On September 25th 2017, the annual meeting of the leaders of the 2016-2017 promotion of the French Tech Pass winners was held at the Hôtel de Matignon in Paris. The Secretary of State to the French Prime Minister for the Digital Economy, Mounir MAHJOUBI, awarded Cooptalis the official diploma of winner of the 2016-2017 promotion of the French Tech Pass. Edouard PHILIPPE, Prime Minister, was also present at the ceremony. Interview with Olivier DESURMONT, President of Cooptalis.
The French Tech Pass is a national programme to support companies in hyper-growth. The partners of this programme uniquely offer prioritised accelerated premium services specific to these companies.
Cooptalis joins the ranks of French Tech Pass's eco-system thanks to its ability to innovate in the international mobility market and its exponential growth since its creation in 2012.
This distinction will allow Cooptalis to benefit from special support in the next stages of its development.
Where is Cooptalis today?
Olivier DESURMONT: Created in September 2012, Cooptalis has just celebrated its fifth anniversary and currently has 300 employees. We are expecting a turnover of about 12 million euros for this year. The company’s headquarters are in Lille, we also have French offices in Paris, Lyon and Toulouse and between now and the end of the year we will open in Nice and Aix en Provence. Internationally we operate in Morocco, Tunisia and Vietnam.
What was behind Cooptalis obtaining the French Tech Pass?
O.D: The French Tech Pass rewards companies in hyper-growth that also have a digital aspect.
Since its formation, Cooptalis has been growing at an exponential rate. We are doubling in size each year. In 2016, our turnover was 6 million euros, we expect to reach 12 million this year, and to exceed 22 million in 2018. The French Tech Pass primarily rewards this growth.
It also rewards our disruptive side. We are innovative in our market and breaking old paradigms. We are now providing a service that no one else offers, full management of international mobility projects for candidates and companies.
We also have an internal project that provides us entry into the digital world. In terms of recruitment, today we are doing our job very professionally but also very traditionally. We are digitising our mode of operation.
These three elements explain our French Tech Pass.
Of the various French Tech Pass themes, which one applies to Cooptalis?
O.D: We are in the world of Human Resources. The HR world is undergoing great changes with recruitment methods and tools changing profoundly. There are various digital tools coming onto the market, new methodologies, the grouping of 2.0 tools such as LinkedIn. This is our universe.
What is the point of being labelled French Tech?
O.D: The label is a reward for all the teams.
In this collective adventure, the label represents recognition of everyone's work, we are all very proud internally to have received it. We were invited to Matignon to meet the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Digital Economy, highlights that are a distinction shared by all employees.
The label has also confirmed that we are on the right track and are positioned correctly. We are in the right place at the right time.
At the award ceremony, the introductory theme tackled by Mounir MAHJOUBI, Frederic MAZELLA (Blablacar) and Edouard PHILIPPE was the challenge of internationalising human resources. How can talent be attracted from wherever it is? How can French people looking for professional experience abroad be supported, or how can we go and search for talent from outside our borders and bring it to France? Edouard PHILIPPE quite rightly pointed out that the French are bad exporters. In UK or German companies, 40% of the workforce is of foreign origin. In France, it is less than 10%. French companies are not configured to go international. The globalisation of resources is an important political and societal issue. The baseline of Cooptalis is 'Talent is Borderless', so we are at the heart of this perspective.
This opening speech, which explained our industry, has confirmed for us the fact that we are on the right track.
The French Tech label is also a fantastic showcase. About two hundred and fifty people were present at the ceremony; we met people from Bpifrance, investment funds, and also public services. All these actors are there to help us develop, to structure, and sometimes to facilitate certain administrative procedures. Additionally, private banks and investment funds are at the forefront of our growth strategy today. We now need the support of financial partners which will allow us access to the means to fulfil our ambitions.
What will the French Tech Pass bring you from today?
O.D: We are already starting to feel the first effect of the Pass. It's a whole ecosystem that is put into motion. We have more visibility with the media. We participate in national and international events as part of missions organised by Business France. It's a real boost for the company. We are only five years old, we are still young and need to progress. The Pass gives us a certain legitimacy with the banks and all our partners, allowing us to move faster and bolster our entire ecosystem.
What are your short and medium term projects?
O.D: The company’s goal is to become the world reference in terms of expatriation. Our aim is that when a person anywhere in the world wants to expatriate or is just thinking about an international mobility project their first thought is Cooptalis. Today, potential expatriates are left to their own devices; information is dispersed, they do not know where to find job offers, how to obtain a visa or manage everything related to the move. We have therefore aggregated all these topics at Cooptalis over the five years and are starting to reproduce this on a global level.
The future for Cooptalis is to continue its development in France but above all to deploy its activities in other countries. We are already doing this in Morocco, Vietnam and Tunisia, and we plan to do so in Canada, Germany and England in 2018. We have listed between twenty and thirty countries in which we wish to establish ourselves in the next twenty years. The ambition in terms of growth is strong and if we want to become the world reference, this has to be through international development.
Will you rely on local partners for this?
O.D: We have already started meeting local partners. For example, we went to Senegal to meet the Employment Minister. Working with French, European and local institutions is essential. We have signed a partnership with Anapec in Morocco (equivalent of a job centre), and we work together on the mobility of Moroccan talent. The support of French institutions is definitely an asset to creating foreign links.
What about your digitalisation?
O.D: Digitalisation is the second largest theme of our development. The growth of the company can only be accomplished digitally. We are reinventing our business. Today, our points of contact with our customers are our website and our collaborators.
We want to create a digital contact point with an international platform so that anyone with an expatriation project can connect to our platform and directly find the answers to their questions.
This is an important project; we have budgeted several million Euros in investments over the coming years, and we will deploy a lot of effort and energy. This is the cornerstone of the Cooptalis project over the next two to three years.
Are you planning fundraisers?
O.D: We are a profitable company and we are growing very fast. There is a real need as there are many expatriation candidates in the job market and all over the world they are looking for solutions. Furthermore, companies looking to attract talent do not know how to go about it. We must therefore move quickly on these themes to meet this demand. With ambitions as strong as ours, we need a little fuel and to search for money. Our results are very satisfactory but not sufficient to support the growth. We are doubling in size each year and this requires cash. In addition, digital investments or opening agencies in France and abroad also requires significant funds amounting to millions of Euros. Our development strategy is focused not only on endogenous but also exogenous growth. We are considering several acquisitions, the first of which should be completed by the end of the year. It is an exciting adventure for the company that will provide structure but it also requires finance. So we need to raise funds.
We are preparing to raise an amount that varies between 10 and 20 million euros. We are meeting actors from the North of France and from the Paris region. The reception has so far always been very positive.
How do you envisage the future of Cooptalis?
O.D: We are fortunate to have great prospects. Our experience speaks for us. We are also an experienced and determined team. We are privileged to have many internal talents, the company does not rely solely on a single person, we really work as a team. We have only been in existence for five years and already have a certain maturity, we are in an interesting market; we have fantastic prospects, a proven economic model and a proficient committed team.
Cooptalis has a collective responsibility of which all employees are aware. We have the ability to change the lives of people who approach us. This is an important responsibility. There is a real human dimension in our teams that everyone shares. We have real values we stand for and which everyone has taken on board. Diversity, commitment, audacity and pleasure.
Learn more : La French Tech
Photo : © Mathieu Delmestre