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ubi i/o 2015 week 9: Appear bigger than you are

Only one more week to go as we cooked up one last intense week for our entrepreneurs, and soon they will be ready to rock the US market! Here’s an illustration of one of the many segments our startups went through within the past few weeks of the program. Not to mention, that they’ve been in great hands thanks to our Business France advising team that accompanied them throughout the way.

    • From Hiring to Firing in the US: Managing a Workforce
    • Marketing with Reza Malekzadeh: tell a story bigger than you.
    • One type of exit: selling your company, with Nicolas Maquaire
    • Pitch Session with Axelle Lemaire and Evercontact’s Victory at La French Touch Conference

From Hiring to Firing in the US: Managing a Workforce

The next step for ubi i/o’s companies will be, if it’s not already done, to open an office in the US and grow their operations. This will enable them to execute ambitious strategies, especially in sales.

This week, panelists Jesse Freese, HR and Business consultant @Trinet, Antonio J Espinosa, COO @Transifex and Andrea Glick, Director of Sales Recruitment @Betts Recruiting discussed with our companies what are the pitfalls to avoid best practices? Here’s what they suggested:

    • Take a step back and figure out what you want to accomplish. What drives your traction? Who do you need to drive this traction to? Then you’ll know who to hire.
    • Regarding sales, hire someone who’ll be able to get his hands dirty at the beginning, and build a sales team who will then scale and strategically adapt.
    • Avoid confusion, define clear objectives and give everything your employee needs to succeed and reach those objectives from the very beginning. Set your hire for success!
    • Before ending a contract, go back to what you defined with your employee and settle an improvement plan for a few weeks.
    • How to attract the best profiles? You should at least align your competitors in terms of benefits. Sell them a working place, an outstanding product, an adventure. And bring your special touch: US and French holidays for instance, …
    • While you’re still small, without sophisticated HR processes, you don’t need to outsource HR, but it comes quickly when you grow. You can then deal with consultants who bring you vendors for insurance, pension plans, payroll management … Or outsource everything to a single vendor who will deal with everything.

 

           

Marketing with Reza Malekzadeh: tell a story bigger than you.

Reza is VP of Business (Alliances, Products & Marketing) at Cumulus Networks, not to mention an impressive serial entrepreneur. We had the opportunity to have him speak to our startups about his experience in marketing throughout his career.

We summed up his insights in 8 points:

    • People don’t buy a technology, they buy a solution to a problem.
    • Timing is critical. You can have an incredible product, if it doesn’t solve a major problem, no one will buy it.
    • Stay focused, target only one vertical while your small. You don’t have the time and the resources to target several ones even if your product is technically able to solve several market’s problems.
    • Find a solution to a current problem your technology solves, go step by step to achieve your bigger vision.
    • Share a clear and simple message. Add use cases and applications.
    • Entry barriers is human: develop education and certification programs to make users your champions.
    • Appear bigger than you are. It will bring you more levers while speaking to potential clients, partners, … And tell a story bigger than you, sell a market vision instead of a product.
    • Make space around you for other players to make money. They’ll eventually become your partners.

One type of exit: selling your company, with Nicolas Maquaire

Last but not least, Nicolas Maquaire, VP Product management @Salesforce and former CEO and founder of EntropySoft -which he sold to Salesforce was kind enough to share his story. Here is what to keep in mind for a successful exit:

    • As soon as one company approaches you, pitch out to the competition and create a bidding war. You must have several term sheets in front of you before signing one.
    • Remember that time is critical: you’ll be negotiating mostly alone versus a Merger and Acquisition team.
    • Near the end of the process, millions will be spent on negotiating your acquisition which will give you more leverage.
    • Pay attention to your title if you stay with your acquired company: it’s very important in the US as it will further allow or deny you access to strategic meetings.
    • If you stay in charge of your product, make sure you’re able to keep your current developers..

Pitch Session with Axelle Lemaire and French Touch Conference

No time to forget their pitch for our entrepreneurs. On Tuesday night, they had the opportunity to pitch their solutions to the French Minister for Digital Affairs Axelle Lemaire, who took advantage of a two day tour in Silicon Valley to meet with our startups.

The Minister frequently asked sharp questions to our entrepreneurs during the event which took place in Contract Live‘s offices in San Francisco, who is one of our many successful ubi i/o alumni’ s from 2014.

A few of our startups flew to NY last week, as well as the Minister, for La French Touch Conference which gathers annually the whole French Tech ecosystem in the US that lasts two days. Giroptic gave a speech on Hardware ventures while Adways and Evercontact had been selected to pitch for the best spreading startup in the US. This was performed in front of Axelle Lemaire, and French Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron, not to mention a lot of reputable corporate executives and entrepreneurs.

And the winner is, Evercontact! Who impressed the whole crowd with their solution and did a spectacular job with their pitch. From start to finish, we’re not kidding when we say we select only the ‘‘BEST’’ 8 French Tech startups!

You’re more than welcome to join us on Tuesday June 30th for our closing ceremony of ubi i/o’ s Demo Day, a last night to celebrate our companies’ huge accomplishments.

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