Talent.io Grabs $2.2 Million To Find Your Next Top Engineer

Meet Talent.io, a new take on engineer recruitment companies. Talent.io isn’t your average headhunting agency and has opted for a more scalable model that should work for both engineers and tech companies. Three months after its beta launch in France, the company just raised $2.2 million (€2 million) from Alven Capital, Elaia Partners, Ventech, and business angels, such as Oleg Tscheltzoff and Olivier Sirven from Fotolia, Céline Lazorthes from Leetchi and Thierry Petit from Showroomprive.

“Every two weeks, we start a session,” co-founder and CEO Jonathan Azoulay told me. “We pre-qualify and showcase candidates that follow two criteria — they are experienced engineers, and they are ready to switch jobs. During this session, our pool of clients can go on our website and interact with our candidates.”

Companies then send a job offer as well as a salary range to potential candidates. If an engineer is interested, then the company can interview this candidate.

Talent.io is interesting for a few key reasons. First, companies don’t have to start a cumbersome headhunting process. Once HR professionals working for French startups sign up, they will receive an email every other Monday so that they can check out Talent.io’s new candidates. It takes minutes and radically reduces friction.

Second, candidates are screened by Talent.io already. These days, 300 people sign up on the platform every two weeks, and the startup only keeps 40 of them for a session. Talent.io employees will call each engineer individually for around 20 minutes. This way, companies know that they should mostly find competent people on the platform.

Third, Talent.io is cheaper than a traditional French recruitment company. Azoulay previously founded Urban Linker, and an agency like this one usually takes 20 to 30 percent of a new hire’s annual salary upfront. Because Talent.io finds engineers for multiple companies at a time, it drastically reduces the company’s costs. Every time someone is hired, it only charges 1 percent of the annual salary per month over 18 months. If an engineer is fired or leave the company before 18 months, Talent.io stops charging for this engineer.

Finally, the startup is altering the usual recruitment process. Instead of posting a traditional job ad, companies look at candidates first and then send them an offer. That’s why companies sometimes end up hiring an engineer that matches well with the company’s mission even though they weren’t looking for a new hire at the time.

400 French companies now receive Talent.io’s bi-weekly email, and around 20 percent of the candidates get hired after each session. “We’re impressed by our clients recurrence rate,” Azoulay said. “In 20 minutes, our clients can see everything they want, so it’s a very very small time commitment.”

With today’s funding round, the company wants to expand to other European cities as soon as possible and start doing bigger sessions. Maybe London-based startups could end up hiring French engineers for example. Talent.io could quickly become an essential platform for both engineers looking for a new job and tech companies.

Source : TechCrunch.comMeet Talent.io, a new take on engineer recruitment companies. Talent.io isn’t your average headhunting agency and has opted for a more scalable model that should work for both engineers and tech companies. Three months after its beta launch in France, the company just raised $2.2 million (€2 million) from Alven Capital, Elaia Partners, Ventech, and business angels, such as Oleg Tscheltzoff and Olivier Sirven from Fotolia, Céline Lazorthes from Leetchi and Thierry Petit from Showroomprive.

On-Demand Cleaning Startup Hassle Merges With Rocket Internet’s Helpling

The on-demand cleaning space in Europe just got a little less messy. According to multiple sources, the U.K.’s Hassle.com, which also operates in Ireland and France, has been acquired by Rocket Internet’s Helpling. Both companies declined to comment. However, TechCrunch understands that this is now a done deal.

That also tallies with what I had been hearing as far back as March. Armed with $45 million in new funding, adding to a $17 million Series A raised shortly before that, Helpling was believed to be embarking on an acquisition spree as means to further expansion, in what might be considered typical Rocket Internet fashion.

At the time, it was thought that those acquisitions would be modest, as Helpling looked to mop up a number of much smaller competitors in European countries and beyond where it had yet to establish a presence or there was no clear leader. However, Hassle doesn’t quite fit that bill, to say the least.

The London-headquartered startup is backed by prominent VC fund Accel Partners, after it raised a $6 million Series A round last May. And, by some accounts, Hassle is roughly equal in size to Helpling. Although both companies operate in France, Hassle’s biggest market is the U.K. where Helpling is yet to launch. That’s likely a major driver behind this deal.

