It’s Sunday and I’m spending the whole day working. I’m not complaining though, I’m sitting in front of the Atlantic sea in Morocco, working on an amazing project: The Blue House, a house where international startups can find headspace and inspiration in the Moroccan surf town of Taghazout. And I don’t think this is going to change any time soon.
After five months designing the offer from Paris, and five months running the pilot program in Morocco, I’ve come to the conclusion that startup founders and managers do need to get away, refocus, and find space to think about the big picture. When something is viable and helps people, then you know you have to go further.
Part of bringing this project to the next level means finding a cofounder, and that’s where you come in.
From Texas, to Paris, to Morocco
Last year, I was driving in the desert, somewhere in Texas, and I decided that I had to stop trying to encourage others to open a space in Taghazout and host international startups and that I had to roll up my sleeves and bring the vision to life myself.
So, I gradually moved to part-time at my job, and found a cofounder via Twitter. Together, we did the market research, designed the offer, imagined a marketing strategy, and started talking with all the accelerators, VCs, and coworking spaces we could think of. And then, The Blue House was born.
In January, I moved to Taghazout to set up the upcoming sessions, and left my cofounder in Paris where he was still working full time for a few months. The distance was tough and the timing wasn’t really working, so we parted ways in March.
In the mean time, I had launched the first program we envisioned: the startups-in-residence program. 4 startups joined us in a house by the sea, and worked on their fundraising strategy, crowdfunding launch, and expansion plan. We took care of everything: delicious healthy meals, workspace, weekly reviews, and even inspiring guests. Read more here.
A month later, we did it again. At the moment we have three companies coming from Texas, England, and Germany. I’ve already received many applications for the next sessions that will take place in the fall, and a lot of attention from the press, and different key players in the ecosystems. Everything is coming together
What’s coming next?
This summer, I will close The Blue House to focus on building a team, spreading the word about the residence, its programs and impact. I’ll also be working on partnerships and marketing, getting ready for the fall sessions in general, and finding a house to move in for 2015/2016.
I will visit four or five European cities to meet the different players, set up partnerships, and meet people interested in the projects, especially potential cofounder.
Having had done marketing and community business for a French-American startup in the past, and having been a journalist for Wamda, the organization behind the go-to-media on startups in the Arab world, I’m good at creating content, managing a community, fostering communication and facilitating network between people, getting amazing people to share their stories.
What the Blue House needs now is someone to
- participate in designing the future and the vision of The Blue House
- manage business development for the startups-in-residence program
- take care of sales for the offsite arms
- handle funding and partnerships,
- and co-organize events.
Could it be you?
I’m looking for
someone with an open mind,
someone who believes in traveling, and taking ones time,
someone who knows that it’s not how much you work that matter, but how well,
someone who understand the value of taking time off, and let the brain breath but who can still pull off some all-nighters when necessary,
someone who’s convinced that happiness doesn’t come from success, but that success comes from happiness
This person should:
- have at least a few years of startup experience behind them
- have a biz dev background
- have a lot of patience – believe me time doesn’t work the same in Morocco, and the hospitality business can be tough on the nerves
- love people and startups
- be ok with working most of the time in Morocco, with some travel to Europe, and the U.S. to develop the business.
Does that sound anything like you? If it is, ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to chat!
If it’s not, spread the word!
Photos: The Blue House