Oussama Ammar

Oussama Ammar

Co-Founder & Director at The Family

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 05, 2017

Discussion

Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
Hi, I’m Oussama Ammar, co-founder of The Family, an infrastructure supporting Europe’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. The Family has 218 active startups in the portfolio, with 110 having raised some money, and we are now operating in Paris, London & Berlin. Europe is like winter, it’s coming! Glad to answer your questions :) (And to everyone who's reading this Live, one thing - I'm a big fan of Watsi (https://watsi.org/), so go over there and make a donation!)
Gwen Salley
Gwen Salley@gwen_salley · Consultant, Deloitte
Hi Oussama, Following the challenges The Family faced to expand in London, Berlin and Barcelona (which made you change the team structure), how replicable do you think your model is within international ecosystems (not just in Europe)? Thanks :) Gwen
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@gwen_salley What we learned was exactly that - The Family wasn't something you could just repeat in different cities. We needed to be one The Family, everywhere. That doesn't mean replicating functions, it means having certain places specializing in certain parts of the mission. And if we can do that with what we're doing in London, Paris and Berlin, we're confident we can support startups throughout Europe and hopefully then throughout the world.
Gwen Salley
Gwen Salley@gwen_salley · Consultant, Deloitte
@daedalium Thanks for your reply :) Just following up, do you think the specialization model for cities is scalable worldwide (Skype is working pretty well so maybe...) or the core of The Family's offering will have to be tailored for other countries / cities ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@gwen_salley To be honest, I don't know, but why not? Really, it probably just depends on the business.
Gwen Salley
Gwen Salley@gwen_salley · Consultant, Deloitte
@daedalium an Hyperloop under the Atlantic might solve that for you ;) Keep it up you guys rock !
Anthony Da Mota
Anthony Da Mota@akdm_ · I upvote things that matter.
Hey Oussama. What are the requirements to be part of The Family as a startup ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@akdm_ Be nice. Be ambitious. Be bold. Everything else is just details.
Vincent Battaglia
Vincent Battaglia@vinch · Co-Founder & CTO at Ludus
As a European tech startup, do you think it's important to have ties with Silicon Valley? If yes, what kind of ties?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@vinch It depends on your industry, but having ties with SV has never hurt. Wherever you are, it's still the center of the tech world. So you have to be pragmatic. If you're a B2B startup whose biggest market is SV, you should be there for 1 week per month (and we have some of our portfolio companies who have done that). But you can also start just by doing a 2-3 week trip each year for inspiration/meetings. SV is an incredibly open place, it's not that hard to hang around and meet people.
Adrien Gonin 👺
Adrien Gonin 👺@adrien_gonin · Design // UX // Product // Freelance
Hey Oussama, what's your take on distributed companies with remote employees around the world ? It has significant upsides on traditional businesses but can a startup culture work in this configuration ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@adrien_gonin It's a question of the team's ontology/culture. Some of our startups have been very successful with a totally distributed team, but you should never be half-and-half. Distributed is a radical decision, and you really need to invest in it for it to work.
Adrien Gonin 👺
Adrien Gonin 👺@adrien_gonin · Design // UX // Product // Freelance
@daedalium Thanks for the reply, keep up the good work !
Souhail Merroun
Souhail Merroun@souhailmerroun · Software Engineer, Student
As best as I understand right now. Building a startup is really different from building a business. A startup founder goal should not be to build a startup to be financially better but rather the founder shouldn't have any money issues before trying to succeed in a startup. Do you agree with this? Meaning, that one should first fix his money problem being an employee or building a small business before even thinking about making a big startup?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@souhailmerroun It's more complicated than that. Every entrepreneur has their own personal history, whatever's motivating them. If it's only money, that will never be enough to go all the way. Obviously, the money is important, but money can never be the only goal. But for any personal story, to be a founder, to be an employee, you have to do what's clear for you - there isn't just one answer.
Yanaël
Yanaël@yanoo7
What is the next step for The Family?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@yanoo7 We decided to go with a "specificities" strategy - London is specialized in fundraising, Berlin in operations, Paris in swag. Getting that super right is the focus for the rest of the year.
Valerie Chatelet
Valerie Chatelet@valerie_chatelet
What is your daily routine to stay informed ? which newspaper do you read ? what are your other sources ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@valerie_chatelet I created a really precise list of friends who are smarter than I am, especially on Facebook, and I see more than enough to stay informed. No FOMO, if it's important, someone at some point will tell me ;)
