Major companies facing the Entrepreneurial Revolution in 2017

In 2006, some major companies could still say to their teams that innovation is not a priority. Innovation was not always part of corporate values, budgets or culture. In 2016, they have sprung into action in the wake of the “Digital Revolution”, and almost all major organisations now understand that innovation, and the changes it triggers, underpins their survival.
By Jean-François Caillard, COO of NUMA.

The telecom sector is a good example of this. The arrival of the iPhone in June 2007 was a wake-up call. It swiftly made major manufacturers obsolete and reduced the role of intermediaries in operators’ customer relations.

Some former market leaders, such as Nokia or Blackberry bore the brunt of this, and several studies show that the current dynamic will result in half of the 500 leading global companies to disappear in the next ten years, at least from this league table, attesting to a staggering renewal rate.

For the start of the 21st century, historians will retain the far-reaching changes in the economy in which the key players are no longer manufacturers, energy companies and physical distribution services, but the famous GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) in the West and BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) in China. This revolution is on the same scale as the industrial revolution of the 19th century or the printing revolution at the start of the Renaissance period, but over a much shorter time span.

What is the “Digital Revolution”?

All organisations naturally use emails, the Internet, mobile devices, comprehensive high-performance information systems. This is no longer the issue at stake.

Yes, some direct gains of productivity are still on-going. But main upcoming gains are indirect: we are now talking about the revolution of economic players made possible by digital tools:  exponential reduction in development costs for solutions, storage, processing, as well as marketing, communication and distribution. We are talking about a world in which the data production rate is exponential, and in which players in this field have taken on a key role in society or in their economic sector.

In fact, we could just as easily talk about the “Entrepreneurial Revolution” resulting from this reduction in costs, i.e. the millions of young and older entrepreneurs who are launching start-ups with low costs and grand ambitions. They have their bible, The Lean Start-Up, with its proven methodology: to identify a problem to be solved over a broad target market, source user requirements and insights, prototype, test, and launch a “minimum viable product”, then scale it as quickly as possible. They work very quickly as they only have resources for a limited time, and are often in a race with their competitors. They place their trust in collective intelligence by sharing their data and issues with all their employees in order to increase each person’s involvement and their contribution to their resolution.

In terms of statistics, some succeed by smashing value chains and shaking up established players: Uber for taxis, Blablacar for transportation, Airbnb and Booking for hotels, Criteo for digital marketing, Spotify for music, Netflix for TV… and of course this is only the tip of the iceberg as the trend is gaining pace and on an industrial scale. At this rate, there will probably be 20 times more companies of this type in 2020.

Start-up accelerators such as Y-Combinator and NUMA are playing a part in this industrialised phase.

By selecting teams wishing to take on high-potential markets, by giving them the methods and connections to leverage their project, they are in contact with hundreds of start-ups and increase their chance of success. Investment funds trust them and are more likely to finance a resulting start-up, which also favours its success. There are now more than 200 accelerators worldwide, around six of which, including NUMA, are present on several continents.

This Entrepreneurial Revolution is gaining momentum: an increasing amount of data is available (in particular via the Internet of Things), new ways of extracting value are emerging (in particular via self-learning systems such as “deep learning”), new architectures are appearing (such as Blockchains), which broaden the scope of this revolution. Other revolutions are joining in: that of transportation (electric and autonomous vehicles, drones, space, etc.), medicine (strong increase in life expectancy thanks to new technologies) and energy (which is becoming cleaner and decentralised), which boosts the “revolutionary” potential.

Which levers are now available for major companies?

Major economic players’ great wake-up call with regard to this (probably poorly named) “digital transition” is related to either an impact already observed in economic indicators or to observations of their competitors, their business areas or Silicon Valley. The denial and mourning phase is over for most companies and the emphasis is now on action.

They have considerable resources and expertise. They also boast tens or hundreds of thousands of employees who must be supported along this key shift.

Acceleration of development cycles

This implies short-term teams which accept the rapid launch of products not yet perfected. It also implies close attention paid to end users’ needs in order to deal with their problems. It requires a move away from unwieldy information systems and the use of the same tools and methods as start-ups. It implies quick turn-arounds and the design of rapidly scalable solutions. Smart growth methods must be rolled out (“growth hacking”). This often means changing their working framework as rapid innovation requires heightened collaboration and quick decisions. Many major companies have already started to implement this acceleration, but it is not always easy to reproduce the “sense of urgency” that start-ups feel, due to their limited resources.

Open Innovation

In particular, towards start-ups, corporate investment funds, start-up accelerators. There are also more collaborations with other major companies, which can have a leverage effect on their own efforts. There is an awareness that you need an ecosystem to succeed: it is no longer possible for a major company to succeed alone. To be accepted in this ecosystem, you have to have the correct attitude and provide value, as it is tacitly unforgiving for players who do not contribute. Major groups have a great amount of value to provide to their respective ecosystems and many have got through this phase successfully.

Initiatives have been rolled out by almost all players today, with varying levels of ambition and success, but they have all started to produce effects:

  • Creation of specific roles and departments (Chief Digital Officer, Innovation Division, etc.)
  • Sourcing and project support structures with start-ups (roll-out of pilots, investment via corporate ventures, start-up accelerators on their business areas, etc.)
  • Implementation of projects using start-up methods: hackathons, intrapreneurship
  • Roll-out of start-up studios to develop projects using start-up methods
  • Creation of R&D and innovation bodies aimed at start-ups, via organised events, challenges, etc.
  • Creation of third places, open meeting places designed for agile and open innovation, used by Unibail Rodamco, MAIF, General Electric or Renault.
  • A rise in user-oriented innovation (design thinking)

Even though statistics show that major groups have much more chance of success than start-ups when they launch new entrepreneurial projects, the return on investment cannot always be measured and we are still at the beginning of these new structures. Major companies are generally supported by bodies such as NUMA in the creation of these projects.

The European ecosystem is not merely a reproduction of the American ecosystem.

One of its strong creations is the increased collaboration between major players on given themes in order to solve complex problems together, and with start-ups. The Datacity project is a prime example: around ten major urban players have come together to define a dozen complex issues facing cities and they are enlisting start-ups to find solutions.

