YourStory spoke to Julian Nachtigal, partner in faberNovel Inc., a technology innovation agency, which is the U.S. subsidiary of faberNovel France. In this interview Julian shares his insight on entrepreneurship and talks about pariSoma Innovation Loft, collaborative loftspace for coworking and events in the SoMa district of San Francisco.
YourStory : Tell us more about yourself
Julian Nachtigal : I am originally from Washington, DC, but grew up in Costa Rica for 10 years of my life before coming back to the Washington, DC area. From there I went to Claremont McKenna College outside of Los Angeles, California where I majored in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a minor in Leadership Studies. After expecting to go into a career of politics, my direction changed dramatically as I delved into entrepreneurism my senior year.
My colleagues and I took second place in the Henry R. Kravis Award for Entrepreneurship for our concept "The Ball St.", a fantasy sports stock market. In another competition, several other colleagues and I were selected the most likely business plan to be funded by several VCs for our concept, SoundINFO. After graduating from college, I worked as the right hand man to a serial entrepreneur, helping him developing an investment management firm, manage a start-up providing 401(k)s for small businesses and run a boutique safari tour operator in Tanzania.
Currently, I am a partner in faberNovel, Inc., a technology innovation agency, which is the U.S. subsidiary of faberNovel France. We work by doing. Many of our clients are bigger French firms looking for a lean innovation company to help direct them with emerging technologies. Our clients include the likes of Orange, SFR Vodafone, and more. The company also builds its own internal products and does its own research on emerging technology and companies, such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
Additionally, we invest in very early stage startups that have values we believe in and follow the culture and feel of faberNovel. It is a very exciting business model in an era of innovation. In the U.S., we see ourselves building a "bridge" between the tech communities of Paris and San Francisco. After being in San Francisco for a few months, we thought starting a coworking space, now the pariSoma Innovation Loft, would be the best way for us to create the "bridge", develop a network, and build a community.
YourStory : The idea behind pariSoma
Julian Nachtigal : The pariSoma Innovation Loft is a coworking and event space where we are trying to build a community of communities. We wanted to build a foundation here in San Francisco that is a place where startups, entrepreneurs, free lancers, independent workers, and more can come collaborate and innovate. Currently, pariSoma has about 25 coworking members, but a community of over 500 people, a network of more than 10,000 people, and a global footprint of over 100,000 people.
Our events mainly focus on tech, such as the iPhone, Augmented Reality, Drupal, etc., but we also have art openings every six weeks, wine tastings once a month, TEDxSoMa every four months, and are open to all types of events. We believe we are changing the way work is done.YourStory : Your partners and team
Julian Nachtigal :
In Paris, we have a team of about 30 people working on the of innovative technology. We are dedicated to innovation and its implementation. Our clients decide to call on us to handle any aspect of an innovation-linked project. We link together concepts, talents, technologies and the appropriate market to allow our clients, start-ups and industrial groups alike, to create prototypes or enable innovative companies to define and lead for successful strategies focused on innovation and development.
Clement Alteresco - Clément received his Masters degree in Innovative Technology (MTI) from Paris X Dauphine University and INSTIN and is part of faberNovel’s original team. Co-founder of digitick in 2004 he became a faberNovel partner in 2006. He is now working on faberNovel, Inc.’s development and expansion in the USA. Clément’s goal is to push innovative projects through his company, faberNovel, and is part of building "the bridge" between Paris and San Francisco.
Anne Gomez - Anne works with the pariSoma & faberNovel team, building the “bridge” between San Francisco and Paris by enabling innovation and ideas to flow. A recent graduate in Product Design, she is excited by the new possibilities that technology affords in creating products that better people’s lives. Anne enjoys hiking, skiing, horseback riding, and pistachios. When she’s not at pariSoma, you can find her hanging out at the dog park or playing Wii with her roommates.
YourStory : Vision and future plans
Julian Nachtigal : I envision helping build faberNovel into a global network that is helping people and communities all over the world through innovation. We currently have people on the ground in Paris, San Francisco, and Vietnam and we believe we are uniquely positioned because of our novel business model that allows us to be so flexible. In the next few years, I see faberNovel, Inc. becoming known in the city as a great business model and as the company that has built the bridge, a bridge that will only get stronger over time.
For pariSoma, we see the community growing and developing more service offerings for its members, such as legal services, PR services, accounting services, etc. The growth and traction is already happening and it is exciting to think about how we are going to build off of it, whether it is expanding our space and continuing to build our new coworking/incubation model. I am personally intrigued in trying to get more involved with the city and its small business and economic development task forces, especially in regards to new models of work.
YourStory : Personal insight into entrepreneurship and innovation
Julian Nachtigal : I believe entrepreneurship and innovation are largely based on your confidence in taking risks and believing in what you are doing. Entrepreneurship, and especially being an innovative entrepreneur, is not a job, it's a way of life, a way of being, a way of creating. You have to be willing to put things on the line and constantly grow and learn. Having the ability to make decisions and radical changes are very important. I would also say, you always have to think of why you are doing what you are doing and who you are doing it for; without that your path to success and innovation is much harder.
YourStory : Your journey so far
Julian Nachtigal : The journey has been quite an interesting one with lots of unexpected twists and turns. The two biggest twists were first, when I completely changed direction from politics and international relations toward innovation and entrepreneurship, and second, when I became a partner in faberNovel, Inc. As the journey has continued with faberNovel, Inc. we have been working hard to build our "bridge" and so far so good.
We have already invested in one company in San Francisco, VidSF, a great hyper local online TV station. We are also bringing several companies/products from France to the American market, and we are in talks with several companies about taking their product(s) to France. pariSoma itself has been a very interesting and exciting journey too.
Over the course of the last year we have shifted from being solely a coworking space to a hybrid of a coworking and events space; a space that connects the virtual world and the physical world. The change has been great as people all over the area now know about the pariSoma Innovation Loft. We have also changed our membership structure to create something more community friendly. Just this past week, we have gone from 3 different types of memberships to one primary membership, with 24/7 access for coworkers at only $250/month.
In our attempts to continue to grow the community however, we have also begun to offer a yearly membership at only $50/month for people who want to join us. We also now offer a company membership that gives companies the ability to host 3 events a year here for free, the ability for their employees to cowork during the week, use of the conference room, and most importantly access to the pariSoma network. I think this model is going to be a very attractive option for people and we are excited about the journey and where it's going.
As always, entrepreneurship is a never-ending journey and I am very excited to only be at the beginning of mine.
YourStory : What kind of events does pariSoma conduct?
Julian Nachtigal : Although we predominantly organize Tech related events we also have events for non profits, green startups, gadget related events, Creative Commons related events, and many more coming. There are also events that showcase startups, music, and art. We are open to everything!
YourStory : How do you reach out to startups/individuals?
Julian Nachtigal : The most effective way remains by word of mouth. We have built our community and network of partners and well wishers who help us reach out to a lot of people. We also leverage our social media profiles to keep people posted.
YourStory wishes Julian and pariSoma all the very best in their future endeavours.
To find out more about pariSoma visit http://www.parisoma.com/
To read about the article YourStory wrote on pariSoma click here