Also, don’t be distracted by Helpling’s expansion into 200 cities, after first launching in Berlin in March 2014. As Helpling co-founder Benedikt Franke told me in March, the majority of cleaning jobs booked happen in its “top 20 cities”, which doesn’t currently include London, a major market for domestic cleaning and where Hassle is at its strongest.

In fact, from what I understand this is more a merger of sorts — the price remains unconfirmed, though one source pegs it in the $25-40 million range — rather than a Helpling/Rocket Internet acquisition, creating a clear and formidable European leader in the on-demand cleaning market.

Whatever you might think about the German ‘startup factory’ and e-commerce behemoth, Hassle joining forces with Helpling sets up an interesting battle with Silicon Valley rivals.

In the U.K. capital city they include the likes of TaskRabbit, Homejoy, and Handy (via its acquisition of Mopp). And, to add a little more intrigue, Handy is also believed to be in talks to buy Homejoy, so we can probably expect more tidying up of the on-demand cleaning space soon.

Source : TechCrunch.comThe on-demand cleaning space in Europe just got a little less messy. According to multiple sources, the U.K.’s Hassle.com, which also operates in Ireland and France, has been acquired by Rocket Internet’s Helpling. Both companies declined to comment. However, TechCrunch understands that this is now a done deal.

That also tallies with what I had been hearing as far back as March. Armed with $45 million in new funding, adding to a $17 million Series A raised shortly before that, Helpling was believed to be embarking on an acquisition spree as means to further expansion, in what might be considered typical Rocket Internet fashion.

At the time, it was thought that those acquisitions would be modest, as Helpling looked to mop up a number of much smaller competitors in European countries and beyond where it had yet to establish a presence or there was no clear leader. However, Hassle doesn’t quite fit that bill, to say the least.

The London-headquartered startup is backed by prominent VC fund Accel Partners, after it raised a $6 million Series A round last May. And, by some accounts, Hassle is roughly equal in size to Helpling. Although both companies operate in France, Hassle’s biggest market is the U.K. where Helpling is yet to launch. That’s likely a major driver behind this deal.

Also, don’t be distracted by Helpling’s expansion into 200 cities, after first launching in Berlin in March 2014. As Helpling co-founder Benedikt Franke told me in March, the majority of cleaning jobs booked happen in its “top 20 cities”, which doesn’t currently include London, a major market for domestic cleaning and where Hassle is at its strongest.

In fact, from what I understand this is more a merger of sorts — the price remains unconfirmed, though one source pegs it in the $25-40 million range — rather than a Helpling/Rocket Internet acquisition, creating a clear and formidable European leader in the on-demand cleaning market.

(Update: Tech.eu is reporting that it was an all-stock deal, but that doesn’t tally with my sources, cash certainly changed hands.)

Whatever you might think about the German ‘startup factory’ and e-commerce behemoth, Hassle joining forces with Helpling sets up an interesting battle with Silicon Valley rivals.

In the U.K. capital city they include the likes of TaskRabbit, Homejoy, and Handy (via its acquisition of Mopp). And, to add a little more intrigue, Handy is also believed to be in talks to buy Homejoy, so we can probably expect more tidying up of the on-demand cleaning space soon.

Believe Digital Success Story

Retour en vidéo sur la croissance de Believe Digital – ou “Comment passer de €2m à €250m de volume d’affaire, main dans la main avec un fonds?”

Interview de Denis Ladegaillerie, Président Fondateur de Believe Digital et Alain Caffi, Président du Directoire de Ventech, lors de la Conférence annuelle des Investisseurs pour la Croissance, organisée par l’AFIC le 20 mai 2015 au Pavillon Gabriel

[Ventech Blog] How could a Junior Analyst become a Partner in a VC Firm?

Ventech is one of the few VC teams in Europe with Partners being both men and women, coming from different countries (France, Germany) and with ages between 40 and 60 years.

Yes, we believe that a Junior Analyst may become a Partner one day!

A Partner in a Venture Capital firm acts both as an investor and as an asset manager.

Few ideas on how to develop your ‘Investor’ skills ?

Strong analytical skills are required to invest in venture. During due diligence process, all aspects of a project will be carefully scrutinized : from value proposition, targeted market, product’s differentiation, business model,…

But it is not enough when it comes to identifying the winning team, or predicting the future : remember, we are investing in breakthrough technology, new business model, new usage! On the top, good teams often attract competition. So you need to add commercial understanding and experience to make your own firm conviction.

