And if France was the other country of start-ups? If we believe Xavier Niel, our national Zuckerberg, the Hexagon would be a real "tax haven" for who wants to undertake in the digital. Leetchi, Vente-privee … discover 12 tricolor start-ups that make French Tech shine.
We can indeed benefit from aids, but also find investors ready to bet on a project, as long as it is innovative and driven by someone passionate, convinced to bring something to society … all doing a business. Because the angelism of the first years went well and our entrepreneurs have now understood that to last on the Net, beyond a good idea, it was also necessary to bring in cash.
Céline Lazorthes: the vigilante
"At school, I was in the category" can do better, "says Céline Lazorthes. The school format did not exactly match my form of mind. After years of boredom, the young Toulouse narrowly won her Baccalaureate S. "My luck was that I knew very young that I wanted to work on the Web. Failing to find a path that meets her expectations, she joined Epita, an engineering school, then joined the Institute of Internet and Multimedia (IIM) and completed a master's degree in business at HEC. Responsible for the integration weekend of her promo, the young woman does not find a virtual solution to collect the pot of participants. The idea of Leetchi – a fruit, like Apple and Orange – was born. But in the midst of the financial crisis of 2008, the start-up of the start-up is sluggish.
Supported and encouraged by her parents, she persevered and finally won a loan, before business angels like Xavier Niel leaned over the incubator. "Being an entrepreneur is like learning to walk in a forest, blindfolded. We beat each other all the time! The metaphor is explicit. So the young woman learns to surround herself: "I asked people better than me that I trusted, trying to make them as autonomous as possible. Among his other qualities, resourcefulness: "It's mandatory to be an entrepreneur. Everything seems long, difficult. We must constantly find solutions. To face the problems, one must be creative and show a lot of willingness. Pugnacity is the # 1 quality of an entrepreneur's skills. "
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In 2015, after having led her company to profitability, and while she was thinking of raising funds to develop further, she accepted Crédit Mutuel Arkéa's takeover bid while keeping the lead of her teams. In the absence of being able to change the world, this idealist concerned with justice and social equality wants to advance his society. "Very naively, for a long time, I ignored the fact that you could be treated differently when you are a woman or from diversity. For me, having a fulfilling job and a comfortable setting makes you happier, more faithful and creative. All that seems to me to make sense. At Leetchi, the maximum salary is only four times the minimum wage.
Women represent 45% of the workforce, and of the three leaders, only one is male. "It's very beneficial for everyone. It allowed us to recruit more women, to give them ambition. Céline Lazorthes is also proud to have 26% of developers (the average is around 10-15%). "It's huge, but it's just because the person leading the technical development teams is a woman. It allowed us to integrate feminine talents. If we stay together, we do not innovate. Now in the "wise" category, she advises and supports young projects and in turn plays business angels. His cute sins? Travel and yoga. Céline Lazorthes likes to quote Jeff Bezos: "Everyday is day one. "It sums up what an entrepreneur should have every day, every day is a new day."
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Florian Legris: star of the service
He arrived in the spring at StarOfService, the French leader in personal services, after having sold Cleanio, his start-up home laundry created in 2014. On his biceps, an arrow-pierced heart surrounds the word "Internet" . At the age of 30, with Renault and TomTom, Florian Legris dreams of making StarOfService the next French unicorn. It's gone well. The start-up already provides private individuals with more than 140,000 professionals, from plumbers to sports coaches to ghost hunters. And there is the margin: "France has 45,000 lawyers. For the moment, there are only 2,500 on the platform. This gifted salesman spends his weekends on his old cars and his vinyl collection – he has just sold a Booba album at a good price.
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Jacques-Antoine Granjon: the champion of private sales
"Better to have long and clean hair than short and dirty," said one day, with the frankness that characterizes him, the one that the economic world has dubbed "the pope of private sale." Jacques-Antoine Granjon, 56, is at the head of a company – Venteprivee.com – which today has a turnover of 3.3 billion euros, with 6,000 employees in 14 countries. "One of the most successful achievements of European tech" slips a financial analyst. This native Marseillais who grew up in the upscale neighborhoods of Paris cultivates a rock star look. In the traditional suit and tie, he has long since opted for jeans and t-shirts indented. Behind his long hair and beard hides the 55th fortune of the country, with 1.6 billion euros.
