Phocea Tech’s editorial ambition is to tell the story of the technological innovation underway on the Aix Marseille metropolis, with a clear techno rather than institutional or financial bias. Nevertheless, when an opportunity arises to hear an interesting talk on start-up financing, it’s our duty to make a short report.

At the AMRAE risk meetings, a workshop focused specifically on risk management for start-ups. A topic rarely considered at the origin of a project: « when we create a start-up, if we start to think about risk from the beginning, we do not create it at all » summarized Adrien Mithalal, the CEO of Physio Assist, an innovative company that has developed a bronchial decongestion aid. While, on the funders side, the point of view is radically different.

A List of Risks

Jean-Pierre Comba, the director of new economy companies at Banque Populaire Méditerranée, has drawn up a (non-exhaustive) list of risks:

  • A start-up is a single-product company, there is no risk dilution
  • There is no history allowing validation by the market
  • The proportion of R&D is usually very important, but R&D only allows long-term returns
  • For French accounting standards, the staff is considered an accounting expense, while it is one of the most valuable assets of a young company.

« However » he said, « it is our duty finance these companies. » Jean-Pierre Comba explains that there are nearly 400 financing instruments currently available for start-ups, a jungle in the middle of which few people, and especially young structures focused on their growth, can find their way. Yet, according to Adrien Mathalal, « the banks are the only ones with the expertise to carry out a financial balance sheet ». For the roundtable speakers, they are therefore the best structures to choose which financing to ask for at what point of a growth cycle, and thus to manage a major risk.

A Matter of Feeling

Curiously, in a world organized around data, this stage remains centered on human interactions. « We rely on the pôle de competence, on the incubators, which are able to shed light on very fast moving issues. Financing is often a matter of feeling, « concluded Jean-Pierre Comba. While specifying that tests would be in progress with a Parisian structure having started to automate the estimation of a start-up valuation.

[Version française: Le risque start-up]

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