This is a wonderful story of a self-financed company that has built itself up to $10 million in profitable revenue. Led by Christophe Bach, an experienced and successful serial entrepreneur, it’s a text-book case study of effective bootstrapping.
Sramana: Christophe, to start, tell me your back story. Where are you from, where were you born?
Christophe: I am the Co-Founder and CEO of TextMe and prior to TextMe, I co-founded three companies in Europe. I was born and raised in Paris, France. I have been living between Paris and San Francisco for the last 15 years.
Sramana: Did you do college, university in Paris as well?
Christophe: Yes, I did.
Sramana: What is your background? Is it a technical background or business background?
Christophe: I went to an engineering school. They now call it Polytechnique.
Sramana: What did you do after polytechnique?
Christophe: I did polytechnique and then telecommunications school. In my last year in the telecom school, I went to San Francisco as an intern in ’94. It was around the time when the Internet was being commercialized. I stayed in San Francisco and learned what the Internet was. Coming back to France in 1995, I co-founded a company named ISDnet, one of the first Internet access providers in France. It was very successful and was acquired by Cable & Wireless in late 1999.
After this successful experience, with the same co-founders, I started another company named Ipergy. This company’s goal was to launch a telecommunication backbone network throughout Europe and that continued between 1999 and 2000. This company was also acquired by Cable & Wireless in 2001. After that, I founded another company named B3G, which was a VOIP provider in the corporate segment. This company was acquired by a French carrier in 2009. After that, I relocated to San Francisco in 2009 and that is when I started TextMe in 2010.
Sramana: All right. Let’s move to Julien and get your background. Where were you born? Where were you raised?
Julien: I was born in France as well and that’s where I grew up. I, like Christophe, have a double education. I have a finance degree in France, and I also went to Berkeley for grad school. I am quite an Americanized French person. I lived in the U.S. for 12 years, did a year of high school in the U.S. and then grad school afterwards. My background is mostly in the online space. My first job was with Amazon.com and I worked for about five years with Amazon. I went to school and then ended up joining eBay in corporate strategy. One thing led to another, and eBay bought Skype. My boss became the CEO and asked me to come over to help. I spent just under six years with Skype, running what became a strategy business under the M&A group. I left Skype about a year ago because I was very impressed with the gentleman we are speaking to and I decided to join TextMe full-time at the beginning of 2013.