A B2B Marketplace for 20 Million European Companies: Interview with Gabriel Delpech, CEO and Founder of Europe Factory

I had an interview with Gabriel Delpech. He is CEO and founder of Europe Factory. Europe Factory is a B2B marketplace, dedicated to worldwide professional buyers, and suppliers of the European Union. It was founded in 2015, in Paris, France.

Techlist: First of all, please tell me about the story of Europe Factory. How did you the idea to start it? What is your mission for Europe Factory?

GabrielEurope Factory has been founded by myself, Gabriel Delpech, current CEO. I’ve been working for 10 years for French distribution as a professional Buyer for electrical goods. This experience taught me that finding a supplier in China is easy, as there is a lot of local sourcing companies and B2B marketplaces such as Alibaba that make quite easy to find one or more suppliers for any kind of products.

Then, as a French and European citizen, I told myself “why is there no such thing for Europe?”, while we have 28 countries (European Union speaking) and more than 20 million companies – mainly small ones. Moreover, it really makes sense for EU companies to trade between them when we list all the advantages: no duties, same currency for most of the countries, the geographical proximity which makes easier to meet and reduces cost and delays for delivery… It also makes sense for B2B Buyers outside of the EU, as European companies are known for delivering better quality products.

Then, the idea was to create the “European Alibaba”, as it is a B2B marketplace where only EU based companies can join as suppliers, while on Buyers side, it is opened to all countries. Our mission is to promote EU companies and help them to increase their sales.

Techlist: How it works and its business models?

Gabriel: In its first version, Europe Factory is a B2B marketplace that connects Suppliers and Buyers. Through their profiles and their catalog of products, services or savoir-faire, Suppliers can receive RFQ/RFI, and chat with buyers. We are thinking about adding an order management system in V2.

The current business model is based on subscriptions: if Suppliers want to get access to all functions, such as receiving messages, quotations… and publish many more products, they have the choice between monthly and annual subscriptions, starting at 29€. For the buyers, the access is totally free.

Techlist: What are advantages of Europe Factory its competitors?

Gabriel: The main advantage of Europe Factory is, as its name suggests it, that we are offering to the +20M of companies based in the EU a B2B marketplace dedicated to them, that will help them to get noticed and clearly identified as European companies, while on websites such as Alibaba, it is difficult for them to compete and exist.

Techlist: What is your future plan for it?

Gabriel: As previously said, we are working on a V2 that could bring an order management system and many improvements. And for that, we are looking for investors.

Techlist: Thank you Gabriel for sharing about your company.

Data from 1 Year Old Station F

The Station F, the world’s biggest startup campus in Paris, France released a data about its one-year activities.

  • Station F received 11,271 Startup applications in one year.
  • Top 10 countries that applied to join Station F are USA, UK, China, India, Germany, Spain, Canada, Brazil, Nigeria, and Belgium.
  • The average age of a Station F resident is 30,9 years old.
  • 40% of startups are female-founded.
  • 232 startups raised more than €250 million.
  • 8 Startups were acquired by big companies.

What is the best place in Europe to start a startup?

This is an answer by French online entrepreneur, Lise Slimane on Quora. I asked her permission and posted it here. She launched a website to help freelancers.

Lise: I’m french so I mostly know about French innovative clusters (and would recommend France for its infrastructure, low cost for hiring IT professionals and quality of their training, its quality of life, lower living expenses compared to hubs like London or Munich).
France and several European countries have created incentives for entrepreneurs with subventions, partnerships available with universities, and tax deduction if you invest 15% of your revenue in R&D. You can look up for specialized “clusters” (e.g.: space cluster Europe) and you will have ideas about what exists.
There is a strong advantage about starting in a smaller city (e.g.: Bordeaux): there are less start-ups, hence less difficulties to hire good engineers at a low cost (starts at 40K for a junior web developer), less competition for subventions and entries in incubators.

1. IT: London / Berlin / France (Paris, Sophia-Antipolis, Bordeaux)
2. Finance: London
3. Space: Toulouse, France
4. Robotics: Bordeaux (Aquitaine region in general)
5. Biotechnology: Germany – Bavarian region
6. Mechanical Engineering: Lyon (France), Germany, Belgium (Wallon region)
7. Electrical Engineering: Paris

Interview with Whoomies, an Innovative Roommate Searching App

I had a chance to interview with Lauren Dannay, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Whoomies, a roomate searching app.

