This is my first blog post ever and I’ll use it to present me. I’ve chosen the name Startupolic as a mix between startup (really!?!) and aholic, because I’m kind of fanatic about startups…
I’m Sébastien Flury, proud father of a 2-years old son and soon becoming a second child. Born in 1981 in “Arc jurassien” area, the heart of watchmaking industry, I’m currently working as a startup coach and feel like an “entrepreneur-in-residence” at Creapole, the center for innovation and startup creation of Jura region.
I’ve spent most of my freetime during school and college years not on software programming… but playing ice hockey, snowboarding and skiing, rollerskating, and a bit of Playstation games (NHL)… and of course partying! So not exactly what could be expected from a geek.
After graduating at college in mathematics & physics in Biel/Bienne, I moved to Lausanne to study business at HEC and finalized my Master abroad, in German city Karlsruhe. There, I discovered my entrepreneurial mind in an interesting – but really basic – lecture about starting a business. My brain worked like crazy and I found some interesting ideas (the best one was a web-based personalized 3D mannequin, that would look for best-fitting clothes and display them on your avatar in a realistic way), but without software skills and back to 2005, it was quite an expensive and mad idea… but somewhat visionary, as time taught me (at least one french and one estonian startups have started working on this topic since then… and gotten funded).
Starting to find a “real” job (my startup idea was just… an idea! And is stays as a little dream), an opportunity arises in a regional (but big enough – 1’400 employees) bank, which was happy to give me a tailored banking education… so I accepted the 18 months contract, so happy that my little business experience was interesting for them… and proud to have found what I thought a challenging job. So I started to work in the department responsible for loans to SME’s and mortgages… but to be honest, I started to question myself only 10 months after if it was really what I was looking for (once you’ve seen the 360° pictures and you seem to master most of it, you start wondering!). So I refused the position they wanted offering me, without knowing exactly what’s next. But, as soon as I told this story to a friend working at bank headquarters, I received a call from his boss, wanting to hire me in the organizational projects department in Bern, so work language will be schwyzertütsch (yeah! Great opportunity to learn!). There, I finally got a real sense of what software development is… but after 7 months and 8-10 ideas on how to improve internal organization efficience, of course rejected mostly because of company inertia, I started again to question myself. And also asking me how it can be possible to use so little of what was hardly learnt at business school?
That was the time when I discovered the unknown company (at that time, 2007) Creapole, just starting and recruiting a guy with a profile like me… First time ever I found a job description, with a really great challenge and for which I seemed qualified enough. I applied to the job and got it relatively “easily”: no technical assessment and complex personality tests (which benefit above all the seller of this test), a 1h discussion with CEO and President of the Board, followed by a 15minutes pitch to the whole board one week later… and that’s it! When they announced me I was chosen… I was happy but paradoxically hesitating. It’s never so true that “you know what you leave, but don’t know what you’ll find”. Some silly hesitations arose in my head (like “I cannot leave this position after less than one year, that would be bad on my CV”, “I should better learn Swiss German a little more”, and so on!), but one night after, I took the decision to accept the challenge: help and bring innovative companies in Jura region. For me, who always wanted to make an impact in my region (feeling somewhere anchored in my DNA), that was the perfect match… and still is. Personal benefits are also numerous: learning every day like crazy, building a large and diversified network, meeting so many smart guys, etc.
Before Creapole, I had some venture ideas but without knowing how to realize them. Until now, I had the great chance to meet really amazing people who probably teach me as much as I can advise them. After almost 4 years, I feel that’s time to share a bit of what I learned a bit more widely.