Impact: Where was your company before Impact 2014 ? How many employees? Revenues? Presence in the US and in the World? Fund raised?
Before Impact we were mostly focused on the French market with few clients in Europe and in the U.S. But without a clear international strategy even though we knew we needed to do something.
Impact: Where is it today?
Through Impact we understood that our success and further development would be in the U.S, especially with our new product Fluid Topics (www.fluidtopics.com) that we were working on. We took advantage of Impact to gain a better understanding of what needed to be done in terms product, marketing, and operational development. Therefore Impact was just the beginning of the story and we have spent the next 18 months working hard and preparing for our US move.
Impact : What have been the most memorable moments of your US development since your were selected to Impact 2014?
The announcement of our selection to Impact made our U.S. business development strategy concrete. Thanks to the work done in Silicon Valley during Impact, we went from an intention to be in the U.S. to a certainty that we had to speed up the execution of our plan. And automatically, we followed up on putting into action the corresponding strategy.
All the more, if you need to move quickly, you will require significant financial means.
When you arrive in the U.S. and you actually have a real opportunity, it all moves very quickly and powerfully: reshape the marketing team, establish your team …. Our selection to Impact made me realize that I had to immediately put my plan in action.
Two important effects set in motion by Impact:
- An increase in the rate we are closing on sales in the pipeline, with particular spike this fall
- A significant redesign of our marketing
Impact : How did your business benefit from your participation in Impact?
I think that the strongest point for me was the “product marketing” awareness. I have been working in the software industry for 25 years with positions as developer, architect and CTO before Antidot. Therefore I am pretty good at defining and designing products. But Impact helped me understand the difference between product and marketing, which is key to succeed on the U.S. market.
Impact : If you had to give just one reason why participating in Impact was the right decision, what would it be?
Being there for the 3 months. It is necessary to be fully immersed and to follow the program through from start to finish. Because only at a sudden unexpected moment will the entrepreneur’s mentality just change.
It will take a long time to become aware because it requires moving away from your former mentality to one suitable to addressing the U.S. market.
Impact : What did you enjoy most about the program ?
The workshops are of great value in helping you assess your positioning and in making the right decisions in setting up your business.
Also, having to pitch 20 times over regardless of the audience or the quality of the food, helps you improve and eliminates any anxiety about pitching in front of a crowd. It is not an end in itself, but as you do it time after time, it becomes more natural when you’re on the phone or during a sales meeting.
Impact : Any tips for the future participants to Impact?
Ideally, you should prepare you arrival to the U.S. early on by limiting interaction with your French operations so that you can fully dedicate yourself to Impact, and be 100% free from ongoing operations in France. Otherwise, you will lose a great deal of time early on in the program in coordinating and dealing with your French side of the business.
That’s why it is critical to be ready ahead of time, and implement a solid process for managing your company operations.
For instance, you could try not going into your company headquarters for 15 days and working remotely to see how things work out and modify what needs to be changed.
If the CEO is not the person following the program, then the person participating will have to redo all the work done during Impact with the CEO. It would take way too much time given the level of commitment Impact requires.
Impact : What are your next steps?
Raise funds. That was not our subject when I participated to Impact because we were already funded. But now that we have signed and successfully deployed our first set of customers (10 companies, $1M booking last year), created our US subsidiary and opened on office, we must fuel the growth.