Cyril Paglino is a French serial tech entrepreneur, founder of The Garage, Paris based incubator to accelerate blockchain startups. In parallel, Paglino is also founder and general partner at Starchain Capital, investment fund focusing on crypto-assets and blockchain-based technologies.
“The most exciting thing was the scale. When you’re building online products, your users can be anywhere, and you’re not constraint by any physical borders. That’s a very powerful idea.”
Why is blockchain so important and how did The Garage born? (Cyril Paglino) Crypto-currencies and blockchain-based assets are bringing something very new to the table: they’re allowing a complete autonomy in any systems or organisations at large scale. For our society, it will enable massive changes. Back then, In 1995, Internet decentralised Information, communication and publishing. It was a true revolution, and this 25 years old technology is still evolving and bringing new services for us, consumers, every day.Blockchains based systems will decentralise value, trust, networks, marketplaces, computer systems, transactions and more. This new decentralised Internet is called The WEB3. This new technology gave birth to a new kind of assets, called digital assets. They can be tokens, stocks, bonds, currencies, or commodities that have either been created or transferred in the digital world. They have an aspect of “programmability” and unique features like instantaneous settlement times, micro-transactions, low fees and are fully compatible with the algorithms and machines that will govern the automated world. It can seems scary at first, but with the rise of machine learning, IOT, robotics and AI, we’re about to enter in this automated world. Our cars will drive it-selves, fridge will order milk automatically when empty, and so on… Transactions won’t be ‘human to human’ only, but human to machine, and machine to machine. These billions of daily transactions will happen 24/7/365, and digital assets will play the role of the backbone for this revolution. In this automated world, we’ll need 2 new elements: digitally native contracts & digitally native value. Our legacy contracts (paper, lawyer) are incompatible and too slow. Smart contracts (digital contracts made with code) are faster, more secure, and most importantly, they are moving the counterpart risks from a human-led organisation to software code and programmable trust. Coins or Token (digital value) will allow instantaneous, verifiable and peer to peer payment transfer.
It is very empowering and inspiring project. Would it be fair to understand The Garage shares somewhat similar mission to YCombinator’s but blockchain focused? (CP) It is obviously a nice compliment, as we’re big fan of YCombinator (Seed money startup accelerator)and their impressive work over the last few years. We’re indeed operating with the same mindset. At The Garage, our goal is to accelerate the transition to a more open, fair and decentralised world through Blockchain technologies. We create the infrastructure and provide the human resources that empower creative minds to build their transformational ideas.
How do you find right incubee, and what’s the process after? (CP) We receive +50 apply per month, mostly through our online typeform. We screen, call and meet (when possible) the half of them. At the end, we partner with 5% of them. Once a company has joined, we’re basically here to help, in any given issue or challenge they might have. We’re basically an extended team member, like a joker on demand. We are a team of +10 people, from various PhDs to designers, lawyer, PR, branding, marketing and investors, and are trying to cover every need entrepreneurs can have to grow their business.
“While spending most of my time away from France and my family, I started to spend a lot of time online early 2000s, and the idea of starting an ‘Internet Company’became logical.”
You were a breakdance champion previously, and now a tech entrepreneur. How did you get into technology, what aspect of internet products attracts you? (CP) Dance was my first love. Started as a kids, grew up in the industry, travelled the world and met amazing people for almost a decade. While spending most of my time away from France and my family, I started to spend a lot of time online early 2000s, and the idea of starting an ‘Internet Company’ became logical. Today, I simply love beautiful internet softwares that enable new services and make people’s live more comfortable. My entrepreneurial journey started in 2008, when I stopped dancing as professional and created my first company. The most exciting thing was the scale. When you’re building online products, your users can be anywhere, and you’re not constraint by any physical borders. That’s a very powerful concept.
Current favourite apps? (CP) In the Blockchain space: MakerDao, PolloFeed, Compound, Erasure…but these are stil very early.Internet apps: SyncTuition (relaxation through 3D sounds), SuperHuman (productivity through email), Revolut (banking made for our generation), Telegram (safe communications), Twitter (informations), Instagram (friends and beauty), food services, Slack, Discord, iMessage, FaceTime…and more.
“Arrival and development of new technological platform is always a slow process. Internet arrived 25 years ago. Yet, the biggest internet applications took from 10 to 20 years to rise.”
And those are the apps you check first thing in the morning? (CP) Of course no. We’re nothing close to mass adoption and daily habits at scale in the space. Blockchains are still in their research phases, and this is why there is more low level protocols than consumer apps. Arrival and development of new technological platform is always a slow process. Internet arrived 25 years ago. Yet, the biggest internet applications took from 10 to 20 years to rise, and they were unpredictable at the time.
You have built different kinds of internet products and business over the years. What are the values remained the same? (CP) Core principles remain the same in any entrepreneurial journey: curiosity, adaptation, learning capabilities, empathy, getting excited to meet new people, dive into new topics and solve problems.
What are the differences doing what you do in Paris compared to your previous residences San Francisco and Los Angeles? (CP) In San Francisco and Los Angeles, I was spending more time with research teams, either at Stanford, Berkeley, Caltech, or engineers and developers. Also as the large majority of startups are based in the Bay Area, you don’t get to travel often when you’re based there. In Paris, I’m spending more time with entrepreneurs, product builders, designers. And travelling a lot across Europe, to meet people and founders in various places. Different vibe, both are fun.
What interests you these days? (CP) Beside friends, family and pleasure. I’m curious about health, meditation, design, the memory process, the creativity process, global mobility, nutrition, body science, bio hacking, and the various human states of mind drugs can bring you into.
If you were not doing what you are doing now what would you do? (CP) Probably building something else. Certainly in the internet space, which is to me the one that can have the largest scale. There is also this part of me that sometimes dreams of doing nothing but just surf, read and enjoy new experiences… But not for now, I’m still hungry.