The Journey of a thousand miles

Almost-daily updates of my journey as a French Tech entrepreneur starting up in France.

A view of the Voige early in the morning

Good morning from Grenoble

Friday, 19th March 2021, 0523 Hours

As I desperately try to kickstart my complaining grey cells and body, to force them into this new early morning routine, I can’t help but think that this is how it must feel to mountaineers. Especially those who climb Everest.

Not to take away their glory, or to belittle their achievements by comparing their journey to mine — but there are parallels that my mind couldn't help notice.

Here I was, at 5 AM Central European Time, sitting in a foreign land, trying to figure out the next steps on the road ahead. What should have felt like a huge achievement after a year of uncertainty, intense planning, and complexities, now in comparison to what lies ahead, feels like a piece of cake. The realization that the reward for achieving one milestone on this journey is to be handed the task of achieving the next even harder milestone. And it never stops until you get to the very top.

This is how it must feel on the way to Everest. You start at base camp, and then you get to the first stop — you stop to get acclimatized and take in the breathtaking views around you, but you know that what lies ahead is a steeper, harder, and yet more unknown climb.

Here we are, two battle-hardened entrepreneurs, with the French Tech Visa, on Day 2 in Grenoble, France, now about to start the next phase of this journey. The journey so far has been long, uncertain, and with many twists and turns, but I can't help but think that what lies ahead is the greater unknown.

From Lyon to Grenoble

The back story — how we got here

The French Tech Visa program, launched in 2016 had been on our minds for a while. In 2019, we visited France to do a recce of the French Startup Ecosystem and explore how we might start up in France.

We have both had a long association with France and we felt that our personal motivations for starting up aligned well with the larger French and EU ecosystem.

In January 2020, we applied to a range of incubators who were part of the French Tech, one of whom was Innovallee — Tarmac, in Grenoble. Over the course of an entire year, many zoom calls, pitch decks, and financial projection discussions later, we got our letter of acceptance from the Direction Generale Des Enterprise (DGE), granting us the ability to startup in France.

It took us another 4 months of applications, process, and calls to the point where we finally received the French Tech Visa.

Technologist. Story-teller. Husband. Dad.