Founder Interview: Appsfire’s Yann Lechelle on building a great product & Silicon Valley expansion

Aug 8, 2013
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Throughout the month of August, the Rude Baguette will be running a series of interviews with some of France’s top and rising entrepreneurs, where they’ll share their reflections on their year thus far, their plans through the end of the year and how they manage their businesses through the August down period.  In this installment, we talk with Yann Lechelle, Cofounder, COO/CTO at Appsfire.

We’ve written before about France’s very strong position in the apps discovery space which certainly went through its ups and downs this year. One of France’s star startups that continues to grow leaps and bounds, establishing itself as a global leader in the space is Appsfire. With over 10 million downloads, a very strong recurring user base, various high-profile customers, and no shortage of fans in the development community, they continue to stand-out in an increasingly competitive space. I recently asked cofounder and COO/CTO Yann Lechelle to share his reflexions on his business for our August entrepreneur interview series:

What have been the big accomplishments for Appsfire since the beginning of the year?

yann lechelleAppsfire has been on a roll since the beginning of the year. Our pioneering discovery app (since 2009 on iOS) gets more refined with each new iteration and now enjoys a very strong multi-million recurring user base, with a large fraction using it daily to discover new apps and great deals. For the power users, we’ve introduced in-app-purchase premium features, including the popular “remove all ads” which turns the app into a 100% ad-free discovery experience, as well as a power filter that uses our secret App Score quality formula.Perhaps most importantly, we’ve expanded our B2B service offering to cover the entire developer/publisher app life-cycle: discover, acquire, engage and monetize. To that effect, we’ve become a one-stop shop for app developers that are looking for growth.

What are your goals for the end of the year?

On the product side, we will be working hard to add more value on all fronts! Also, we’ll be opening a new office in the heart of Silicon Valley at the end of the month…

Operationally, Q4 is traditionally very busy for us as publishers desperately want to capture the attention of new users around the Winter holiday season (between Cyber Monday and Christmas). The month of December is typically booked months ahead…

What have you learned this year that you think every entrepreneur should know?

Every entrepreneur probably knows that the name of the game is endurance. We’ve worked hard to not take any shortcut, keeping the bar high to only provide premium services, and only working with premium partners and providers. Time after time, this strategy keeps paying off for us. And so every once in a while, we remind ourselves of this fact, and keep at it; even if this means killing a product, or saying no to a client. Every entrepreneur should know and be reminded of that; every day choices will have an enduring impact down the line.

How does your company handle vacation & the August down period?

August is not down for us; we operate in a 24/7/365 environment, across all time zones. 2/3 of our staff is based in Paris, the rest in Tel Aviv. While we’re very flexible in terms of vacation planning and even telecommute, we try to make sure that no-one is off for more than 2 weeks at a time, and that anyone working on a project has a co-pilot ready to pick up the load in the interim if need be. Generally speaking, I encourage (French) employees to take their vacation days gradually during the year, to avoid having to take large chunks at once.