“A start-up depends less on its technology than on its ability to manage crises”

“It’s when the tide recedes that you see those who swim naked”, the famous American investor Warren Buffett used to say. Conversely, the most cautious investors – that is to say with swimsuits! – are those who get through crises the best. This is the case of Eric Benhamou, 67 years old. This graduate of Arts et Métiers and Stanford, Franco-American veteran of technology, was notably CEO of 3Com and Palm Pilot, between 1990 and 2000. In 2004, he launched his venture capital company Benhamou Global Ventures (or BGV), which has a very specific investment philosophy. The multi-entrepreneur turned financier received us in Menlo Park (California), all smiles and in a checkered shirt. In his office, the exhibition of several generations of semiconductors testifies to his forty years of experience in the tech industry.

Technology markets have been undergoing a major correction since the beginning of the year. Does this affect the economic model of Silicon Valley?

It is indeed the first year, for twelve years, that the errors of judgment or the lack of discipline in the choices of investment do not forgive. Look at the Tiger Global fund, one of the largest in the Valley with $20 billion under management. Moved, like many, by the fear of missing out on a good deal – we say here “Fomo” (Fear Of Missing Out) – he invested very quickly in hundreds of start-ups, at sometimes unjustifiable valuations…

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