NUMA is on a mission – Marie-Vorgan Le Barzic, CEO of NUMA

In 2030, the global demand for water will exceed Earth’s capacity by 40%.
More than 40% of today’s jobs will have disappeared. Climate change alone will have created 100 million additional poor people.

Have you already read these forecasts? Take a few minutes to read them again, slowly this time. Let what they actually mean sink in.

In 2030, the world is projected to face a 40% global water deficit.

More than 40% of today’s jobs will have disappeared.

Climate change alone will have created 100 million additional people living below poverty lines.

To tackle these dangers, mission-driven tech entrepreneurs, the ones who are part of a bigger picture, contribute to the solution.

I know that they are able to develop and roll out sustainable solutions, taking part in solving some of mankind’s key problems. I also know that the development and implementation of these global solutions to global problems will produce future companies on the Unicorn List.

NUMA is striving to seize and foster this opportunity, by empowering mission-driven tech entrepreneurs to solve the global problems of 2030. It is time for us to demonstrate our drive to support the entrepreneurs who provide answers to the key problems of the future. Education, healthcare, food, mobility, energy, work, transparency and security: we will now devote our work to issues requiring urgent action and a relevant technological response. From now on, this will be our mission.

The obsession with value creation

In practice, this mission follows on from and confirms what NUMA has always been about. From the outset, I focused on making NUMA a tool of global action, a value creation tool that is constantly reorganised for maximum impact and to heighten its effectiveness. NUMA’s history and structure have changed as we have gained awareness collectively, as our beliefs have been strengthened and as value creation opportunities have arisen for us.

 

SILICON SENTIER

In 2002, following the “Internet bubble”, I worked to snap the Silicon Sentier association out of lethargy, to bring together digital entrepreneurs, so that they could rebuild their career paths and help each other, to assist them in continuing their actions and impact on the world.

 

LA CANTINE

In 2008, a movement was launched around Silicon Sentier. Regular events fostered the entrepreneurial drive and created business and development opportunities. This movement was occasional, sporadically meeting for events. It needed a permanent feature. This is how La Cantine came about in 2008, a hybrid space for events and co-working, a common house for the digital ecosystem in Paris.

 

LE CAMPING

In 2011, the environment had changed, events were held on a daily basis across Paris and a generation of entrepreneurs had gone by. These seasoned entrepreneurs created a baseline and some became inspiring role models, setting the milestones of French-style entrepreneurship. This excellence and drive to share their experience were the foundation for an acceleration model, for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. The result was Le Camping, the first start-up accelerator in Paris. Its goal was to add performance to ambition, and ambition to performance.

NUMA

In 2013, the dawn of this faster, more demanding, cross-cutting entrepreneurial era, which hit the most stable industries, had become a matter of course. Collectively, it was certain that beyond technological issues, organisational and management models were being challenged.

I clearly remember the opening address at NUMA on 14 November 2013 when I asked the question out loud: how can common ground be found between major companies and start-ups? How can we prevent society being divided between the old and new economy? Thousands of companies ran the risk of folding if they did not fully gauge the importance of entrepreneurial culture, while thousands of entrepreneurs ran the risk of failing if the ecosystem surrounding them did not adapt to support them. NUMA’s value proposition was to open wide its doors and model to identify common competitive levers, for the benefit of all, for Paris and France’s global outreach.

 

Go Inter and Go for Profit

There is no doubt that the model that we had built up in Paris created value for the entire innovation ecosystem and was unique. We received an increasing number of calls from accelerators and cities wishing to duplicate our model. The alternatives offered to them were divisive or focused on only a section of the ecosystem. I therefore decided to launch NUMA’s expansion on an international scale, by opening offices in Moscow, Bangalore, Casablanca, Barcelona, Mexico City, then Berlin and New York this year.

To make this development possible, NUMA became a company. This was also a chance to show that the ideological straightjacket that opposes economic performance and general-interest action is not viable. Economic performance and ambition must serve a broader action than its own advancement. Economic performance cannot be uncoupled from strong values and a drive to make the world a better place.

Today

It is now 2017. The world is full of amazing initiatives to serve entrepreneurs, the digital transformation has become a seemingly infinite market, and the community approach is now an obvious choice for value creation. So, today, in which areas can NUMA still enhance its value creation?

 I am convinced that we can enhance our value creation by showing our willingness to steer our ecosystem and by stopping to be agnostic.

