10 months have passed since I announced leaving Sigfox.
This (long) article is not yet to tell you about the new challenge/startup I joined one month ago (this will need another post, I should be able to announce publicly at the end of February), but to reflect about 9 months “in transition” and a question I’ve had quite often =>
What have you done during 9 months?
Nurturing my curiosity
You know how hard it is when you’re busy with your current job to say no to meeting requests or to refrain yourself for suggesting new encounters.
Well, the beauty of having more time is that you can have such meetings again. During 9 months, I met with many founders, startup employees, community builders, investors. Objective was always the same : nurture my curiosity, discover new sectors, and provide feedback and help when I could. And it was worth it! I learned so much from meeting so many people, in different fields.
You also learn a lot by trying to reflect on your previous experience and by sharing it with others. Glad I was invited at various incubators, schools or VCs to share some thoughts and insights.
Education + Tech
This is a topic I have highly looked at. I strongly believe we need to teach tech literacy to new generation, but also change how we prepare them to the future, in general.
I curated and hosted two sessions on Education during Web2day. One called “Les compétences du 21ème siècle” and the other one “Comment initier les enfants au code, à la robotique, à l’intelligence artificielle ?”. Great conversations with great speakers I suggest you to watch (in French)!
And because you have to try things by yourself, a highlight was one day I organized at my daughter school to introduce kids to coding and robots. A very exciting and rewarding day! Will do it again for sure.
Also attended interesting trade shows such as Educatec or Bett that showed me how crowded the ecosystem of “edtech” already is. Learned a lot about AI + Education at a conference organized by INRIA in Bordeaux called “Journée d’Étude des Activités pour l’enseignement de l’IA”.
I did an Ignite Presentation about this topic during WPP Stream event.
Cedric Giorgi on LinkedIn: #wppstream #girlswhocode #techliteracy | 26 comments
Here's the video of my ignite presentation during #wppstream event 10 days ago in Athens, named "Tech Literacy for…
Even if I did not launch nor joined a new company in the edtech sector, I was lucky to meet with two great companies that I modestly advice now:
- Colori, an exciting startup that creates ressources to teach kids how to code without the use of any screen.
- Learning Robots that wants to teach how AI works with the use of small robots.
In case you’re interested in education + tech, look at Edtech France, Educapital, Brighteye Ventures. Also, in French, read “Apprendre” by Stanislas Dehaene or “Apprendre au XXIe siècle” by François Taddei.
This is a topic I will continue to follow and think about. Maybe more on this in in the future!
French Tech Toulouse
In 2014, when I was still living in Paris, I got involved with La French Tech mission, when it all started. I’m a strong believer of the power of an engaged and collaborative ecosystem. When I moved to Toulouse in 2015, I had no time and motivation to be involved locally.
In 2019, I decided it was time to change this, so helped the local movement to be reborn, under Sandrine Jullien-Rouquie leadership (Ludilabel Founder and our local French Tech Toulouse President). Since I had some free time, and until we would have our full time local manager, I played an interim role as French Tech Toulouse manager. It was a great way for me to meet with local ecosystem and prepare great actions for 2020!
Because I love events.
- I joined Vivatech 2019 as a “guide” for Exec Tours. Interesting to see how corporates “consume” startups.
- I was a judge at Minds and Tech Challenging Minds Startup Competition.
- Highly enjoyed Daphni events and France Digital Day (which has become the “tech family gathering moment”.
- Was invited to WPP Stream in Athens, a unique unconference following the model of Kinnernet. Hard to summarize the experience. I’ve been to hundred of events but this was clearly in my top 5 ever. I met so many new people, I cooked, I did the ignite about tech literacy I shared above in this post…
- I hosted ChangeNow Summit Garden stage. A stage where no less than 200 startups pitched their impact startup during three days. Was amazing to learn about so many startups working on making our planet a little better: circular economy, clean energy, health, education etc.
- For the third year in a row, I curated and hosted a great conversation at BPIFrance InnoGeneration event. This year, the topic was “La Mixité dans la tech pourquoi tout le monde y gagne” in partnership with Sista who had just released about the study about the inequality of financement for projects led by women.
Looking for my next journey
Had amazing conversations with very different companies to see if there was an opportunity for me to join. Some examples.
- Airbus => Looks like going on the dark side (#corporate) is not for me! Learned a lot during the time I spent talking to Airbus, not only about aerospace, but also about all these things that make a corporate… a corporate ;)
- Operating Partner on VC side => had great conversations with many French and European VCs but they are either organizing their operating partners on a vertical model (Look at Serena as an example) or they can’t afford to spend more payroll on this at the moment. Also not very compatible with being located in Toulouse and in reality more “consulting” than “operating”.
- IoT Companies => left Sigfox. Love Sigfox. My IoT experience will remain unique to my time at Sigfox. Didn’t really see what I would learn by staying in IoT ecosystem.
- Kyanos => An amazing startup that I strongly hesitated in joining. Kyanos is focusing on micro-algae industrialisation to produce a nutrition ingredient but also as a way to purify the air.
A few years ago we decided we would buy a very old house in Toulouse and renovate it completely. (I’m not sure we really knew what we were starting...) It started in September 2018 and things accelerated gradually in 2019. In some ways, launching a house renovation project is worse than entrepreneurship. So for those of you that have been through this, you will understand why I needed to spend time on this. For others, ask yourself twice before entering in such a journey ;)
This is the last part of this article, but it was for sure the most important, because not business-related. I joined the startup scene in 2005, when I was still a student. Since then, I was always busy full time (usually with a full time job plus side/ecosystem activities at nights). For the first time I decided I would “take the time” to find the right next thing so I could spend more time with the family, especially my daughter and my son. Because at the end of day, even if we love working, our best moments are the ones with our loved ones!
It was also a good moment to be more at home with kids and do more housework, because my wife had just started to be an entrepreneur, and she needed to be able to accelerate! (And she did accelerate. Si vous cherchez une agence d’aménagement et de décoration d’intérieur sur Toulouse ou même partout en France, contactez Agence Duo Design).
What’s next ?
I’ll share soon my new full time adventure. But I already have three “side activities” =>
- French Startupers Network Founder & Admin, my little Facebook group is still considered by many like the best “backchannel” of the French startup ecosystem. Open to any french startup founder or employee.
- French Tech Toulouse Board Member. All ingredients are here to make Toulouse-based startups international success, we just need more collective emulation and collaboration.
- Business Angel @ Atomico Angel Programme 2020. Got the opportunity to become a business angel thanks to Atomico Angel Programme 2020. Will be looking to invest in 6 startups in 2020. I am mostly looking at deep-tech and impact startups coming from France. I’d like to have at least one from Toulouse, half women founders and at least one from a person of color. And of course I will try to follow Jeff Clavier “three asses” rule => a smart-ass team building a kick-ass product in a big-ass market.