Paris-based co-working/events and innovation space provider NUMA is going international and preparing to change its business model. To provide capital for this development phase, it has decided to call on the community at large, with an equity crowdfunding campaign.

NUMA goes for equity crowdfunding to finance model shift

NUMA, the co-working space in central Paris which originated the ‘Camping’ startup bootcamp, has set its sights higher for the coming years. The team have set a target of creating establishments in no fewer than 15 countries, with a view to accelerating some 700 startups by 2019. Of course fulfilling these ambitious goals, which also entails altering its company structure from that of a non-profit to an SAS – a simplified form of limited liability company known in the English-speaking world as an unlisted public company or private corporation – is going to cost money. NUMA is now looking to raise €10 million in capital.
2019 target: 15 countries on 5 continents

NUMA (the name is a composite of the French words for ‘digital’ and ‘human’), formerly known by the name of its parent Silicon Sentier (‘Silicon Path’), has decided that the crowdfunding route to raising the necessary capital is the most appropriate one, as it remains close to the spirit of a non-profit-making enterprise. The existing NUMA shareholders, who are predominantly staff members, are offering 12.5% of the total capital for sale via the #yeswecrowd campaign running on the SmartAngels platform. The offer is aimed at the general public – the minimum stake is just €500, the price of five shares in the business – but more experienced investors are welcome too as the maximum stake has been set at €100,000.

“The idea is to re-channel the money earned from NUMA-assisted startups into other startups so as to create a virtuous circle, promote a more inclusive world,” explained Silicon Sentier Chief Executive Marie Vorgan Le Barzic, who recently appeared on a L'Atelier Numérique. (L’Atelier Digital) podcast, at a press conference on 22 April. Last year NUMA posted turnover of €2.5 million, earned from its Advisory activities, events and the returns on its investments in the startups that take part in its accelerator programmes.

NUMA is going to need considerable development funds, not least because the company’s approach is somewhat different from other accelerators in Europe and worldwide. NUMA is not looking to export an established model but aims to fit in with the local culture in each of the countries it works in. “We want to hook up with local players and really take on board the specific features of each individual setup,” underlined Marie Vogan.

By Aurore Geraud
Senior Editor & Analyst