IMBA France Consultants
Parisian technology startups consult Fox IMBAs through Le Camping program
Peter Strugala described the space as “one of those dotcom offices people see in the movies.”
A student in the Fox School’s International MBA program, Strugala recently spent a day in a studio at the Palais Brongniart in central Paris, working with an online startup called Skimm!, which markets itself as “the pocket revolution.”
Along with two teammates, his mission was to figure out a way to bridge the divide among the Parisian university student population and successfully market the company’s smartphone app. Launched in November by a University of Pennsylvania graduate, Skimm! is a mobile payment system that allows users to redeem promotional coupons in participating stores.
Strugala and his classmates were taking part in Le Camping, a six-month accelerator program created by French nonprofit Silicon Sentier for tech startups. Le Camping provides an opportunity for 12 startups to develop a prototype, pitch to investors and take on the beginning stages of company growth. Le Camping is now in its third cycle, or “Season 3.”
Fox IMBA students were among the first to spend a day working alongside these innovative companies, providing international insight through an intense brainstorming session. One of the Fox School’s international partners, ENPC School of International Management, provided the opportunity. Fox IMBAs begin their one-year, tri-continent program by spending their first semester at ENPC.
“Students spend the fall semester in Paris attending classes as well as participating in corporate visits and hands-on workshops such as this one with the goal of a total immersion experience into the culture, the life and the business environment in France,” said Rebecca Geffner, director of International Programs, CIBER/IGMS.
The day began with a mentor session about pitching startup ventures to potential investors. The students then broke into small groups and were told what issue their assigned company needed help approaching. All companies participating in Le Camping at the time took on the student consultants to tackle issues such as market and launch strategies.
The day concluded with students presenting their solutions.
“It was inspiring,” Strugala said. “Just the way the studio was laid out provided for so much interaction. And the fact that they were so willing to engage us with where they were and were also interested in our feedback—it was exceptional.”
– Michele Aweeky