A startup is like a trampoline

Amplement founder Adrien SommierAdrien SommierAmplement founder Adrien Sommier

“Trampolines are scary. And it’s worse the higher you bounce,” says former world-class trampolinist, Adrien Sommier, who once ranked No. 2 in Europe.

Trampolines are also dangerous. They cause nearly 300,000 injuries a year, researchers say.

But trampolines are also wildly fun.

Sommier says that jumping on a trampoline and running a startup are very similar.

He founded a startup called Amplement in France in 2013. It’s an online collaboration site that hopes to replace Slack, Skype, Microsoft Office/Google Docs, and LinkedIn.

In other words, its a free website where people can chat with others publicly, privately and in groups, make video calls, search and get job offers and, soon, work on documents together.

It launched first in Europe and has about 500,000 people using it, adding 700 a day, a spokesperson says. This week, the US edition launched and 5,000 people signed up in the first 24 hours, he tells Business Insider.

Most people would call Sommier crazy for trying to take on such big established players all at once. And maybe he is.

But as a competitive athlete in a super dangerous sport, he says that the naysayers just make him work harder. He wakes up at 4 a.m. and stays at the office until 10, he says. So motivation, he’s got.

Ultimately, he says jumping on a trampoline is like running a startup:

“It’s easy for a novice to look at the ground after they jump. But doing that throws off your balance, ruining your technique and even inviting a rough landing. You have to center yourself around where you are, and focus on nothing but having the perfect form. An entrepreneur’s risks are just as frightening. But thinking about the dangers won’t protect you from them. You have to commit to your vision 100%.”

Whether his startup flies or crashes, there’s no question he’s aiming high.

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