Benoit Buridant: Q&A with CEO & Co-Founder of FrenchFounders
RR: You were born in Brest in 1985 and grew up in Toulon. Can you tell us a how you ended up in the US?
BB: I always wanted to start my own business and thought the US would be a great place to do so, especially because I was looking for a greater challenge. I had visited the country often and when I was 23, I finally settled there, starting my first company straight away.
RR: You launched French Founders in April 28, 2014. What gave you the idea and how does it work?
BB: FrenchFounders is a business exchange platform for French-speaking CEOs and entrepreneurs. The idea came about a few months after I moved to the US and realised that this community was extremely tight and active, but currently underserved by other organisations or platforms. For example, French business clubs were too old school, or LinkedIn too mass and impersonal.
RR: How do you become a member?
BB: We have members all over the world, a little over 1,200 right now, spread across North America (50%), Europe and Africa (25%), Asia & Oceania (15%) and South America (10%). To join FrenchFounders, you must meet at least one of the 3 criteria:
You’re a CEO or C-Executive of a company with more than 100 persons or $10M+ in annual revenues, a founder or manager of a start-up with $1M+ in annual revenues or $1M+ in funding or an exceptional individual with recognised abilities in a specific field or industry.
RR: What do you envision in the future for FrenchFounders and the key to its success?
BB: FrenchFounders will keep growing selectively and provide greater added value to its members. It could take different forms, such as relevant and personalised introductions between members with strong business affinities, select events with cutting-edge content and prestigious guest speakers and access to local boards of experts, including representatives from the startup and investing community, public institutions, digital specialists, etc. – in each of our major markets (US, UK, China, etc.). We will also continue to expand geographically with the opening of offices in London and Shanghai in early 2016.
RR: How is the working culture in the US different from France?
BB: There are three major differences I would point out to between the two cultures. First, the creative and building process is much more iterative in the US than it is in France. Second, the working style is also more direct in the US, you either succeed or fail fast. And finally, there is also in the US a greater appetite for risk.