Kicking off Fleet #2!!

Here at The Refiners we’ve been in a pretty good mood lately. Is it because it finally stopped raining here in California after the wettest winter in a decade? Well sorta, but that’s not the biggest reason. What’s really got us giving random high-fives around the office is the fact that in less than a week we’re kicking off Fleet #2!!

On Monday, March 20th, our fledgling tech pioneers will invade Silicon Valley and use PARISOMA, San Francisco’s longest running co-working space, as their command center. The 3-month mission for these 13 startups, selected from over 400 applications, is not to just come to Silicon Valley, but to crush it by any means necessary, and The Refiners is here to help them do just that. As a wise Jedi Master once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Now for those who are just getting to know us, what seems like a standard accelerator model on the outside should pause and take a look under the hood, because with a supercharged, rocket-fueled engine and The Refiners’ partners behind the wheel, this bad boy is anything but normal.

To prove our point we need to look no further than Fleet #2’s Godmother, Fidji Simo. Fidji will be attending the launch, continuously be present and involved, and act as the guiding force throughout the program. How cool is that? How cool is she for doing this for us?!

In a nutshell, here’s how the program operates. Month one starts out with a Silicon Valley acclimation and US readiness bootcamp. This can be a particularly painful process as we help the founders unlearn so much of what they’ve been taught in a life spent across an ocean (or during their MBA, gasp!) There is a tremendous amount of work to be done learning not only a new culture, but also consumer, corporate buyer and investor behaviors in an attempt to redefine their strategy and product/market fit in America. As the second month rolls around we’re now knee deep in The Refiner’s amazing network of world-class mentors. Sessions such as our Mentor Madness are a regular occurrence and feature 5-10 mentors per day that engage with the startups “speed dating style” where each startup comes prepared with one specific ask for each mentor.

Out of 56 mentor madness seats only 4 are left. It’s invite only, so if you’re interested in being a mentor at The Refiners you can go HERE to apply.***

As month 3 rolls into town we start the process of readying the startups for the grind that is raising money. We set the bar of “investor readiness” very, very high, and as the startups begin to graduate to this level they are given the access codes to unlock The Refiner’s bullpen of investors that includes such funds as Greylock, Ignition Partners, Crunchfund, General Catalyst, Partech, IDInvest or Newfund and others.

Our mentor network has grown to 172 of mentors and continues to grow stronger. Over the last few months we’ve been honored to welcome Rick Marini, Loic Le Meur, Phil Libin, Josh Elman, and Marvin Liao to the fold, and even a special visit to sit down with Reid Hoffman @Linkedin HQ who was kind enough to have the startups over to pick his brain for an afternoon. The Refiners family grows bigger and stronger everyday, and we are incredibly humbled by the continued introductions and kind words.

If you want to get an early glimpse of the new Fleet of change-makers then join us on March 28th at our Fleet #2 Welcome Party. We are expecting +250 people but tickets are almost gone (no joke) so if you want in you had better grab a ticket HERE now. And, as if you didn’t have enough reason to join, THE FROGS are going to play live!!***

Fleet #2 is shaping up to be an incredible batch, and not just relative to our amazing Fleet #1 but also in comparison to what we’re seeing coming out of some of Silicon Valley’s best accelerators on the whole. One of the tremendous advantages we have is that we operate out of “The Valley” and are acutely aware of what the trends are and where VC’s are making their bets. Being in touch with our network on a daily basis gives us an unparalleled competitive advantage in knowing not only what verticals are hot right now, but also why they’re hot so that we can disseminate that knowledge directly and immediately to our companies to help them position themselves and their products to effectively strike while the iron is hot.

We can promise that the interactions with our Fleet are going to be inspiring and thought provoking, as we’ve collected startups with amazingly diverse profiles. They include first time entrepreneurs to seasoned vets; wunderkids to battle tested grey-hairs; even the famous French jazz musician Andre Manoukian, who is one of the four judges on the long running show La Nouvelle Star (France’s version of The Voice).

Nothing about what Fleet #2 is bringing to America is boring to say the least. We’re diving into Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Marketplace, SaaS, Cloud, Education, Social Networking, IoT, Bots, Sports, and even Music. They also vary greatly in stage, with one company at pre-seed while another is already at Series A level.

Below you’ll find a list of the 12 startups; we encourage you to take an early peek at what’s coming:

  • Cloudscreener, a cloud decision engine that helps you find the most efficient resources that fit with your enterprise policies.

  • Gabsee a mobile app that allows users to express themselves through a 3D avatar in Augmented Reality.

  • Imuze an Interactive Music Composer to generate original music in minutes.

  • Inmemori an online platform to create personalized pages in memory of loved ones.

  • Jogabo a mobile app that allows you to make the most of every soccer game you play and helps you discover new games, wherever you are.

  • Neuralcat a software company dedicated to cognitive agents and Artificial Intelligence in edTech.

  • Phantombuster provide a SaaS platform that takes away the headache of web scraping. In a few lines of JavaScript, developers create browsing scenarios and turn any website into data.

