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Innovative firms are not soaps

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Everybody agrees that the search for financing is an obstacle course for the manager of a young innovative company. This is an understatement, as this path is often fatal to the emergence of innovations. Many ideas die before they see the light of day due to the inability of financing models to identify and support them. Understanding an innovation, especially if it is innovative, requires effort and attention. It also requires time.

A few years ago, however, a fashion appeared: that of quick presentations, speed dating, ultra condensed beauty contests during which an entrepreneur must seduce in a few words, a few pictures, areopagi of investors and in particular business angel networks. The world of finance and operational investment then takes on the allure of advertising performance, with slogans and hard-hitting images that have to hit to win. The shortening of time forces a shortening of expression and inevitably of thought.

Why this fashion? We are not here in the effervescence of the media bubble, which forces us to condense our ideas into "little sentences". When it comes to corporate investment, there are not many actors, they are present live, they are real humans and not television images. So why impose this dictatorship of time?

Certainly investors are busy people with busy schedules. They receive a lot of files; they have to decide quickly. In the business angel or business support networks they are also often volunteers. These reasons are not enough. There is too often behind them the shadow of sufficiency and fatuity of those who believe they hold a certain power; in this case the power to decide on the life or death of a "startup".

This mode is not acceptable. Innovation is too great a challenge for our societies and for France in particular to play with it. Startup managers are generally (young) people who take risks and whose future is subject to this modus operandi. They cannot take an additional risk: that of displeasing. This is how the model is replicated everywhere, in private circles, but even more seriously in public or para-public funding organisations.

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Innovation would be better in France if those responsible for defending it were to break away from this absurd model. All they need to do is get better organized beforehand, take a little more time to study and get to know the issues before the presentations, and ask the right questions. Not to pose as a judge but as a pre-partner. This is not very complicated and simply requires a little more respect for the creativity, effort and intelligence of those who come to them.

Innovative companies are not soaps that are sold or bought with slogans. They demand that we share their vision of the future with them. This cannot be done - well - without breaking away from the model in this case and etymologically obscene etymology of immediacy and urgency. Too many ideas are dying today simply because of a lack of attention. Every day young shoots disappear because they wither away or are not cared for. If we want the dynamic of innovation undeniably present in French companies to become a competitive economic reality, let us first try to change mentalities and be indignant to denounce harmful fashions.

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