Maxime Paradis, 28, is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He is also the founder of G. Ventures, France’s first student VC, and Paradise Club, one of our new public communities. The latter has grown to more than 700 members and writes cheques for startups globally for up to €500,000.
Maxime believes that the next generation of founders will leverage new technologies to tackle the world’s most pressing issues like climate change and social inequality.
He spoke to Roundtable about his early start in entrepreneurship, the importance of mentoring and the power of community.
Starting the Paradise Club
Roundtable: How did you get into angel investing and start the Paradise Club?
Maxime: Beginning at 15, I embarked on numerous ventures, ranging from non-profits to startups. This journey was rich in learning experiences, including challenges early on with fundraising. Recognising that many talented young founders still face barriers to funding, I committed to change this narrative. To me, funding should not be exclusive to those with the ‘right’ connections. Such criteria should not dictate who shapes our future. This conviction led me to become an investor.
Through my roles as a startup coach in various entrepreneur non-profits and at Station F, the world’s largest startup campus, I witnessed the transformative impact of combining financial support with effective mentorship for driven and ambitious founders. This inspired the creation of Paradise Club. We have united over 700 individuals from diverse backgrounds. Together, our community fosters global impact tech founders, creating a space where we collectively grow and make a difference.
Roundtable: How do you divide your time between angel investing, G. Ventures and Paradise Club?
My time and focus go into investing in and supporting exceptional founders. Depending on the nature of the company, I can consider it for an investment with G. Ventures as a VC or with Paradise Club as an Angel and as a community.
My role encompasses three main activities: scouting, selecting and supporting founders.
Thanks to our network, we receive hundreds of decks every month.
As part of this great ecosystem, we attend and organise a lot of events to meet the founders where they are: on campuses, incubators, conferences and more.
We also regularly craft insightful content, provide free resources and guides for entrepreneurs.
Our scout programme has been a huge success, allowing anyone to send us dealflow and receive a percentage of the carried interest in exchange.
We prioritise understanding founders' creations and motivations over their educational backgrounds. We look at their determination and capacity to solve real-world problems. Our evaluation method goes beyond conventional metrics, focusing on the founders' vision and tenacity.
We make our founders VC-compatible to secure the next fundraising round.
With a large and diverse community, Paradise Club can provide relevant advice and expertise as well as open a lot of doors and networks.
Roundtable: Do you have an example of a company you've invested in that you think is making a difference?
I'd like to highlight two impressive young entrepreneurs.
First, Basile Laigre, the founder of Reglo, a company that produces pet food made from insect powder.
The compositions of pet food are often incomprehensible and unknown in origin, typically made from meat leftovers and artificial ingredients, with many brands claiming eco-friendliness despite meat being their main ingredient.
Reglo is transparent about the origin of their pet food, offering healthy, balanced, low-calorie recipes with the right amount of protein and no ‘strange’ ingredients, and their croquettes have a reduced environmental impact due to insect proteins, which require fewer planetary resources to farm than other animals.
Basile launched the company when he was around 20. He is from Normandy, and is now developing the company with his brother and their first employees. Their venture is showing a lot of promise as they work towards better pet care and a sustainable way of living.
The second entrepreneur is Maxime Cousin, founder of Osol.
His company is revolutionising the way we use energy by replacing traditional plugs, cables, and chargers with batteries.
He was also 20 years old when he launched his company from the south of France.
Recently, Maxime secured funding from Éric Larchevêque, unicorn founder of Ledger, Roxanne Varza, as a Sequoia scout investment, and Jean de La Rochebrochard with Kima Ventures, Xaviel Niel’s investment arm. This marks the start of another exciting entrepreneurial journey.
Roundtable: How many companies can you invest in, and what is your deal selection process?
Every month, we receive 300 pitch decks, meet around 50 founders and invest in one to three startups.
Our investment range is between €50,000 and €500,000, and I personally invest in each project we present to our community.
The community can suggest deals, help us with the due diligence and selection process as well as meet the founders to challenge them if necessary.
Roundtable: Given that you often work with first-time founders who are not necessarily from Paris or the top schools, how much leeway do you give, for example if you receive a pitch deck that isn’t perfect?
We give 100% constructive, judgement-free feedback to all the entrepreneurs we meet.
Whether you are ready for investment or not, we will support you or redirect you to the right places and organisations, may it be an association, incubator, or a specific investor.
But – this is very important – not every entrepreneur story has to be VC-backed story. We want to make young people understand that there is not only one way to do business or be an entrepreneur. It’s about how they can succeed in life in a way that most suits them.
Roundtable: What do you think the advantages are of being a public community on Roundtable?
Paradise Club is a free but selective investor community.
Opening up our community on Roundtable acknowledges our level of excellence when investing in and supporting founders. It also is a great way to find and meet amazing new community members. Being a public community or even a private community on Roundtable is, to me, assurance that all the deal administration processes are going to go perfectly and that community members will always have a great experience.
Roundtable: How significant are your regular 'meet and greet' drinks, workshops, and various events in terms of growing and developing your community?
Like Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."
It's super important to feel connected as a community, to understand the founders you are helping. If you want to change the world, you need to have a positive impact on those around you.
I believe in karma, and that you can make magic happen with good people. When you join a community like the Paradise Club, you can find people who have the same values. I truly believe that happiness comes from building meaningful relationships and doing meaningful work. If you have both, you are set to live well.
I believe that a successful community can empower its members and the value of their interactions.
That’s why we organise a lot of learning experiences for members of the community and we bring in external experts, investors and successful entrepreneurs.
We are already seeing members working together, sharing deals - I have also seen some of them going on vacations together after meeting at one of our events!
That is why, as our community grows in France and around the world, we will try to keep offering regular meaningful events and opportunities.
Roundtable EuVECA Manager Lux S.à.r.l. is registered with the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) under number A3650 as manager of collective investment undertakings that wish to use the designation‘EuVECA’ as per article 14 of EU Regulation n° 345/2013 of the EU Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2023 on European venture capital funds.
Roundtable EuVECA Manager Lux S.à.r.l. is also registered as manager of alternative investment funds under article 3 (3) of the Act of 12 July 2013 on alternative investment funds managers.