Start-up Advice: Raph Crouan, Startupbootcamp

18 May 2016

Raph Crouan is the founder and managing director of Startupbootcamp IoT and Connected Devices.

Startupbootcamp IoT is a new accelerator focused purely on the internet of things and connected devices that will be based at the 70,000sq ft Cocoon Networks Labs in London.

Applications for the programme close on 13 June and Startupbootcamp will provide up to 10 successful start-ups with €15,000 in funding for a three-month programme that begins in September.

As well as his role with Startupbootcamp, Crouan is a founding board member of the Alliance for IoT Innovation (AIOTI) at the European Commission and a founder of a French IoT think tank that aims to support and help grow the ecosystem for IoT start-ups in the country.

He is also an angel investor and start-up adviser and, prior to his current roles, he spent more than a decade working in senior roles within Apple.

In your opinion, which areas of technology hold the greatest scope for opportunities?

The internet of things (IoT), of course, but specifically industrial IoT and artificial intelligence (AI). It’s also worth looking at companies working on socially impactful technologies.

Are good entrepreneurs born or can they be made?

An entrepreneur is more a state of mind than a native skill set, I think. It can definitely be made, but crucially it’s about commitment and dedication. If you’re not 100pc behind your idea, or if you don’t fully believe in it, then you shouldn’t become an entrepreneur.

What are the qualities of a good founder?

Vision and leadership are key qualities to inspire others to join you as a founder. You must also be persistent. Founders have a lot of problems to solve and issues to face, so good founders need real commitment to deliver on an idea.

What does a successful entrepreneur need to do every day?

It is important to constantly look at the market and not work in isolation, and of course to keep reading and leading. Don’t get lost in your code or what you’re building, always set aside at least 15 minutes a day to read about your industry.

‘If you’re not 100pc behind your idea, or if you don’t fully believe in it, then you shouldn’t become an entrepreneur’

What resources and tools are an absolute must for your arsenal?

Very literally, our IoT accelerator is all about hardware, so we need the best possible tools to work with. We have a fast prototyping lab with all the equipment a start-up would need to build a device and iterate their prototype.

How do you assemble a good team?

You inspire others with a genuinely scalable idea. In doing this you can attract the best talent. It is then that you need to establish a clear scope of responsibilities so that each team member can identify with their role.

What is the critical ingredient to start-up success?

Working within a good environment and ecosystem to flourish from an idea to a MVP with scale. This includes having existing entrepreneurs to learn from, mentors who can advise you, investors who can fund you, and great co-working spaces and locations to work from.

‘Always set aside at least 15 minutes a day to read about your industry’

What are the biggest mistakes that founders make?

Not validating their product or solution to determine whether it is really solving a problem and, as a result, identifying whether or not there is market demand.

Who is your business hero and why?

Steve Jobs. I was lucky enough to work with him and there are very few people that inspired me as much as he did.

What’s the No 1 piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs?

Keep at it! Don’t let go at the first road bump. There will be many, but it’s definitely worth it.