Six weeks after our live beta launch –that’s sounds pretty good- but nine months after we presented the initial concept to potential investors –that’s a lot of work- Webjam raised its first round of funding. Most of the business reasons to do so are explained here but I wanted to shed light on a few other more personal reasons.
A few days after Christmas, I found my 6 year old son in his room sticking post-its on his toys with a price on them. “Daddy, he tells me, you told me that one of the reasons you work is to bring money home to pay for food, schools and gifts. Given how hard you’ve been working over the last few months, I assume that means you are not making enough money. So I have decided to help and will be selling some of my toys on the sidewalk this morning…”. Shaken by such undisputable logic, I struggled to find the words to explain that the situation was not that bad, hiding as much as I could the emotion that these three sentences from my little boy had triggered. I am not too sure about the effect this conversation had on my willingness to close the deal; but as I fine-tune the budget for the next board meeting, I am very pleased that what was a few drawings on napkins hardly a year ago (yes, this is pretty much how we started...) is now creating a dozen high-skilled exciting jobs.
We are going to pay for these jobs by spending the money our venture-capital partner ISource himself raised from various investors, usually corporations and funds collecting (retirement) savings. This is the business eco-system at its best, where forward-looking people invest in an idea, creating jobs in the meantime, taking a risk because they believe the potential reward is worth it. In the case of pension funds, this is even better as what you save as you get older can be invested in the companies your children create. Much better than transferring it to current retirees as many of the continental Europe systems do (including France unfortunately). I am happy that Webjam is yet another example about how money should be recycled, the older financing initiatives from the young rather than the expenses from the even older. Already heralded as one the top 25 UK start-ups, now part of the selected group of companies being a symbol of European revival (award to be announced soon), we are part of the virtuous circle that needs to grow in Europe, where large companies and people retiring fund entrepreneurship.
At this stage it is likely that my co-founders as well as Webjam investors, employees and business partners start freaking out, wondering why I get lost in such ramblings rather than focus on the business… Here is why they should not worry : a day where I managed to be on time for the bedtime story and last cuddle, my son asked me : “today you were at the Paris Office, tomorrow you are going to the London office and next week you go to the America office, right ?” Yes, I nod. “Daddy, he replies, when you’ll have a Moon office, will you bring me in your rocket…?”- “Of course” I reply bursting out laughing !.
Now as you can imagine our business plan does not include (yet ;-) opening an office on the moon. And I indeed feel passionate about contributing to a winning Europe, modestly boosting the economic & social business eco-system that we need to adapt for the next generation. But I can tell you nothing can beat that very conversation as the best incentive to make Webjam a success!
How we are going to do it is by putting in place the “Webjam social media-ecosystem” where people can simply become better at what they do, personally and professionally, by duplicating what the community is doing best; you will find that topic in some of the next posts…
Because at the end of the day, if we raised money it is to provide our users with the best service they can dream of !