And He’s Off to San Francisco!
As you may have heard, after a successful new round of a cool $1M to accelerate our expansion, Evercontact founder and CEO Philippe Laval is heading to San Francisco to participate in the UBI i/o immersion program and to lay the groundwork for a West coast Evercontact office in Q3.
Amazingly, despite years of heavyweight experience focused on language-powered search & productivity services as founder of Sinequa, Kwaga and Evercontact, and a few short stays in the Bay Area, this is Philippe’s first official company visit. Besides meeting up in person with Evercontact partners and clients – and there are quite a few as over 80% of our users are located in the US – he is looking forward to working from an actual office and avoiding the dreaded “free wifi but battery running low” battle for a table near the power outlets at the local Starbucks!
Our not-at-all-jealous team members decided that it would be interesting for Philippe to document both his expectations and fresh reactions to cultural and business differences between France and the US. Besides a fun story, we are hoping to pick up some valuable tips that could be useful for other businesses in expansion mode.
A few questions for Philippe to set the stage:
What are you hoping to accomplish in your time in the Bay Area? What will make your trip a successful one for Evercontact?
- Find ways to grow Evercontact user base by getting some of this SV marketing magic that we lack so much in France – this of course includes getting as many distribution/OEM deals as humanly possible;
- Recruit (or get adopted) by one or two advisors/mentors with awesome track record;
- Open a local office and recruit talent.
What West coast based companies inspired you to create Evercontact?
Of course, there are a ton of fantastic companies that started up in the Bay Area, but two really meant a lot to me personally, and inspired me to strive for a similarly excellent service in Evercontact: Xobni and Evernote.
Xobni’s early (in internet years, 2007!) creation of an Outlook tool whose language-based interpretation of emails (linguistics + semantics) allowed users to easily view important information for their contacts, and that definitely inspired us to rise to the challenge as well!
And for Evernote, it’s not just the name 😉 I am a longtime user and it is amazing how they took something that most people do every day – taking notes – and made a perfect product that I continue to use every day.
What meetings and events are you looking forward to attending?
Of course there are great options for online meetings these days and we can do a lot with that, but getting to put a live face to a name and have a chance to get to know partners outside of business discussions is always a bonus. I’m really excited to meet with our partners (and hopeful new partners!) in person including Salesforce, IBM, Samsung, Oracle, Microsoft, and current and potential distribution partners FrontApp, ToutApp, AppDirect, ProsperWorks, and Nimble.
We want to have strong relationships with our CRM and integration partners — not just for pleasant working conditions but also we love to have lots of feedback as to how Evercontact is used by clients and get some input into new services or messaging that would be helpful for their entire user base.
It is amazing how you can try to think of every possible use or improvement but what happens in real life to people using your service changes everything! For example, real estate was not a market that we really targeted at the beginning, and it turns out they find our daily automated service incredibly useful since they reach out a lot by phone and email and their client information can change quickly. In general, we really seek out as much feedback as possible.
Also really looking forward to networking opportunities with similar businesses and potential partners including The Startup Conference and Venturescape, and of course enjoying what I assume will be a swanky affair at the French Embassy 🙂
And, perhaps most importantly, do you prefer black or pinto beans?
I will have to report back on that!
***Philippe will be checking in regularly for “A French Entrepreneur in the Spiritual Homeland” updates. And, while he is there, he would love it if his personal Evercontact service was hard at work behind the scenes adding lots of new contacts to his own address book 🙂 So please get in touch with any partnership suggestions or local tips!***
Bon Voyage Philippe!
…in other words
Have an Awesome Trip, Dude!