Alice Zagury is a remarkable figure in the Parisian startup scene. From the beginnings in Sentier and Camping, to her current role as co-founder and CEO of The Family, she has emerged as a powerful player and her achievements are well known even outside France. Her latest endeavor, The Family, is a new concept of an ambitious infrastructure offering for startups, providing education, tools and access to capital in order to create billion dollar startups. More about The Family, her life and next steps, in the interview here below:
Alice Zagury is known as the queen bee of the Paris startup scene. What was Alice before that and how did you reach the throne?
Haha! Who wants to sit up on a throne like things are finished? I want to keep on learning and feeling uncomfortable… That happens when you work with ambitious people because they push toward new, positive, beautiful things. And entrepreneurs are like that.
Your last endeavor, The Family, is compared to a French intellectual salon. What is the Family in its essence and how is it different from other actors?
The Family is a community of ambitious entrepreneurs. We invest in people, not just startups. Time isn’t a big deal for us like it is for a traditional fund, our goal isn’t to make a 10x return for our investors in 7 years. We’re long term, we’re creating a space where entrepreneurship is encouraged and individuals are given room to grow, a place with big dreams and huge upside, where serendipity is always possible. If we do that, we’ll keep growing and everybody associated with The Family – entrepreneurs, investors, students, startup employees, everybody – will come out of it a winner.
On the long run, what does the Family want to achieve? It is already shaking up the French ecosystem, how far can it go?
We want to be the family for the most ambitious entrepreneurs in Europe. No limits.
Some of the most promising French startups have worked with the Family. What are the biggest challenges today for French startups?
Being treated as responsible adults, not kids. It will encourage them to take bigger risks. Lots of things go into that – having a really ambitious mindset as a founder, having the right financing conditions, having investors that encourage risk-taking, having the right alignment and incentives between founders, employees, investors, even the state. Too many people try to hold startups back or tell them that they should be happy as a small- or medium-sized business.
A propos the French startup scene, how much is women entrepreneurship developed and can more be done?
For the long term: emulation – as time goes on, there are more and more women founding companies, being in positions of power, that will help a lot.
Supporting them today doesn’t mean just talking about “women entrepreneurs”, it means being aware of what obstacles are specifically faced by women. We must break them down, one by one. Some are too deeply engraved in our brains, and we see behaviors of rejection whenever a female is trying to do a big thing, whether she destroys her ambition herself or gets kicked down by others. At The Family want women to feel empowered and supported as individuals, not as those labeled “women entrepreneurs”.
You are described as unstoppable. Where do you get your motivation from?
When you get to know these entrepreneurs, it’s easy to throw everything you can into helping them. For instance, a few 20-something guys have been able to grow strawberries with no GMOs, no pesticides and no pollution with their solution (Agricool). By helping them, you contribute to what they’re building, too. That’s rewarding. It doesn’t mean the work itself is easy, it’s not. But the motivation comes directly from those relationships, from the stories that entrepreneurs tell about how they knew The Family was for them, how at one key moment The Family really changed things for them.
As one of the founders trio of the Family, what do you appreciate the most about this relationship and how do you nourish it?
Oussama is fond of philosophy and business, Nicolas is an engineer and an intellectual, I’m a kind of creative doer. We don’t look the same, at all… But we share an incredible connection on what The Family is doing, what we’re meant to be and how we want to empower entrepreneurs. That connection lets us trust each other, and trust is probably the most important thing that cofounders need to have.
We can disagree, many times, get mad at each other, especially during hard times, but in the end, I always respect what they’ll say and I will always support them. We’re married in a way, and we do believe in love… haha 😉
Other than the offices in Berlin and London, is the Family planning expansion and where do you see it in 10 years?
We’ve set everything up so that founders get all the benefits of being in The Family no matter where they are in Europe. Each problem, each barrier to ambition becomes an opportunity to build a scalable solution. Do you need the right legal papers in Germany? Check out Legalstrasse. In France? Check out Jurismatic. You want a dose of education now? Check out our Youtube channel…
Our offices are great spots where we can do really cool things, like how our Berlin chief, Hugo, is doing tons of crypto meetups, or how our Paris chief, Erika, is putting together events with schools to encourage and educate young founders. But our main focus is on continuing to build more tools to support ambitious founders wherever they are, not opening more physical offices.
As a source of inspiration for many, what would your advice be for female entrepreneurs worldwide?
Get it done, bitch <3 😉