Kushim, a portfolio management solution for VCs
What is Kushim’s mission? To provide venture capital funds (VCs) with greater visibility over their investments in order to enable them to do what they do best: meet with start-ups and identify future unicorns.
Helping VCs to manage their investments simply and efficiently
Kushim arose out of a meeting between Clément Aglietta, its co-founder and CEO, and Fabrice Grinda, hyperactive serial entrepreneur and business angel based in New York, co-founder of the investment fund FJ Labs. In 2015, Fabrice Grinda asked Clément to design a cloud platform to help him manage his investments. This was a huge challenge, given that Fabrice Grinda, who had been elected the biggest French investor in 2016, has invested in over 300 start-ups! To complete this project, Clément set up a team made up of Alexandre Crenn, Josselin Le Bail, Victor Espinet and Nicolas Rabrenovic.
After a year in development, they realised that the tool, initially intended for in-house use, met a real need. Existing portfolio management systems target private equity funds that invest very large amounts in a handful of companies. Such solutions are far too complicated and expensive for venture capital funds, which invest small amounts in a large number of start-ups.
With functionalities that are designed solely for them, the Kushim platform’s aim is to be affordable, simple and intuitive, enabling VCs to monitor the start-ups they have invested in on a daily basis.
From the classroom to San Francisco
After securing 300,000 dollars through an initial fundraising, Kushim launched its commercial platform in March 2017.Hard to imagine that its founders were still students! They were all enrolled in the Master of Digital Innovation Management at the Web School Factory in incubation mode. “We were very lucky because the Web School Factory was perfectly calibrated for us” says Clément. “The course is split into one week of classes per month, then one week of mentoring and then two weeks of full autonomy, during which we come and work on Le Plateau.” Here, they enjoy an open and innovative environment with a large number or resources made available to start-ups. The young man affirms that the space provides them with the flexibility they need to “develop our company in the right conditions” and enables them to meet other entrepreneurs, encouraging knowledge and experience sharing. Given that Société Générale and the Web School Factory have been partners since 2016 and that we have worked with students from the school on many projects, the meeting with Kushim happened naturally.
Clément has told us that the goal is now to achieve 50,000 dollars per month in sales by September and to raise funds – 1 or 2 million dollars – in order to finance a move to San Francisco by the end of the month. Why San Francisco? “We had two things in mind: the ecosystem and the market. The San Francisco ecosystem is software oriented, and that corresponds to exactly what we do, and our clients are clearly over there. There are more VCs in the San Francisco Bay than there are in Europe” explains Clément, who advises young entrepreneurs to dare to aim as big as possible. “You mustn’t allow yourself to be submerged by the impression that you’ll never mange to do what you set out to do. You only realise when you do things step-by-step that everything is feasible!”
For Flore Jachimowicz, Le Plateau and Partnerships Manager, welcoming Kushim into the fold seemed the most obvious thing to do. Within the context of its partnership with the Web School Factory, Société Générale has multiplied exchanges with students, seeking to make them want to join the Group when they graduate but also to suggest themes for study or application fields as part of their courses. “It’s about a FinTech which, beyond being just a FinTech, also develops a product that could be of interest to us directly or at least that could be shared with our teams working on similar issues” explains Flore Jachimowicz. We have, moreover, formed partnerships with investment funds such as Daphni or 360 Capital Partners and we thought that it would be interesting for them to meet each other. Finally, and this is perhaps the most important thing, the relationship with Clément, Alexandre, Josselin, Victor and Nicolas was formed in a natural and cheerful manner. When you work under the same roof for long periods, the human qualities of residents are essential for working together successfully and, accordingly, for the success of future projects.”