My tips:

  • Be very strong on the analytical review : work hard, practice on many due diligence…. Use that to assert yourself overtime.
  • Learn by experience: Venture capitalists are craftsmen. So, work with different partners to understand their reasoning to assess risk/reward, to get feedback on what has worked, not worked in other situations…
  • Build your added-value over-time: To build a strong network in the industry will always be an asset. Accept that you will not act as board member right away but nevertheless be pro-active to interact with the management teams on specific topics such as finance, market competitive analysis…
  • Develop sound relationship with CEOs: I am not speaking about being best friends but more about being someone that a CEO will trust and will call (early in the morning or late at night because the rest of the day is fully-booked!) to test ideas, get feedback with an open mind….
    Constantly look for the best way to communicate: Relationships between CEOs and investors can be difficult sometimes. I try to always remember 2 points : (i) the CEO is in the driving seat not the investor (the fact that you finance a company, obviously gives you some leverage but be carefull not to use it wrongly!) ; (ii) the CEO has ‘one’ baby, his company, while the investor is managing a portfolio of companies and therefore mitigating his risk.
  • Develop your autonomy…and not your independence : You will have to make decision on behalf of the fund. Some decisions require partnership approval and timing is key. Anticipate (don’t wait for the last minute for negative news such as ….the company is out of cash next week !), give regular and precise updates, get feedback from the partnership before you convey the fund’s position.

WARNING : This takes time ! You are building your credibility…and very importantly your own track-record .

Few ideas on how to integrate the Partnership?

To demonstrate your willingness to collaborate on the long-run (in French, we call it ‘affectio societatis’) is paramount to become a Partner…and then the existing partners will decide whether they feel the same for you! All partners depend on each other or put in a more positive way, jointly contribute to the fund:

  • First in attracting investors in the fund and investing their own money alongside them,
  • Second in making joint investment/exit decisions but also generally participate to the life of the fund : fundraising, HR, communication, finance,
  • Third in committing towards the team and the limited partners to stay during the life of fund (‘key-man clause’). This means that when you have issues with your partners (yes, it sometimes happens !), you need to sit down and find a solution.

My tips :

  • Show your ‘affectio societatis’, i.e., that you are interested in playing a collective game. The fund’s success is a joint contribution of each member and is not a one-man/woman show.
  • Understand the values of the team, be passionate and professional.
  • Develop sound relationship and satisfactory working mode with all existing partners and members of the team. Listening is important. Accept contradiction but be ready to fight to convince. Ask for feedback.
  • It can be good thing to have one ‘champion’ that will support your wish to become a Partner
  • Be ready to commit for at least 10–12 years and to invest your personal money
  • Timing is important : teams are usually completed for each new fund’s generation. This is the time to take your position.

WARNING : Selective process and Partnership’s decision!

Then, how long does it take to become a Partner ?

This is not a steady evolution where you go from one position to the other one in a very formal and pre-defined way and with a whole list of job titles. VC firms have few levels between the Analyst and the Partner.

Nevertheless, as far as I am concerned, I am much less bored by this type of structure than by what I have experienced in the banking industry. I don’t miss the very complex HR process based on so many useless criteria !

One last tip : BE PASSIONNATE !

Championing Independent Artist Success, Tunecore Combines Forces With Believe Digital

New Strategic Relationship provides Artists Worldwide with Full Spectrum of Global Services and Powerful Alternative to Major Labels.

New York, NY (April 15, 2015) – Today, TuneCore, the powerhouse digital music distribution and music publishing administration company, announced it will be joining with independent label services company, Believe Digital.

With offices in 29 countries and a staff of over 250 music industry and digital marketing experts, Believe Digital is the leading fully independent digital distributor and services provider for artists & labels worldwide.

believetune

The strategic partnership with Believe Digital will provide TuneCore Artists with an opportunity to tap into Believe Digital’

s comprehensive global services, providing a truly modern, DIY record label experience with ground support across the globe. Artists will have access to a wider digital distribution network with more tools and services to empower them to succeed, whilst increasing the opportunities to get more music heard by more people in more locations.

Encompassing the same core values, the two companies will continue to provide artists with high quality products and growth opportunities, while musicians continue to maintain control and ownership of their work. The two companies will retain their own operations and staffing.

