An off-kilter way of seeing things in a universe where speaking of business models and viability is sometimes seen as a kind of French archaic pastime, somewhat “old hat” coming from someone who just hasn’t got what’s at stake in this innovative universe of startups and new technologies.
Stéphanie, who laughingly calls herself the grocer, gave us a unexpectedly raw talk – sincere, effective and straight to the point.
Her history is one of a pivot which took place in the space of a month and a half.
After an adventure-packed 4 years and 1 million in funds raised from big Business Angels such as Xavier Niel, Marc Simoncini and Jacques-Antoine Granjon, Stéphanie and her team were on the edge of a precipice: yes, their product for online real-time restaurant reservation was generating turnover…. but not enough.
Meanwhile, the funds raised had dissipated. Finding themselves at the foot of a wall, they started from scratch and reinvented a new model within 24 hours!
“We ended up all over the place, with a wide focus and developing too many features. You’ve got to stay simple, build on one product, with a precise offer that can be sold within a well-defined and adapted distribution network” she explains.
Two months after this change in direction, they were off again, they’d once again raised the bar by reaching 1 million in turnover for 2012.
Thanks to her positive energy, Stéphanie succeeded ” with the help of an effective and loyal team“, she adds.
“Too often startups and companies have been split up into two different ideas, too often leaving the question of viability to one side. For me, not asking yourself how you’re going to be viable is a big mistake!“
In any case, this model and action plan fitted with her, and by example, she made sure her offering involved a physical product (a subscriber card that enables users to dine free of charge in selected restaurants).
Don’t be fooled by 40 people from Parisian Tech Ecosystem congratulating you…
Stéphanie alerts the hushed entrepreneurs here at Le Camping to the dangers of evolving within an ecosystem which supports them but can also separate them from reality: “Faced with about a hundred people evolving in similar circles within the Parisian tech ecosystem, we can easily get the idea that our product is awesome, but careful now, you shouldn’t get carried away!“
Two proverbs drive her life: “The innocent shall inherit the earth” and “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof“. These both enable her to keep going from day to day, in order to pragmatically succeed and reach her relentless dream.
And it works as we see that Restopolitan and their 35 staff members generate a turnover of one million euros for the year 2012, with international development underway starting with Luxembourg.
“Luck plays its role as well, but you have to know how to bring it to the surface. What’s important is to have someone who gives off positive energy to all those around them. This is the aura that a manager has that gets people moving, and that’s the start of a beautiful adventure!“