❤️ About love : The 5 reasons I am joining folk as CEO
We've launched 23 independent businesses at eFounders and, whereas I will continue being fully involved at eFounders, I decided to become the CEO of one of our new ventures. It goes against our core philosophy at eFounders - our main concern being to make our companies independent from the studio as quickly as possible. We usually come with the idea, partner with a couple of founders, build an MVP, experience the market, hire a team and get the company financed so that it becomes autonomous after 12 to 18 months. And it's actually working pretty well. So you might be wondering why I decided to change things this time around? The short answer: it's all about love ♥️
Love the team
Starting a company is a human adventure. When I met Cyril - CTO and cofounder at folk - we shared an instant connection. He is smart, charismatic, and product-minded. I started meeting with great cofounders to take the business role at folk alongside him. But the more people I met, the more I pictured myself taking on the challenge of launching folk. Cyril and I quickly realized we could make a great pair. As early as July, we decided to stop looking for a business founder.
Even if eFounders has a very active role in hiring the first key people of a new project, the final decision belongs to the founders. It can be frustrating at times, but it works. This time it's entirely up to us. In the last three months, Yann and Renaud joined the team to help on the product side. I also hired Simo to join us on the business side, he will play a key-role at folk since I won’t be able to dedicate 100% of my time to the project. We're only the 5 of us for now, and already I couldn’t be happier to have gathered such a great team. We aim at remaining a small team while we build the best product possible. We're obviously being helped by eFounders' amazing core team without which none of this could have been possible.
Love the product
We created the first version of the product as an internal tool for eFounders. At the time, it was called ContactX and it allowed us to manage our network collaboratively. We'd use it mostly for investors, experts, pilots, alumni, employees, and journalists. To this day, it remains the internal product that brought the most value to our organization. A few years ago we tried to launch a first version of folk as an independent product. We had gathered a great team with Noé Malzieu and Ronan Gouello, but failed to approach the product the right way. I learned a lot from this experience and I took the challenge to start everything over again.
Inspired by a new wave of productivity tools like Slite, Notion, Airtable, and Superhuman - I completely rethought folk. We wrote the first line of codes in June, and since then everything has moved very fast. Product-lovers can easily understand why folk is exciting: reinventing a product that everybody knows - the contact manager - and extending it into a product that no-one has ever imagined is a monumental task.
Love the Mission
I personally believe contacts are hugely valuable to individuals and teams. It's common wisdom: your network is your net worth. Yet contacts have always been stuck in address books or spreadsheets which are dead lists of contacts. A new wave of productivity tools has emerged making it easier to deal with contacts. And even if we love these tools very much, they're generic and consider contacts like any other objects. Contacts can't yet be treated as a number, a URL, or an address on any spreadsheet. They're living objects requiring a specific approach and a dedicated application. We're on a mission to give to contacts the application they deserve.
Love the market
Even though we've launched quite interesting businesses with top-down approach at eFounders, like Upflow or Spendesk, I've always been excited by productivity software with bottom-up approaches like Station or Slite. folk is innately a product designed for individuals and build for teams. folk's generic but contact-centric approach and the depth of use cases covered open the opportunity to disrupt a lot of contact-centric tools used by businesses to manage candidates, clients, suppliers, investors, donators, journalists etc. There is a huge addressable market, with little to no competition. There might be the opportunity to create a new software category and create a new untapped market.
Love the experience
We have partnered with more than 30 founders in the last 8 years. Every time we worked with them everyday during more than a year - acting as cofounders - to transform an idea into an independent company. What could be more exciting than, for once, taking the role of a cofounder and understanding what it's like to interact with eFounders. It can only be a great experience. Even if we, as eFounders, come with a pretty clear vision of the original product, this vision evolves over time, resulting in strategic decisions for the product and the go-to-market strategy. We don’t always agree with those decisions, we say it loud but ultimately the decision belongs to our founders. Personally, this can be a bit frustrating at times but as the CEO of the company I will be able to take the decisions and take full responsibility for them.
This double role at both eFounders and folk obviously raises questions. We're discussing it a lot with my partners at eFounders. I don’t want them to believe it is a getaway, but rather a way for us to experience something new. I really think both jobs are compatible and can bring value to each other. We'll see how it works in the future.
In the mean time, if you’re looking to get the most out of your network and experience first-hand our new approach to contact management, you can sign up to our beta. The folk beta is on invitation-only, for now 😉