“TuneCore’s number one objective is to help independent artists succeed,” said Scott Ackerman, TuneCore CEO. “This new strategic relationship provides the most powerful solution for independent artists worldwide to reach fans, sell music, increase revenue and advance their career. We’re excited to deliver this new layer of opportunity while continuing to give artists the full control to decide their individual paths to success.”

The success of TuneCore, its deep commitment to independent artists, and the natural synergy between our services for artists, make this partnership a powerful force to propel artists’ growth,” said Denis Ladegaillerie, Believe Digital Founder and President. “There is a tremendous opportunity for TuneCore & Believe to champion independent artists and their entrepreneurship, and together our focus will be to provide the best comprehensive services to a wider range of musicians around the world.”

TuneCore & Believe Digital Services

TuneCore worldwide distribution with promotional opportunities across iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other key digital partners.

  • TuneCore worldwide revenue collection. Artists keep 100% of sales revenue and rights.
  • TuneCore worldwide royalty collection with Music Publishing Administration. TuneCore will continue to register, license and pitch music in over 60 countries.
  • TuneCore & Believe global support with offices in key markets worldwide.
  • Believe Digital’s experienced team of music industry specialists, including label managers, marketing experts and video channel managers will continue to provide top quality label services to meet artists’ needs.
  • Artist services and products to meet the needs of musician-entrepreneurs.
  • Detailed reporting and knowledgeable customer service to help you manage and grow your business.

 

About TuneCore

TuneCore brings more music to more people, while helping musicians and songwriters increase moneyearning opportunities and take charge of their own careers. The company has one of the highest artist revenue-generating music catalogs in the world, earning TuneCore Artists $504 million on over 12 billion streams and downloads since inception. TuneCore Music Distribution services help artists, labels and managers sell their music through iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Play, and other major download and streaming sites while retaining 100% of their sales revenue and rights for a low annual flat fee. TuneCore Music Publishing Administration assists songwriters by administering their compositions through licensing, registration and worldwide royalty collection. The TuneCore Artist Services portal offers a suite of tools and services that enable artists to promote their craft, connect with fans, and get their music heard. The new DropKloud app from TuneCore gives music fans VIP access to artist-curated exclusive content based on location. TuneCore is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY with offices in Burbank, CA, Nashville, TN and Boston, MA.
For more information, visit www.tunecore.com

About Believe Digital

Believe Digital is the leading fully independent digital distributor and services provider for artists & labels worldwide. The company has over 250 employees worldwide with offices in France, The UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, LATAM, Asia, Eastern Europe, The Middle East and Africa. Believe empowers artists and labels to maximize the value of their music in the transitioning digital music space by providing them with a full suite of services: digital music and video distribution, digital marketing and promotion services, synchronization and neighboring rights management, full label services, including in-house record label Believe Recordings. The company prides itself on providing personal tailor made services for each label and artist. Believe Digital leverages its network of 29 offices around the world staffed with local music industry and digital marketing experts to support its clients on a global basis. Championing innovation and transparency throughout its ten year history, Believe has developed leading in-house technology as well as a range of analytical and promotional tools to help labels & artists leverage the benefits of digital. With 8 million tracks, Believe is the digital distribution home to the likes of Brownswood Recordings, Southern Fried, Hospital Records, Tru Thoughts, One Little Indian, Future Classic, World Circuit, Skint Records, Nettwerk Records, Soundway, Kartel Label Services, Xtra Mile Recordings, Saregama, Soulfood Distribution, Distri, AFM Records, Parov Stelar, K-Tel, Scorpio Music, Halidon, Chinese Man Records, Prime Direct and Southern Record Distribution, while Believe Recordings has developed and released James Vincent McMorrow, Gavin James, Youssoupha, Grand Corps Malade, Breton and Public Service Broadcasting.
For more information, visit: www.believedigital.com

New Strategic Relationship provides Artists Worldwide with Full Spectrum of Global Services and Powerful Alternative to Major Labels.

New York, NY (April 15, 2015) – Today, TuneCore, the powerhouse digital music distribution and music publishing administration company, announced it will be joining with independent label services company, Believe Digital.

With offices in 29 countries and a staff of over 250 music industry and digital marketing experts, Believe Digital is the leading fully independent digital distributor and services provider for artists & labels worldwide.