These projects are extremely powerful as major groups have the opportunity to discuss strong and complementary areas of expertise. They work together on non-competitive issues and offer start-ups, who relish the opportunity, the issues and data which have a significant potential for value creation. This collective drive is not yet visible in the USA.

What remains along the road?

In a situation where most major players worldwide are still playing catch-up to “GAFA” and other agile organisations:

Organisations and work methods which have not yet changed.

Offices are sometimes still closed off, organisation charts still pyramid-shaped and diaries filled with long meetings. It still takes several weeks or several months to achieve what a start-up, or an agile player, can do in a few hours. A great majority of teams still work exactly as they did ten or more years ago. It often takes three weeks to organise a meeting with the right people, and three months to obtain a decision or a budget, even for a project of strategic importance. In some cases, you even have to wait for the next financial year to get the go-ahead.  

What is at stake with the “digital revolution” is therefore also the implementation of new working methods, inspired by start-ups, to a considerable proportion of the company, starting with the most visible departments.

One lever that is easy to use is the transformation of the work environment, as demonstrated by Société Générale at its new headquarters at Val de Fontenay, or Adeo at its headquarters in Ronchin. 

In Europe, companies’ collaboration with start-ups is still at the courtship phase…

…while GAFA acquire hundreds of shares in start-ups each year and make dozens of acquisitions. This strengthens their enforcement capacity and creates unparalleled and highly virtuous appeal for the Californian ecosystem. Each year, Google invests more in start-ups than the top twenty European digital companies put together and buys out a great number of them. The aim is to acquire talent as well as technologies and agility. In Europe, acquisitions are much more rare, due to several factors: more fragmented target markets or Not Invented Here. Internal teams sometimes think that they are able to develop the solution by a start-up undergoing takeover talks for a much lower budget. Once again, the value of time is insufficiently taken into account here.

These two movements must be conducted together.

A takeover of a start-up has little chance of success if the corporate culture of the purchasing group is out of phase. Either the executives will leave very quickly, or the start-up will remain independent and will not produce all of the expected value. Similarly, a group needs to incorporate key talents from start-ups in order to change its operating methods.

And in 2017 at NUMA?

We are convinced at NUMA that entrepreneurs who have a strong sense of their mission will have an impact on the world’s complex issues by 2030.

This is because they work quickly and have the right approach. Our role is to support them, to give them the tools and connections to succeed. Their methodologies and sense of their missions can also be of use to major companies.

Since it was founded three years ago, NUMA has supported more than 120 organisations in this Digital and Entrepreneurial Transition, with the strong conviction that the first change to be made relates to culture. NUMA has assisted many companies on how to innovate like start-ups (Intrapreneurship, Start-Up Studio) or with start-ups (Theme-based Accelerators).

In order to support its partners more effectively in this change of working methods, NUMA has decided to go even further in 2017, with the following initiatives:

  • By creating “NUMA Learn“, a training programme aimed at major companies wishing to embrace change, with a view of assisting forerunning teams, and also the thousands of employees whose working methods will be subject to change.
  • By creating “NUMA Factory” to offer major companies its resources. The first example is Selecteev which enables starts-ups or teams to apply for challenges or selections.
  • By launching theme-based acceleration, in “multi-partner” mode. As early as January, NUMA Mexico is launching an accelerator on the subject of healthcare with prestigious public and private partners. This is a first and will foster expertise and sharing in areas requiring specialisation.
  • By replicating the success of Datacity in Paris and Casablanca in other cities because we are firmly convinced that this type of collaboration makes a lot of sense elsewhere in the world.
  • By replicating Datacity on new themes, in particular the fascinating SmartCampus.

The team at NUMA practically doubled in size in 2016, and we are continuing to take on in 2017… those who will be the players in this amazing transition. We want to make NUMA an exemplary company :).



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2017, here we come!

2016 has been a year of extensive transformation and growth for NUMA. But wait until you see what's coming in 2017...

2016 has been a year of extensive transformation and growth for NUMA. First, we opened offices in 2 new countries (Spain and Mexico) and we launched 2 new business lines: Corporate Education and our new software

Our staff doubled and we are extremely proud of our team of over 100 NUMAns now. We are thrilled to have met and welcomed incredible new people at NUMA. This is probably one the most promising achievements of all: continue growing, though keeping our spirit and mindset.

In our 6 NUMA offices around the world, 320 promising startups have now benefited from our acceleration programs. Besides that, a dozen of large organizations have trust us to support them in their digital transformation.

Our Open Innovation platforms reached new horizons, bringing the collaborations between corporates and startups to new levels. For instance: is bringing a brand new IoT platform for startups willing to disrupt the Industrial world with General Electric. aims to solve the challenges of smart cities thanks to entrepreneurs.

This year, more than ever, we have proved that entrepreneurs have the power to solve many of the challenges that we face. We are here to empower them in doing so.

In 2017, we are committed to intensify this support. We will scale our offer to startups, communities and corporates. Keeping our values and spirit in mind, we will discover new territories, extending our brand to new horizons.

Throughout this journey that will take us to a new level, the key is keep our mission in mind: shape unique and responsible leaders for tomorrow’s economy. Whether they’re Entrepreneurs or Corporate Directors. Or both.

“Our task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it” wrote Antoine de St Exupéry. 2017 will be the year that NUMA, with your help, will enable a brighter future.

Happy 2017!

And before starting this amazing new year ahead of us, we thought it’d be good to have a little look back on 2016…


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mVenturesBcn and NUMA commit €4.8M to attracting growth-phase digital startups

- The programme has received applications from 37 countries of 4 continents to take part in the first edition of the acceleration programme which begins on 1 November.
- The startups participating will receive initial funding of €30,000 to develop their project.
- The first NUMA Barcelona programme will culminate in a Demo Day at 4YFN 2017.