NUMA receives some 6000 applications each year worldwide from entrepreneurs with varying degrees of maturity and ambition. Some stand out. They stand out for a shared quality: they live for their mission. They want to take action to improve the world around them, to put their energy and performance into solving global problems.

One mission before one million

I therefore decided to clarify our mission: NUMA  empowers mission-driven tech entrepreneurs to solve the global challenges of 2030. I am convinced that in doing so, we will be supporting the future companies of the Unicorn List, for two reasons.

  • Successful implementation must be underpinned by an absolute requirement of concentration and simplification for the mission. The mission which guides entrepreneurs is the best asset to ensure successful implementation;

  • The global problems of 2030 are enormous value creation fields, in which entrepreneurs will be able to build up profitable and long-lasting companies.

Remember, according to current forecasts, in 2030, global demand for water will exceed 40% of Earth’s capacity. More than 40% of today’s jobs will have disappeared. Climate change alone will have created 100 million additional poor people.

It is my firm belief, which steers NUMA, that the technological entrepreneurs guided by their mission could prove these projections wrong through their performance.

Behind NUMA’s new mission lies a little naivety and hope and humility in abundance. We are not the first to tackle these issues. We absolutely hope that we will not be the last, the problems we wish to solve are so broad that the entire economic fabric could work to solve them and there would still be plenty of scope for further improvement.

 

If you think that we can walk part of the way together to support the technological entrepreneurs who make it their mission to meet the global challenges of 2030, please get in touch!

NUMA New York Startup Program Info Session

NUMA New York Startup Program Info Session

Is your startup the right fit for NUMA New York? Watch our NUMA New York Startup Program webinar to learn all about our 10 week program to help non-U.S. startups enter and scale in the U.S. Market. 

The hour long webinar covered: 

  • The 10 week program's structure and three tracks (B2B Sales, B2C User Acquisition, Raising Investment) 

  • Selection criteria and minimum requirements 

  • Contract and payment (Flat fee Vs. Warrant options) 

  • Our network of mentors, experts, and alumni 

Our 10 Week Program is for startups that:

  • Were founded outside the U.S. 

  • Have minimum $500K in seed funding or cash

  • Can operate with minimum 1 co-founder in New York during the program

Our application deadline is July 1st. To learn more and apply go to https://newyork.numa.co/startups/

Event Recap - Data and Technology's Impact on Water Management: The Corporate Innovation Take

Event Recap - Data and Technology's Impact on Water Management: The Corporate Innovation Take

Water scarcity is one of the biggest issues mankind will face. Many areas around the world are experiencing constant water shortage. This is not only an issue for underdeveloped areas, but also for first world countries like the United States. Nearly a billion people do not have access to safe water. Climate change and population increases are making it even tougher to provide clean water to all. Furthermore, the existing infrastructure is inefficient and costing cities millions of dollars each year. For this reason, cities all over the world are bringing innovation to their existing systems using big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things to increase water management efficiency and decrease overall water waste.

On May 11, NUMA New York hosted a panel with key players in startups, corporates, and government to discuss the issue of water management and the future of water tech. Our expert panelists included Jason Whittet (Smart Cities, AT&T), Kristin Bell (Senior Project Manager at NYCEDC), Frank Zammataro (President at Rentricity), and Ed Hackney (Director, Solutions Architecture at SUEZ).

 

“Water and utilities were using data before data became cool!”

Ed Hackney of SUEZ, a french based utility company, described the connection between big data and water. “Water and utilities were using data before data became cool!”- says Hackney. Data can be used in so many ways. Companies can gather data on anything, including water pressure in pipes and water usage, and use this data to make better decisions. However, in comparison to the total number of companies in the industry, the number of companies taking advantage of this data is still quite small.

In addition to a wider adoption of big data, Hackney also sees potential for cyber security and artificial intelligence in the water industry. There are 150+ water related servers out there and it’s important that technicians understand how to protect them from cyber threats. In regards to Artificial Intelligence, no other technology has grown as much as AI in the last 5 years and it is almost inevitable that it will find its way into the water space as well.

One innovative company that has combined technology and water is Rentricity. Rentricity built a unique energy recovery solution that uses the excess pressure in water pipes to produce clean usable energy. This is a revolutionary technology considering nearly 80% of water pipes use less efficient gravity based valves. Rentricity’s technology can save a city more than 600 million dollars in energy costs and almost a trillion dollars in deferred maintenance costs. In addition to monetary savings, Rentricity’s technology significantly reduces energy waste.

