Today we meet serial entrepreneur Matthieu Vaxelaire founder of Jojo Project, Kicktable and most recently Startup Pack.
Anyone who has been involved with a startup will know how daunting the first few months can be. Very few people recognize just how many different services and tools will be needed in order to get a startup off the ground and into the marketplace. Just when you think you’ve got all of your bases covered, you realize that you need some stock photography and perhaps some quality translations – and off you go again, searching and comparing different services. Startup Pack is the long-awaited solution to all of these issues, as it gives startups access to a range of essential software packages and services that they will need to launch their startup. Not only is all the information presented in one neat package, but it’s also free. Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Matthieu Vaxelaire, the Founder of Startup Pack.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and the start-up story behind Startup Pack.
Matthieu: I studied Finance in Belgium and worked for one year in Investment Banking in London and Paris. At 23, I decided to quit my job and start my first company: Jojo Project, a shoe brand that supported ecological projects in Africa (for every pair of shoes we sold, the buyer could decide to support the plantation of one tree of to give one year of clean drinkable water to someone in Africa). After 2 years and having sold almost 10,000 pairs, we decided to stop as we were not the right person to bring the company to the next level.
Afterwards, together with one of my best friend, we launched Kicktable, a community marketplace for urban experiences organised by passionate people. We participated in Springboard Incubator Program and launched in Brussels and London. However, we decided not to continue because a beautiful idea doesn’t always make it a good business. Finally, one day, discussing with friends, we had this idea to create the Startup Pack: a free software and services bundle to launch and grow their businesses faster.
Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?
Matthieu: I am working on the next Startup Pack and also doing freelance jobs for startups.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your last company Kick Table, why did you decide to close doors?
Matthieu: We think it’s a beautiful idea. But on the business side, it’s a very difficult business to scale globally. We haven’t found the perfect model during our incubation at Springboard so we decided to stop.
Q: Share a few tips and advice for first time entrepreneurs on how to bring new ideas to life?
Matthieu: Present your idea to as many people as you can. Make a list of all critics, deal breakers and start solving all of them. Then launch your MVP.
Q: What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew before launching both Kick Table & Startup Pack?
Matthieu: Startups are hard. Very hard 😉
Q: What was the biggest problem you encountered with Startup Pack, and how did you overcome it?
Matthieu: The only challenged I faced with Startup Pack was to convince business partners to offer their services for free. But with a couple of emails, Skype calls and good negotiation I managed to get great deals for young startups.
Q: What is one thing that you on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
Matthieu: Wake up early 😉
Q: How is running a tech company different than what you thought it would be?
Matthieu: It’s even more exciting than I expected!
Q: What was the best entrepreneurial advice you have ever been given and by whom?
Matthieu: “It’s good to under-estimate all future challenges you will face. Otherwise, you would not be doing it” Don’t remember from whom.
Q: What 3 advice would you offer prospective founders about knowing when they have an idea worth making a leap for?
Are you passionate about your problem?
Does your solution is validated with an MVP?
Do you have the team to build your big vision?
If you answer YES to every question, stop sleeping and start building your dream company.
Q: What is your definition of success?
Matthieu: Happiness 😉
Q: What is your favorite success quote?
Matthieu: For the moment: We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.
Q: How can our community get in touch with you?
Matthieu: Via Twitter: @mvaxelaire