This week, we had the pleasure of welcoming Muriel Penicaud, CEO of Business France who took the time to meet & greet with ubi i/o’s participants alongside a few of our alumni. Founders had the opportunity to talk about their experience throughout the accelerator program and give our team some feedback on their journey in the United States. A pleasant way to start the week allowing everyone to chit chat around a glass of wine and a few hors d’oeuvres.
How to manage your workforce
On Tuesday, we went in depth into the HR topic. This time around, the workshop was centered around managing a workforce. We invited our HR partner Insperity alongside Jerem Febvre, co-founder of Sublime Skinz to talk about their experiences and expertise on what it takes to build a successful team.
One of the workshop’s main topic was about setting up your company’s culture. For a company based in France and in the U.S., it’s important to create a unilateral culture that employees on both continents can relate to. At Sublime Skinz, all offices around the world communicate with one another on a regular basis by sharing current events, fun facts & latest advances within their respective geographical areas. This allows for the different teams to stay connected and aware of the latest news.
Jerem also makes it a point to not only share some French music throughout the various offices but also fly every employee to Paris at least once a year to strengthen the company’s French heritage.
As a growing startup, managing your workforce can sometimes be tough and exhausting. Paperwork on top of paperwork from hiring to firing, it’s important for founders to not only know the laws but also follow them. It’s crucial for any CEO to set up employee agreements alongside a comprehensive handbook that new hires can refer to in regards to the company’s rules and regulations.
“Perks can rocket your attractivity at a low cost”
As the competition to attract the best talents is fierce in Silicon Valley, staying attractive from an employee experience standpoint is crucial. In the U.S., perks are important and will not necessarily cost you a lot of money. According to Insperity, not all employees will take advantage of the perks your company offers, but having them as a comprehensive package will definitely influence people into joining your team.
Ideally, as a founder you want to avoid having a high churn rate. The more people you fire, the higher state taxes will be. Therefore, when someone leaves the company, it’s important to conduct an exit interview. This will allow you to get feedback upon what you as a founder can improve on in order to increase your employee retention rate and overall productivity.
ubi i/o API Hackathon Awards
Since this past Friday, various talented programmer teams have been hacking around the three APIs of Akeneo, OpenIO and Sevenhugs. On Thursday, we invited them at Galvanize to demo their projects. We had the pleasure to have Jérôme Louvel, co-founder and CTO at Restlet, Francois Baldassari, Software Engineer at Pebble and Reza Malekzadeh, US marketing at OVH as the official Hackathon judges.
Both the jury & the crowd were quite impressed with the overall quality of all the projects presented. For Akeneo’s API, the project that won the competition was the synchronization of Amazon’s Alexa who could answer in real time any customers’ questions about the various products located within its database.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 10, 2016
For OpenIO’s API, the Bunk Team took home the prize with their project aiming at solving San Francisco’s housing crisis.
— Bernice Anne W. Chua (@ChuaBernice) June 10, 2016
Last but not least, Julien Saito won Sevenhugs’ prize by building a Yamaha RX-V473 receiver for the smart remote control. On top of that, he also won Codingame’s challenge by getting the highest score among all participants!
Back in the city that never sleeps, ubi i/o startups are keeping up with the fast pace this city imposes on young companies. We invited over our fellow alumni Sublime Skinz to talk about their email strategy for business development. Before sending emails to prospects, the first step is to build a comprehensive and qualitative database.
There’s several tools to find the right contacts within the right verticals. Using LinkedIn for example, our guest suggested using the tab “People also viewed” and then find their email address using Email Hunter. For companies within the advertising ecosystem, Sellercrowd is a great tool if you’re looking for direct brands and want to find out what agencies they’re currently working with. If you can afford it , outsourcing this time-consuming work may be of your best interest. You can use platforms like Upwork for example in order build up your contact list.
“If you are looking for the perfect e-mail: it doesn’t exit”
Writing great email templates is hard. That’s why trying different formulations and analyzing your return rate may be for your best interest. Don’t hesitate sending these emails to yourself and to your team to gather their feedbacks before sending it to your prospects. At the end of the day, personalization is key in order to get the best return rates, and that comes down to a question of time & effort!
What should you write in the core of your email? Include your most well known references that speak to people in your industry alongside figures and KPIs that prove your added value. You should also have a thorough understanding of what your clients like best about your product and put 3-5 bullet points with these elements in the core of your email. Finally, your first email should end with a small note asking your prospect for an action: “I’m looking forward to hearing back from you”. In your follow up emails, it’s okay to be a bit more assertive by using formulas like: “we should setup a meeting”.
Use visual effects for a better impact
Sublime Skinz’s team likes to use GIFs as a way to catch the reader’s attention. You can also use pictures (ex: logos of your clients, screenshots of your product etc.). This allows the prospect to instantly see & understand your product.
How often should you send emails?
According to our guests, you should avoid sending emails on Monday & Friday. But there’s no generic rules to this game, the best outreach days truly depend on your industry & prospect. For example, if your target is a very busy person, sending emails on Sunday can be a good strategy. In terms of timing throughout the day, you’re often better off sending your emails early in the morning or right after lunch, later in the evening may work as well.
The truth is, there’s no perfect rule, but making your prospect feel special through customization and message relevancy is highly advised. As of your everyday strategy, you should always keep track of your results to be able to improve it on the fly. Again, several tools exist to help you achieve this. This Mail Merge (Chrome extension tool) allows you to build your lists without wasting too much time. It also gives you key insights such as: opened, bounced & transferred email rates. Outreach: (for Salesforce users) is perfect for massive e-mailing to reach out to lots of prospects until they respond. Last but not least, Rapportive is nice to have in order to gather people’s LinkedIn profile information right inside your inbox. One last thought, don’t be scared to bother your prospects. If you are confident in your product and the value it will bring to a company or consumer, you won’t appear unprofessional.