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Building a Global Software Company from France: BonitaSoft CEO Miguel Valdés-Faura (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 21st 2013

Sramana: How many people do you have in San Francisco versus France?

Miguel Valdés-Faura: In France we have our headquarters and engineering based in one location, and our sales and marketing based in Paris. We have 70 people in our headquarters and 30 people in Paris. We have 25 people in the US, most of them in San Francisco. We also have some consultants that are based around the country. In total there are 125 people.

Sramana: When did you start generating revenues?

Miguel Valdés-Faura: We started in 2010. Our sales machine ramped up in 2010 and 2011 was our first full year of sales. We basically spent the first 10 months of 2010 preparing the funnel. We connected our website with analytic tools and we put all the processes in place.

Sramana: How have your sales and growth progressed?

Miguel Valdés-Faura: The target has been ambitious from the beginning and we are delivering on that. We are growing at a rate of over 100% worldwide. Some geographies are growing over 200%. In 2011 and 2012 we had over 100% growth and we fully expect the same in 2013.

Sramana: What is your impression of the startup environment in France right now?

Miguel Valdés-Faura: It is better than what you would expect it to be if you read the news. In the US people are saying that everything is terrible in France. In France I have personally met the Minister of Innovation who takes time to meet with entrepreneurs. I can tell you that for me France is still one of the top two countries in Europe for innovation along with Germany and the UK. No doubt about that.

The Government is still helping a lot. They are helping people create companies and innovate. There has been some news in the past 6 to 8 months that the Government has made decisions that could impact innovation in France. I am happy because I am seeing signs from the Government that they are changing their positions. They are spending time with investors and entrepreneurs. It is not as good for companies as it was four years ago because of the difficulty with the economy, but I am seeing positive signs. There are some good moves being made to allow investors from around the world to invest in French startups.

Sramana: How many French technology companies are getting some level of traction?

Miguel Valdés-Faura: I am seeing a lot of them, such as Neolane. The investor in Neolane is also an investor in BonitaSoft. I am seeing different people and the good thing is I am seeing a lot of young people building companies around big data. I am seeing a lot of know-how in France. Some of them are coming to the US to create companies here.

Sramana: That has been the case for a long time. There is a very significant French entrepreneurial tradition. I know many of them quite well. I think that phenomena has been very prevalent in the Valley.

Miguel Valdés-Faura: That is true. We cannot compare the French economy with the US economy. It is difficult to become the worldwide leader in the software industry if you are outside of the US. If you look at the case of BonitaSoft, it may be hard to believe that there is a software company that got 30 million dollars from French investors. Even if I am not French by birth, I have spent most of my life outside of Spain. I work with investors and the Government to make this investment pattern a habit. I am happy that the Government is working with people like me. It is one of the top three countries in Europe to curate innovation.

Sramana: Thank you for your time and willingness to share your story. Best of luck as you press forward.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Building a Global Software Company from France: BonitaSoft CEO Miguel Valdés-Faura
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