Episode #2 with Florian Douetteau CEO of Dataiku

As you should know if you listened to either the trailer or first episode of With a Mentor, NextGen is a collaboration between large corporations and startups. In the first episode, I sat down with the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in France (AmCham) Alain Bénichou who is also IBM’s Global Vice President of Strategy & Solutions and Former CEO of IBM France. If you haven’t listened to this episode, it is 30 minutes of your time which you will get back ten-fold in valuable insight and experience.

In the second episode of With a Mentor, I sat down with Florian Douetteau, an early member of NextGen and the founder and CEO of Dataiku – a fast growing French startup. After more than a decade working in big data for companies including Exalead, IsCool and Criteo he decided it was time to start his own company. In this mentorship session, Florian discusses his progress from employee to startup founder, how Dataiku is working to become a global software company, and his approach to growing a successful tech-startup.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why Florian was drawn to big data after leaving school.
  • What drove him to leave his job and start his own business.
  • How he found his three co-founders, what you should look for in a co-founder, and how you build co-founder relationships that will lead to success.
  • We look at how Dataiku grew from four co-founders to 48 employees in two years, what surprised him over the last 2 years and competing with US competitors.
  • We discuss what it takes to be a successful B2B startup and how he is focused on increasing Dataiku’s growth year over year.
  • Florian describes one of his “fist pump moment” when he really felt some of the success of Dataiku.
  • We discuss how Dataiku is helping other startups like BlaBlaCar and Captain Train as well as larger companies like Vente Privée and GRDF leverage data to grow their business.
  • Florian talks about his ambition to create a major software company from France in a world where most major softwares today are American.
  • We discuss how the United States plays into Dataiku’s growth strategy and how he think the US office will one day be bigger than the French office.
  • We talk about how to raise money in France and Florian explains his strategy around investor relations and approach.
  • I ask Florian about the investment pitch process, how to prepare and how to succeed.
  • We discuss our thoughts on the French startup eco-system, how it’s changing and the growth of early stage funding and support.
  • Florian shares his view on what he thinks is missing in the French startup eco-system and what is needed to help the eco-system grow to the next level.
  • I ask him about his approach to getting things done and he shares his simple email system that allows him to get as much done as possible each week.
  • Florian discusses his typical day which is currently focused on recruiting high quality staff.
  • He discusses the books that have had an impact on him when building his company. He recommends listeners to read:
  • We discuss his mentors, how they have supported the companies growth and why he thinks it’s so important to mentor other entrepreneurs when possible.
  • Florian discuss how startups are not 2-3 year sprints but 5-10 years marathons.

You can reach out to Florian on Twitter at @fdouetteau and you can contact me – Jason McDonald – at @JMcDonaldIntl or via my company’s website at StringCan.fr. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast to make sure you don’t miss a mentorship session.

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