Hélène Saint loubert – I always like the moment when I return from a thrilling journey, as I have the chance to share with you the highlights of my trips.
After Shanghai last year, here’s impressions of my trip in the heart of Silicon Valley where I attended with Croissance + and a nice group of entrepreneurs. Each of us has taken different outtakes of this journey: a desire to introduce ourselves in the tech world, decrypt trends, meet French entrepreneurs already familiar with the uses of the Valley, or to take a big breath of energy…
The first lessons for those who are seeking to settle and find investors:
1. To develop a unique and potentially international positioning. In other words: specialize in one thing only but very well and become the leader of the market.
2. On the other hand, doing as others (even better) disqualifies you right away from investors.
3. To bring together “users” and ‘developers’: that have already demonstrated the success of their concept and display a large number of followers. Other markers of valorization of the company: namely, recruit and retain the good engineers and developers.
4. Networking is very important. We must not forget that in the United States, more than here, there is a real culture of networking. In order to be accepted by the tech community, we must dedicate time to be active. One week a month minimum on-site in San Francisco or even settle for good.
5. Attention to human resources: in California, being a French native is not going to be enough. French clubs do not have a good press in techno, unlike luxury and gastronomy. As for the Americans, they have great relational skills and good eloquence. Before recruiting, taking references and networking, do not hesitate to take a look at LinkedIn, here it is often used to recruit.
To soak up the methods of Silicon Valley, to create the buzz and to increase its pipeline contacts», UbiFrance offers on-site, an accelerated program, carried by its Director Stéphane Alix: “UBI I0”.
As for the BPI, she aims to help French businesses in IT sectors, biotechnology and CleanTech to get started in Silicon Valley. To do this, and this is a very strong sign, Romain Serman was appointed. As an ex – Consul of France in San Francisco, Romain Serman does not hesitate to share his address book and becomes a link between the tech world and US investment funds.
Also, I was not left indifferent by:
Netflix: 2 months after controversy in France, we went to visit them. Laure Négri, responsible for partnerships greeted us. She reminds us (once again!) that Netflix does only one thing at a time, but has done so thoroughly: it offers movies in streaming video in 47 countries, and has achieved more than 50 million subscribers. It claims the fact that one can watch Netflix on different devices: start a movie on his computer and finish it on his smartphone or his console game (very widespread in the US). For each film, Netflix ingests a lot of meta datas and developes a powerful recommendation engine to offer us a personalized program. Finally it introduces the 4K, a new format ultra-high definition (25 megabits/secondes), very impressive. The only thing left to do is to be equipped with a TV that can be synchronized with it.
Youtube, or the giant’s visit. Although it is Google-owned, the American video platform claiming more than one billion users per month is not located on the large campus of Mountain View but in San Bruno. Two large buildings greet us. The campus remains intact, with more than 3 completely free restaurants, 2 food trucks every day, super modern kitchens and even fridges filled with food in all floors, a gym opened 24 hours a day, a large swimming pool… Everything is designed so that the employees work in good conditions and flourish there…It must be taken into account that a woman runs YouTube, the famous Susan Wojcicki, one of Google’s first recruits. She worked in the first Google offices, located in her garage throughout Google’s beginnings in 1998. She then led the entire YouTube advertising sector. Today, appointed as head of the company, she seaks to improve its advertising performance which is struggling to make progress (just 1.22 billion in 2013 in the US!!!!). Note that last year, AdWeek designated her as the most powerful personality in the advertising world.
And beautiful new encounters were made:
I had the pleasure to meet Jérôme Lecat founder and current president of Scality, data storage software. While more than 60 of the sales reached of his company in the U.S. with the major operators of the internet, the company’s R&D service as well as all its engineers are located in France! In all, Scality employs today 90 people. His challenge is worth emphasizing: his goal is to demonstrate that a French company (in french law) can succeed in Silicon Valley. He proves it by managing and motivating his teams on both sides of the ocean… It must be said that Jérôme is a serial entrepreneur that Grenade & Sparks has the pleasure to know well as he trusted us with his communication budget in 1998, when he lead Internet way, his first business!
I also met Pauline Carmona, Consul of France in San Francisco. She was named last September and kindly received us in her magnificent residence, as if we were “at home”. First woman to hold this post, her objective is clearly to stimulate partnerships between France and the United States in both directions. To do this, she wished to make services more responsive, more efficient and more modern. We want to trust her…
Hélène Saint Loubert