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
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 Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · 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!
Souhail Merroun
Souhail Merroun@souhailmerroun · Software Engineer
Is it me or that most succesful startups are from the US (sillicon valley) and we see some emerging ones from the EU as well. Why is it the case? Should one living in Africa, for example, quit his country and join the leading countries or start his startup in his country and hope to succeed using online resources.
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@souhailmerroun I don't really know if that's a real choice, but if you have the choice, and you don't have a problem living somewhere else, then sure, focus on ecosystems that are developed. Solving ecosystem problems AND your startup's problems is too much for any one person. But still, if you don't have a choice, you do the startup where you are and do it as big as you can - it's a challenge no matter where you are.
Souhail Merroun
Souhail Merroun@souhailmerroun · Software Engineer
What are the main differences for you between a startup and a small business or business?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@souhailmerroun You ask too many vocabulary questions :) I would suggest a career in etymology? But really, a startup is first and foremost scalable, and looking for growth. And that's not the same for a small business, or even a big business that's established.
Souhail Merroun
Souhail Merroun@souhailmerroun · Software Engineer
@daedalium I'm trying to get questions to the point man x))
Pierre Cbr Fautrel
Pierre Cbr Fautrel@deleted-993148 · OBVIOUS
Hello Oussama!! What do you think of the recommandation platforms for films, art or music. Do you think it's something useless or it can be interesting in some case
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@obvious 100% of businesses whose only value proposition is recommendations fail.
M'Hamed Larbi
M'Hamed Larbi@momosan · Care
One of the beliefs in the ecosystem is to think that being solofounder is to be doomed to failure. I met a lot of entrepreneurs forced to fake their teams. What do you think?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@momosan Faking is bad. We have some incredible solo founders at The Family, and they've done great. But still - better to have a great team.
M'Hamed Larbi
M'Hamed Larbi@momosan · Care
@daedalium it's a great news.
M'Hamed Larbi
M'Hamed Larbi@momosan · Care
I'm a huge fan about one of your startup. SIDE, great exécution, i mean perfect execution. Who is da fucking brain who helped them?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@momosan Side (https://www.side.co/) is too good to need any help. We learn from them everyday.
Garance Coggins
Garance Coggins@_garancec_
Hi Oussama! Do you feel code is the new literacy? // should people all learn to code? I think I heard somewhere that you told to co-founders who had taken code lessons and had coded all of their website to throw away what they had done. Because it was obvious they were not dev and they should focus on... getting users/customers instead :) i know, common question but i'm still puzzling around this.
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@_garancec_ I don't think learning to code is mandatory, but of course it's a huge unfair advantage. But then it's like everything - you can't just be average at it. So when I see founders with natural leadership, and great sales abilities, and they're coding something just because someone told them they should... I'd rather have them focus on their strengths and use their leadership abilities to acquire incredible talent. I like to see people learning through constraints, learning at every step and figuring out how to best solve each problem at each step.
Matthieu Fourny
Matthieu Fourny@matthieu_fourny · Arts d'Afrique
Hi Oussama, the art and crafts of Africa and a big part of the world (asking know-how) sells very well but mostly, you'll find things very expensive or very cheap and no middle market, any idea why?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@matthieu_fourny It's a question of market forces. High volume sales at low prices, low volume sales at high prices. If you can name a company doing middle prices at middle volume in any market, I'm happy to hear it :)
Matthieu Fourny
Matthieu Fourny@matthieu_fourny · Arts d'Afrique
@daedalium Well I do not know right now, but it's interesting to dig. Maybe if you organize a lot of middle actors, you can be big? I'll tell you if I get to something in the future ^^
bimbimbam
bimbimbam@bimbimbam1
Hi Oussama, Love your work :). What should we do when our B2B startup is doing quite good (2M$ revenues / +80% Y/Y growth trend) but the whole thing doesn't feel fun anymore?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@bimbimbam1 Grow it, clean it up, sell it. And then a whole new world will be open to you. Life is too short to spend it on something you aren't loving. But don't fuck it up either ;)
bimbimbam
bimbimbam@bimbimbam1
@daedalium Thanks for your advice!
Alexis Montoro
Alexis Montoro@alexis_montoro · Lead dev
Hi Oussama, What can we do in Europe for the huge turn-over in companies ?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@alexis_montoro What do you mean by "turn-over"? Companies that fail?
Alexis Montoro
Alexis Montoro@alexis_montoro · Lead dev
@daedalium Oh my bad, I mean companies that don't keep their employee (often because they prefer a new candidate than a raise or investment)
M'Hamed Larbi
M'Hamed Larbi@momosan · Care
Do you know a case where a marketplace to create retention have create artificialy their own revenue stream with an other company?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@momosan Go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
M'Hamed Larbi
M'Hamed Larbi@momosan · Care
@daedalium or make a double 6 ;)
Garance Coggins
Garance Coggins@_garancec_
What do you think of all the issues/scandals about women in tech that have arisen lately in the SV? The Family has a mixed team of co-founders that looks amazing, and the Sisterhood events are just great ! But is it really hard to create a culture that fosters (any form of) equality in a startup?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@_garancec_ For the ones who don't know, our CEO is a woman, and our team is 50-50. To be honest, the SV situation is really shocking from the outside. But at the same time, are we better in Europe, I don't think so. What can we do to make it a better environment? I'm not sure that I have an answer, I just have the intuition that it will come from women becoming more radical regarding this question.
Garance Coggins
Garance Coggins@_garancec_
@daedalium Thanks for your answers :) I like this intuition.
Antoine Doolaeghe
Antoine Doolaeghe@antoine_doolaeghe · Building Echomancy.com
Hi Oussama, Just curious, which personality (present or past) inspires you the most? Antoine
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@antoine_doolaeghe I'm easily a fan of someone. I find inspiration in lots of people, alive and dead. That's why I watch tons of movies (bad most of the time), I can't count the number of little lessons that I got from having a really wide range of inspirations.
Mohamed Oulmaki
Mohamed Oulmaki@mohamedoulmaki · Mobile Enthusiast
Hi Oussama, are projets addressing social challenges like immigration welcome at the family?
Oussama Ammar
Oussama Ammar@daedalium · Co-Founder @ The Family
@mohamedoulmaki If they will make a lot of money, yes :) We have some non-profit work on the side, but our job is to build businesses.