Barcelona, 14 September 2016 – mVenturesBcn, the programme launched by Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCB) to create and support new digital projects and businesses, and NUMA, the French global innovation network, have today presented NUMA Barcelona, the first European acceleration programme for growth-phase digital startups. The initiative will invest 4.8 million euro in attracting digital talent to the city, in addition to supporting and developing their projects, with particular focus on their scalability and global impact.

NUMA Barcelona will accelerate 30 startups over the next 3 years, and will launch its first programme on 1 November. The international reach of this programme is clearly illustrated by the applications that have already been received from 37 countries on 4 continents – Africa, America, Asia and Europe – in this first call for proposals.

The 10 selected startups will follow a 4-month programme (November to February) which will culminate in a Demo Day on the main stage at 4YFN 2017 during the GSMA Mobile World Congress. Each startup will receive initial funding of €30,000 at the beginning of the programme to develop their project, as well as consulting services, mentoring and offices, among others. Also, NUMA Barcelona will acquire a 5% equity stake, allowing the accelerator to become involved in and monitor the project once the programme has come to an end. For this reason, the initiative has allocated a further €1.5M for possible financial contributions after the programme has been completed. These investments will be made in startups whose proposals possess significant international potential in addition to a strong innovative element.

NUMA Barcelona has a solid network of international mentors who will provide the business teams with constant support. They include, among others, leading figures such as Ali Partovi, investor and consultant in projects such as Facebook, Uber, Airbnb or Dropbox; Gary Shainberg, ex-Vice President of Technology and Innovation at British Telecom and one of the first promoters of Tech Pioneers in the World Economic Forum; Jorge Carulla, ex-Marketing Director of eDreams and cofounder of ShakeUp; and Francisco Pérez, cofounder of Hawkers.

According to Aleix Valls, General Director of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, “NUMA Barcelona is a reflection of the talent and innovative potential in our city. We are generators of ideas, but we have an extraordinary capacity to provide the environment necessary for developing digital projects and making the leap to the international arena.” Along these lines, Pep Gómez, Chairman of NUMA Barcelona, points out that “Entrepreneurs from 37 countries, including Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Cameroon, Russia and Canada, among others, want to take part in our initiative. We are offering to accelerate ventures in the mobile capital. This is unique in the world.” NUMA’s CEO, Marie V. Le Barzic, concludes that “The cooperation between NUMA and mVenturesBcn will allow the strengthening of relations between Paris and Barcelona and the establishment of a true bridge of knowledge and digital innovation between both ecosystems.”

Barcelona: a hub of digital innovation

mVenturesBcn strives to strengthen Barcelona’s role as a business environment for entrepreneurs, startups and investors with initiatives that are scalable on an international level. To this end, mVenturesBcn has opened new offices in Pier01, the centre of reference for digital entrepreneurs in Barcelona backed by Barcelona Tech City that was opened in July.

mVenturesBcn currently hosts 2 leading worldwide acceleration programmes: the first is in the field of the Internet of Things, with Startupbootcamp IoT & Data; the second is NUMA Barcelona, a pioneer programme in Europe for growth-phase startups, sponsored in conjunction with the French innovation network NUMA.

mVenturesBcn also focuses on the acceleration of technological transfer and the creation of new digital-based companies as a catalyst for economic growth. The call for submissions in this area will open in October, in conjunction with universities and research centres. The programme aims to accelerate 20 investigation-based business ventures over 3 years.

About NUMA

NUMA is a global innovation network bringing growth and human capital to start-ups. Since 2000, NUMA has emerged as France’s leading innovation practice. In addition to providing its start-ups with commensurate financial and educational resources, NUMA has created an environment prone to their success relying on an influential network of entrepreneurs, corporates and technical experts. Since launching its first programme in Paris in 2011, NUMA has accelerated start-ups in five different countries (France, Russia, India, Morocco and Mexico), and plans to deploy its model in 15 countries by 2019. NUMA by figures: 109 start-ups accelerated, 1M€ average fundraising, 79% still active, 65% have raised funds; 2 programmes in Western Europe, 6 programmes worldwide.

For more information:

About mVenturesBcn

mVenturesBcn, a programme of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, is a key player in entrepreneurship and innovation facilitating the growth and scaling of mobile and digital start-ups, focusing on the globalisation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and attracting international talent to Barcelona.  Located in Pier 01 – Palau de Mar, the entrepreneurial ecosystem hub in Barcelona, mVenturesBcn runs acceleration programmes in partnership with the best accelerators around the world. It also collaborates with the top research centres and universities to build technology transfer programmes and support the creation of technology based start-ups.

Mobile World Capital Barcelona, an initiative driving the mobile and digital transformation of society to help improve people’s lives globally, hosts the Mobile World Congress and delivers 4 Years From Now [4YFN], a business platform for the start-up community.

About Mobile World Capital Barcelona

Mobile World Capital Barcelona is an initiative driving the mobile and digital transformation of society while helping improve people’s lives globally.

With support of the public and private sector throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, MWCapital focuses on three areas: the digital empowerment of new generations, professionals and citizens; the digital transformation of industries; and the acceleration of digital innovation through entrepreneurship.

Collectively, our mSchools, mHealth, mLiving, mVenturesBcn programmes are positively transforming the health and education system, the industry, and the economy.

MWCapital hosts the Mobile World Congress and delivers 4 Years From Now [4YFN], a business platform for the start-up community.


For further information:


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NUMA goes for a splash of colour (and changes its brand identity)

If you know NUMA, then you may have noticed that our website has changed. If you know NUMA, then you may also have noticed new colours have slipped into our communications. If you know NUMA, you are probably quite perplexed about these changes rolled out without an explanation, just like that. It’s true, we do owe you a few explanations. Keep on reading.

Don’t touch my logo

Three years ago, an identity was created amid the buzz of NUMA’s set-up in the Sentier district. We had to be efficient, work fast and find a logo that could successfully convey this unique story. The work completed by the agency CBA was remarkable, and from this brief, the NUMA logo that you know and love was born.

logo numa

In recent months, NUMA has made great strides, and we have strong ambitions for the future. To support this acceleration in our development, the need to reinforce the brand and leverage a stronger, clearer identity to convey NUMA’s DNA had become important.