After having painfully obtained his baccalaureate, missed Sciences Po Paris, he joined a business school. When he graduated in the mid-1980s, he affirmed his desire to be "free and independent". Translation: he wants to create his own business. It must be said that the entrepreneurial spirit is firmly rooted in the Granjon family, with a grandfather former president of the Marseille Chamber of Commerce and an uncle, Pierre Bellon, founder of Sodexo, world leader in catering. JAG, as his friends call him, has flair. When he sees the Internet arrive, he makes his destocking company move on the Web and launches Vente-privee.com, in 2001. The idea? Offer brands an online premium distribution channel on which their stocks are staged and sold with care. A win-win system since it provides a response to the recurring needs of brands by selling their stocks in a fast way, without devaluing their image and without competing with conventional distribution networks.
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The success is dazzling. "Do not be afraid to fail. Know bounce and learn from your mistakes, it's a good school, "likes to remember this father of three children, remarried. He also participates himself in the creation of two schools dedicated to learning digital and code: the Eemi (European School of Trades Internet), in 2011, with his two friends, also superstars of the new economy, Xavier Niel (Free) and Marc Simoncini (Meetic), and School 42, two years later, still with Xavier Niel. In recent years, the entrepreneur willingly exchanges his business suit against that of business angel for the French Tech. The founder of Vente-privee.com has thus invested in some French success stories such as Devialet (high-end speakers) or Restopolitan (restaurant reservations). To the entrepreneurs he advises, he recalls the ardent need to dilute their capital only if they have no other choice.
Passionate about contemporary art (he owns a Yves Klein monochrome at a value of 150,000 euros) and beautiful cars – he bought the Rolls Corniche de feu humorist Thierry Le Luron, dated 1971 – Jacques Antoine Granjon is also a theater enthusiast. Through its subsidiary Sale-private-entertainment, it has four rooms including the theater of Paris, acquired in 2013, which will host the huge Al Pacino in the fall for two performances billed between 190 and … 950 euros. There is no small profit …
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Eric Carreel: the guru of connected objects
As a child, Eric Carreel spent hours observing, fascinated, the combine harvester of his farmer parents. Very good student in a school of Amiens now famous (for having hosted Emmanuel Macron, Ed), he integrates an engineering school. "My parents did not choose their profession and therefore pushed their children to study. He begins by doing research, teaches, then creates, with his former teacher Jacques Lewiner, his first company, Inventel. The company, which provides Liveboxes to France Telecom, is bought by Thomson in 2005. Three years later, with Cédric Hutchings, he founded Withings and invented the scales connected. "We created tens of millions of boxes, but no one told us," You changed my life. "Suddenly, we had enthusiastic users; we then realized that connected health was the sector in which we wanted to grow. "
In 2016, Nokia bought the company for 170 million euros. A jackpot for Eric Carreel. Luckily, Nokia finally failed to develop Withings and decided two years later to resell it … to its creator, for "only" 30 million euros! Engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, Eric Carreel remembers his debut and the words of an auditor: "Stop, it's not for you. "When I started, entrepreneurship was not fashionable, but today it is too much. Still, not everyone is made for this trade which is an incredible obstacle course. The stories that are going well are exceptional. Like his?
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Julie Chapon: the good Yuka recipe
Thanks to it, nearly six million French shop by scanning. By clicking, with the application Yuka illustrated with a carrot, the barcodes of food products, and today cosmetics, we immediately know if the coveted crackers or shampoo will be good for our health. Who would have thought that Julie and her associates, Benoît and François Martin, would revolutionize department store gondolas? Good student, prep, Edhec, Julie goes on internships at Nestlé and Milka before flying to Peru and falling in love … Back in France, she becomes a consultant "because it pays well". Sufficient, in any case, to finance his trips back and forth with Latin America. His work also gives him time to dance salsa, up to sixteen hours a week. But Julie is bored, her daily life is meaningless. That's when one of his developer friends, Benoît Martin, a young dad, talks about his difficulty in nurturing his children. With his brother François, also a developer, they are looking for a way to better select the ingredients of the meal.
