Paris in June is lovely – especially so when announcing an exciting new venture that’s been months in the making. That was the atmosphere on the evening of Wednesday, June 20 at the launch event of All Turtles’ European operations in Paris.
Entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts gathered at Station F, where our office is located, for All Turtles’ series of fireside chats and a cocktail hour.
The fireside chats
Edoardo Manitto, Managing Director of All Turtles Paris, delivered opening remarks: “Thank you everyone for being here for the official launch of the Paris office, after we launched in San Francisco early last year and in Tokyo early this year. We’re going to meet with some of our product founders. They’re going to tell us their stories.”
Global thinking and storytelling were two themes of the night as founders presented their products, which reflected international perspectives and their passions for solving problems.
The presentations began with Phil Libin, All Turtles cofounder and CEO, who explained the reasoning behind launching All Turtles internationally from the start: “We believe that real talent, really exceptional people, are very rare. But they’re everywhere in the world. They’re evenly distributed. The way the world is set up right now, if these brilliant people don’t [live within] 50 miles of Stanford, they don’t get anywhere close to a fair chance. And we think this is wasted potential. Because we believe this, All Turtles is born global.”
Libin then welcomed Augie Fabela, cofounder and CEO of FastForward.ai, to the stage for a conversation about his product.
FastForward.ai improves the interactions between mobile service providers and the 4 billion people worldwide who are prepaid mobile subscribers. “We want to bring an experience to 4 billion people in a way that puts them front and center. We really want to make that difference,” said Fabela.
Fabela also gave some advice to entrepreneurs: “Focus on something that’s really going to make a difference and let that be your drive… and get all the help you can. We’re happy to be an All Turtles company because we can leverage all their UI and UX and other resources. And we can focus on our impact.”
Next, Jon Cifuentes, cofounder and Head of Marketing at All Turtles, introduced Mursal Hedayat, cofounder and CEO of Chatterbox. Chatterbox is a platform that trains refugees as foreign language tutors across the UK. Hedayat explained, “Chatterbox is a solution to the problem of underutilized refugee talent.”
The product is personal for Hedayat, who shared her story: “I arrived in the UK as a refugee with my mom, and she was a successful engineer in Afghanistan… After the Taliban took over Kabul, we moved to the U.K. for safety. A woman like her shouldn’t have had a hard time getting employment, but because of frictions in the labor market, and a little bias as well, she was unemployed for a decade.”
Chatterbox provides jobs for refugees as well as language-learning opportunities for students and professionals. “The root of our teaching style is quality human connection,” Hedayat said. “We tap into integrative language learning motivation, which is a desire to become closer to the people and culture represented by that language.”
Following Hedayat, Alex Pachikov, founder and CEO of Sunflower Labs, presented his company’s work. “We’re developing a new type of home security system,” Pachikov said. “It’s a way for us to give dynamic observations.” Those observations are enabled by a collection of products, including a drone security camera and motion sensors.
Pachikov played a demo video that showed how the products work together. The motion sensors, called “sunflowers,” detect when someone enters a property and send an alert to the user. The user can then remotely deploy the drone camera with voice commands in order to see a live video feed of the area around the home.
Jessica Collier, cofounder and Head of Product at All Turtles, brought Dr. Julia Shaw, cofounder of Spot, onstage. Spot is a product that allows users to report workplace harassment and discrimination without talking to a human. With a background in memory research, Dr. Shaw shed light on the need for such a product: “It’s about avoiding biased interview techniques. As we know, human beings, when we talk to each other, are filled with bias and assumptions, and they ask–for lack of a better word–stupid things. And so they get bad information.”
Spot tackles that problem by allowing users to report workplace harassment incidents to a bot, at which point they can choose whether or not to file that report with their workplace.
The last onstage conversation of the night was between Christine Foote, COO of Leaders, and Ken Inoue, General Manager of All Turtles Tokyo. Based in Paris, Foote said she is “happy to be a part of the Parisian tech boom.”
Foote has a background in event planning, and in her career she learned that no matter how well-designed an event is, if the featured speaker isn’t engaging, the event won’t be a success. “Creating great content is a problem we wanted to solve,” she said. Leaders pairs qualified, interesting, and available speakers with events around the world.
Work with us
Closing out the fireside chat, Manitto returned to the stage to say, “I take away from this the immense passion and dedication from the founders we’ve seen tonight.” To anyone interested in working with All Turtles, he added, “We find founders throughout the world, so if you have an idea or want to work with us, we’re hiring, fundraising, and starting new projects.”
Reach out to us via email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @allturtlesco.
Watch the video of the event on our Facebook page here.