Founder Interview: tinyclues founder David Bessis on their big launch year and the importance of the team

Aug 16, 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 tinyclues founder David Bessis.

One area where that’s seeing a great deal of entrepreneurial activity is in big data. One of France’s rising stars in this area is tinyclues, offer a cloud-based predictive marketing SaaS platform that outperforms competing solutions by a margin of 25% to 40% in live A/B testing run by its clients. We wrote about them earlier this year when it was announced that they had been selected to Ubifrance’s French Tech Tour to Silicon Valley. They’ve had a strong year thus far, having achieved several important milestones such as the big launch of their real-time service platform and landing some very high-profile clients. founder David Bessis elaborates in our August founder interview series.

db_bwWhat have been the big accomplishments for tinyclues since the beginning of the year?

Our real-time service platform went live in January: the shift from “proof-of-concept startup” to “24/7 live service provider” creates deep technological and organizational challenges — it was tough but we managed to sail through. The client feedback on our platform justifies the effort, and we’re delighted to see it used in daily CRM operations at major e-commerce players such as PriceMinister and Cdiscount.

What are your goals for the end of the year?

The biggest milestone for Q3 is the expected closing of our Series A funding round. Structuring our sales effort, structuring our service and support team, learning how to interact with many new clients while maintaining a very ambitious R&D agenda: this will keep us busy until the end of the year, and beyond!

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

You often read that what matters is the team: hiring the right people, finding the right way to collaborate. Well, the big lesson is: this is not just true, but unbelievingly, mind-blowingly true!

Very early in the company-building process, from the day the first employee walks through the door, an entrepreneur faces radical choices about how he/she will interact with the team. How much trust, how much sincerity, how much transparency are you ready to offer? These early choices will set the tone for the company’s culture, the general mood, the collaboration spirit. At tinyclues, we opted for maximum transparency, sharing even doubts and weaknesses, and being ready to be challenged. This early choice may have been our wisest decision ever, and proved critical to our achievements this year.

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

One advantage of being a fast growing startup is that a good fraction of the team joined this year — and won’t be taking much vacation time this summer ;-). Two interns became permanent employees in July, another intern joined on August 1st, another permanent employee will arrive mid-August: summer is a good moment for training new people. There may be one week or so near mid-August that is quiet on the sales front, but we’re still working hard, at 100% capacity, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a “down period”.