Europe is facing difficult times. Entrepreneurs are its best hope. BidMotion CEO Daniel Nathan is building a really cool company based in Paris.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Daniel Nathan: I was born very close to Paris. I was born in 1988. My parents were not entrepreneurs, but I always wanted to create my own business. I started my first company when I was pretty young. Our city was not such a great city to live in. To go to Paris, you had to take a train. It was pretty dangerous to take that train.
At that time, it was pretty cool to have patches like Metallica on bags. What I did was I traveled to Paris, bought a lot of stickers, brought them to my city, and sold them 10 times my purchase price. I made a lot of money like this. This is how I made my first €10,000.
Sramana Mitra: €10,000 selling stickers. That’s a lot of stickers.
Daniel Nathan: Yes. I was buying them for €1 and selling them for €10. I was using the market inefficiency to make a lot of money.
Sramana Mitra: Interesting. What happens after this?
Daniel Nathan: When I turned 18, I told myself, “I’m in a city that’s not so good to be successful. I probably need to go to another city where I can study in a very good university.” I went to Rennes on the west part of France. I went there to do prep school. It’s basically a program of two or three years that is usually very hard.
I was excited to be there because it was different from Paris. I was there for three years. Then I went to a business school in Rennes where champagne is made. It’s on the east side of Paris. I always wanted to build companies. When I went to business school, I had to pay for it. I told myself. I’m going to take one class in entrepreneurship. If it’s not interesting, I’m not going to pay for the rest.
I took entrepreneurship. I found that it was not so interesting. So I decided to specialize in Finance. While I was studying Finance, I built the first club in my business school. It was very successful. We started with two guys. After three months, we were 25. We were organizing many conferences and were extremely successful. When you are managing 25 people who you are not paying to organize massive events, you learn a lot on how to manage a team and how to bring the right motivation tools. Money is not everything when you are managing people.