  • Talkus a Slack & Microsoft Teams based customer engagement and support solution for the SMB market.

  • The Beans lets you build an accurate and achievable financial plan in minutes, then handles the details of keeping you on track.

  • UniYo a smart messaging platform for education to engage with 100% of the campus.

  • Washos an on-demand car service app that sends you skilled technicians at your home or office.

  • Wezr a connected sensor to correct weather forecast in real-time.

  • Wingit the best platform to unearth in real time all the events posted on social networks by local insiders.

Fleet #1 was a roaring success on all accounts, no question. In total the Fleet is in the process of raising over $9mm, with one company deep in the process of securing partnerships with some of the biggest tech global players of today’s age. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was through the contributions by the many of you who were involved with us on this journey that brought this dream to fruition for us. And it’s not only our community here locally taking notice. We are making a difference, and because of people like you, the tech world is starting to recognize it!

The Refiners cannot do this alone, nor do we want to. As Fleet #1 taught us, it “takes a village to raise a child.” And that’s where you, our valued and respected community, come into play. We definitely want to encourage those with the time, expertise and motivation to join us, so please drop us a line if you’d like to be involved. From kindergarten to corporate, there’s always a way to help.

Important Fleet #2 numbers and dates to note:

  • 412 applications received

  • 12 startups selected

  • $50-100,000 invested in each startup

  • 264h program curriculum

  • +200 individual coach, mentor and investor meetings

  • March 20th: Start date

  • March 28th: Meet The Refiners Fleet #2 Fledglings

  • June 1st: Pitch Night

  • June 6th: Investor Bloom Party

The Refiners Pitch Night - Fleet #1

What a success!

Yesterday, The Refiners startup program celebrated its inaugural Pitch Night, and we've been overwhelmed by all of the positive feedback.

The positive energy was palpable as our amazing first fleet of companies delivered their pitches to an audience of over 250 people! It was an exciting evening for the entrepreneurs and a great chance for The Refiners community to get together, network and meet some great companies.

We would like to thank our supporters, mentors, partners and sponsors for their commitment to making this event so successful. We were fortunate to have so many people share our vision and help make The Refiners Pitch Night possible (video replay here).

And of course thank you for being there! We need everyone's participation to make The Refiners great. You are the lifeblood of what we are doing and you can help us to spread the word about The Refiners Fleet #2 to potential applicants that would benefit from the program and to others interested in helping foreign founders thrive in Silicon Valley and supporting our program.

Fleet #2 begins in March 2017

The applications for the 2nd fleet of our foreign startup program are open! Our 2nd program is shaping up to be another major step for foreign startups in Silicon Valley so if you personally know interesting startups that would benefit from our program, we would love to know more about their vision and chat with them. They can now book online a quick chat with one of us here.

Waiting for your call

You are a foreign founder. You have tons of questions about Silicon Valley. How does it work? What are the pros and cons? What should be considered before making a move? The Refiners are here to help you!

Every day we receive multiple requests for interviews. They're all great opportunities to know more about the vision for your businesses, and we love chatting with you. Today, it’s time to organize this a little better. So that we can respond to everyone, we have decided to set up an office hours system where we are available to answer your questions and share our experience with you. 

Now you can book online a 15-minute slot with one of us HERE.

We are not experts in all fields, but we are committed to answering your questions, and we have a wealth of experience in Silicon Valley. 

Can’t wait to talk to you! 

Meet The Refiners Fleet #1

Nine months ago Pierre, Geraldine and I decided to launch a new kind of startup program dedicated to foreign founders only. As international entrepreneurs ourselves, we knew how difficult it is for a foreigner to thrive in Silicon Valley. Moving to the Valley from abroad is a brutal process. Competition is fierce, network is key, money and preparation are essential, time-to-market is of the essence.

The challenge for foreign founders seems even more daunting when you realize you don’t know anything about Silicon Valley culture and codes. You don't know anybody, and nobody knows you here.

Yes, innovation is everywhere, and you can initiate a startup project from anywhere in the world. But Silicon Valley still remains the epicenter of technology. As a startup founder, you can’t afford not to be here if you want to have a global impact in the digital space.

Too many foreign startups envision Silicon Valley as their Step 2 (or 3, 4…). Doing so, they dramatically jeopardize their trajectory to success.

If with an idea and great technology you stay away from Silicon Valley for too long, here is what happens 99% of the time:  there will already be someone executing the exact same idea with 10X more funding. Then you will have no other option but to go back to your homeland and will probably end up building what I like to call “Poneycorns.” Poneycorns are as promising and difficult to build as Unicorns, but they’re the size of a poney compared to their global replicas. Think Viadeo vs Linkedin, Dailymotion vs Youtube, Deezer vs Spotify… As Silicon Valley likes to say, Go Big or Go Home!

At The Refiners, we strongly believe champions of tomorrow are startups that are born global from day one — companies that will use the world as a whole as their playground.