The strategic partnership with Believe Digital will provide TuneCore Artists with an opportunity to tap into Believe Digital’s comprehensive global services, providing a truly modern, DIY record label experience with ground support across the globe. Artists will have access to a wider digital distribution network with more tools and services to empower them to succeed, whilst increasing the opportunities to get more music heard by more people in more locations.

Encompassing the same core values, the two companies will continue to provide artists with high quality products and growth opportunities, while musicians continue to maintain control and ownership of their work. The two companies will retain their own operations and staffing.

“TuneCore’s number one objective is to help independent artists succeed,” said Scott Ackerman, TuneCore CEO. “This new strategic relationship provides the most powerful solution for independent artists worldwide to reach fans, sell music, increase revenue and advance their career. We’re excited to deliver this new layer of opportunity while continuing to give artists the full control to decide their individual paths to success.”

The success of TuneCore, its deep commitment to independent artists, and the natural synergy between our services for artists, make this partnership a powerful force to propel artists’ growth,” said Denis Ladegaillerie, Believe Digital Founder and President. “There is a tremendous opportunity for TuneCore & Believe to champion independent artists and their entrepreneurship, and together our focus will be to provide the best comprehensive services to a wider range of musicians around the world.”

TuneCore & Believe Digital Services

TuneCore worldwide distribution with promotional opportunities across iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other key digital partners.

  • TuneCore worldwide revenue collection. Artists keep 100% of sales revenue and rights.
  • TuneCore worldwide royalty collection with Music Publishing Administration. TuneCore will continue to register, license and pitch music in over 60 countries.
  • TuneCore & Believe global support with offices in key markets worldwide.
  • Believe Digital’s experienced team of music industry specialists, including label managers, marketing experts and video channel managers will continue to provide top quality label services to meet artists’ needs.
  • Artist services and products to meet the needs of musician-entrepreneurs.
  • Detailed reporting and knowledgeable customer service to help you manage and grow your business.

About TuneCore

TuneCore brings more music to more people, while helping musicians and songwriters increase moneyearning opportunities and take charge of their own careers. The company has one of the highest artist revenue-generating music catalogs in the world, earning TuneCore Artists $504 million on over 12 billion streams and downloads since inception. TuneCore Music Distribution services help artists, labels and managers sell their music through iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Play, and other major download and streaming sites while retaining 100% of their sales revenue and rights for a low annual flat fee. TuneCore Music Publishing Administration assists songwriters by administering their compositions through licensing, registration and worldwide royalty collection. The TuneCore Artist Services portal offers a suite of tools and services that enable artists to promote their craft, connect with fans, and get their music heard. The new DropKloud app from TuneCore gives music fans VIP access to artist-curated exclusive content based on location. TuneCore is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY with offices in Burbank, CA, Nashville, TN and Boston, MA. For more information, visit www.tunecore.com.

About Believe Digital

Believe Digital is the leading fully independent digital distributor and services provider for artists & labels worldwide. The company has over 250 employees worldwide with offices in France, The UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, LATAM, Asia, Eastern Europe, The Middle East and Africa. Believe empowers artists and labels to maximize the value of their music in the transitioning digital music space by providing them with a full suite of services: digital music and video distribution, digital marketing and promotion services, synchronization and neighboring rights management, full label services, including in-house record label Believe Recordings. The company prides itself on providing personal tailor made services for each label and artist. Believe Digital leverages its network of 29 offices around the world staffed with local music industry and digital marketing experts to support its clients on a global basis. Championing innovation and transparency throughout its ten year history, Believe has developed leading in-house technology as well as a range of analytical and promotional tools to help labels & artists leverage the benefits of digital. With 8 million tracks, Believe is the digital distribution home to the likes of Brownswood Recordings, Southern Fried, Hospital Records, Tru Thoughts, One Little Indian, Future Classic, World Circuit, Skint Records, Nettwerk Records, Soundway, Kartel Label Services, Xtra Mile Recordings, Saregama, Soulfood Distribution, Distri, AFM Records, Parov Stelar, K-Tel, Scorpio Music, Halidon, Chinese Man Records, Prime Direct and Southern Record Distribution, while Believe Recordings has developed and released James Vincent McMorrow, Gavin James, Youssoupha, Grand Corps Malade, Breton and Public Service Broadcasting. For more information, visit: www.believedigital.com

(Français) Le leader français du crowdlending Unilend réalise une levée de fonds de 8 millions d’euros auprès des fonds Ventech et 360 Capital Partners et de Bpifrance

Moins de 16 mois après son lancement, la plateforme de prêt aux TPE/PME Unilend réalise une augmentation de capital de 8 millions d’euros auprès notamment des fonds d’investissements Ventech et 360 Capital Partners et de Bpifrance.

