They are not an accelerator, not a VC and not an incubator. They are TheFamily, a French “long-term strategic investor,” which is taking foothold in Europe’s startup hubs: Paris, London and Berlin.
By “linking the three main european hubs” and taking steps towards unifying these ecosystems, European startups can leverage their true power instead of competing with one another, giving them a better chance of escaping Silicon Valley’s shadow, said Hugo Amsellem, Managing Director at TheFamily in Berlin.
“Europe isn’t Silicon Valley – don’t be fooled by the number of accelerators, incubators and other things aiming to help startups across Europe,” they write on their website. “Any entrepreneur from a European country who recognizes the weaknesses and strengths of the local environment can push forward.”
In exchange for the quasi-incubator’s “leverage,” which includes education, their network and capital, TheFamily becomes a “silent co-founder,” taking five per cent of common stock, meaning they do not have any voting rights.
The Berlin location has been up and running for six months. Their office in Mitte exudes the same style seen on their bright, playful jungle-themed website, which Amsellem shares was designed by Alice Zagury, one of TheFamily’s three founders.
It is a “visual organic extension” of TheFamily. People who think it is unprofessional are the type of people they don’t want to work with, he continues.
A total of 40 people work for TheFamily across the three hubs; three are permanently in Berlin, including the 29-year-old managing director.
Since opening their doors in Berlin, they’ve partnered with 12 startups, he says. Despite being “stage agnostic” their “sweet spot” is early stage startups.
But TheFamily is not an ideation space. They expect fully-qualified startup teams with a developed product to come in ready to take advantage of their services.
Amsellem describes their team as “warriors on demand,” which translates to “slaves on demand” if entrepreneurs know how to take advantage of their services, especially now that Slack is available on smartphones.
Without a batch model, once a startup is in TheFamily, they are in for good. “Our name is a really big promise,” he says.