Forget the days where you move internationally after succeeding in your own country. You must now think globally from the start and capitalize on the strengths of your cross border settlement. Silicon Valley provides a unique environment to propel a worldwide project quickly. At the same time, engineers in Silicon Valley are often scarce, expensive and rarely loyal. By adopting a cross-border model — i.e. by expanding in several locations at the same time — foreign startups benefit from a true competitive advantage. They can, for instance, keep their engineering abroad while raising awareness and funds in Silicon Valley and, more importantly, develop a global culture that will allow them to move internationally faster.  

This is exactly what our entrepreneurs had in mind by joining The Refiners’ Fleet #1 program: immerse themselves in Silicon Valley culture, gain a foundation of knowledge and access to expertise, expand their vision and scale their startup globally by receiving funding, education, networking and mentorship. After announcing this program in Paris back in May 2016, we received more than 300 applications in just few weeks. For us, it was a clear validation of our initial vision. 78% of applications were French (because of our personal network), 18% were European, and the rest were international. 223 passed the first selection filter, and we ended up with 12 amazing projects. All of them landed September12th in San Francisco, and we are thrilled to introduce them to you today:

Adok turns any table into a giant tablet, to enhance interactions between multiple users.

Appaloosa helps mobile & digital teams build, test and deploy their apps privately.

A purpose-built solution to drive better engagement and coordination between community members.

Daylighted is changing the way you see art. By using new technology, Daylighted transforms places such as hotels and restaurants into digital art galleries.

DoubleOone offers unique musical experiences in emblematic locations worldwide.

Robots as a Service. The first fighting robots video game in real life.

All children deserve to learn in ways that make the most of their strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses. Lalilo makes that possible with AI.

A perfect tooth cleaning within few seconds. Forget about your tooth brush.

Sell Secure
Sell Secure helps online merchants approve more orders, uncover new revenue streams, simplify fraud detection and dramatically improve bottom line profitability.

Businesses and hackers online crave your data; we don’t. Take back control of your privacy and protect your data by using Seald.

Unify all your bluetooth speakers. Amplify your music.

Witty Circle
Witty Circle helps people with amazing projects to get more exposure, support & feedback.


We are hiring a Program & Community Manager

The Refiners is a 3-month acceleration program specifically designed to immerse foreign startup founders in the Silicon Valley culture. Located in San Francisco (SOMA) our program gives them a foundation of knowledge and access to the expertise they need to expand their vision and scale their company globally. It also provides the necessary funding, education, networking and mentorship to thrive in Silicon Valley.

The Program and Community Manager role serves to run day-to-day operations of The Refiners Accelerator program and increase its visibility, network and revenue. The Program and Community manager will report directly to The Refiners General Partners.

Apply HERE!



  • Fully absorb the mission, vision and values of The Refiners to understand the operations by end of the first month.

  • Begin introducing yourself and developing relationships with Silicon Valley leaders, investors and strategic mentors by end of month two.

  • Design and roll out a content strategy to promote The Refiners activities through website, blogs, newsletters, twitter, facebook, …/… by end of month three.

  • Create and implement weekly events during acceleration period and invite A-Speakers.

  • Measure NPS between The Refiners and accelerated startups, mentors, investors and limited partners.

  • Grow The Refiners mentor network from 200 to 500 people by end of year one.

  • Grow corporate sponsorship revenue by $200,000 by end of year one.  


Perks and compensation:

  • Competitive salary

  • Healthcare benefits

  • An awesome work environment in San Francisco (SOMA)

  • Deep exposure to The Refiners network of mentors, startups and investors

  • Flexible time off policy

  • Nice people makes a nice environment to work in


Desired Skills and Experience

In addition to solid community management skills and expertise, the successful candidate will need to exhibit a strong desire to operate in a small, very high-energy, international start-up environment. More than a post for a high-level community manager expert, this job is an opportunity for a pragmatic, hands-on, entrepreneurial candidate with relevant prior industrial and entrepreneurial experience. Self-motivation, a desire to dive in and work hard are a MUST, along with :

  • Efficiency. Able to produce significant output with minimal wasted effort.

  • Honesty/Integrity. Does not cut corners ethically. Speaks plainly and truthfully.

  • Organization and planning. Plans, organizes, schedules and budget in an efficient manner.

  • Aggressiveness. Moves quickly and takes a forceful stand without being overly abrasive.

  • Follow-through on commitments. Lives up to verbal and written agreements.

  • Intelligence. Learns quickly.

  • Analytical skills. Able to structure and process qualitative and quantitative data.

  • Attention to detail. Does not let important details slip through the cracks.

  • Persistence. Demonstrates tenacity and willingness to get things done.

  • Proactivity. Acts without being told what to do. Bring new ideas.

  • Enthusiasm. Exhibits passion and excitement over work.

  • Openness to criticism and ideas. Often solicits feedback and react calmly to criticism.

  • Communication. Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • Persuasion. Able to convince others to pursue a course of action.

  • Teamwork. Reaches out to peers and cooperates with supervisors.

  • Open minded. Understanding of different culture is a +.