Throughout our graphic productions, a key element always attests to its effectiveness. Regardless of the medium or target, our logo has proved to be a valuable asset, widely liked and a good reflection of who we are.

It draws its inspiration from an image representing a window open to the world, a symbol that reflects our position perfectly.

inspiration logo numa

We have therefore decided to build our new identity on this solid foundation.

Getting back to basics

What is the aim of an identity? To clarify a brand’s communications? To make it identifiable? To send its targets subliminal messages written in RGB and CMYK? In our opinion, a good brand identity must be a fair illustration of the story you are attempting to write. This is the story that we wanted to tell you with these new brand codes.


The entire identity is based on this logo that is dear to us. One of the first principles was to leverage a strong brand icon, from which it is the direct result. This icon is the N in the NUMA logo, which opens up to welcome texts, ideas, pictures and illustrations. This N is open to everything, just as NUMA is open to all. 

NUMA’s strength lies in its ability to bring together and be open to different men and women, to foster ideas important to a team, a company and society as a whole.

logo numa

n numa

n openned numa

To play this part in full, we also wanted the N to act as a window opened onto an illustration, an image, any visual.


illustration brand identity


Contagious, our white paper on NUMA’s joint ­construction, starts with a Prévert-style inventory of our targets. It’s true, we communicate to all these people:

  • Project owners
  • Companies in all sectors, digital start-ups and start-­uppers in spirit,
  • Students and unemployed people,
  • Children of the crisis or baby-boomers, trolls, artists,
  • Communicators, retailers in the Sentier district, major companies,
  • Associations, freelancers, elected representatives, active members of geek culture, programmers, hacktivists, etc.

You guessed it, NUMA is a happy melting pot. At NUMA, in the same day, you can see a training course for senior civil servants and an event on hacktivism. At NUMA, start-ups try to reduce your waste while others help you to chat people up on Snapchat.

Above all, NUMA is in Paris, but also in Moscow, Bangalore, Casablanca, Barcelona, Mexico City and will soon open offices in ten other cities across the globe. To talk about this, we needed at least twelve colours! But not just any colours.

These colours aim to be pleasant, fair and vibrant, but without arrogance, just as we picture the ideal employee.


numa colors


These colours always work at least in pairs. What would we do on our own?


numa colors duo




NUMA has recorded significant growth since its launch in 2013 and enjoys positive indicators for all its projections:

# Its turnover has quadrupled in 3 years,

# NUMA has opened offices in Moscow, Bangalore, Casablanca, Barcelona and Mexico City since March 2015,

# NUMA’s clients include 17 groups listed on the CAC40,

# 109 start-ups have been accelerated since 2011,

# Each start-up raises €1M on average,

# The team will have almost 60 employees at the end of 2016.

We also wanted this identity to reflect our drive for performance. To achieve this, we have designed our own typography for figures, inspired once again by the shapes in our logo.


numa figures



Creative innovation

On several occasions, NUMA has worked with artists and its illustrative style provides a genuine feature in the brand’s messages. We wanted to work with an illustrator to provide a creative signature to our messages through our own visuals that elegantly underscore our characteristics.

Each country in which NUMA has an office is illustrated by a window in the architecture typical of that country.

illustration numa


We have also designed visuals for each of our activities.

We will produce new visuals that you will see come to life as we develop our activities.

illustration activities numa


New brand identity: mission accomplished! 


At the time of writing, the identity has been rolled out for a few weeks and each new production gives us the pleasure of noting that we made the right choices!

We will let you come to your own opinion.


numa new branding declinaison

Artistic leadership and graphic design: Laurianne Birre and Juliette Poggioli
Illustration: Perrine Grosjean
Web development: Alban Dumouilla, Luc Del Beato and Tristan Lebleu
Project management: Amélia Matar

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NUMA’s international strategy revealed

In a little bit more than one year, NUMA, the leading player in the French entrepreneurial ecosystem, extended its operations on four continents and five countries: Russia, India, Morocco, Spain and Mexico.
Are they playing darts over a giant world map?

The French are famous for being analytical, right? Since we made the decision to go global, we analyzed 80 countries, interviewed 200+ people, crunched thousands of data and traveled 760 000 kilometers (twice the distance to the moon), to find the right spots and the right people to build joint ventures. Here’s the story behind NUMA’s international strategy…

There is method behind the madness

Let’s explain the method with our most recent case study: Mexico.

In 2010 we launched the first-ever acceleration program in France, thus planting a seed for the subsequent exponential growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If we could find a country at the same level of development as France six years ago, could we once again spur this exponential? 

NUMA Mexico is the result of this quest in the Latin American region. First, we did some desktop research and graded each country in this region using four indicators:

Chart NUMA International 1

  • Economic attractiveness: Economic Indicators (GDP per capita, business environment), Market Indicators (population, education, tertiary education), Infrastructure Indicators (general infrastructure, ICTs), Institutional Indicators (political environment, regulatory environment).
  • Entrepreneurial spirit: Entrepreneurial Attitude (opportunity perception, startup skills, risk acceptance, networking, cultural support), Entrepreneurial Ability (technology absorption, human capital, competition), Entrepreneurial Aspiration (product innovation, process innovation, high growth, internationalisation, risk capital), Entrepreneurial Activity (early stage entrepreneurial activity rates).
  • Level of innovation: Research & Development, Knowledge Workers, Innovation Linkages, Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Impact and Knowledge Diffusion.
  • Level of investment: VC investments (amount of equity invested), Size of market capital, Liquidity of market capital, M&A activity, IPO activity.

We backed up these theoretical analyses with 40+ remote interviews with local players. Eventually, analyzing the dynamic of these indicators over 4 years, we determined that Mexico was showing every aspect of an ecosystem on a tipping point, like France had been six years ago.

Chart NUMA International 2

We do joint ventures with like minded partners

Partenrships 1

Throughout our long history, we have helped many people start their innovation programs, and one thing we’ve learned is that your concept, successful as it may be in your territory, cannot be simply pasted in another. Innovation services are not like Starbucks coffee recipes. An understanding of the ecosystem, the people and the culture is crucial. There is no credible way to implement these services well if you’re not a native.