 

To overcome these challenges startups and the public sector must work together...

Innovative companies such as Rentricity are rapidly gaining the interest of corporates and government entities. Unfortunately, there are many challenges in bringing these technologies to market, and the main issue is infrastructure. The current infrastructure is centralized and implementing small local innovations is difficult. Furthermore, investing in large central innovations is a lengthy process and for this reason, governments are hesitant to invest in young startups.

In order to overcome to these challenges, startups and the public sector must come together. Kristin Bell, Project Manager at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, states that creating ecosystems of knowledge and access to funding is a great way to start. In a recent development, the New York City Environmental Protection Agency signed a grant program to program to promote new water systems. The NYCEPA grant is a signal that things are moving in the direction of Smart Water. New York appears ready for change, and we may see a rise in water tech coming to NYC in the imminent future.

 

NYC has invested over 10 billion dollars in water management...

In the last 5 years, NYC Department of Environmental Protection has also made major moves in the area of water conservation. In July of 2014, NYCDEP launched a toilet replacement program.  Through the program, NYC residents can receive a voucher to purchase a more efficient WaterSense toilet at a discount. The change can save an average of 4 gallons of water a flush.

The DEP has also launched The Municipal Water Efficiency Program. Through the Municipal Water Efficiency Program, the DEP will invest in water conservation projects to increase efficiency in public buildings. The DEP has already partnered with the City University of New York, The Fire Department of New York, the Department of Education, and the Department of Parks and Recreation. It is estimated that this program will save 9 million gallons of water a day.

In addition to these programs, NYC has also invested over 10 billion dollars in water management infrastructure. These efforts are part of NYC’s Water for the Future plan which aims to reduce total water consumption in NYC by 5%.

 

As citizens it is in our power to fight against water waste...

As citizens an important step we can take to support this issue is limiting our own water consumption. The average person in NYC uses a lot of water, almost 100 gallons of water a day. That’s almost twice as much as the average person in Europe. Did you know close to 75% of this water usage happens in the bathroom? Unfortunately, a good proportion of this water is being used unknowingly. A small toilet leak, can waste 30 gallons of water day. If undetected, Toilet leaks can get much worse and can even waste as much as 2,000 gallons of water a day. Learn to check for toilet leaks here. As mentioned before, switching to a more efficient toilet will not only save almost 4 gallons a flush, it will also make costly leak leak. Upgrades can also be made to a traditional showerhead. A new low flow shower head can save up to 5 gallons of water per minute. Minor upgrades around the house and common tricks such as using leftover bottled water to water plants, are great steps into decreasing water consumption. If you’re worried about how much water you’re using, invest in a water meter. They are easy to use and by monitoring your water usage you are almost guaranteed to save on your water bill. 

 

Smart water is in!

Smart water is in! Local governments, big companies, startups, and individuals are decreasing water consumption and working together to improve water management efficiency. Through innovation and collaboration we can overcome these challenges and create a better tomorrow for all.

 

Cities, corporations, startups : unite to fight against climate change !

Donald Trump announced that he will withdraw the United States of America from the Paris agreement. Actually, he will withdraw the Federal State. Not the people, not the cities, not the corporations, not the startups. They will do their best to respect the agreement’s goals, because they know it will MAKE OUR PLANET GREAT AGAIN and create millions of new jobs.

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The most striking reactions to Donald Trump’s decision, are the ones of the non-state actors in the United States. Cities, corporations, citizens raise their voice to affirm their commitment to respect the Paris Agreement.

Cities in particular committed to playing their part. This should not come as a surprise as cities are :

  • a major cause of climate change (cities are responsible for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions)
  • the biggest victims of climate change (climate change could make cities 8°C hotter by 2100).

They are also our best hope to fight climate change because they are home to a diverse, well-educated, entrepreneurial population. But cities can’t win this fight against climate change alone.

At NUMA, we believe that mission-driven tech entrepreneurs are the most efficient players to tackle global challenges. They have a unique ability to execute fast and to create scalable solutions that have a global impact. Their limited resources force them to be pragmatic and go beyond existing solutions.

If we gave them experimentation fields, high quality datasets and human resources, we are convinced they would find innovative and impactful solutions to tackle climate change. Actually we proved they do, through DataCity.

DataCity is a program launched by NUMA, to fulfill our mission to empower mission-driven tech entrepreneurs to solve the global challenges of 2030. DataCity relies on a central conviction : collaboration is the only way to tackle the challenges of the world, especially the battle against climate change. And it works !