Techlist: I heard that two co-founders started Whoomies in 2017. Tell me more about them. Who are they? How they get started Whoomies?

Lauren: The idea for Whoomies came out really naturally through a conversation with Alex, my best friend and co founder.

We have both moved abroad several times and ended up in the most nightmare situations! At that time, he was looking for a flatshare in London and, after his experiences in New York and Singapore, he knew that what really mattered to him was not only the quality of the apartment but also the roommates he was going to move-in with. Perfect timing, I was actually in a flatshare in Paris at that time, and was totally living out the same situation he wanted to avoid. It really dawned on us, if this has happened to us, it has definitely happened to everyone else! Why didn’t we do something about it?

So the idea for Whoomies initially started like this. I quitted my former job in Private Banking and Alex decided to stay in Paris! We started develop this idea of creating a “Tinder for roommates” but it has really evolved as we have come to know more about the housing market and through conversations with our users. We raised 300K€ and launched the app in Sept 17 in Paris and London.

Techlist: How Whoomies Apps work? What countries currently are you operating in?

Lauren: We wanted to make something that was young and playful and most of all super easy to use. Looking for roommates or an apartment is usually a daunting and tiring task, we wanted to change the way people viewed this process. Why couldn’t it be fun?

The Whoomies app brings a fun edge to an otherwise daunting task of finding a home.

The onboarding starts with “Chandler”, our chatbot. Users create profiles in a seamless way that allows our matching algorithm to select ideal flatmates for them. This is a theme that can be seen throughout the app, for example by the use of hashtags that users use to describe themselves in the app, instead of writing up a long bio, such as #Adventurer #CouchPotato #GymRat etc. So there really is an emphasis on the social element of looking for a place seen throughout Whoomies.

Users swipe on the app and begin searching for rooms with their matches. Further to this, the app also offers property listings that allows you find a new room or apartment to rent.

Whoomies covers 25 cities in France, and London.

Techlist: What makes Whoomies different from other services like Roomster or Diggz?

Lauren: Unlike other apps on the market, we flip the search on its head by focusing on people first. Whoomies is an app that aims to solve the issues of flat sharing. Our matching algorithm shows you people you would like to live with. These options can further be filtered by ages, school and nationality. So unlike Tinder you aren’t left with cramps in your thumbs after all that swiping! We then take it a step further and offer rooms on the app that you can filter to your needs and swipe to find rooms that you love.  From keeping track of your bills to pay each other with a simple tap via the app. Those services will be deployed by the end of this year.

With our chatbot, algorithm and easy-to-use interface, Whoomies offers  a unique and innovative user-experience.

We aim to be the one stop shop for everything that flatsharing entails.

Techlist: What is the future plan of Whoomies?

Lauren: Whoomies is made for everyone, no matter your age, if you are living or planning to in a flatshare, we want to help you make the most of this HUMAN and SOCIAL experience.

As said earlier, our vision is to go way further than offering flats and allowing people to match. We expect to offer in-app services to users that will help them manage their daily tasks and budgets with their flatmates and also their agent/landlord, while providing them special offers through partnerships – home services, moving companies, insurances..

The response to Whoomies has been overwhelming, and we expect to grow into other major cities in Europe and in the US, the market is there!

Techlist: In closing, would you like to add anything?

Lauren: Download Whoomies (IOS & Android) to discover roommates meant to live with you! 

Techlist: Thank you so much Lauren for sharing about your company. I wish your company have all the success in 2018.

Interview with Help My Bike President and Co-Founder Gregory Pigierm

I had an interview with Gregory Pigier, he is president and co-founder of Help My Bike.

TechList: Firstly, how your services work? In which areas?

Gregory Pigier: Help My Bike is a mobile bike repair service in Paris. Our repairman comes to you to fix your bike. With the service, we want to help people using bike in there day to day life, from commuting to cycling competition or triathlon.

Bike maintenance could be a big issue in Paris and moving your bike to a shop can be very difficult. For example you cannot travel with your bike in Paris underground.

Now, thanks to our responsive website (www.helpmybike.fr), you simply indicate what ‘s the issue with your bike, where you need the maintenance to happen (at your office, your home..).

Then, we meet you and your bike at the planned address and time.