Cette levée de fonds marque une nouvelle étape dans le développement d’Unilend, deux mois après l’annonce d’un partenariat avec Groupama Banque qui s’est engagée à prêter 100 millions d’euros à des entreprises via la plateforme sur les quatre prochaines années.

Lancé en novembre 2013, le leader du « crowdlending » en Europe continentale a déjà financé 115 sociétés pour un total de 9,1 millions d’euros.

Cette levée de fonds, menée par Rothschild, permettra à Unilend de soutenir sa rapide croissance en France et d’étendre son activité en Europe.

Nicolas Lesur, co-fondateur a déclaré « Nous sommes très heureux d’accueillir à notre capital des fonds aussi complémentaires que Ventech, 360 Capital Partners et Bpifrance. Au-delà des capitaux investis, ce trio forme pour nous la combinaison idéale de compétences ».

Cette levée de fonds illustre la forte croissance du crowdfunding en France et en particulier du crowdlending avec les besoins croissants de financement des PME. Avec une offre de prêt réalisée toutes les 4 minutes sur son site Internet, Unilend a pour vocation de faciliter le financement rapide et flexible des entreprises en leur donnant accès à une grande variété d’investisseurs.

Nicolas Lesur a précisé qu’ « Unilend a reçu pour sa levée de fonds un total d’offres de 25 millions d’euros. Cela montre que les investisseurs sont convaincus du très fort potentiel d’Unilend et du marché du crowdlending ».

A propos d’Unilend :
Unilend  est  le  leader  français et d’Europe continentale du  crowdfunding  de  prêt  aux  TPE/PME. La plateforme permet à des entreprises de toute la France et de tous secteurs d’activité d’emprunter auprès de sa large communauté de prêteurs.

A propos de Ventech :
Ventech est une société de capital-risque qui investit depuis plus de 15 ans dans des entreprises innovantes dans les secteurs des Technologies de l’Information (internet, média, e-commerce, mobile, logiciel, hardware & communications). Depuis ses bureaux de Paris, Munich et Beijing, Ventech s’implique aux côtés d’équipes de haut niveau pour développer des projets d’envergure internationale.
Ventech a réalisé plus de cinquante sorties dont sept introductions en bourse, notamment, Genesys, Alapage, Altitude Telecom, MeilleurTaux, Musiwave…
Pour plus d’information, www.VentechVC.com

A propos de 360 Capital Partners :
360 Capital Partners est un fonds de capital risque pan-européen, present en France Allemagne et Italie actif depuis 1997. Avec €200Mio sous gestion, 360 Capital Partners est géré par une équipe qui cumule 60+ ans d’expérience en Venture Capital et plus de 80 investissements réalisés. Pour plus d’informations, consultez le site: www.360capitalpartners.com

A propos de Bpifrance :
Créé par la loi du 31 décembre 2012, Bpifrance (banque publique d’investissement) est issu du rapprochement d’OSEO, du FSI, de CDC Entreprises et de FSI Régions. Ses deux actionnaires sont l’État et la Caisse des Dépôts. Il a pour vocation d’accompagner les entreprises (PME, ETI et entités de taille plus importante à dimension stratégique pour l’économie française), de l’amorçage jusqu’à la cotation en bourse, en crédit, en garantie et en fonds propres. Bpifrance assure en outre des services d’accompagnement et de soutien renforcé à l’innovation, à l’export et à la croissance externe. Fort de 42 implantations régionales, il représente un interlocuteur unique des entrepreneurs dans chaque région pour tous leurs besoins en financement et en investissement. www.bpifrance.fr – Suivez-nous sur Twitter : @bpifrance 

Intervenants sur l’Opération :
– Banque d’affaires : Rothschild, Laurent Buiatti, Sabine Fillias, Julia Garin
– Avocats :
. Société : Kahn & Associés : Marie-Laure de Cordovez, Liên Lê
. Investisseurs : Gide : Pierre Karpik, Louis Oudot de Dainville
– Due Diligence : Ernst & Young

Contact presse Unilend :
Céline Cognet
c.cognet@affairespubliquesconsultants.fr
01 56 88 39 84

Entrepreneurs: How to make the next generation of marketing happen?

