Publicis Fund Pledges +$10M for 90 Startups Worldwide

Alexis Baghdadi, Jan 22 2016

Startups. Startups everywhere.

For its 90th anniversary, the French advertising agency holding group, Publicis Groupe is dedicating €10 million ($10.9 million) for up to 90 startups from around the world!

The Publicis90 startup fund will invest between €10,000 and €500,000 ($10,800 to $540,000) in each startup, and is also asking its clients worldwide to match its investments, which could double each amount.

In addition, the selected startups will receive 1 year of mentorship from Publicis senior management and Iris Capital, a VC joint-partnership with the telecom operator Orange.

Interested yet? Watch the Publicis90 video below:

What Are You Waiting for?

You could be one of the lucky 90!

The fund is open to startups and individuals worldwide from any industry. All you have to do is submit your idea or startup on the Publicis90 website.

“This project is yet another way to augment our vision of fostering digital entrepreneurs and provide them with the support they need. It goes hand-in-hand with the philosophy of Publics Groupe and its future-forward approach,” said Alex Saber, Chairman of Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) MENA, part of Publicis Groupe.

Eligibility criteria:

  • You have a business idea related to digital and need help to implement it
  • Your project must be located in one of the countries where Publicis operates

*MENA countries include: Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, and the UAE.

Click here for a full list of countries worldwide.

  • You already have a startup and you need a push to take it to the next level

Projects can be submitted in French or English, the two official languages of Publicis Groupe.

The deadline for submission is February 28, 2016.

Publicis employees will then vote for their favorite startups (presented anonymously). The startups with the most votes will then be assessed on a regional level by juries comprised of the group’s executives and partners, and announced on March 15, 2016.

The shortlisted candidates will be reviewed by a global jury before the final selection is made and the final winners are announced in July.

According to Saber, there is no pre-planned breakdown in terms of external application versus those of employees, geography or early stage projects versus seed ones. The only criterion that matters is the quality of the project.

Is This the Right Fund for You?

To be clear, if you are looking for a larger investment to scale your startup and expand, then you are probably better off seeking a venture capital (VC) fund.

The Puclicis90 fund is an accelerator for the development of young startups. The main benefits you should focus on are the 1-year mentorship program, and the exposure from being selected by Publicis.

Furthermore, the 90 startups will be invited to participate in Viva Technology Paris, a new tech expo and conference that Publicis is launching in partnership with Groupe Les Echos from June 30 to July 2, 2016.

With the advertising giant behind it, the event is poised to generate a huge buzz and stand out from the likes of CES, Web Summit, Le Web, and TechCrunch Disrupt. Check out the event’s website for more details and registration.

Advice for Startups from Starcom MediaVest Group

ArabNet asked Alex Saber, SMG Chairman in the MENA, to share some advice for startups. Here are his answers:

Change the world: Find an idea or business model that can truly enhance people’s lives and consequently build a brand. The real success formula lies in finding what consumers need and what will make their lives ultimately easier.

If you snooze you lose: Take your idea at an early stage to a sophisticated investor before it is too late; after all, this is the era of velocity.

Dream big: Visualize your business in five years and focus on the goals that will materialize your vision. Your chances of failing quadruple in the absence a sound business plan.”

The Digital Transformation – We Are All Affected

Publicis Groupe is evolving as an advertising company to become a partner that helps its clients achieve the "digital transformation." In 2014, the group accelerated its own move towards this transformation with the $3.7 billion acquisition of the US-based digital marketing services company Sapient.

Other recent acquisitions include Content@Scale, a real-time data management and multi-channel programmatic buying platform, and Relevant24, a leader in original, multi-media branded content creation in real time.

According to Saber, funding and cash flow remain the main challenges for startups. “Nevertheless, we are witnessing this generation triumph over many obstacles and create some of the most inspiring businesses in the world,” he said. “We plan to beef up our partnerships with and investments into startups and companies that would add value to the business, and further complement our in-house capabilities,” he added.


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