TechList: How did you get this business idea to get started?

Gregory Pigier: Bike maintenance could be a nightmare in big cities. I’m a city cyclist and was using my bike to commute every day. I see how difficult it could be to have an appointment in your local shop and to move your bike to it!

You cannot travel with a bike in the underground so how do you do if you have flat tire and nothing to repair?

We decided to make bike riders life easier with the repair shop going to you!

TechList: How much do you charge for a bike? Is there any additional cost?

Gregory Pigier: We can execute all type of repairing from the simplest one to full bike check up, installation of a new cassette or chain.

Most of the time we call our customer to understand the type of bike they have and what is the exact issue or necessary bike parts we need to bring.

Cost depends on the type of issue and work, as examples flat tire is 12€, bike complete check up is 50€ just like a traditional repair shop.

TechList: Who are your repairers? How many repairers do you have?

Gregory Pigier: We decided to have our own employees to propose a high level of service.

Our repairers all have a bike maintenance certificate (they all go and pass through a CQP French certificate that guarantees their knowledge in bike repair).

Currently we have two repairers working in Paris and suburb.

TechList: What is future plans for your services?

Gregory Pigier: The future for us is to propose our bike repair service to more and more people.

To do so, we target to work more with companies. We come one day each month, the commuters employees come with their bike, we do the repair work while they are working and the get home with a repaired bike. Great, isn’t it!

Interview with City-Drop: One Way Car Rentals in Europe

City-Drop is a startup specializing in the rental of commercial vehicles in one-way, it operate by collaborative move when the person reserves a vehicle from one destination to another. I’ve held an interview with City-Drop.

TechList: Firstly, tell me about founders, Who are they?

City-Drop: City-Drop is a young startup was established in Paris in 2015 by Félix Nguyen, Christophe Gerbeaud and Frederic Dubois, quickly grew to become a major startup in the rental of vehicles one way with very low price.

TechList: Who started get this idea and why?

City-Drop: Starting from the observation that the rental of one-way utility is expensive, Based on the current trend of collaborative and sharing, we have imagined an innovative concept connecting individuals to each other. we decide to set up a solution that can change this situation.

In 2014, it creates an activity to serve people wishing to move from one region to another at a lower cost and without having to make the return trip. The idea collects positive feedback Félix, Christphe and Frederic officially launche they start-up City-Drop in January 2015.

TechList: Please explain me about how city-drop works?

City-Drop: City-Drop is a national and international network of vehicle specialists in all service locations with the right knowledge for the best transport solutions to fully support business and particular needs.

The company offers users a platform that reduces rental costs by offering one-way trips only.

The customer reserves a vehicle on the site from one destination to another and City-Drop is responsible for finding an individual who moves in the opposite direction.

The customer reserves, picks up the vehicle at the agency, makes the move and gives the vehicle to another user who then gives it to City-Drop. Thus, both customers benefit from the best rates.

Nowdays our customer benefit from technology that allows them to unlock their vehicle using their smartphone.

You can download the application from the apple store or play store for free. The provisional identifiers will be communicated to the user during the reservation and he will only have to modify them during the first connection.

An hour before the start of customer rental, the application will offer you the ability to locate the vehicle, open it, close it, and recover the key in the cabin.

In order to guarantee our customer a rental in a perfect condition, the application allows them to make an inventory of the vehicle with photos, to note the mileage as well as the fuel level.

TechList: Currently, how many vehicles registered with your company, in which countries?

City-Drop: Currently our company represent a combined total of over 120 vehicles in 6 countries like ( Spain-Italie-Germany-Belgium-United kingdom- Portugal…).

TechList: What are the future plan of city-drop?

City-Drop: Carmen Busquets said, “for me, the winning strategy in any start-up business is, ‘Think big but start small.” We share the same idea and we still face the challenge of creating high-performing, adaptable work environments that enable productivity critical to navigating unpredictable growth on our road to commercial viability.

We plan to invest in more advanced technology to enhance our services

We are looking for: vehicles suitable for Natural Gas vehicles include more and more technology “start and stop” to reduce fuel consumption and therefore the rejection of CO2 when driving the vehicle.

And of course we are looking to be represented in whole the world.

TechList: So, thank you so much City-Drop for sharing about your team and company. I wish your company have all the success in 2018.