For us, opening a new location is thus first and foremost about identifying a great local partner who, like us, has been working for years on the ground with entrepreneurs and deeply understands the needs of the ecosystem. A partner who is running a coworking site, or an accelerator, or a venture fund, and is eager to develop the full systemic concept of NUMA.

We usually shortlist three potential partners that stand out as leaders of the ecosystem, and cross-check their reputation with local entrepreneurs, investors, journalists and public institutions and grade them according to four criteria:

  • Working operations (are they running Coworking, Events, Acceleration, Open Innovation?)
  • Network (are they connected to Startups, Mentors, Corporates, Public, International?)
  • Facilities (is their place suitable for NUMA activities and well situated in the city?)
  • Cultural Fit (do we share the same values and vision?)


In Mexico, Venture Institute was the perfect match: they had been running an accelerator and a fund for five years with an excellent track record, had successfully delivered open innovation programs with corporates, and were actively seeking ways to further strengthen their community. And above all: the founders and team are passionate about making an impact on the ecosystem across all of Latin America.

However, it’s common knowledge that even when two partners like each other a lot, compatibility is not always guaranteed. To mitigate this, our way to engage with partners follows a test & learn approach: before signing a joint venture, we run a due diligence process for 3 to 6 months, with training sessions and experimentations, where we carefully check that our partner has the capability to adapt and deploy NUMA concepts, and conversely that we bring real value to the ecosystem.

The result in Mexico speaks for itself: NUMA Mexico has settled in a gorgeous mansion in the centre of Mexico City where we organised numerous events, featuring people like Michael Seibel (YCombinator) or Dave Mc Clure (500 Startups). We successfully launched a crowdfunding campaign to convert a part of the mansion into the first free coworking space in Mexico City, mirroring what NUMA Paris did three years ago. The application period for the 14th acceleration batch recently closed and we’ve just signed the first open innovation program with a corporate (to be revealed later). What else?

The last step in our process is signing the Joint Venture. At NUMA we strongly believe in the phrase: “do as you are”. We nurture diversity in the way people think and work in our teams, giving autonomy and freedom of initiative, trusting them a priori. The same approach is applied to our joint ventures, where our partner is the major shareholder. We want to be involved in the management, but they deserve the driving seat. The result of the vetting process outlined above is that we know our partners share our values and mission, both dreaming big and delivering fast. They therefore have our full trust and support, and we look forward to learning from them.

Why did we decide to go abroad in the first place?


We constantly tell our entrepreneurs that their markets are too small, that competition is global and that they should go international from day one. They appear to take our words at face value: according to the 2015 Compass Study the number of startups that either opened second offices elsewhere or moved their headquarters from one ecosystem to another region was multiplied by 8.4 between 2012 and 2014.

In the first 12 months after following our acceleration program, 20% of startups cross the ocean and thrive in the USA with the support of fellow accelerators like YCombinator or Techstars. This is good, but going West, is not the only option: Blablacar developed in 22 countries, but preferred Russia and India to the USA. Why? F. Mazella (CEO) correctly reasoned that in the USA their value proposition might not work (long distances between towns, not enough incentives for the driver), while in the emerging markets they would solve a real pain point. And they did well: according to Nicolas Brusson (COO), at least 50 percent of their growth was from emerging markets.

With this in mind, we set out to identify an efficient way to support our entrepreneurs to spread their operations anywhere in the world.

During the last three years, we engaged with the best networks of fellows like Google for Entrepreneurs, Global Accelerator Network and ATALANTA which gave us a solid understanding of the ecosystems worldwide. We organised an accelerator summit and gathered 100+ ecosystem leaders, enabling them to share about their challenges and envision future trends, the findings of which were published in a white paper. We confirmed that struggling to find a sustainable business model and eagerness to learn from more experienced organisations is a global phenomenon. And most importantly, we heard that NUMA’s balanced and systemic model, resulting from 15 years of bottom-up innovation, was consistently appealing, particularly in growing ecosystems.

NUMA began as a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in France as a way to improve our economy and our society. In early 2015 the organisation became for profit, and successfully raised funds with a broader mission in mind: creating a global innovation network.

NUMA’s international strategy

We established a three-fold international strategy depending on the maturity of the ecosystem in question and its individual context, trying to answer two questions: what are the challenges of these ecosystems and what is our added value?

1. Early stage ecosystems: few entrepreneurs, lack of public or private support

These markets are too nascent or too small to allow fruitful fields of cooperation between startups, communities and corporates to emerge, which is the core value of our approach. At this stage, education is the key to inciting change. Our strategy is to work with public institutions like the World Bank or private companies willing to support entrepreneurship locally. We train incubator managers, advise public authorities, and promote modern digital policies with the objective of bringing the ecosystem to the next level of maturity.

2. Growing ecosystems: many entrepreneurs, insufficient support to early stage

In these countries, the startup community is quickly growing but there is a missing piece in their support: not enough mentors, unexperienced accelerators, lack of interest from the corporates, lack of seed investment … This is typically the situation in Mexico, Bangalore, Moscow, Casablanca, and this is where our experience as an ecosystem catalyst can make the biggest difference.

Our strategy is to set up NUMA operations in the fastest growing ecosystems, and help them pass the tipping point to exponential growth. In these situations, we rely on experienced local partners, providing them with knowledge and active support, but letting them lead the local operations.

3. Mature ecosystem: high competition, insufficient support to scale-up

In the USA, we have many trusted partners who help our entrepreneurs enter various markets across the country. In Europe, our established partnerships work very well for early stage startups, but market fragmentation across countries makes the situation far more difficult for entrepreneurs in the later stages of growth.

This led us to open our first growth-focused acceleration program in Barcelona, building on our assets as an experienced accelerator, the active involvement of the city hall of Barcelona and the Mobile World Congress organizers in Spain.

We will annually select at least 10 startups in mobile technologies and help them scale their businesses worldwide. This is a model we hope to replicate in other cities; we’re currently discussing opportunities in Europe and other regions of the world.

What’s next for NUMA’s international development?

