Parlons Futur

Interview of Nicolas Colin, co-founder of The Family and author of Hedge: A Greater Safety Net for the Entrepreneurial Age

September 19, 2019
Nicolas Colin is the co-founder of The Family, a company that helps European startups scale. He's also the author of Hedge: A Greater Safety Net for the Entrepreneurial Age
 
[full transcript of the Q&A can be found here]
 
Q&A between Nicolas Colin (twitter.com/Nicolas_Colin) & Thomas Jestin (twitter.com/thomasjestin) in Singapore, March 2019
  • 00:00 : intro : who's Nicolas Colin, his background, why he's in Singapore for a few days
  • 2min 40sec :  tell us what The Family is
  • 7m 35s : can you comment on some of the points of The Family's manifesto ?
  • 8m 28s : how The Family was born from the idea that we're now in the Entrepreneurial Age (and not so much the information age), derived from that foundational article The Entrepreneurial age by Babak Nivi, cofounder of AngelList
  • 11m 00s : what is an entrepreneur ?
  • 13m 50s : The Family has the ambition to become the new Berkshire Hathaway (as detailed here), by providing capital and unfair advantages to entrepreneurs, what about these unfair advantages ? (less and less about these, more about capital and relationships with VCs, access to VCs, help raise fast and on good terms, they have a white list of VCs)
  • 16m 50s : explain why you don't believe in gathering startups together under the same roof, like in the case of France at Station F
  • 20m 52s : why don't you believe in mentors for European startups ?
  • 24m 30s : can you say a word about some of the startups you're helping that are representative of your portfolio ? (special mention about Heetch, a French VTC app, see more here)
  • 29m 00s : how Nicolas Colin was sued himself by the CEO of the leading taxi company in Paris
  • 30m 50s : tell us a bit about how you used growth hacking yourself at The Family
  • 36m 38s : about ramen-entrepreneurs and cockroach-entrepreneurs
  • 38m 15s : quick intro of the book Hedge: A Greater Safety Net for the Entrepreneurial Age
  • 39m 40s : about the Tech Backlash that started in the US a few years ago, as the genesis for the book
  • 42m 55s : the argument of the book : we have to reinvent the Great Safety Net
  • 44m 05s : what the first Great Safety Net was about (see the illustration on that article with full transcript of the Q&A)
  • 46m 45s : why the Great Safety Net doesn't work anymore
  • 48m 42s : please define your concept of "the multitude" (or the "networked individual"), different in your mind from the masses and the people
  • 53m 33s : why our age is not so much the age of data, but the Entrepreneurial Age
  • 55m 52s : how now power lies outside of companies, not inside anymore
  • 56m 55s : tell us about your definition of a tech company (clue : telco are not tech companies) (see image in the article with transcript of the Q&A)
  • 1h 00m 07s : what about that Great Safety Net 2.0 (see image in the article)
  • 1h 02m 35s : tell us about your concept of hunters vs settlers (see image in the article)
  • 1h 09m 40s : the particular case of Singapore that wants to attract hunters but at the same time prevent its own people from becoming hunters themselves and leaving Singapore
  • 1h 11m 55s : please elaborate on that idea of "exit unions", as a cog in your Great Safety Net 2.0
  • 1h 16m 58s : why entrepreneurs will be the ones bringing about that Greater Safety Net, and not the state : the example of Lambda school
  • 1h 18m 11s : examples of start-ups from The Family's portfolio helping bring about the Greater Safety Net (www.side.co)
  • 1h 19m 20s : why do you think the Universal Basic Income is such a bad idea ?
  • 1h 22m 56s : about BREXIT, Boris Johnson said that the UK can become the new Singapore, is it going to happen ? is BREXIT affecting your work ? (mention of How Asia Works, by Joe Studwell)
  • 1h 25m 34s : why GDPR doesn't work
Questions from the public
  • 1h 28m 20s : apart from market size and homogeneity and the fact that European governments don't understand startups, why don't we have European Googles or Facebooks ? (clue : we have too good a life in Europe)
  • 1h 32m 48s : are Alibaba and Tencent tech companies based on your definition ?
  • 1h 34m 26s : you talked a lot about consumer-based businesses, what about the future of enterprise businesses (businesses targeting businesses) in your opinion ?
  • 1h 37m 12s : do you think that the networked individual system works or already works in China ? does it have potential in Africa in the future as well ?
  • 1h 39m 55s : what are your expectations from the ideal investor ? (in short : swift response, good terms, support when in trouble)
  • 1h 42m 01s : what are you looking for when assessing an early-stage startup to help and invest in ?  (in short : intensity)

[full transcript of the Q&A can be found here]

Interview happened with the help of the French Tech Singapore and the ENGIE factory in March 2019