Alexandre Mars started his first business at age 17, giving concerts in high schools. He then bought two of his computers and started a web agency before starting several different companies, including Phonevalley (sold to Publicis) and Scroon (sold to Blackberry).
The French entrepreneur is currently the founder and CEO of both Epic Foundation and Blisce. At Epic, he created a new model for philanthropy. This includes backing a portfolio of vetted nonprofits, giving donors innovative ways to help, and ensuring impact through data analysis and reporting. Meanwhile, Blisce is the first growth-stage transatlantic VC fund to be B Corp certified.
Over the years, he notes, entrepreneurship has been strong in the United States for two main reasons. There is more capital to invest in startups, and bankruptcy laws have made failure and recovery easier. This made it easier for US entrepreneurs to adopt the late South African Nelson’s Mr. Mandela mindset. The idea is that you always feel like a winner because you either win or you learn. By contrast, European-based entrepreneurs have had to fight hard for their money and deal with laws that make the consequences of failure devastating. It’s changing, as is the way it’s achieved.
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