Spent a busy week? Grab a coffee and catch up on what’s going on in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Here is our weekly reading, with the best writing that caught our eye during last week. Make sure you registere for the Unconvention!
On BlaBlaCar. It’s one of our success stories and this week there were good news for it. Have you ever taken a Blablacar? When founder Frederic Mazzella found that he had now way to go home for Christmas – but roads were full of people driving towards there, which whom he could share the ride – he imagined an online marketplace to connect drivers with empty seats with passengers looking for a ride. That was in 2004. On Tuesday Blablacar announced it had raised a $100 million round to create a global long distance sharing network, as reported by Techcrunch. It’s the largest VC round in a French startup of all time! You can read our interview, in which Mazzella explains among other things what difficulties he faced when he was getting started: the skeptical attitude of almost all the people he told the idea to. “We normal humans tend to not believe that something can exist when it doesn’t exist yet!”
From Paris to Palo Alto. How are things after a year of entrepreneurship? What is it like to pitch your product to an investor or to sell it to your first customer? Founders at UniShared and VideoNot shared the documents (business plans, applications, pitches) that they used during the first year of the company. “As you can see, we made many mistakes but learned a ton along our journey so we would be happy to answer any question you may have. Hope it can help”.
On Facebook experiments and research. This week we’ve read, and the web has discussed, the details of a Facebook experiment: the company manipulated 700.000 users’ feeds to find whether there was emotional contagion among them. Although Facebook – and tech companies in general – usually make changes in their product to test if they work or not (what’s known as A/B tests) the debate came on the ethical problems surrounding this practices. You can read a complete long post by a social media scholar on the consequences of it – and what does the experiment and reactions teach us.