Successful fundraising operation for Kompozite. The digital platform, which offers building designers a list of material data to help them find the best low-carbon construction solutions as required by the new “RE2020” regulations since January 1, 2022, has raised 1.4 million euros with historical investors and three investment funds.
Citizen Capital and Alliance for Impact, two French impact funds, as well as Foundamental, a German investment fund, are joining the adventure. This capital increase comes less than two years after the very first fundraising, of 200,000 euros, carried out with business angels when the company was created in 2020.
Two years of research and development were necessary for the co-founders, Damien Cuny and Boris Gusarov, and their team to develop a SaaS solution, proposed for marketing from January 2022. “The two fundraising was therefore necessary, the time to achieve a first product to sell”, summarizes Damien Cuny .
Especially since the market being new, everything had to be done from scratch. “We released a beta version in six months, which we put in the hands of about fifty professionals in the sector – large construction companies and developers mainly – in order to have their feedback. Seven to eight iterations were necessary, it took a long time. Before reaching this stage, it was too early to seek investment funds. So we turned to business angels. “
And not just any. Rather than going through networks for fear of wasting time, Damien Cuny preferred to target a person used to investing in this type of sector. Thanks to a common knowledge, he was able to meet her: Christophe Chausson, well known in the startup community for having invested in more than 140 projects. “In two meetings, it was decided: Christophe Chausson put 60,000 euros on his own, out of the 200,000 we were looking for. Since then, he has accompanied us and provided us with valuable advice. “
Always one step ahead
This business angel paved the way for four others: “ Marc Batty, co-founder of Dataiku, who helped us a lot on the data and business model aspect, Christophe Courtin, pioneer of responsible real estate in the Sophia Antipolis region, Patrick jacquemin, which brought us the experience of Rueducommerce and Pierre Trémolières, who is currently at the helm of an energy decarbonisation company in the building industry, ”lists Damien Cuny.
Each in their own way, the five business angels who have invested in Kompozite have therefore contributed their know-how and expertise. As with Christophe Chausson, it is above all‘intuitu personae who made the difference, more than the numbers or any business plan. “I didn’t think how important it was to choose your first team of investors,” says Damien Cuny. For their skills, the interpersonal skills and the sympathy we can have with each of them, but not only. It is also very important for the future. “
The composition of this first team was indeed scrutinized by the investment funds at the time of the second fundraising. “Christophe Chausson warned me: when you are at the stage of looking for business angels, you must already think of that of funds. The key is to have always one step ahead. And he was right. Likewise, series A being often the phase of internationalization for young shoots, Kompozite now wanted to give an international dimension to its project by choosing a German fund. A way to anticipate the next round, which should take place in 2023.
The team, the vision, the project
Convincing business angels has not been the same as going to funds. “For the funds, we needed a more square presentation, with a business plan on which we were challenged, assures Damien Cuny. But we did not yet have sales figures to present, as our solution had not yet been marketed. And then, the management of the calendar was much more important. “
The experience of the team, in particular that of the two founders, played a role. Ten years of experience in the construction industry for Damien Cuny and a doctorate in materials science for Boris Gusarov. “Even if certain funds only come to take the temperature, those who are really interested do not hesitate to surround themselves with experts to come and confront us and validate the seriousness of our project as well as our own expertise. We must therefore be prepared for this, warns the leader of Kompozite. In short, investors focus on two things: the team’s ability to execute the vision proposed, and the market depth. You have to show them the magnitude of the existing problem and how your team is able to provide the solution. “