The call for projects will begin on January 18th 2016 and will end on February 28th(until 23:59 UTC/GTM +1. During this period, anybody can submit an application on www.publicis90.com.
The scope of this venture initiative is very wide and open to any kind of projects or start-ups, as long as they are related to digital and the digital transformation. Projects submitted by Publicis Groupe employees will have to be related to Publicis Groupe’s sectors and expertise (communication, media, e-commerce, social media, big data, analytics, technology, consulting etc….) in order to be selected.
Anybody with a good idea to be implemented in a country where Publicis Groupe effectively operates can apply. The nationality or the country of residence is not taken into consideration for selecting applicants, only the country where the project is to be implemented is a criteria (see list of countries in Annex 1 to the Rules). In particular, employees of Publicis Groupe are welcome from any network, agency or division, as long as they have a valid employment contract when the call for projects launches and until the date of the ceremony. Start-ups already operating in a sector related to digital either at the very beginning of their activity (seed stage) or already with a track record of revenue, clients etc... (early stage) are also welcome to apply. Yet only companies with a revenue under 10 M€ can apply (both LLC and C Corporations). The call for projects is limited to one project per applicant.
All in all, 90 start-ups will be financed, provided that we receive enough interesting projects. The jury can decide to pick less than 90 projects if they do not find enough high-quality applications.Moreover, there is no pre-planned breakdown in terms of external vs internal projects, geography or early stage vs seed. It will depend mainly on the quality of projects and the number of interesting projects that we will receive.
To complete the application, the applicants must answer a set of questions in order to present an executive summary of their project. All applications must be submitted in English and all questions must be answered for the application to be eligible. If they are selected after the first phase of the voting process, they will be asked to present a detailed business plan for their project and a short video in which they will explain their project.
Once the application period is closed, around the end of February. All Groupe employees will receive a link to connect to an online platform. On this platform, they will be able to review the different projects in their region and choose the 5 projects that they find the most promising.Voting is reserved to the 76,000 Publicis Groupe employees around the world.
There will be two levels of jury : - Regional juries for each of the Groupe’s major regions (Americas, APAC, EMEA) who will determine the finalists of each region (around 50 projects in each region) - A global jury will be also set up to choose the final 90 projects. The composition of the juries will be announced soon. They will be composed of Publicis Groupe senior executives, but also clients, media partners and digital experts.
The level of protection of the information will depend on whether it is submitted for the 1st round or the 2nd round of the Publicis90 Initiative. The information provided in the executive summary submitted for the purpose of the 1st round is not considered confidential as it will be posted on the online platform to which all Publicis Groupe employees will have access in order to vote on the projects. In respect of the information submitted for the 2nd round, the information will be shared only with the members of the juries and their advisors and experts. Candidates can expressly specify in their application the information that they consider particularly confidential. Publicis Groupe also intends to have the members of the juries sign a confidentiality undertaking.
In June 2016, during a major event dedicated to digital, technology and start-ups that Publicis Groupe is organizing with other partners: Viva Technology Paris (www.vivatechnologyparis.com)
For the 90 start-ups or projects that will be selected at the end of the process, the minimum level of funding will be 10,000 € for seed start-ups and 100,000 € for early-stage start-ups. The jury will also attribute additional funding to a couple of the most interesting start-ups, ranging from 50,000€ for seed to 500,000 € for early stage. This will be a discretionary decision of the jury.
All projects will receive their funding through convertible bonds which will be reimbursable within 24 months and possibly converted at the next round of funding of the start-up. The valuation will be the one used for the next round of funding with a 25% discount. All funding should be made before the end of the year 2016.For employees’ projects, the funding will be completely different (cf. infra). If a selected project does not yet exist as a legal entity, the company will have to be legally formed before the end of 2016.
The amounts that Publicis Groupe plans to invest in projects and start-ups have been determined based on a benchmark of existing start-up competitions. The amounts are significantly higher than the average. The difference is also that Publicis Groupe wants to go beyond granting money by becoming a long-term partner in these projects.Yet the objective is not to entirely finance the selected projects but to make their search for funding easier and faster.
Publicis Groupe will provide mentoring to the selected start-ups by connecting each of them to a senior digital manager of the Groupe who will accompany them for one year, providing advice and networking when necessary. Publicis Groupe will not be involved in the legal process of creating the new company nor in its management. Its role will be limited purely to that of an investor (except for employees’ projects). This means that it will be entirely the entrepreneur’s responsibility to create (for those non-existing at the time of the contest), run and find additional resources for the company.
Publicis Groupe will play the role of an investor in the companies that will be selected but will not involve itself in the management of the company (except for employees’ projects). Mentors will be there to give advice, help “open doors”, and establish contacts. They will not be actively involved in the management of the start-up.
Publicis Groupe employees’ projects selected amongst the final 90 will be offered the opportunity to participate in a dedicated incubation program. First, they will have up to 6 months to work full time (while being paid) to prepare and finalize their project (create a minimum viable product, find the first clients / partners etc…). They will benefit from the advice of their mentor and will also be able to mobilize some internal resources to implement their project. When the project is finalized, Publicis Groupe will review it and decide whether to fund it or not. If it is funded, Publicis Groupe will provide all the necessary funding to run the first stage of development and will be granted a substantial share of the capital to the newly created company that will become a subsidiary of the Groupe. The employee will be offered to hold up to 20% of the share capital of the new company. If the Groupe decides not to fund it, then the employee will have the choice to return to his/her agency role or to pursue his/her project independently.
Generally speaking, in consideration for the funding and support that Publicis Groupe intends to provide to the selected participants, there is an expectation that the selected participants bring all the intellectual property rights related to the project so that the new start-up is put in a position to freely exploit and develop the project. As far as Publicis Groupe employees are concerned: At the time of the celebration, if the project holder accepts the funding and support of Publicis Groupe, the intellectual property rights linked to the project (i.e. the intellectual property rights developed at the time of the celebration and the intellectual property rights that will be developed during kick off period) will be effectively assigned to Publicis Groupe (or any of its subsidiaries). At the end of the kick-off period: in the event that Publicis Groupe decides to further support a project, the project holder will be offered up to 20% of the share capital of a newly incorporated start-up company dedicated to the project, which will be the owner of the intellectual property rights; in the event that Publicis Groupe decides not to further support a project, the intellectual property rights and fillings relating to the project assigned to Publicis Groupe at the time of the celebration will be reassigned to the project holder and he may then decide to pursue his project independently.
The Official Rules governing this initiative are available on the Publicis90 website (www.publicis90.com).
This project is managed by Maxime Baffert, CEO of Proximedia, and a dedicated team that can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for any question.