How to combine the strength of 1-to-1 Marketing with the need for Omni-channel strategies ? How to make Marketing 3.0 become a reality for retailers ?

 As venture capitalists, we love industries that re-invent themselves. It creates opportunities for start-ups to challenge big players. Has 1:1 marketing already transformed the retailing industry ?

First transformation: from mass market to markets of size 1

The days where we were receiving by mail heavy printed catalogs featuring all the items sold by a retailer, or where our mailbox were stuffed with emails offering products that were of no interest for us, are gone. Great! I would call that mass marketing: 1to all.

Today, most of the time, we receive emails, SMS that are relevant to us. Thanks to CRM, tags put on website, fan page created on social networks, brands collect transactionnal and non-transactionnal datas on their customers and can then send personalized messages to targeted segments. I would call it ‘1to several’ marketing.

Then comes ‘1:1 marketing’ : with re-targeting solutions, we are being reminded of products that we have previously checked on other websites. In the adtech sector, the ‘1:1′ approach is rapidly taking off with the development of programatic advertising. Using Data Management Platforms, brands can push personalized advertising messages, (display, video..) to one single profile in real time.

Second transformation : One-to-One marketing combined with Omni channel strategy

Then, for retailers combining online and offline stores, the big revolution is to apply 1to1 marketing globally through all their channels, the omni channel strategy. The use case would be: walking in a street, you pass by a store which happens to have a website that you have checked some times ago and therefore you receive a special discount on your mobile to purchase the product in the store, since you had published on one of your social network that you really liked this product. In the store, the sales guy calls you by your name and sells you the product and it automatically credits your loyalty program. Brands would know their cutomers so well that they would target one person and, following a deep and real-time analysis, would determine the unique offer that will make her/him buy.

Even though I have heard many start-ups pitching this use case, as far as I am concerned, I have never experienced the situation described above.

Are the retailers here yet ?

The current situation is still that brands do email marketing campaigns, most of the time without even using marketing automation tools or predictive analysis tools. They are fully aware that they should do data-driven marketing actions but are stopped by (1) exisiting IT legacy system built over time by silos (CRM, web, mobile, social network, email…), not communicating with each others and certainly not in real time …so creating headaches to build a customer graph, (2) not enough experience in the marketing teams to extract the value of the datas collected and to conceive personalized marketing scenarii like data scientists do and (3) not enough time to spend on it !

Some advices to start-ups willing to capture new business opportunities in the 1:1 marketing space

  • brands need to be guided to develop relevant use cases. Software vendors will need to evangelize the markets. To convince customers, start-ups will most likely need to propose value-added consulting services and even offer specialized talent such as data scientists.
  • financial returns have to be clearly demonstrated to have retailers to put that in their top priority instead of using their existing marketing solutions. Best would be that the returns can be shown during trial phase!
  • new solutions will be integrated with existing IT system. So don’t ask brands to change their workflow. Provide tools with friendly user interface to limit as much as possible the need for specific developments and long trainings.
  • and finally a personal comment….: build the use case with the privacy issue in mind. I am now used to re-targeting engine on my PC but I still think that I would feel very intrusive to have someone, I have never met before, welcoming me in a store by ‘Hi Claire, welcome. I have this pair of running shoes for you since I saw that you gained weight recently!’

    tennis

Unicorn pre-IPO valuations: should we be worried?

Uber: 40bn$, Spotify: 6bn$, Dropbox: 10bn$. Do these valuations actually correctly reflect just mind-boggling business fundamentals or is there another less obvious common denominator? Well, while each of these equity stories is certainly unique, having Goldman Sachs as their principal cash-fuel provider turns out to be an essential element these players do actually have in common. A bunch of massively funded companies are currently seeking to make it to the public markets and are (quite rightly so) trying to advertise an unbroken and steep valuation uptake before going public. However, experienced investors are getting increasingly uneasy about the emergence of private convertible bond investors and hedge funds on board of these pre-IPO bandwagons.

