Impact 2017 officially started,
A look back at Impact’s intense 2-day bootcamp in Paris

There’s a lot more than just an ocean separating France from the U.S.
Growing a company in the U.S. is a very difficult challenge: kind of like running a marathon while having to sprint the whole time! It is critical to have a meticulous and thorough preparation, a well defined strategy to address the market and quickly learn the codes of doing business in America, in order to be immediately operational once you get here.

Over the years, we’ve noticed that too often, some companies didn’t make the most of the first couple weeks of the Impact program. Because their goals and priorities weren’t clear enough or their pitch and marketing material still needed some work. Of course, we did work with the entrepreneurs in residence on all these aspects when they arrived.
But it was a distraction from the real purpose of being part of Impact in San Francisco or New York: immerse in the local ecosystem, initiate sales cycles, meet with potential influencers or investors, and validate a go-to-market strategy.

Because at Impact we want our promotion to be ready to do this from day 1, and don’t waste any time or money, we built in that necessary preparation phase into the program – before entrepreneurs actually set foot in the US. Our goal at Impact is to help you achieve in 20 weeks – 10 weeks of remote preparation and 10 weeks on-site – what would normally take a year if done on your own.

The bootcamp held in Paris on Feb 8th & 9th officially marked the debut of Impact 2017 and the 10-week remote preparation session with quite straightforward goals:

  • Adapt the positioning to the U.S. market
  • Start pitching like an American
  • Anticipate the critical path to U.S. incorporation


Day 1: Marketing & positioning coaching


Stephane Alisse, Managing Director of the Technology and Services Practice in North America for Business France, and Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director at Bpifrance Innovation, welcomed the 17 entrepreneurs selected by a jury of experts – VCs and successful French entrepreneurs based in the U.S.

Two marketing experts to guide the startups before their arrival

There’s no question about it: Marketing, positioning & pitch need to be localized and adapted to the U.S. market standards. This is when Pam Smith and Page Alloo come in. Pam and Page are marketing experts who specialize in working with management teams, product marketing teams and sales organizations within the tech industry. They handle a series of communication workshops designed to provide a quick & effective way to create, package and deliver a high-impact proposition based on proven methodologies designed to sustain customer mindshare. Their goal? Guide the entrepreneurs to develop a razor sharp approach to address their market.

During the first morning session, Pam & Page gave numerous insights on how to craft a good position statement. The position statement captures strategic conclusions that drive the development and flow of the presentation and all other verbal and written communication channels. With a strong positioning statement, an entrepreneur can answer all questions about his business with confidence. It’s key to be able to convince American VCs or potential business partners.

pam smith Impact 2017 bootcamp paris

There’s no room for improvisation when incorporating in the U.S

Entrepreneurs often complain about paperwork. Launching a business abroad is always complex, having to comply with tax regulations or incorporations rules can be tricky. Orrick, our partner and a leading global law firm with a particular focus on serving companies in technology, energy and financial sectors, shared with the audience how to navigate through the technicalities of incorporation and fundraising in the U.S.

Alumni sharing their experiences

One of the highlights of the bootcamp was when alumni shared their experience with the rookies.

Philippe Laval, founder of Evercontact and 2015 alumni, shared how important the preparation and work on the pitch had been for him. In short, hard work and tons of practice enabled him to go from delivering the worst pitch ever to winning pitch competitions in the valley! We’re so proud of you Philippe.

The 2017 promotion also had the chance to hear from alumni Giroptic, Sublime Skinz or Botify – live from New York, San Francisco and even China (!).

Networking session

After an intense program, the first day ended with a networking cocktail party gathering top VCs, fellow alumni, Impact partners and stakeholders.


Day 2: 1o1 sessions

The second day of the bootcamp was dedicated to one on one sessions with Page Alloo and Pam Smith, financing experts from Bpifrance, Pramex, and venture funds.

Marketing coaching with the experts

Individual sessions with Pam and Page were scheduled for each entrepreneur in order to evaluate their current value proposition… and benchmark it against that of their main U.S. competitor.

Financing the launch in the U.S

The day began with a one on one sessions organized by Bpifrance. They presented their various solutions to help startups finance their expansion. No doubt about it, expanding to the U.S. is expensive, so this was a great opportunity to talk about international financing.

Our partner Pramex, also conducted one on one sessions with the entrepreneurs to help them find the best strategy for managing their American subsidiary. Pramex is a subsidiary of BPCE and the leading French consulting firm for international development and transactions, dedicated to medium and intermediate-sized businesses.

It’s only the beginning!

It’s a fact, Impact is an intense program for all its participants. No pain, no gain. Throughout the bootcamp, it was easy to see that every entrepreneur was 100% motivated to conquer the American market. And this is only the beginning.

Several journalists, representing newspapers and media such as Les Echos (in French), La Tribune (in French), Usine Nouvelle (in French),  attended the bootcamp – check out what they said of Impact!

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