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  • Linda Labidi

Anthony Bourbon, founder of Feeds: "I dream of a revolution"

He's one of those entrepreneurs with an unlikely destiny! Anthony Bourbon, founder of Feed and Blast Club, was on the streets at the age of 16 and went through a series of failures, before becoming the head of a fortune estimated at over 100 million euros. It was only natural that M6 should ask him to join the programme " Who wants to be my partner?"

Who is Anthony Bourbon?

Antony Bourbon: An entrepreneur and investor. I've both succeeded and failed. I invest in projects to return the favour and let others benefit from what I've learnt from my mistakes. I wasn't predestined for this life. I come from a very modest family and my parents forced me out of the house when I was 16. I'm conscious of the fact that I'm in stark contrast to the image of the classic French entrepreneur, i.e. over 40, having studied at Polytechnique or HEC, and/or coming from a large family, with the right network, the right opportunity and the right resources.

You recently launched Blast Club, a new kind of private investment club. How is the project going?

It's going really well! It's attracting a lot of interest. We initially opened the club to 500 people and we now have 20,000 on the waiting list. On 10 February this year, we decided to extend it to a larger number of people and we have accepted a further 4,000. There are no conditions, it's open to everyone. Memberships range from €1,000 to €10,000. The secret is to diversify investments to dilute risk as much as possible.

How do you explain the fact that investment in start-ups is currently the best asset class ahead of property and the stock market?

It's a well-kept niche, and that's probably why. Unlike property and the stock market, very few people naturally invest in start-ups. In five years' time, things will probably have changed, but as things stand, it's still very much a case of 'between yourself and me'. It's high time the systems changed. Society needs a thorough overhaul from within. We need to move away from a two-tier France. I dream of a revolution. It's a goal I nurture with fervour.

The level of valuation has fallen, with an ecosystem that has changed a great deal. What criteria do you use to choose the companies you invest in?

A lot of companies were overvalued. The market followed suit and the bubble burst. As a result, investors in the sector today have put down their pens and nobody dares to reinvest. That's where I chose to position myself. Faced with this difficulty for start-ups to raise funds, I managed to negotiate much more attractive valuations. It's a hollow wave where I think it's very interesting to be positioned today.

Why have you joined forces with Wiseed?

Wiseed is an investment services provider, authorised as an investment firm by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR). They are members of AMAFI, which means that we can comply with standards while we await approval from the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers).

The Utopia fund was one of the first to follow you in Feed, even though you were still in the embryonic stage. What motivated their choice?

Initially, I raised €500,000 from business angels. Then I got €3 million from the Utopia fund, followed by €15 million from another investment fund. The final round of financing was €15 million from the Pepsi brand. What has made all these successes possible is the stories we tell about our product. I'm not selling bars and protein powder: I'm selling the prospect of a world where people can take better care of themselves, do more sport and so on. The energy and emotion you put into your pitch is what makes all the difference. In just a few years, we've managed to inspire young people and create energy around us.

What do you remember about your experience of international deployment?

We haven't been very good. The United States, in particular, was a bad bet, coupled with bad timing, as we were in the middle of the Covid crisis. With our main shareholder, Pepsi, we agreed that it was better to be number 1 in France than number 4 elsewhere. So we decided to focus on France, a country where we are leaders in this niche sector.

After your initial success with Feed, you could have launched any business other than Blast Club, so why this one?

I think that many successful entrepreneurs start with a problem that they have and that they want to solve. So initially it was my own need. For Blast Club, the logic was the same. I started by helping friends with various investments. Little by little, the group of friends interested in this type of investment grew larger and larger, so one day I decided to digitise the process.

What inspired you to create this fund and in this form?

With the entrepreneurial profile I described earlier, it's easier to raise several million euros through love money from the very first project, thanks to the people around you. It's not that I'm against the idea of these same people continuing to succeed, it's just that I want success to be open to other socio-cultural backgrounds. Blast Club grew out of this desire to make investment accessible to as many people as possible, since the entry ticket is €1,000.

Your life seems to be a succession of successes. Have you ever failed?

Most entrepreneurs have failed. Personally, between the ages of 16 and 26, I made a lot of bad choices in cars, watches, trading... For me, a winner is a loser who has tried once more. My strength is never giving up. I believe more in discipline and resilience than in talent!

"For me, a winner is a loser who has tried once more" Anthony Bourdon

What do the people around you think of your career?

The people who love you can sometimes give you bad advice. They're often afraid of losing you. So you have to be able to keep a certain distance and stay focused on your objectives. Over time, you end up attracting people who complement you. Personally, I meet very few people. I prefer to focus on my goals. You can't succeed without discipline and sacrifice.

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