I love impulsive people who design beautiful & emotional products because they couldn't dream of doing anything else.
I was born in 1984 to an open-minded and loving family. With a father from Casablanca and a mother from Paris who shared the progressive ideals of May ’68 with my brother, my sister and me, we grew up around plenty of music, drawings and culture. They pushed us to find our own quests for meaning. For me, having grown up in a suburb of Paris, part of my quest came from always being aware of the discrimination and racism present yet largely ignored in France. This was exacerbated by the crisis of 2008, in the wake of which there was a steady decline in the country’s ability to include youth and minorities in the economy.
Throughout my life, I enjoyed developing my artistic skills, but a strong desire to compete with decision makers made me choose business studies. So for university I selected a French management school, EM Lyon.
After university, I ended up discovering the tech culture by pure chance. After spending time in art galleries and with artists’ collectives, a friend forwarded me a job posting from a non-profit organisation involved in digital innovations. I immediately fell in love with this new world. It was there that I saw the future. Artists, engineers, doers... all were fighting the same battle. Digital was providing the tools necessary for breaking down the walls that prevented them from working together:
- The pay it forward culture. This philosophy clashed with a deeply rooted pattern that I hated, a pattern that I had found at school, at work and in any public office: namely, distrusting everyone at first sight. At last, a whole community was trying to apply this statement - Pay it forward - as a social rule.
- Creation from scratch. No matter where you come from, everyone is the same when you start a business in tech. Money isn’t the barrier: what’s most important is your passion to learn, test, fail, and try again.
- Just f****** do it. Nobody asked me who I was, what I did before, or who I knew. I could show my abilities through what I shipped, simple as that. The more you do, the more you can build trust and confidence.
In 2009, YCombinator was already a big deal. I travelled all over Europe, discovering different ecosystems and using this experience as an inspiration to create something new for the French market. I launched Le Camping, the first startup accelerator in France. After 3 seasons, 36 startups and 18 fundraising rounds, it was time to leave for a new adventure.
When we started TheFamily, Nicolas, Oussama and I wanted nothing other than to kill the toxicity of the French tech environment. How? We looked to design an ambitious infrastructure for startups, by scaling education, tools and access to capital in order to create billion dollar startups.
With TheFamily, we work tirelessly to make changes to a landscape ruled by elitism, where neither youth nor diversity are welcome. We’re driven by a strong belief in the ability of local talent, no matter where it comes from, to build international champions.