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Valentin Demé (Cryptoast): "The aim of Cube3 is to finance and structure Web3 projects".

Valentin Demé (Cryptoast): "The aim of Cube3 is to finance and structure Web3 projects".

The founders of media company Cryptoast have just announced the launch of Cube3, a web3 incubator in Angers. The aim of the project, which raises questions about the role of the media, is to invest in and finance start-ups in the ecosystem.

The Big Whale: You've just announced the launch of Cube3. How did the project come about?

Valentin Demé: The idea dates back a little over a year and to discussions we had with the team and members of the ecosystem. We thought it would be a good idea to create a kind of "flagship" to propel, structure and finance Web3 projects.

To launch Cube3, we teamed up with WeForge, which provides services to 350 entrepreneurs between Angers, Cholet and La Roche-sur-Yon. They had the capacity to manage a place for entrepreneurs to live, which is something we don't know how to do.

How does this incubator differ from others?

There are obviously other structures in Europe and France, such as PyratzLabs, but I find that they are more like a start-up studio, because the ideas mainly come from Bilal El Alamy (one of the co-founders, ed.).

More generally, there are many incubator-accelerators, but they don't specialise in Web3. At least, not as much as Cube3. Web3 is often just another activity.

How many people will be working for Cube3?

In the beginning, there will be three employees, then there will be more. Their role is to support the entrepreneurs on a daily basis, because the various mentors and advisers, such as Faustine Fleuret from Adan, Owen Simonin from Meria (who is also known as Hasheur on Youtube, ed. note), Ivan de Lastours from Bpifrance, won't be on site every day.

Which companies is Cube3 aimed at?

As far as the incubation part is concerned, Cube3 is aimed at entrepreneurs who have a good idea, but no sales yet. We're going to help them get structured over a phase lasting around six months.

Then there's the acceleration phase, where projects need to develop rapidly with regulatory or financial issues. This phase lasts 12 months.

How many companies will you have at Cube3?

We will be announcing an initial selection of start-ups on 1 July at a major conference. A second selection will be presented at the end of the year. In all, we expect to welcome around 100 people, or around twenty projects.

We've already received 40 applications, but we're going to take the time to select the most promising ones. As we will be taking equity stakes in some of the companies, the logic is really to go after the best ones.

What is the entry fee to be incubated?

On the incubation part, it's free and we take equity stakes in the company. On the acceleration side, it's a mix of equity investment and/or rent.

What is Cube3's shareholding structure?

There are six of us: myself and the three founders of Cryptoast media, as well as the two founders of WeForge.

What is the nature of the relationship between Cryptoast and Cube3?

Cryptoast will be Cube3's biggest media partner. This will enable us to do a lot of things in terms of content creation, to build bridges for the communication of incubated start-ups.

Will you be keeping your job at Cryptoast?

That's the big question. Inevitably, it will tend to get shorter in terms of time, but I will remain a partner at Cryptoast.

For the time being, I remain the media's content director, at least until this summer. We'll see how things go in the autumn and how I manage to juggle being a journalist and an investor, but I'll be less of a journalist, that's for sure.

What makes Angers a prime location for bringing this project to fruition?

Angers is a city with a penchant for technology. Of its 160,000 inhabitants, 10,000 are employed in technology-related jobs.

Technology is traditionally based in Paris. How do you plan to attract start-ups?

Angers is still 1 hour 15 minutes from Paris by TGV, so it's not that far. After that, it's all a question of attractiveness. We have already scheduled announcements from major players in the sector, which will be made at Cube3.

With the ambition we have, I hope that Parisians and others will make the trip. If Lyon is the capital of gastronomy, Angers has the potential to become the capital of Web3!

The language elements have been well worked on...

I've written enough articles to know what works (laughs).

What is your long-term vision for Cube3?

I think there are things to be done with university centres that don't currently have much to offer around Web3. We're also going to have a series broadcast on YouTube where we'll be releasing 15-minute videos every week with Cryptoast and other media partners that tell the story of life at the incubator and the start-ups.

I'm very inspired by what the youtuber Amixem has managed to do by attracting many other French content creators (Joyca, Mastu, Theodort, etc.) to set up in Angers to develop an independent ecosystem away from the Webedia advertising network. He has succeeded in attracting production and advertising companies, and is a model to follow.

How did you finance the project?

We didn't want to raise money, but as we still needed funds for the start-up - around a hundred thousand euros - we relied on partner companies, such as an accountancy firm, Fox Audit, the law firm ORWL or a bank whose name we will announce in a few weeks.

These companies pay a sort of annual subscription to be in the venue, to have their logo, to appear in our future Youtube series. This will also allow them to have clients among the incubated companies.

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