understand the amazement). Indeed, the Israeli experience goes against a general bad feeling that is inspired by immigration. This counter-example debunks the very shared opinion that massive immigration is at best an aggravation factor of unemployment, and at the worse the root of all evil. Far from the grim predictions, Israel managed to prevent what could have been a social crisis by adapting the work market and trying to provide the new immigrants with tools to find jobs which matched their educational background. « As a response to this flood of highly-skilled workforce, the Israeli government created State Incubators for the immigrants. Those became progressively private as this massive influx of population had been absorbed in the Israeli work market ». This perspective was the opportunity to come back to the Israeli acceptance of « incubator », which here refers to a public initiative in cooperation with a private operator. The accelerators are comparatively a new, although thriving phenomena (TheHive was one of the very first created in 2011).
Patricia Lahy Engel then stressed the immigrant inclination to dare entrepreneurship: « moving to a new country is already a risk. Launching its one business is just another risk taken. Immigrants are pushed out of their comfort zone. It increases their ability to find solutions ». Indeed, immigration is often like a second birth place: it means a new country, a new nationality, a new language, and even sometimes a new name (some olim change their native name for its hebrew equivalent). This major upheaval in life shakes up their framework for thinking and develops their ability to steer clear from the mapped out paths. A notorious example is given by the Silicon Valley : almost half of its entrepreneurs (with Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google at their helm) are not American natives or belong to the second generation of a previous wave of immigration.
The "practical part" was performed by Ardon Wesly and Gabriele Manasse, Dutch and Italian-born respectively.
Gooster, Ardon Wesly’s startup, developed a smart application for travelers. The user basically interacts with its virtual buddy on messenger, which gives him the most relevant tips, tricks and recommendations on-the-go. Still looking for fundings, the young startup is following a successful path with already an enthusiastic users cluster.
Gabriele Manasse introduced its venture with a striking survey for businessmen and women: almost half of the customers buy on the internet only in their mother tongue. Which means a huge shortfall for cross-borders storekeepers. This reality has been the powerful matrix of Bablic. The startup has brought a major innovation in the field of localization technology. Bablic works very easily and doesn’t request any technical background to be implemented. The website manager of your company has just to add a line of code in your editor. Then Bablic detects the localization of the website visitors and infer the user language. 90% of Bablic users don’t switch to a competitor and the company keeps collecting very positive feedback.
Followed by a lively question time, both interventions were a clear success.
Our thanks go to Audencia Alumni for the best interest they attached to TheHive by Gvahim and to Ardon Wesly and Gabriele Manasse for their valuable participation.