The team : Aviva, Raphaëlle, Clarisse, Olivier and Fred

We are now present in 6 countries and plan to be in 15 countries by 2019. One of the biggest challenges that lays ahead of us is to strengthen this network and encourage synergies between all of our offices.

Building a global innovation network is truly the next big thing for our team.

  • We strongly encourage internal staff mobility. In 2016, at least 2 NUMA Paris staff will join one of our international offices in order to diffuse NUMA methods and culture.
  • We encourage startup mobility. Some startups will benefit from a mobility grant to help them test their value proposition in countries where NUMA operates. If there is a proven opportunity, our local team can assist in recruitment, business introductions and media exposure.
  • We organize mentor exchanges between all of our locations in order for a mentor from one country to meet on a regular basis with a startup from another.
  • We scale our open innovation programs globally. For the second edition, we want to operate the datacity program simultaneously in France, Morocco, India and Mexico.

Such a big journey over the past year, but it’s just the beginning… Stay tuned for more announcements by the International Team in 2016! Our International Strategy has just begun…

Fred fait l'avion

Article written by:

Frédéric Oru, International Director

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Start-ups: apply 365 days a year!

As we launch the selection process for the 9th season of the acceleration programme, we have introduced two big novelties: we are moving from 2 to 3 batches per year, and you can now apply all year long.

The growing drive for entrepreneurship in France and the success of our acceleration programme have resulted in almost 3000 start-ups submitting their applications to NUMA in the last five years.

Our programme’s selection process had not changed since its creation in 2011. Following an in-depth study of these many applications and in order to better meet your challenges and ours alike, we have decided to implement some changes.

Up to now, our year was punctuated by short periods of calls for projects during which applications were received from start-ups wishing to join our programme. We are keeping our traditional pace of several batches per year but from now on, you can submit your project at any time, starting now.

Another significant change: we are moving from 2 to 3 four-month seasons per year.

Our method is the same, only the selection process is changing

Our acceleration model per four-month season has amply proved its effectiveness. The cohesion between start-ups in the same season is a major lever for each of them. The programme’s intensity over a defined period also significantly boosts their development.

Our model and our methods therefore remain unchanged. We are simply increasing the number of seasons, from two to three per year, and making the selection process continuous.

This means that the new selection process takes place in three phases:

  1. Submission of your application on-line at any time 
    To submit your application to us, you must complete a questionnaire of around fifteen specific questions via the site. This questionnaire is then assessed in the following days by the acceleration team and experts in the NUMA network, in France and abroad (entrepreneurs, technical experts and specialists in your industry).
  2. Selection for individual interviews
    You will receive word within four weeks at the most, informing you whether you have been selected to continue the process and present your project in front of a panel. The following week, you will meet a panel made up of NUMA members and experts selected specifically in line with your application.
  3. Confirmation of your acceptance 
    You will be informed in the following days about the outcome of your application and your possible acceptance onto the next season. If you are accepted, you will enjoy a close relationship with NUMA and its teams until you join our programme.

Crucial selection

We carefully select the start-ups that have been making up our batches for eight seasons now. Out of the many applications we receive, only a small number of start-ups join our programme following a very stringent selection process. This highly selective method is a strong pledge of the quality of our assistance. The best start-ups and the best mentors create the best programme over the seasons.

The entire team is passionate about the selection process which involves the broader NUMA ecosystem and its alumni. We review hundreds of applications and are fortunate to meet many teams, all of whom are highly motivated. This work is also gruelling due to its scale. We know that making a selection mistake could impact the destiny of a structure and of course that of its co-founders.

For each season, we select around 15 start-ups. We fill the places on the season gradually through regular panel sessions. Please note that if we fill the season during the first sessions, applications do remain open for the following season.

To conclude, we encourage start-ups not to wait until the last day before the start of a season to apply. We have more time to review applications from start-ups who submit early. This responsiveness also tells us a lot about your ability to take action quickly. Rest assured that many other criteria come into play when assessing your project.

Well-honed selection criteria

We are often asked what makes a start-up stand out and which are the prominent qualities of the start-ups we select. The thousands of applications that we have reviewed have enabled us to increasingly fine-tune our selection criteria.

The quality of the application

The quality of the application is as important as the application itself. The care taken in presenting your start-up can be decisive. Fiodor Tonti, one of our Resident Experts, has written an excellent article “How to apply successfully” on this subject. To gain an understanding of the required level of quality, we also recommend that you read the article from the Zero to Heroes blog.

The quality of the team

This criterion is both the most important and also the most difficult to assess: personalities, aspirations, knowledge, focus, leadership: all these individual facets come together to make dream teams. It is important to note that we do not accept teams with a single co-founder or in which the main co-founders are not invested full-time. It is impossible to make progress quickly enough without a full team.

The team’s full availability

Full-time presence is required. We do not accept teams who cannot be on-site, in Paris, for the four months of acceleration. The programme only works if the founding team is fully present.

A technical co-founder

You must be able to iterate your project and to grow very quickly. To do this, the active and constant participation of a technical profile is essential.

The project’s potential and market approach

We carefully consider the level of relevance with which the team has validated a demonstration of interest from its users: user testing, MVP, iteration.

The level of knowledge of the current, past and future competitive playing field is part of this demonstration. Who are the competitors? Which start-ups have already failed? Why did they fail? What is the maturity of the different players? What are the entry barriers? In short, all the factors that let you be sure that your company is going to revolutionise the market.

Knowing how to adapt, to be flexible, to understand your market: this is what we recommend to you, and it also applies to us.

If you would like to benefit from the assistance offered by our acceleration programme as early as season 9 starting on 20 June 2016 :

> APPLY NOW on <

We can’t wait to find out about your project.

The NUMA Acceleration Team

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NUMA Mexico is here!

Venture Institute teams-up with NUMA to launch NUMA México and boost Mexico City's start-up ecosystem.

