The start-up of the day: eTerritoire helps French municipalities to form a network
The Parisian start-up territory is developing a platform to improve the referencing and visibility of French municipalities. It allows its clients to post announcements on the news of their municipality: career opportunities, tourism, various events. The general public can consult these announcements for free, but also use the eTerritoire search engine to find a municipality and compare the territories between them according to 200 different criteria. The start-up was recently awarded a prize during the Fête des Services au Medef.
Interview with François Chauvin, 29, co-founder of eTerritoire:
FrenchWeb: How did you get the idea of creating e-Territoire?
Francois Chauvin : The idea was born in 2007. The mother of one of my future partners was deputy mayor in Vouillé, a small town in Vienne. She could not find a buyer for the village butcher’s shop, when the former trader had to retire. In this kind of situation, elected officials from small towns fall back on their network or word of mouth, with uncertain results. It was in 2013 that we developed our network project to make the local needs of municipalities more visible, in collaboration with the community of Le Civraisien and that of Pays Charlois.
Who are your clients ?
Of the 3,000 communities of French municipalities that we have approached, we have signed an economic partnership with 500 of them.
What is your business model?
We monetize our service to the communities of our partner municipalities. We promote them more to our 60,000 monthly visitors, an attendance that we want to double in the first quarter of 2015. For the general public, viewing the ads is free. We charge partner municipalities a declining annual subscription according to their number of inhabitants, at a rate of between 0.30 and 0.60 euros per inhabitant.
Who are your competitors and how do you tell the difference?
Our indirect competitors are companies and agencies that create Internet pages for communities such as Réseau des Communes, Allo Mairies or the Lyonnais CréaSite. We are positioning ourselves rather as an intermediary network for the referencing of existing sites. We also provide a turnkey solution to municipalities that do not have an Internet platform, which nevertheless represents seven out of ten French municipalities. We think of ourselves as a sort of Wiki of municipalities, each one must be able to have its page referenced on our platform: we are also for the general public a search engine and a comparator of territories. By the first half of 2015, we will create a simple CMS to help municipalities create their own website, regardless of their listing in eTerritoire.
What were you doing before founding e-Territoire?
After graduating from ISEG Paris in 2007, I went to the United States for seven months. At the end of this period, I returned to France and I worked for four years as SEO for the price comparison Twenga. eTerritoire is my first start-up. We started this project in 2012, and registered the company in early summer 2013.
What was the first problem you had to face?
Our first challenge was to find the right technical profiles to develop our project. We had carefully analyzed our market, but none of us had a developer profile. As we did not go through an incubator, our problem was to meet the right employees to start.
What is the best advice we have given you?
With the alumni of ESSEM – the school of my two associates -, we participate in a weekly informal think tank between entrepreneurs called “Les Jeudis à Idea”. Choosing the right employees with complementary profiles is essential to properly develop a service.
Who is the personality you admire the most?
I admire two figures of entrepreneurs. Xavier Niel, for his vision of knowledge sharing – with 42 – and for the way he transformed the codes of a market with Free. I also admire the vision of Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia. This way of making knowledge accessible to all in a collaborative way has inspired us a lot to develop eTerritoire.
Creation date : July 2013
Company based in: Clichy
Funding: 60,000 euros raised in June 2014 and negotiations underway to raise 1 million euros in 2015
Investors : Jean-David Blanc (AlloCiné) – and Marc Dabuineau (Veoprint)
Total workforce : 7 employees, around 5 hires planned for 2015