Jolicloud CEO Tariq Krim – we need to think beyond the “digital one per cent”

Tariq Krim
Tariq Krim

Tariq Krim

Jolicloud CEO and angel investor Tariq Krim has called for better mentorship for startups in Europe and a move beyond products for the “digital one per cent”.

“We don’t have the mentoring yet in Europe that the new generation of entrepreneurs deserves,” he said after his keynote at the IBM SmartCamp EMEA finals in Berlin.

“In France, I  see a new generation of entrepreneurs that  are just amazing, much better than my generation. But our ecosystem still lacks the kind of mentoring and funding that would help them grow into global leaders. A lot of French startups still don’t focus on refined logo, still start with French branding and domain names…”

The Startup Genome report out this week found startups in Europe have fewer mentors than those in Silicon Valley, though there’s no word on hours spent or type of advice.

In Silicon Valley, the startups surveyed reported an average 4.04 mentors per company. Startups in Paris and Berlin reported 48 and 45 per cent fewer mentors per company respectively. London, ranking just behind Silicon Valley in the report’s “Support Index”, reported 3.24 mentors per startup.

Entrepreneurs too focused on the “digital one per cent”

Krim, based in Paris, founded personalised start page service Netvibes before starting Jolicloud in 2008. Jolicloud, which raised $4.2m from Atomico and Mangrove Capital Partners in 2009, is a cloud computing platform – a “desktop in the cloud” app for web and mobile, also available as a Linux-based open source OS.

He had good words for French companies Sparrow, recently acquired by Google, and media monitoring app Mention, about to open offices in San Francisco and Berlin. “They’re doing great stuff.”

In general, Krim said, entrepreneurs, especially in Silicon Valley, are focusing too much on the “digital one per cent” – savvy users with money to spend on high-tech.

“It’s amazing in San Francisco, you click and have a car waiting for you right at your door, but, in the meantime, nobody is fixing the bus system. Most of these new services are changing ‘my life’ but not everyone’s life. If you look at the companies that have been widely successful, they always solved needs beyond the digital one per cent.”

For his own company, Krim hopes Jolicloud will help solve the effective storage of digital belongings and memories. The lightweight Joli OS also makes it possible to re-use older model computers that might otherwise be ditched. Krim said that combo is being used in about 400 schools including in Florida, Spain and the UK.

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