  • NUMA’s international community expands to Mexico City through a joint-venture with Mexican top startup accelerator, Venture Institute, founded by Federico Antoni, and Fernando Lelo de Larrea, to launch NUMA México.
  • NUMA México will play a leading role as a catalyst between startups, communities and corporates in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • NUMA México launches a crowdfunding campaign to raise MXN$700K to open the first free coworking space for entrepreneurs in the country. A meeting space to bring together the startup,VC, and corporate community.
  • NUMA México will be a key hub of NUMA’s global innovation network, aiming to spread the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in all Latin America.

Mexico City, April 6, 2016 – Venture Institute, founded by Federico Antoni and Fernando Lelo de Larrea, joined forces with french ecosystem accelerator NUMA to launch NUMA México, and speed-up the consolidation of Mexico City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Starting today, Venture Institute becomes NUMA México and strengthens its startup accelerator, corporate, educational and community programs.

This joint-venture brings together Venture Institute’s 5 years expertise in the Mexican ecosystem with NUMA’s 15 years of experience in France and international markets. “We are excited about announcing our joint-venture to present NUMA México. Mexico City will be the gateway to the 400 million Spanish speaking consumer market for startups in Mexico and Latin America”, says Federico Antoni, founding partner at Venture Institute.

Mexico shows all the signs of an entrepreneurial ecosystem on the brink of exponential growth. The team at Venture Institute has an impressive track record and is incredibly passionate about spreading the entrepreneurial mindset. Together we hope we can help the city to pass the tipping point. The connection to Europe and other growing ecosystems will give fresh market opportunities to Mexican entrepreneurs“, adds Frédéric Oru, International Director at NUMA.

Mexico City is NUMA’s fifth international endeavor,following openings in Moscow (Russia),Bangalore (India), Casablanca (Morocco), and Barcelona (Spain). Building on the success of NUMA Paris, NUMA will expand its global network to 15 cities during the next three years, aiming to accelerate 700 companies, install 250 open innovation programs for corporates, and thrust entrepreneurial communities.



Building a strong entrepreneurial community is a core activity at NUMA México, in order to create a sustainable ecosystem. NUMA believes in the pay- it forward culture, where successful entrepreneurs share their knowledge, discoveries and experiences, and serve as inspiration for other founders that are just starting, and people with an entrepreneurial drive. NUMA México collaborates with all of the actors involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem; startups, education institutions, both large enterprises in the tech industry and companies with an innovation mindset, government, incubators, accelerators, Venture Capital funds, andAngel investors.Creating a large network of mentors and people who share the conviction that collaboration is the fastest way to innovation. Globally, NUMA hosts 1,400 events per year, bringing together 80,000 attendees.



NUMA believes in openness and diversity. To that purpose, NUMA México Startup Mansion – a 1,000m2 space located in Campeche 233, Hipódromo Condesa, Mexico City- will be open to all startup founders, corporates, SME’s, communities and public institutions to consolidate a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem. “We are raising MXN$700Kto truly fulfill our mission of co-building an open and collaborative entrepreneurial community. NUMA México will offer free coworking space for startup founders, and will open its doors to serve as a meeting point for all the actors involved in the ecosystem”, said Coni Riveros, General Manager at NUMA México.



Applications for NUMA México’s first batch will open inApril, and next July 20 startups will join its portfolio in a 5 month long accelerator program in exchange of a small percentage of company equity. NUMA México will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit from 1,000m2 at the heart ofthe Mexican financial, innovation and startup capital. NUMA México accelerator program will attract 40 startups to Mexico City on a yearly basis, from Mexico, Latin America, and international founders, whose value proposition appeals to the spanish speaking market. “With 130 companies in our portfolio, NUMA México, formerly Venture Institute, is the most active startup accelerator in the country,” said Fernando Lelo de Larrea, founding partner at Venture Institute.



Shifting enterprise mindset to build an innovation culture via training, intrapreneurship and open innovation will also be one of NUMA México’s main goals. In 2015, NUMA doubled its corporate innovation team and developed no less than 60 projects involving large worldwide companies.“If Companies wantto grow or simply to exist in the future, they need to reinvent the way they innovate: their processes,their methods,the role of their employees and partners and their management system. The good news is that entrepreneurs are everywhere and companies understand more and more that the key to Digital Transformation is Entrepreneurship and not Technology.” Claudio Vandi, Director of innovation programs.


Discover NUMA Mexico

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Discover the 8 finalists of the first Google Startup Exchange

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the first Google Startup Exchange organized by NUMA, in Paris. The 8 finalists will spend 1 week in immersion among our team, our batch of alumni as well as experts and entrepreneurs, to discover the French market.

Since our beginnings, Google for Entrepreneurs has supported NUMA in many ways. Being member of the GFE Tech Hub Network, we are taking part in the Google Startup Exchange by welcoming startups from other member accelerators, incubators, and coworking spaces of the GFE Tech Hub Network.

What is this exchange about? « Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange is a week-long immersion program that bridges the gap between startups, experts, and new markets.  Each Exchange session brings together entrepreneurs from around the world in a specific industry together to improve their product, gain access to new markets, prepare for funding and meeting potential clients. »

NUMA is currently running the UR link program, focused on the retail industry and Data City program, focused on Smart Cities. These are the first vertical acceleration programs powered by NUMA. That is why for the Google Startup Exchange, we selected 4 startups from the retail industry, and 4 from the Smart City industry. 

We received great applications from more than 20 different countries and we would like to thank all the participants.

And now, time for the winners! Please find below a brief description of the selected startups:


GFE Retail winners


INST-ORE solved the no-links problem for brands & publishers who ant to convert their Instagram followers into more traffic & sales. With their smart bo link, users get straight to the content they want.

countBOX-logoCountBOX – is a service that generates detailed foot traffic statistics. Visitors counting, revenue, conversion ratio, time spent at location, time between visits, gender, age and race – all the essential metrics under your fingertips. They act like offline Google Analytics. They grab data from devices and start delivering insights for your business immediately

Capture d’écran 2016-03-18 à 11_22_34

Effy makes smart scheduling simple. We take in-store data to ensure retail stores have the right staff at the right place, at the right time. This increases the conversion rate, facilitates lean retailing and gives control back to the manager.