But how ? "I said to myself: we're not going to make another app, honestly admits Julie. We thought of a connected object, a magnet shaped carrot to fix on the fridge. Friends protest: being informed when you come back from shopping is useless. So, during a weekend, the trio imagines an application, Yuka, that they present in February 2016 at the Gaîté Lyrique Food Hackathon. The assessments, 60% based on nutritional quality, 30% on harmful additives, and 10% on the organic dimension, are taken from the OpenFoodFacts free database. They win the Hackathon. It's a click! The trio starts and finds its way of working: to François the technical development on iOS, to Benoit the one on Android, to Julie the communication and the customer service. Soon, they realize their social impact: "Consumers have enormous power. Via Yuka, they can stop buying harmful foods, too salty, too sweet, push the agrifood and cosmetic industries to improve their products. "
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We can find the application a little radical (salt is not always bad, each consumer has special needs …), but it appeals to young people, "very aware of the many scandals around the agri-food industry." Julie Chapon has less time to dance salsa, but she pays attention to her environment, uses a gourd, Marseille soap and gets up with pleasure every morning. "Doing something that improves everyone's daily health is a source of happiness. In 2019, Yuka will launch a fundraiser, expand internationally, and study a label that tells consumers the most virtuous products.
Jonathan Anguelov: the good number of Aircall
"France gives everyone a chance. It must be seized! He told the G20 YEA, the G20 of Young Entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires. Born of an unknown father and a Bulgarian mother who arrived in Paris in the 1980s, Jonathan spent his technological studies and financed his studies through real estate before embarking on finance. In 2014, he founded Aircall with three partners. A start-up become the French nugget of enterprise telephony. With this 100% cloud software, a company sets up its telephony or call center in minutes, and easily integrates it with business tools, CRM or Helpdesk. Aircall, which makes 80% of its turnover abroad, has just hired its 150th employee. And, at age 31, Jonathan spends his weekends opening a 4-star hotel in Paris, at affordable prices, and very automated.
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Jean-Baptiste Bouzige: the pub born under X
The ad fascinated Jean-Baptiste Bouzige since he was very young. "Because it requires simplifying complexity," he says under the Napoleon III ceilings of the Paris headquarters of Ekimetrics. The company, which is self-financed and owned by five partners, has had an annual growth of 30% over the past twelve years, nearly 400 clients and 4 offices abroad thanks to a bright idea: recruit high-level data scientists and put them at the service of the marks. In 2017, the team conducted a survey on the return on investment of advertising on TF1, involving nearly 2,185 brands over three years. Jean-Baptiste Bouzige, who spends a week a month in his office in New York, speaks little about him, preferring to be enthusiastic about his team, composed of 170 consultants aged 28 years on average.
Stanislas Niox-Château: he revolutionized the making of medical appointments
Could one day have applauded Stanislas Niox-Château at Roland Garros? Probably, since the founder of Doctolib (platform that allows individuals to book a doctor's appointment) was destined for a tennis career. But at 16, the entrepreneur, now 31, is seriously injured and has to put away his rackets. Upon leaving HEC, he created the investment fund Otium with Pierre-Edouard Stérin (Smartbox) and Antoine Freysz (Kerala Ventures). For four years, he manages start-ups like TheFork, directed by Bertrand Jelensperger. The meeting will be decisive: "His humility, his ability to work, the gift of self, empathy, listening, all these human values he conveys, inspire me more than economic success," says Stanislas Niox- Castle.