In Paris, like in many other cities, street lights stay on at night even when no one is around. During the DataCity program, two startups (Dataiku and Quantmetry) used anonymised data from a telecommunication company to develop a solution to dim the light when no one is in the street. This solution has been implemented with an operator of street lighting in Paris leading to a 10% reduction in the energy consumption of public lighting, without the need for any new infrastructure and without affecting the wellbeing of citizens.

Reducing public lighting energy consumption by 10% in 9 months wouldn’t have been possible without a framework for radical collaboration between cities, corporations and startups.

Is this 10% reduction in public lighting energy consumption enough ? No. But applied to 100 cities worldwide, it would be a good step forward, right ? We believe so too. That is why Anne Hidalgo’s and C40’s endorsement will be helpful to implement this solution worldwide.

And this is only one example from over twenty solutions which have already been developed thanks to DataCity. Their impact could be game changing in the fight against climate change. They are data-driven, scalable and will lead to the hiring of thousands of people in the startups and corporations that created them.

To conclude, let’s be clear : I am appalled by Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Yet, voicing our anger and making our voices heard will not make up for the disastrous consequences of this decision. We need to act.

NUMA’s contribution to the fight against climate change will be based on three core beliefs :

  • Creating solutions to fight climate-change will be one of the main drivers of our global economic development.
  • Radical collaboration is the key to have an impact in a context where time is the most critical resource.
  • Mission-driven tech entrepreneurs are the best actors to develop the user-centric, scalable solutions we need.

I strongly believe that with cities, corporations and mission-driven tech entrepreneurs, we can make our planet great again and create millions of new jobs.

Want to join us in this exciting venture ? Drop us a line !

Marie-Vorgan Le Barzic, CEO of NUMA

How To Keep Brand Consistency While Adapting to the U.S. Market: A Conversation with Kickstarter, LiveLike VR, and Spring Design Partners

Becoming a global brand has it’s challenges. Companies need to create a strong brand identity, but when entering a new market, your communication and messaging may not target the right customers. How do you maintain consistency as you expand, while resonating within your local markets? You need a local execution strategy to attract the right customers.

Julio Terra, Director of Technology and Design at Kickstarter says ”A lot of companies are looking to launch in the U.S. through Kickstarter. They keep certain aspects of the visual identity very consistent, but have some flexibility in their communication to connect with the customers in the US.” One challenge he often sees is having the right person understand what the needs are of the market and how to communicate in the U.S.

Two common errors startups encounter when they enter the US market:

Authenticity — People, especially millennials, connect with emotion. A lot of brands on Kickstarter, as Julio points out, come off as fake. This comes across in all of the aspects of communicating the brand, such as the format of the video, the picture of the products, how the updates are communicated. How you are presenting your startup is what makes you feel real. Stay away from fake voiceovers and non personalized videos, remember emotional connection is key!

Understanding your audience — Many campaigns on Kickstarter are overly complicated, there are many things the product does, but it’s unclear what they do really well. This makes it hard to connect and resonate with their audience. Knowing who your audience and target customer is, allows you to better understand how to get them excited about your product. The most successful campaigns have a deep understanding of who they are communicating with.

Daniel Andersson from Spring Design Partners outlines the critical components to avoiding these mistakes “Be clear on what emotion you want to create, don’t step away from who you are, never let go of the core idea, but be flexible on execution, and keep your message defined to one single target.”

What should you be focusing on?

  • Take a pause, define your solution and how you want to communicate it. The more you can be specific before you are executing, the best it is.
  • Set the communication on what the vision is, define the value, pay attention to how you are positioned on all the public things that you do.
  • Adrian Curiel, from LiveLike VR says “Commit and own it!” Once you have made your decisions commit to it and own it through everything you do. Consistency is key, and keeping with your choices strengthens your voice and positioning.

How do you test the market to optimize your communication?

Listen to your customers. Understand who they are and their experiences, it’ll help you readjust your branding to them. Julio from Kickstarter suggests sending A/B messaging tests or using a sample of panelists. It’s hard to track and measure scientifically, but can help you identify a resonating emotion.

“It’s always a challenge though,” says Daniel Andersson, “We help you on getting more efficient, quicker. When it comes to product development you can try to make it perfect, but by the time it’s done, the customer has already an other solution”

If you want to see the whole event, watch the Facebook Live!