Capture d’écran 2016-03-18 à 11_26_54

With Placemeter, retailers can measure in real-time how many people walk by their stores, and how many get inside, effectively providing a real-life “capture rate” or “walk-in rate”. It allows brands to compare the attractivity of their different locations together, among many things.

GFE Smart City winners

ParknavParknav sells real-time data about street-parking availability, mainly to the automotive industry. It is the only “no hardware” scalable solution that covers all streets in a city 24/7, with precision that surpasses 80%.

SmartsenSmartSEN is a sensor and data analytics company focused on providing businesses with technology to acquire and analyze remote sensor data.

wam-logo-with-textWorld Around Me is a local discovery app (on Android and iOS) helping people to find places of interest and local services to eat, drink, shop, stay, pray, stay healthy, move, refuel, access money – anywhere in the world. It uses augmented reality to help people visually orient towards the direction of the place of interest.


BwareIT – Israeli Startup that is developine SmartH2O water meter module and water consumer analytics platform. The SmartH2O IOT water meter can be standelone device attached to any water tap, pipe or hose. In additional SmartH2O module can be OEM to any device.

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NUMA announces opening of NUMA Casablanca

NUMA is continuing down its international path and is to set foot for the first time in North Africa – the French accelerator has announced the opening of NUMA Casablanca, in conjunction with Eiréné4Impact.


Paris/Casablanca, Tuesday the 27th of October, 2015 – In conjunction with Eiréné4Impact, one of the premier organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Morocco, NUMA has announced the opening of NUMA Casablanca. Hot on the heels of Russia (NUMA Moscow) and India (NUMA Bangalore), Morocco is the third step in a world tour of emerging ecosystems outlined by the French innovation catalyst and, above all, an important first step through the gateway to the African continent.


The Moroccan innovation ecosystem is growing fast. Not only is its political world stable, the country is Africa’s second biggest financial district and has the best internet penetration levels on the continent. As far as Africa is concerned, Morocco is the obvious gateway – with its French-speaking culture, not to mention the strength of its diplomatic and economic relations with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, together with the growing levels of investment from the United States and the Arab-speaking world – the country provides a profile in keeping with NUMA’s internationalization objectives .The numbers don’t lie, since risk capital investment has multiplied by a factor of ten between the years 2013 and 2014, and the number of startups created annually quintupled between 2012 and 2015.

For French and Moroccan startups, NUMA Casablanca will be a bridge between European and African markets, applications for the first acceleration program at NUMA Casablanca will be launched in November 2015, and the accelerator will open its doors in January 2016.

“Our ambition is to accelerate the growth of fifteen emerging ecosystems by 2019. With this is mind, Africa is of course one of our priority targets: half of the population there is under 25 and they have shown a thirst for entrepreneurship. We are convinced that the innovators of the next decade are to be found on the continent and we aim to set up NUMA branches in two or three African countries,” says Frédéric Oru, Head of International Development at NUMA. “Above and beyond any ideas of the ideal strategic positioning that Morocco represents for France and the rest of Europe, at least with regards to Africa and the Middle East, in Morocco’s capital we have witnessed all the tell-tale signs for an uptick in the entrepreneurial ecosystem – the number of startups, public and private investment – the city’s primed and ready for take-off.”

Leyth Zniber, Founder and President of the foundation Eiréné4Impact, is a living and breathing example. He stood down as head of a large company in order to become one of the first business angels in the country and to start the first holistic platform for high social impact mentoring in entrepreneurship & innovation. “With him,” Oru continues, “we know that NUMA Casablanca has found a proud standard bearer for our values of openness and performance.”

“With its exceptional potential for innovation, together with the shared desire for development, not to mention its economic and diplomatic presence, bursting with Moroccan players all over the continent, Morocco has the potential to become the ideal platform for development and a true laboratory for innovation. To achieve this, it is important for our ecosystem to accelerate its professionalization and its innovation dynamic as much with startups as with the major stakeholders, public and private alike,” says Leyth Zniber.

“Today, with NUMA, we are accelerating our local and regional development. In line with what we’ve been doing here at Eiréné4Impact, this partnership reinforces the dynamic of professionalization within the ecosystem, and will enable us to widen our support for entrepreneurship and also to accelerate our activities in the promotion of innovation, particularly open innovation with Moroccan actors, both public and private,” Leyth Zniber says. “NUMA’s experience will allow us to strengthen North-South communication lines and to make Morocco a platform for South-South collaboration within the whole sub-region. In addition to this, this dual-action will help Eiréné4Impact widen the scope of its know-how leading up to 2017.”

NUMA’s International Development Strategy

About NUMA

NUMA [nu:mə] (Paris 2014) p.n. Neologism formed from the French term for “digital” (numérique) and “human” (humain). NUMA is a “catalyst for innovation”, an emblematic actor for the European digital ecosystem. Created in 2000 under the name of Silicon Sentier, NUMA has built its development on the implementation of pioneering services in the domain of collaborative innovation. Its services include La Cantine, France’s first co-working space, created in 2008, and Le Camping, France’s first startup accelerator, created in 2011, since renamed NUMA Sprint.

NUMA’s unique model is today recognized as the driving force behind the European entrepreneurial and digital ecosystem. In 2015 NUMA received more than 650 applications for its acceleration program and will host 1400 events, receiving over 80 000 visitors per year. More than half of the clients involved in its digital transformation and open innovation programs belong to France’s illustrious CAC 40, and 85% of the 82 startups accelerated so far by NUMA are still going strong.

About Eiréné4Impact

At Eiréné4Impact, we think that the size, speed and need for change with which we are confronted today can only be dealt with using the wealth and diversity of local actors, with the support and collaboration of traditional leaders, private entreprise, governments and development organizations. That is why we have the ambition to develop, within the region of the Middle East and North Africa, a dynamic of innovation and entrepreneurship that is socio-economically integrated, so as to provide concrete answers for the real issues faced by independent entrepreneurs and innovators.

Eiréné4Impact is today Morocco’s premier holistic mentoring platform, with high social and environmental impact in entrepreneurship & innovation and one of the pioneers in the MENA sub-region.

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