Entrepreneurs have done crowd funding before the term crowd funding existed. Ludovic’s story is a very interesting case in point.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by going to the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Ludovic Huraux: I was born in Paris in 1982. I’m almost 34 years old. I’ve worked in finance with a private equity firm. I was very lucky to be involved in a fund. I was only 22 years old back then and I had a lot of responsibilities. I was a Board Member of a company with hundreds of employees. I just wanted to create my own company.
My mother was very happy that I had a good job and that there is no need to worry about me. But I wanted to leave my job, even if it was very interesting. I wanted to create my own company. I had an idea every month. I would make a business plan and go to see my friend to share my business plan.
In the end, I stayed with the private equity firm because I had a very good salary and I was a Board Member. I thought that maybe I had to wait, at least, five years. I had this idea about dating. It was in 2007. This time, I made the business plan and went to my friends. My friends told me, “Stop talking about new ideas if you don’t have the courage to quit your job and launch your own company.” They prodded me and finally, I quit my job to build the dating website called Attractive World.
The idea behind that is there was only one dating website in France at that time. The company was very profitable. In 2007, it was very rare to have a tech company which was profitable. I thought that it’s not possible to have just one dating website in the market because single people have very different expectations. Some people want serious relationships. Some people just want a one-night relationship. People have very different lifestyles. I thought that the market was going to be segmented and, maybe, I had the opportunity to create a dating website in the premium market.
I had this idea where people will be accepted by the members in the community to use the website. It will be more of a community of single people rather than a simple dating website. I started to develop the website. My best friend invested a little bit in the company. It was so difficult because I didn’t know anything about the Internet. I didn’t have anybody who knew about tech and marketing in tech. I tried to do my best, but I made a lot of mistakes. When we launched the website, it didn’t work very well, but it was very good timing.