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Amaury Boelle
Amaury Boelle

Co-founder of Kickston, investment bank

Be an entrepreneur at heart

I'm going to tell you what led me to set up an investment bank at the age of 26. In 2011, I was barely 18 and just out of A-levels.

At the time, I didn't have any definite career plans but just a desire to learn and discover the world. 

During my studies, I did a lot of work placements. It was during my third year at EM Normandie that I saw my professional project taking shape. 

I launched my first company with a classmate during my final year of my Bachelor's degree.

This is the trajectory I'm following as I'm now in my tenth year of entrepreneurship. 

This company was called Mon Kit Étoilé. It was quite a precursor at the time even if today it corresponds more or less to the way we eat. It was a concept of a culinary kit prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.

It was aimed mainly at people in big cities who finish late at night. The kit enabled them to prepare a balanced meal for themselves and to have food available that had already been weighed, peeled and washed. This prevented food waste.

At the time, our vision of the project was perhaps too aggressive and too industrial. We started looking for warehouses before we had consolidated the fundamentals of the project, i.e. looking for a market and testing our business model.

We were confronted with a lot of problems. We quickly came up against our lack of experience and our youth. We wanted to go too fast and didn't have enough hindsight.

Launching your application

Six months later, I launched a second company with the same people and the same entrepreneurial drive. 

It was a project that lasted a little longer and generated more turnover.

We even raised funds and crowdfunded.

With hindsight, I realise that it was a niche market. The app lets you discover cities from rooftops. We had referenced all the hotels, bars and restaurants in the world. It was a bit like TripAdvisor but with a focus on the most beautiful views in the world.

The application was collaborative because everyone could add their own photos and add information about the places. It was also possible to book online.

We had partnerships with Uber to allow people to get around the venues.

This project lasted a year and a half and we reached €100,000 in sales, which isn't huge. But when you're 20, it seems like a lot.

Eighteen months later, we closed the company because we realised once again that the business model wasn't viable. We were one more subscription to be paid by restaurants and hotels.

Also, we lacked volume and the model was far from profitable. We needed to invest heavily in acquisition marketing to make ourselves known. 

We made the right decision to stop. We said to ourselves, "It was a good experience but let's move on".

Being born for entrepreneurship

Being an entrepreneur is more a way of life than a profession. I think you're born to be an entrepreneur and it's difficult to become one.

The main quality of an entrepreneur is resilience.

When things don't work out, you have to be able to find solutions to get back up again. You also have to find solutions to go even further in your business and know how to challenge yourself.

I've always tried to apply these principles. There has always been a moment of latency between each company. My credo is to ask myself the question: how can I help others by creating a new company?

When you create a new company, you have to ask yourself the question: how can I help others?

When you're an entrepreneur, you're constantly thinking about launching new businesses. You have to know how to sit back and think before you launch. It's the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us on a daily basis.

It's the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us on a daily basis.

In the last few generations of my family, there hasn't been a single entrepreneur. And in my circle of friends, there are very few. I'm often asked the question: "Where does this desire to be an entrepreneur come from?"

I think it's quite innate in me and I like having my destiny in my hands. I like creating things, going fast and testing.

When I fail in a project, I know it's because of me and not someone else. What I like is the idea of bringing something new and value constantly.

Discovering the investment world

When I launched my first and second companies, I had no knowledge of financing. My first instinct was to go and see the chamber of commerce and industry, the banks and the BPI.

I was turned down several times because I had no preparation. On my third entrepreneurial project, I had a bit more experience and a partner who was more senior than me.

We started approaching business angel networks and the regional council to look at possible subsidies.

We set off into the "Far-West of investment" by contacting business angels, family offices and investment funds. We also contacted banks who agreed to finance us only after increasing our equity, i.e. after raising funds.

It's very complicated to get finance at the start when you don't have much experience. I recommend that young entrepreneurs get in touch with entrepreneurs who have successfully raised finance to benefit from their experience. It can save you a lot of time and save businesses.

Starting out as an employee

When I graduated from my Master 2 Entrepreneurship, I wanted to stop because all the businesses I'd set up hadn't really worked. I didn't feel fulfilled either.

We had to spend 10 million each year on innovations to try and bring a new population back to the racecourses. This campaign was especially aimed at young people.

I was at PMU for two years. It was an incredible experience and I gained a huge amount of skills.

But I wanted to do something else. I didn't feel I was adding much value. What's more, in these groups, you're faced with a hierarchy and things don't always move forward very quickly. 

These two years allowed me to settle down and think about what I wanted to do later on. So I launched my last company, Kickston Partner, where I still work today.

Succeeding in your entrepreneurial project

Kickston Partner is a merchant bank, a consultancy that supports entrepreneurs looking to either raise finance or sell their business.

This project wasn't originally my idea. A friend from my second business school contacted me. He was more involved in the ecosystem of investors and start-ups.

He thought that it was a good idea to set up a start-up. knowledge of finance. I have not done any internships and have no experience in finance.

But the desire to start a new business was strong. So I joined him in this adventure.

We launched the business together but we parted ways quite quickly because our visions were different. For my part, I'm still working on the same project. I offer entrepreneurs all the experience I have gained in the past.

Taking advantage of your years of study

I have no regrets about my three years at EM Normandie. I think I lived that period like an 18-20 year old, going to parties and getting involved in associations.

I also met a lot of people and am very happy with these three years.

I wanted to make the most of my student life. Being a Parisian, I went to Le Havre and benefited from a completely different outlook. 

I would advise future students to make the most of these years because it's an exceptional time. It lasts 3 to 5 years and then life changes when you enter the professional world.

My greatest memory is my first-year expatriation in 2011.

It was the only school in France, at that time, to offer expatriation from the first year. My stay in Riga with 20 classmates was unforgettable.

I also kept some very good friends who are still today my wedding witnesses and my great band of 10 buddies from EM Normandie.

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