When he founded Doctolib in 2013, the young man is looking for meaning: "I wanted to create a company that is useful in the field of health or education. These two worlds are particularly dear to his heart, he who has long suffered from his stuttering. "Before, I could not even get bread at the bakery," he says. Today, I speak in public … Disability gives you empathy; he pushes himself to invest in a bigger cause. "Ex-top-level athlete who respects himself, Stanislas Niox-Château has a limitless ambition:" We created this company with two entrepreneurial missions: transforming health under fifteen years (by shaping the doctors' offices and hospitals of the future, by improving access to care and patient care) and making people work around humanistic values. "
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The memory of his years of intensive training also accompanied him in his new life. "The world of business and sport are very close," he says. Work, team spirit, calm, confidence and sweat are fundamental elements. And to put his ideas into practice, he looks after his 620 employees. Because techno is good, but "the most important thing is to have a team with a culture of progress. We can not be used every month by 20 million French thanks to word of mouth and a perfect service if we are not supported by a large team of craftsmen. The little time left to him is given to his family, that of always, very close, and the one he is founding (he is father of a little girl). As for tennis, he still practices … but as an amateur.
Romain Lacombe: a sensor to breathe better
Will Flow revolutionize the urban way of life? This sensor just put on sale (179 euros on Plumelabs.com) and which fits in a pocket assesses the concentrations of pollutants in the air. It took three years of work for Romain Lacombe, 34, and his team at Plume Labs to develop it. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Romain helps drive the Etalab mission from 2011 to 2014, which opens up all public data (open data) in France. Any kid, he built his computer on weekends. He says of his project that it is more than technological: "Air pollution causes 50,000 deaths each year in France. Plume Labs is tackling a societal challenge: to better inform citizens so that elected officials can finally act. "
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Sandra Rey: the light of the abyss
Diver, sailing enthusiast, Sandra Rey met the bioluminescent fish that inspired her Glowee … on photos, during her design studies at Strate Design School. "I'm going deep," said the young woman. We must believe it: she takes studies of social entrepreneurship at the ESCP, then created in 2014 Glowee, which aims to reproduce this bioluminescence, produced by bacteria, to illuminate billboards and streets. With 17 employees today, Glowee illuminates ephemeral parties and should soon give birth to relaxation centers: "This light blue lagoon has hypnotic effects," she says.
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Frédéric Mazzella: thanked for good behavior
"Once a year, someone manages to annoy me. "Those who shared his car – because yes, he carpool – going to his native Vendée bear witness: the founder president of BlaBlaCar is curious, affable and calm. Fifteen million French people have already used the world leader in carpooling, which brings together 65 million members in 22 countries. In Russia, Brazil, growth is three-digit. In addition to his role at BlaBlaCar, the man leads Wonderleon in digital France. The aim is to attract international talent (including French expatriates) to scale-up companies (in hyper-growth). He also shares his practices in the think tank The Galion Project. And is delighted with the tremendous acceleration of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in France. "Today, there are many incubators and a lot of funds. In the first half of 2015, 759 million euros were invested, 1.952 billion in the first half of 2018. "When he can lift his foot, this composer and pianist listens to Rachmaninov:" Music, like sport, learns the requirement and the Excellency."
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Vincent Luciani: the smart ad
Polytechnician and a fan of hiking, Vincent Luciani preferred science to banking. But he also liked marketing. Suddenly, he combined the two by creating Augusta Consulting, a strategy consulting firm specializing in datascience. It merges with Netbooster and becomes Artefact, the French champion of the DMP (Data Management Platform) and artificial intelligence applied to marketing, which already has more than 1,000 employees in fifteen countries!
French Tech, what's behind this label?
Behind this beautiful rooster logo origami way, the French Tech is a state initiative, launched in 2013 by Fleur Pellerin, then Minister of Digital. Objective of what could have been a new "bidule": federate our start-ups under the same banner and promote innovation made in France in the world. Adopting the codes of the new economy, the site explains "to rely on the initiatives of the members of the French Tech themselves, to highlight what already exists and create a snowball effect. It is not the state that supervises, it is the state that supports. Support that starts at the local level, with a series of French Tech labeled cities, where events are organized to encourage meetings between innovative entrepreneurs, investors and also decision-makers and the media. It is also a scholarship, funded by Bpifrance and Inpi, trips and conferences to publicize our companies around the world. Five years after its launch, the record is difficult to make, but, undeniably, the French Tech has become a brand and helped to roll back, even silence, a certain French bashing.
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