[Made in Aix-Marseille] GwiidO, The Babel Community …
From the start-up GwiidO, via The Babel Community, an overview of economic and digital news with Audrey Debraine, FrenchWeb correspondent in Aix-Marseille.
Presentation of the GwiidO mobile application, scheduled for release in April 2018, with its founder Julien Saiani.
Audrey Debraine, FrenchWeb correspondent: What is the concept of GwiidO?
Julien Saiani, founder of GwiidO: GwiidO is a “turnkey” mobile digital service intended for tourism professionals who wish to master the urban experience of their customers while communicating with them in a different way.
We offer, via our mobile application, various sports courses designed for the cultural and architectural discovery of a city. The user is audio-guided throughout the course to make him autonomous in his practice; and over the spots it meets, by geolocation, GwiidO triggers cultural, gastronomic, social audio anecdotes, etc. The kind of authentic stories that only locals know, that are easy to remember and that we love to tell when we get back.
Does the name have a special meaning?
The initial idea was to replace the athletic and cultured friend that you don’t necessarily have when you arrive in a city.
And to symbolize this “friend”, what better than a first name…? We chose “GwiidO” because it is the equivalent Italian first name of “Guy”, phonetically it evokes guidance, and the spelling a little particular is simply to have a brand name and internet domain names available !
What professional background and / or personal experiences lead to the creation of this start-up?
I have a dual education in engineering school and business school, and I spent 6 years in Business Transformation Consulting.
The job of consultant is by definition very mobile, and I have often found myself in cities that I did not know.
Always having a pair of sneakers in my suitcase, I didn’t always know where to go for a run … and in the end I walked in circles around the hotel for fear of getting lost or I stayed in the hotel gym: the idea started from there.
We then posted this idea, with my partner who is a tourism professional, on various start-up competitions and each time we went to the final, which made me decide to quit my job to get started 100%. with my start-up last September.
Sport and culture are very broad fields, what brings them together?
PLEASURE: these are activities that we do for pleasure, to have fun and release the pressure.
And that’s how we implement it in our digital solution: sports courses that allow you to take pleasure thanks to your legs and very short audio-unusual anecdotes to remember interesting and offbeat things to share with our entourage.
What will be the typical profile of your users?
We distinguish our BtoB customers from our end users.
Our target customers are hoteliers, MICE players, institutions (cities, communities, tourist offices), incoming agencies, cruise passengers, etc.
The end users will be our clients’ customers, the typical persona is: 30-45 years old, sporty and connected, often traveling in metropolitan hubs such as business travelers or city-breakers.
You recently received financial support from the Region which identifies GwiidO as an innovative tourism project, tell us about what differentiates you in this tourism sector.
Indeed, the PACA Region spotted our concept during the Tourism Innov 2017 start-up competition organized by the CCI Marseille Provence and after maturation of our Business Plan and our value proposition, we obtained a grant of 21,000 euros, which is just great to boot!
Beyond technology, I think we are addressing a real trend among tourism professionals: the DURING Stay. We help them enhance and master their client’s urban experience, and that’s a real subject.
The second differentiating point is our economic model: we are not an IT services company that sells an application, but rental companies of digital solutions.
Our application exists off the shelf: we personalize it in the client’s colors, then we rent it monthly to the latter.
So for a few thousand euros per year any tourism professional, from large hotel groups to micro-businesses and independents, can take the turn of Digital Mobility thanks to a mobile application available in a few days.
This entire solution is 100% customizable for our BtoB partners (hoteliers, tourist offices, trade fair and congress organizers, cruise passengers, etc.) to make gwiido THEIR tool to enrich the experience of customers during their stay.
The app is scheduled for release in a few weeks, what are the next steps?
Our service will be available in April 2018. Until then our main activities are: the finalization of our first content (course and audio anecdotes), obtaining our latest funding such as the FrenchTech Stock Exchange, and of course prospecting and sales of our solution to tourism professionals.
Because it is the sinews of war: that our “GwiidO” service meets its market, to become a real BtoB service… and not just a “nice” idea.
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Discovering The Babel Community with Laurent Falzoï, founder and commercial director.
Audrey Debraine, FrenchWeb correspondent: What is your background?
Laurent Falzoï, project director The Babel Community: I am from Marseille, graduated from Montpellier BS in 2009. I have 9 years of professional experience including 6 in consulting. After leaving Paris to join Marseille in 2013, I decided in 2015 to leave the board to join the start-up MonDocteur.fr and develop the activity in the PACA region as Regional Director. In 2016, a year after launching the region for MonDocteur.fr and with many successes, I seized the opportunity offered by AXIS to launch a large and very ambitious national project by creating the concept and brand The Babel Community.
Tell us about The Babel Community urban experience and how to define this new place?
The Babel Community is an urban living space for new generations of working people.
It is a hybrid space that brings together in the same building, ideally located in Marseille:
- 55 furnished individual dwellings available for rental for stays of at least 1 month,
- 25 rooms in co-living in 5 large apartments with shared kitchen and living room,
- 170 open-plan workstations, individual offices or shared offices,
- a restaurant open to all, noon and evening, from Monday to Saturday,
- a fitness room,
- meeting rooms and even an amphitheater with 35 seats.
All animated daily by festive, sporting or professional events.
How does the place differ from other Marseille coworking spaces?
The integration of all the functions mentioned in the previous answer is a real differentiating factor, as is the animation, the readability of the offers and the particularly interesting price positioning with regard to the services and the quality of the services offered.
Having a freely accessible gym and a restaurant just on the ground floor of your office building is a fairly new and new experience in Marseille.
We are also in the process of building a community with quite varied and complementary profiles. Some of our members have already started to work together, to create links and value by mutually sharing their know-how or by pooling it to respond to external requests.
Who do we meet at The Babel Community?
Above all, they are people who share the same vision of openness to others and who are not afraid to test new concepts.
Those who have chosen to join us have done so to gain mobility, simplicity and comfort without having to leave the very center of Marseille. We meet freelancers (graphic designers, communicators, editors, translators, etc.) but also regional departments of national companies, e-merchants and young local and foreign start-ups. Our location at the heart of the Euroméditerranée perimeter and the integration of the Housing function allows us to be a place targeted by many foreign companies seeking or who are invited to set up in Marseille.
Do you plan to replicate the concept in other cities?
Our ambition is to create a dozen The Babel Community residences across France within 5 years. We have just validated our next two openings which will be in Montpellier and (again) in Marseille, near the prefecture.
We are looking for land in the main French cities including of course Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nice, Toulouse …
What are your ambitions for 2018?
Finalize the extension (PHASE 2 and 3) of The Babel Community Marseille République, make a very nice inauguration and continue our development!
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Audrey Debraine is Head of Lab France at StarDust.