“To me this looks like the precursor for significant post-IPO underperformance if companies with jazzed-up pre-IPO valuations finally hit the public markets” says Ventech Partner Christian Claussen. “Access to huge convertible debt facilities for notoriously unprofitable companies is just another facet of a general pattern”. Christian who has learnt his early lessons as a VC in the ’97-’00 tech bubble feels oddly reminded to stock-price boosting-techniques such as the famous ‘laddering’ which in hindsight were part of Wall Street’s bubble-tool-box heralding a 7 year nuclear winter for the European VC-industry (read the chapter on bubble #2 in this witty backgrounder).

For Ventech Partner Jean Bourcereau things are not even half as bad. “History does not repeat itself and I do not predict a 2000-like situation where excessive pricing was only one factor besides fundamentally unsustainable business models and systematically boosted market size estimations”. As a worst case scenario Jean rather foresees a potential 2008-like situation: “Who knows, we might eventually be in for a global 30% haircut on tech stock prices. And while this definitely hurts it doesn’t kill anybody as long as portfolio companies are well prepared and geared”.

Whether or not it’s already time for another issue of “Sequoia’s Doomsday Portfolio Briefing”, we strongly believe it to be good practice for European privately held companies to constantly prepare for a potential overall decline in investors’ confidence. Measures to protect your company against the odds of access to fresh equity include

· The build-up of equity reserves and permanent control of cash burn in order to have maximum runway

· A general focus on profitable and lean business models embracing early monetization strategies; we generally believe it to be rather risky for European start-ups to bet on strategic “zero-revenue acquisitions”; even an unproven “path to profitability” is in most European exit scenarios obstructing successful trade sales or IPOs

· Turning management’s attention to every company’s real assets: team quality, an on-going optimization process for the underlying business model, happy long-term customers, competitive entry barriers, margin control etc….Uber: 40bn$, Spotify: 6bn$, Dropbox: 10bn$. Do these valuations actually correctly reflect just mind-boggling business fundamentals or is there another less obvious common denominator? Well, while each of these equity stories is certainly unique, having Goldman Sachs as their principal cash-fuel provider turns out to be an essential element these players do actually have in common. A bunch of massively funded companies are currently seeking to make it to the public markets and are (quite rightly so) trying to advertise an unbroken and steep valuation uptake before going public. However, experienced investors are getting increasingly uneasy about the emergence of private convertible bond investors and hedge funds on board of these pre-IPO bandwagons.

“To me this looks like the precursor for significant post-IPO underperformance if companies with jazzed-up pre-IPO valuations finally hit the public markets” says Ventech Partner Christian Claussen. “Access to huge convertible debt facilities for notoriously unprofitable companies is just another facet of a general pattern”. Christian who has learnt his early lessons as a VC in the ’97-’00 tech bubble feels oddly reminded to stock-price boosting-techniques such as the famous ‘laddering’ which in hindsight were part of Wall Street’s bubble-tool-box heralding a 7 year nuclear winter for the European VC-industry (read the chapter on bubble #2 in this witty backgrounder).

For Ventech Partner Jean Bourcereau things are not even half as bad. “History does not repeat itself and I do not predict a 2000-like situation where excessive pricing was only one factor besides fundamentally unsustainable business models and systematically boosted market size estimations”. As a worst case scenario Jean rather foresees a potential 2008-like situation: “Who knows, we might eventually be in for a global 30% haircut on tech stock prices. And while this definitely hurts it doesn’t kill anybody as long as portfolio companies are well prepared and geared”.

Whether or not it’s already time for another issue of “Sequoia’s Doomsday Portfolio Briefing”, we strongly believe it to be good practice for European privately held companies to constantly prepare for a potential overall decline in investors’ confidence. Measures to protect your company against the odds of access to fresh equity include

· The build-up of equity reserves and permanent control of cash burn in order to have maximum runway

· A general focus on profitable and lean business models embracing early monetization strategies; we generally believe it to be rather risky for European start-ups to bet on strategic “zero-revenue acquisitions”; even an unproven “path to profitability” is in most European exit scenarios obstructing successful trade sales or IPOs

· Turning management’s attention to every company’s real assets: team quality, an on-going optimization process for the underlying business model, happy long-term customers, competitive entry barriers, margin control etc….