High-growth startups may require cross-support. Explanations by Noé Gersanois, RAISE SHERPAS co-director, Alexandre Fretti, the Webhelp group’s general manager for France, co-founder of The Nest by Webhelp, and Stéphane Rébert, The Nest by Webhelp director.
1 – Can you introduce Raise and its Raise Sherpas Foundation?
Noé Gersanois: Clara Gaymard and Gonzague de Blignières created RAISE in 2013. Supported by 58 leading shareholders, this company is original in bringing together investment activities and a foundation dedicated to support.
I want to stress that our activities are not based on investment funds, but on 3 investment companies:
- a development capital company, which invests mainly in mid-caps,
- a property investment company,
- a venture investment company which mainly supports early stage startups.
The model shared by these 3 companies is to relinquish 50% of their profit-sharing in order to dedicate it to promoting the RAISE SHERPAS foundation.
This one is dedicated to free-of-charge support for startups. The services we offer could be defined as a kind of “philanthropic accelerator.”
2 – How does the Raise Sherpas Foundation support startups?
Noé Gersanois: The start-ups supported by RAISE SHERPAS are in post-startup mode: with a workforce of at least ten people. They have found their market and, above all, need acceleration. Typically, they have a turnover of between €0.5 and €10 million. This applies to all sectors apart from biotechs and medtechs, where we do not have any particular expertise.
We offer selected start-ups a zero-rate loan and/or operational support in the form of mentoring,
This support is particularly focused on connecting these startups with large groups, which account for a significant proportion of our shareholders.
So one of the priority tasks of our RAISE SHERPAS foundation is to forge links between startups and large groups, outside our circle of shareholders.
In short, our entire business is a bridge between startups, midcaps and large groups. This also takes place by organising events and through our networking marketplace: Raise and Match.
3 – In general, how does The Nest by Webhelp Customer Experience Accelerator work?
Stéphane Rébert: Our The Nest by Webhelp accelerator has a unique operating mode in France. It is intended for start-ups that have found their market, but for whom strong growth – whether observed or foreseeable – requires finding optimal solutions to customer relations and customer experience issues.
We are able to provide them with:
– a “virtual” accelerator, not in the physical form of premises, but in the form of a space for exchanges and meetings with our experts in customer relations and customer experience,
– personalised mentoring, provided by several members of the Webhelp group’s CoDir,
– our fundraising network and expertise,
– stimulating events and in particular inter-startup workshops.
4 – What does the partnership between the Webhelp group and RAISE SHERPAS have to offer a startup?
Alexandre Fretti: In the case of Webhelp, you need to distinguish between 2 levels:
– support via The Nest by Webhelp mentioned above,
– support from the Webhelp group, which can take the form of: either personal mentoring, at my level, as managing director for France; or collective mentoring provided by a members of our CoDir.
Noé Gersanois: On the RAISE SHERPAS side, we offer mentoring by successful entrepreneurs, leaders of large groups (in or out of office), or executives with strong expertise in a given sector.
Some startups supported by RAISE SHERPAS are offered additional support as described by Alexandre.
This pair or partnership support is relevant to startups that ultimately have high customer relations and customer experience needs.
Conversely, at RAISE SHERPAS we focus on startups supported by The Nest by Webhelp.
5 – Which startups are already benefiting from this cross-support?
Alexandre Fretti: monbanquet.fr was referred to us by RAISE SHERPAS, as a startup which could benefit from my mentoring support. I am currently assessing their specific customer relations and experience needs.
Stéphane Rébert: The deal flows are now shared between The Nest by Webhelp and RAISE SHERPAS. Several startups are already being audited or integrated into this cross-partnership. We will be providing details very soon!