SofianeT
SofianeT@sofiane_
Hi Oussama 👋 Do neo-bank's industry will be sustainable in the long run? 🏃 What are things you expect to be improve in this fintech field? 🚀
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@sofiane_ Qonto FTW! I don't really like to talk about trends too much, there are good startups in fintech, and that's the only thing that matters.
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Oussama, thanks for joining us today. What has been the best advice you've ever received? How did this impact you?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@ems_hodge Never hurt anyone you can't kill :) So now I try to be super nice, but I'm not sure if I'm 100% successful...
Thibaud MARTIN
Thibaud MARTIN@thibmartin · CEO @ Jubiwee - for a better employee xp
How do you see the European (and French) startup ecosystem maturing, and what are the strengths of European startups vs. US ones for instance ? Is there still a "toxicity" in Europe ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@thibmartin I like to think that we're doing a good job, and more generally that the ecosystem is getting better and better. We've seen the valuation of our startups go up, the financing is easier, more solutions are there for entrepreneurs (Payfit, etc.). Operating a business is easier now. Plus, we don't have Trump as president, so there's that. There is still a lot of work to do, but we're really bullish on Europe.
Salah Matoussi
Salah Matoussi@studpeace
How a founder can reduce his personal risk ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@studpeace First, never have personal liability in the business. That's a huge rule you should have and hold on to, just like a gambler. And then when you get a little bigger, it's a good thing to take a little bit of money off the table. Stay away from any criminal issues. We love to say doing a startup is risky, but the reality is that every year it is less risky. The whole conversation around risk is good for storytelling, but good entrepreneurs keep their risk under control. It's not about not taking risks, it's about understanding what risks you're taking, having data on it, and a clear idea of your environment.
LaurentBroyer
LaurentBroyer@laurentbroyer
@daedalium I'm 45, have children, a wife, a house, a job, well ... many good things! I'm working till 18 years in the same group. And politics rule the culture. It's finally ... boring! I'm scared to launch a business (because of those many things), Am I lost? Or is there a way ? :)
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@laurentbroyer First, start saving money, as much as you can. Discipline yourself to increase your savings. At the same time, use as much free time as you can - no more leisure! - to build some projects on the side. You don't have to jump 100% in directly. And that can create a path forward. You have a real responsibility to your family, it's not something to ignore. But just because you're 45, doesn't mean you can't make the leap when it's right. Also, people tend to overthink the comforts that their kids need. If you're clear on what's being cut and why, and it's discussed, it's probably ok. I don't think kids need too many creature comforts, they need love and safety.
LaurentBroyer
LaurentBroyer@laurentbroyer
@daedalium Ok I will prepare the way tonight ! thks for your inspiration.
Abde Ouabala
Abde Ouabala@abdeouabala · Works at Je ne travaille pas je suis une
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Mohamed Righi
Mohamed Righi@mo_righi · student
what do you think about the ecosysteme of startup in north africa specialy in my country (tunisia)?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@mo_righi I have no idea, sorry.
Valerie Chatelet
Valerie Chatelet@valerie_chatelet
how did you decide not to start a new startup and to dedicate yourself to help others ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@valerie_chatelet The Family might not be a startup, but it's enough.
Valerie Chatelet
Valerie Chatelet@valerie_chatelet
What are The Family's learnings over these first few years ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@valerie_chatelet When things look OK, that's when they go bad. When things go bad, they can always be OK in the end. And I'm not sure we really understand anything about how it all works.
LaurentBroyer
LaurentBroyer@laurentbroyer
Hi here! What's the difference of impact on the entrepreneurship in Europe/France between a place like station F and a place like The Family ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@laurentbroyer Station F put France on the map this year in a big way, and we thank them for that. It's a super infrastructure that our best startups can use, and every startup at Station F can't be in The Family. But for sure, there will be a lot of shared resources in the ecosystem, and that's definitely cool.
LaurentBroyer
LaurentBroyer@laurentbroyer
@daedalium Thanks for your answer.
how to segment and find the perfect customer at the beginning ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@nly Don't worry about the perfect customer. Just find a customer.
M'Hamed Larbi
M'Hamed Larbi@momosan · Care
Hi Oussama. Thank you for what you 're doing in French ecosystem. I remember you when you're looking for a castle ... Quel chemin!
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@momosan Thanks!